Colorado Companies to Watch 2019: The Helpers

Giving back manifests itself in many ways for these organizations


AspenRidge Recovery


Founded in 2015, AspenRidge uses an extended care, PHP (partial hospitalization program), allowing clients to receive treatment for mental health and addiction issues during the day and return home at night.

Our entire mission and daily work is about community impact,” CEO Ethan Castro says. We help those with significant mental health, trauma and addiction challenges get on their feet and turn their lives around. We also commit to having at least one full scholarship client in our care at all times in each location, which is one way for us to give back and help those who do not have an insurance policy or the means to pay for our services.”

AspenRidge recently added a once- or twice-weekly outpatient program along with its typical three to five-day a week program.

This means our clients now have a step-down option that provides ongoing support at a lower, more cost-efficient level of care,” Castro says. We believe this will drive longer stays, better outcomes and more referrals.”

The company offers its staff weekly yoga, quarterly barbecues and an annual ski trip, among other things.

More importantly, we offer top talent a place where excellence and an amazing mission intertwine,” Castro says. This attracts great teammates, and we retain them by respecting them as professionals and contributing teammates.”

colorado tech shop

Colorado Tech Shop


Colorado Tech Shop offers a full cycle solution for design, engineering, manufacturing and fulfillment on a scale that benefits small to medium-sized businesses. The company offers a flexible approach to help bring new products to market, as well as providing a long-term manufacturing solution to established companies that want quality local production.

We find that when your design, engineering, procurement and production needs are all under one roof and being managed by one team/company, the result is a streamlined approach, which is more efficient in cost and time and leading to less stress overall,” owner and CEO Katie Hendrick says.

The company also specializes in quick-turn prototype manufacturing, a service many larger shops have discontinued.

Colorado Tech Shop holds at its core a desire to form long-standing, mutually profitable relationships with other Colorado-based enterprises and grow with them, something that generally doesn’t fit the model offered by larger, established manufacturers in our sector,” Hendrick says.

The company pampers its employees with Pizza Fridays and services from other woman-owned businesses, such as yoga and chair massages. Flexible work schedules accommodate each individual’s requirements wherever possible.

Colorado Tech Shop is a member of Longmont Economic Development Partnership’s Peerspectives Group, which aims to help foster growth and camaraderie among city businesses through mentoring.



Colorado Springs

Since launching its CyberGRX Exchange, the company’s mission has been to arm the security community with an entirely new approach to third-party cyber risk management.

CyberGRX’s modern, scalable approach significantly cuts down on manual processes and arms organizations with advanced analytics and actionable data to allow them to identify risk quickly and make informed decisions on how and where to prioritize their resources.

Our position is that organizations need to collaborate and work together on securing their shared ecosystems instead of pushing static spreadsheets back and forth,” CEO Fred Kneip says.To reinforce our commitment to collaboration, we also launched an open online community last fall‚ dedicated to bringing third parties and their customers together to crowd- source ideas, share best practices and support each other.”

Support is a key to CyberGRX’s culture as well. One of its core values is Act like an Owner,” which means feeling empowered to have impact in the best possible way.

We encourage failure as a way to learn and adapt,” Kneip says. We’ll never grow at the pace we want if we don’t allow ourselves to fail hard and fail fast. We provide an incredibly supportive team that will be there for you when you hit the ground.”


Hixxa Communications Inc.


Hixxa Communications creates powerful wide-area wireless and cellular networks for the most challenging locations and mission-critical applications to improve and maintain public safety.

The company educates, trains and works with fire authorities and jurisdictions to develop code relevant to public safety radio coverage. Hixxa also works with its manufacturing partners to develop products to fit specific needs within the market, then tests and makes final improvements to products.

Employees take pride in Hixxa’s mission — that it was founded on the belief that the ability to possess reliable and consistent communications is vital to the safety of citizens and officials”— and the fact that their work helps make Colorado communities safer.

When it comes to giving back, Hixxa supports the Associated General Contractors with sponsorship and fundraising to help build a home for a family in need. Employees also use free time to help fire authorities review code and offer guidance for enforcement.


Innova Emergency Medical Associates


Tiny Mt. San Rafael Hospital in Trinidad was struggling with improving care in its emergency room when Innova took over staffing in 2010.

We looked at the low-hanging fruit first,” says Dr. Steve Sherick, Innova’s founder and CEO, who was born and raised in rural Colorado. What are the places that take the least amount of money and are the easiest to fix?”

Innova’s physicians turned around ER care at Mt. San Rafael, taking it from unacceptable patient ratings to best-in-nation status.

These communities in rural areas like Trinidad, Alamosa (and) LaJara are used to being left behind, and this puts them front and center as a focus for our company,” Innova President Ashley Williams says. Innova gains competitive advantage by above all being a company that keeps our word and sets high but realistic expectations. We promise a personal relationship with our partner hospitals and deliver this time after time.”

The company donates to foundations in all of its partner communities and volunteers to train medical students, nursing students, paramedics, firefighters and other allied health professionals.

Innova is growing rapidly into the market of serving Indian Health Service facilities, communities badly in need of excellent emergency medicine providers. We are projecting at least 20 percent annual growth over the next two years and potential for substantially more,” Williams says.


Sleeping Giant Brewing Company


Colorado has great water, which is a big part of the reason it has great beer. As the nation’s first dedicated contract craft brewer, Sleeping Giant makes lots of great beer – for other brands.

We are constantly innovating process improvements and business practices to improve both quality and customer experience,” founder and President Matthew Osterman says. A prime example is a thorough on-boarding packet, our Client Success Plan, which all new clients receive as a means for them to understand our business and what it takes to thrive while working with Sleeping Giant.”

But Sleeping Giant’s world-class equipment and facility means nothing without a top-notch team, he says. As a result, SG places a tremendous amount of importance on our team. This begins with hiring FOR company culture. The best way to have a cohesive company culture is to start with the right people.”

Reducing the company’s environmental footprint is top of mind as well, with such steps as donating all spent grain to farmers as cattle feed, reducing water consumption and sending cans to scrap metal instead of recycling centers where they are often thrown away.

Vantage Evaluation

Vantage Evaluation


Vantage Evaluation helps organizations learn and improve by highlighting what works and what doesn’t.

Founder and CEO Elena Harman, author of The Great Nonprofit Evaluation Reboot,” says her company is changing the way organizations view evaluation, which has often been considered punitive in the past.

We envision a future where evaluation is driven by each organization as a critical learning process about their work that then helps inform their strategy,” Harman says. Everything we do is aligned to make this vision a reality, so the way we work with clients looks different, the way we market our services looks different, and the way we engage with the community looks different.”

Vantage Evaluation’s all-female team operates differently as well, using a self-management model. There is no expense policy, dress code or vacation approval and no set promotional tracks.

Team members orient toward our mission, develop their body of work by identifying how they can best help advance our mission, and make decisions independently based on what will serve the company best,” Harman says.

She admits this isn’t a comfortable environment for those used to a hierarchical structure. But when it works, it really works.

Our commitment to this organization structure has created a thriving culture of belonging, collaboration and growth,” Harman says.

Vinyl Me, Please


Vinyl Me, Please is a music company that operates as a record of the month club, an online record shop and a music magazine, offering carefully curated albums that hit music lovers where they live.

It’s great for us because there is not a lot of competition, and we can appeal to consumers’ emotional side instead of preaching the same benefits as every other streaming service,” says CEO Matt Fiedler, who started the company in 2013. Being the first mover in our space, we managed to capture a large market share very quickly.

VMP now has 30,000 monthly subscribers in more than 40 countries and music highlighting new artists, essential releases from little-known artists along with must-have reissues.

It’s a labor of love for VMP’s small team, Fiedler says.

Each of us has been shaped by music in some way and are committed to bringing those kinds of experiences to our customers,” he says. That shared passion has helped us build a culture of talented people who share our vision for what can be true.”

This article is part of the 2019 Colorado Companies to WatchRead more about the other winners: 

Categories: Companies to Watch, Magazine Articles