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Posted: April 30, 2013

Made in Colorado 2013: Technology & industrial

Eric Peterson

Gamma Two Robotics

Denver and


Drs. Jim and Louise Gunderson are the husband-and-wife, CTO-and-CEO team behind Gamma Two Robotics. They incorporated the company in 2003 but didn’t begin developing a biologically inspired cybernetic brain until 2006. Now that they’ve honed the technology, they’ve plopped that brain into the Vigilus indoor security robot.

“It can do tasks that are too dull, dirty and dangerous for humans,” says Louise. “You need some intelligence to do these things – these are not toys.”

Robots lease for $2,000 a month with a maintenance contract and sell for about $40,000. Next up: the outdoor security market and home-assistance robots.

Louise says the company works with numerous local vendors. “Two-thirds of the equipment going into the robot is made in Colorado and the robot is assembled here in Colorado,” she says, counting Gamma Two’s size as a blessing.


  Leitner-Poma of America

Grand Junction

Chairlift and gondola systems

The U.S. subsidiary of a French parent company, Leitner-Poma has been making chairlifts and gondolas near Grand Junction since 1981, averaging about 10 installations a year at ski resorts all over the world. A $5 million high-speed quad chairlift is Leitner-Poma’s “bread and butter,” says Rick Spear, president of Leitner-Poma of America. “We usually do between five and eight a year.”

While the uphill-transport market has changed markedly, “things have leveled off,” says Spear.

The company’s highest-profile in-state project came online this ski season at Vail: One, the fastest 10-person gondola on the continent with all of the bells (heated seats) and whistles (Wi-Fi). “The gondola increased the capacity over the old chairlift by about 40 percent,” Spear says. “The skier feedback is very positive.”

Merritt Equipment Co.


Aluminum livestock trailers and other products

Founded in 1951, Merritt was one of the first manufacturers to offer an aluminum livestock trailer. The company traded Oregon for Colorado in the 1970s to get a better location for its central market. Today the company has 290 employees and makes a wide range of livestock and commodity trailers as well as aluminum parts for the trucking market.

“We’re well known in the industry but not so well known in Colorado,” says CFO Taylor Merritt, noting that the company has “seen a lot of change” in its 40-plus years in the Centennial State.


Bal Seal

Colorado Springs

High-tech seals

               Based in California, Bal Seal manufactures innovative seals for automotive, medical and other applications in Colorado.


BASE Electronics

Colorado Springs

Electronics for CCTV and security

               Making a wide range of modules and controllers since 1989.


Colorado Precast


Precast concrete

               Precast concrete structures and products for architecture, agriculture and industrial markets.




Cabling systems

               Manufacturing in Colorado and elsewhere, fast-growing comCables has emerged as the little company that could take out the billion-dollar competition.


Deltech Furnaces


Industrial furnaces

               Deltech has made glass-melting and other furnaces since 1968.


Display Devices


A/V displays and accessories

               Displays and A/V accessories for commercial applications.



Colorado Springs


               Providing high-resolution imaging solutions to medical, industrial and military markets.


Glenwood Springs

Composite materials

               Spun off of the Rocky Mountain Institute, Fiberforge makes advanced composite materials for the automotive and aerospace industries.


Golden Aluminum

Fort Lupton

Aluminum cans

               Golden Aluminum was established as Golden Recycling in 1983 by Coors Brewing Company and still uses up to 95 percent recycled aluminum today.


Hach Co.


Analytical water testing instruments

               Making water analysis a cinch for more than 60 years.




               Largest manufacturer of commercial ice-making machines in the country.


Intertech Plastics


Plastic injection molding

               High-speed, high-volume plastic manufacturing.


Owens-Illinois, Inc.


Glass and plastic packaging

               Boosting the Northern Colorado economy is one of the world’s premier glass and plastic packaging manufacturers.


Palmer DCS


Industrial systems

               Motors, electrical and drive systems for water, oil and gas, and other industries.

Ponderosa Industries Inc.


Machine parts

               Producing the parts and pieces for machines since 1988.




Backup software and drives

               Rebit assembles its hard-disk products in Longmont.


Reynolds Polymer Technology

Grand Junction

Polymer technology

               Acrylic windows for a worldwide market of aquariums, zoos, pools and more.


RPC Manufacturing


Contract electronics manufacturing

               Circuit boards, control boxes and cabling.


Sierra Detention Systems


Technology for corrections industry

               Manufacturing for prisons, jails and other secure facilities.


Spectra Logic


Data storage

               Tape and disk-based backup for more than 30 years.


Stolle Machinery


Can-making technology

               Stolle’s flagship manufacturing facility is in Englewood.




Waterblast tools

               Heavy-duty waterblasting technology for dirty jobs of all kinds.

Walker Mowers

Fort Collins

Lawnmowers and tractors

               With 155 employees, Walker Mowers are distributed in 28 countries.

Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at

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