Colorado Companies to Watch 2014: Defense/homeland security and financial services


Stratom Inc.


PORTRAIT: Since 2001, the self-funded organization has provided strategic solutions, advanced technologies and services to government and commercial clients, specializing in robotics, unmanned vehicles, sensor integration, payload development and system engineering. Between 2011 and 2012, revenues spiked 136 percent and are projected to increase by 37 percent year-over-year in 2014. Some of Stratum’s best-known clients include the Department of Defense, Boeing and the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense.

DIFFERENTIATOR: Stratom’s development in robotics, unmanned systems, machine vision and control algorithms has allowed the company to grow its intellectual property through research and development contracts. Moreover, the decision to pursue federally funded research projects and longer-term government contracts has driven business and infrastructure decisions for growth within the sector.

PIVOTAL MOMENT: Winning a government contract to develop Stratom’s Robotic ToolChanging System allowed the company to leverage its technology across industries to pursue robotic opportunities, for the U.S. Army, the Rapid Equipping Force and original equipment manufacturers. This and other major moments have allowed Stratom to take its self-funded, small robotic business to the next level, winning local and national awards for its work.

COMPANY CULTURE: One of the unique practices at Stratom is its “battle rhythm,” finding a pace and balance between informing the team and dedicating the time needed to do the work. 


Colorado Springs

PORTRAIT: Since 1994, TechWise has provided consulting services to domestic and international customers in the safety and security, defense, emergency response and crisis management domains, integrating strategy, systems and education to improve performance.

DIFFERENTIATOR: Customer advocacy is a key progress engine for TechWise, ultimately encouraging clients to be self-sustainable. Noting that customers were so impressed with the quality of its software design and product integration training, TechWise received industry referrals and opted to open a technical training school. The program continually evolves as the company evaluates the market and competitive environments change.

MAJOR MOMENT: “Since our founding, our biggest challenges have always been associated with forecasting and proactively adapting to changes in our core business environment,” said Shawnee Huckstep, CEO of TechWise. “So, I think it is to be expected that our most recent expansion internationally presented the greatest and most exciting challenge we have yet faced. There was and is much to learn: unfamiliar laws, regulations and culture, to name a few. Our people, backed by proven processes and a mature and adaptable talent management program allowed us to not only overcome but thrive.”

COMMUNITY: TechWise participates in the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) “Boots to Suits” veteran mentorship program, providing transition and job assistance services to students. Following a series of in-person meetings with TechWise employees and hiring professionals, student-veterans are fitted with custom suits purchased by UCCS.


enVision Business Consulting


PORTRAIT: With expertise in strategic planning and facilitation, organization and human performance, process optimization, program and project management and IT business services, enVision offers an umbrella of interconnected services to create a management consulting ecosystem for its clients and communities.

DIFFERENTIATOR: enVision largely credits its proprietary organization, design and change management toolkits for its vast success, evidenced by its inclusion in the 2003 Inc. 500 fastest growing firms.

MAJOR MOMENT: From the very start, enVision intended to expand geographically and was able to do so when a friend of the firm opened a door in Ohio, ultimately generating a sizeable sale and the ability to build a northeastern office.

COMPANY CULTURE: Employees coined the expression “the enVision nation” to describe the tight-knit community they’ve developed. Clearly outlined values underlie and enhance the enVision environment. These include: direct communication and clarity in speech, respect of relationships, work with likeable people, everyone is an entrepreneur, integrity and candor are non-negotiables, there is no “right” career path, recognize you live in a community and nurture it, and finally, have fun.

PayReel Inc.


PORTRAIT: PayReel’s 13-person team simplifies the sourcing, management and payment of contractors in the media production and event planning industries, leveraging experience and exposure to retain high-performing teams.

DIFFERENTIATOR:  With a background in broadcast television, Heidi McLean began PayReel in 1995, leveraging her experience by building a business that specializes in meeting the contingent work-force needs of corporate video production organizations. This focus has enabled PayReel to generate greater-than-average margins and earn remarkable customer loyalty.

MAJOR MOMENT: When client feedback indicated a need for an online interface to supplement the high level of interaction the client services team provided, PayReel created a Web application called PayReel OnLine. Before the company implemented the tool roughly two years ago, workflows required clients to capture and submit payroll and invoice data on paper. For larger clients, this represented a significant resource drain on both sides of the relationship. Since, PayReel OnLine has become a key pillar in the company’s value proposition.

COMPANY CULTURE In order to best recognize opportunities, PayReel encourages its team to become and remain familiar with its entire portfolio of services, providing each individual with the confidence to speak up to serve clients more effectively.

Emergenetics International


PORTRAIT: Founded in 1991, Emergenetics provides assessments and training solutions that drive individual and organizational performance. Results reveal employees’ thinking and behavioral traits in an attempt to bolster business tactics. Emergenetics serves a wide variety of industries and organizations around the world, from Fortune 100 companies to government and educational entities, nonprofits and startups.

DIFFERENTIATOR:  With clients from Western Union to MolsonCoors and Hilton Hotels, Emergenetics began with a single psychometric assessment and has since developed two other assessments. The program’s train-the-trainer growth model has cultivated a global cadre of experts.

MAJOR MOMENT: In 2004, Founder Dr. Geil Browning was contracted to write a book but suffered a stroke. Her son Morgan left law school to help complete the publishing project, resulting in two critical company shifts: The book garnered local best-seller recognition and worldwide distribution and from this experience, Morgan joined the company, leading to more than 600 percent revenue growth since that time.

INNOVATION: The human resources and training industry is largely shifting from a classroom-based approach to a method built on mobile and Web technology. As such, Emergenetics assessments and reports are available online. A first-of-its-kind mobile app is scheduled for launch later this year to improve how teams work and communicate.

Categories: Companies to Watch, Magazine Articles