Colorado Companies to Watch 2019: The Makers & Suppliers
These companies are changing the way that products are made
Ampt defines innovation as its ability to add value to its customers’ bottom line by enabling more cost-effective and productive solar power plants.
Our products, along with our solution partners, enable new and more efficient ways of building new power plants or repowering older ones as well as integrating PV (photovoltaic) and storage technologies in the most optimal way,” CEO Levent Gun says.
Ampt started an industry alliance called High Definition PV to build an ecosystem of partnership; about 50 companies participate in this alliance and endorse Ampt’s technical leadership. Ampt has 31 U.S. and international patents issued with more applications in process in various key countries. It also expects revenue growth in 2019 of four to five times its 2018 level.
Ampt’s open and customer-driven culture starts with transparency at the top and extends to everything the company does.
Everyone at Ampt understands our customers are the life blood of our company,” Gun says. I’ve received multiple compliments from our customers praising our engineers on how they helped them solve a problem with a sense of urgency even at times when our products were not the root cause of their problem.”
Owned and operated by mechanical engineers since 2012, Avid uses its considerable design and engineering talents to help guide customers toward the best solution for their prototyping, injection molding and low-volume production needs.
Being an engineering company at heart, we utilize our technical skills to develop process techniques in conjunction with our HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printers to produce some of the best quality parts in the industry,” owner Doug Collins says.
As a product development company, Avid works with many clients from idea inception to finished manufactured product. This requires that our engineers have a vast knowledge of manufacturing techniques, processes and technologies to ensure that we are designing the products efficiently and with the best chance of success,” Collins says. Avid brings a unique blend of engineering knowledge to product manufacturing, which separates us from the rest.”
Avid works hard to promote wellness and team connections in the company. Perks include memberships to the local recreation center, which helps employees connect and stay healthy.
Avid’s animal-loving staff contributes to the Larimer Humane Society and gives tours and presentations to students to encourage engineering and additive manufacturing as a career path. The company also supports university engineering projects, such as Colorado State University’s Formula SAE race car team, by printing 3D components for their race car.
Boulder is a mecca for endurance sports enthusiasts, so it makes sense that it was the birthplace of BOCO Gear. The company offers a wide range of fully customizable hats, beanies, neck gaiters, gloves, arm sleeves, arm warmers, bags, race belts and more, all designed to meet the needs of endurance athletes.
With more than 20 years in endurance apparel at leading firms such as Pearl Izumi, Russel Athletic and Moving Comfort, founder and CEO Kay Martin knew there was an unmet demand for high-quality custom hats that didn’t require huge quantities and long lead times. She found factories both willing and able to develop production methods that made smaller minimums and shorter lead times not just possible, but financially viable.
As a woman in a traditionally male-dominated industry, Martin also has a unique perspective on work-life balance, culture and the need for high trust, highly functioning working relationships. Team members can chose to work from wherever they feel most productive, be it the company office, home, coffee shops or even ski lodges.
And of course, our employees and ambassadors alike continue to be avid – even hard-core – endurance athletes,” Martin says. It is, simply put, who we are.
Founded in 2009, LED Supply Co. is a wholesale distributor of energy efficient lighting technologies and controls, specializing in LED lighting solutions for all interior and exterior commercial and industrial lighting applications.
LED Supply has recently added a renewable energy division focused on solar and storage in response to customer demand, and also offers a wellness lighting line featuring a product that disinfects a space up to 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses with the power of ultraviolet light.
Employees have access to unlimited training and professional growth opportunities and engage in continual training pertaining to lighting, sales, sustainability, advertising and marketing. Employees attend happy hours, karaoke nights and sporting events, activities that bring everyone closer together and create a highly productive team. The company also offers a match, up to a certain dollar amount, for its employees’ charitable donations.
How do you convince an industry that a maintenance-free tool that lasts forever and uses 90 percent less energy is a better value at $2,000 than the $40 tool it replaces? Magswitch has been doing exactly that with tremendous success. Its patented core technology gives it the edge to design, develop and create disruptive and one-of-a-kind technology.
Under CEO David Morton, Magswitch commits about 1 percent of revenue to new research and development, part of its goal to stay at least three years ahead of its competitors and constantly develop and test new technology. The company’s New Product Development team follows an agile process from analyzing competitive landscape, feasibility, cost/margin analysis all the way to production, distribution and marketing to maintain a competitive edge.
Magswitch prides itself on cultivating an environment where employees can grow, develop and innovate with the changing economic landscape. The culture is defined by the diversity of skills, personalities and talent. Magswitch believes in giving back, which includes supplying free tools to schools and vocational colleges and veteran re-training centers. The company supports local toy and food drives, and has worked with Workshop for Warriors and Shining Stars.
Family-owned and operated Merritt Aluminum Products has built a reputation as an innovative leader and pioneer in transportation equipment manufacturing, and it has a number of firsts to its name.
We were one of the first companies to manufacture certain aluminum aftermarket accessory products for the heavy-duty truck industry,” CEO Taylor Merritt says. We were the first company to sell the lifecycle and quality of our product as compared to our competition.
We remain an innovative leader in our industry by consistently bringing new products to market and by providing the fastest turnaround from order to delivery in our market,” he says.
Culture is king at Merritt, where everyone lives the five core values of integrity, trust, excellence, respect and teamwork.
These are not just words posted up on the wall,” Merritt says. These values are central to our decision-making process, including our decisions related to our culture and our team. The core values are used to hire, fire and reward our people.”
The company has partnered with Fort Lupton High School and its Career Explore program, which targets at-risk students and offers them internships with local businesses. During the holiday season, the company sponsors a food drive for the local food bank.
In 2013, Jeffrey Barchers sketched a concept for a High Energy Laser (HEL) in steam on a mirror while shaving and realized it could be the basis of a business. Innovation — which CEO Barchers defines as solving problems better, faster and cheaper — has allowed the company to thrive. We’re a small company doing big stuff,” he says.
Nutronics prides itself on a flat management structure that encourages all employees to bring any concern or innovation straight to the CEO, who works alongside them.
Our company culture is built on hard work, personal responsibility and accountability, and a willingness to fail,” Barchers says. We demand that team members ask questions. There are no dumb questions when working in a demanding field with dangerous and high-cost hardware, and a question not asked can have serious consequences.”
Spinster Sisters started as a hobby for founder and President Kelly Perkins, who wanted to share her passion for natural ingredients and products and spread the word about the dangers of toxic chemicals often found in mass-produced commercial skin care products. The side gig started in her basement has grown 100 percent year over year for all but one of the last seven years.
What I believe sets Spinster Sisters apart is our focus on producing the cleanest possible products from the cleanest possible ingredients‚ and we do so with our eye constantly on sustainable practices,” Perkins says.
The company’s manufacturing plant is powered by wind and solar energy, and its packaging is all biodegradeable, recycled or recycleable. Spinster Sisters grows and distills some of its own botanicals and sources others locally.
When it comes to giving back, the company donates 50 percent of sales of Hand and Foot Salve to Children’s Hospital of Colorado and hosts charitable shopping days for Girls Inc. of Metro Denver, Foothills Animal Shelter and Colorado State Beekeepers Association.
In the wake of the 2000 election, John Fischer created a bumper sticker that read, He’s Not My President.” Several thousand sticker sales later, a business was born. Today, StickerGiant is Colorado’s largest sticker and label manufacturer, with a unique production process that allows it to turn around most of its products within a day, at least four times faster than the industry standard.
In 2016, the company established National Sticker Day and created Saul the World’s Largest Sticker Ball, who now travels to events as a mascot for StickerGiant and who was featured in the Guinness Book of World Records” 2018 edition.
The company’s Tuesday company-wide huddles are open to visitors, and more than 60 local businesses have come to observe and gain business insights. An employee-driven charitable giving team was responsible for giving back more than $20,000 to local organizations and charitable events in 2018. Saul the World’s Largest Sticker Ball has become the ambassador for this team, using the hashtag #SaulGives to spread StickerGiant’s charitable giving to new causes.
StickerGiant fosters a culture of ownership thinking and employee involvement at every level. Its Gain Share system gives every employee an equal share of any profit that exceeds the company profit plan for each quarter. In 2018, each full-time employee received $10,000 in Gain Share bonuses for the year.
Being based where the sun shines more than 300 days a year makes perfect sense for SunTech Drive, which aims to make the application of alternative energy sources simple, accessible and cost-effective. Founded six years ago in the basement of CTO Nikola Milivojevic, along with co-founder Yusuf Gurkaynak, the company manufactures source-agnostic intelligent power conversion equipment for solar energy.
SunTech’s PicoCell product family and new PicoBlender democratize the use of solar energy through fundamentally lower total system cost and much simpler installation processes.
PicoCell products replace much less efficient and less reliable alternative energy sources such as windmills, and enable the use of solar for remote, off-grid applications that heretofore have required the use of generators,” CEO Bud Michael says. The simplicity and low total system cost, along with the continued reduction in solar cost per kilowatt hour, makes solar power accessible to developing countries for many applications including water purification, irrigation and livestock watering.”
SunTech’s culture is driven by its core values, which include being innovative, accountable and customer-focused, and leading by example.
The combination of ‘innovative’ and ‘customer focus’ drives our continued focus on advancing our technology in a way that matters to our customers and channel partners,” Michael says. SunTech engineers invest in research and development to improve our market value, not for the sake of creating new technology.”
Western Rise has fashioned technical fabrics into an entirely new category of clothing: performance pieces men can wear every day.
We updated classic styles that haven’t been updated in decades with athletic performance and technical benefits in order to allow active individuals to do more, see more and be more,” says CEO Kelly Watters, who co-founded the company with husband Will in 2014.
Half of Western Rise’s leadership team is female, as is its workforce. Employees enjoy flexible work hours and unlimited time off. In addition to using an 80 percent sustainable supply chain from materials to ethical manufacturing, Western Rise is a 1% for the Planet company that donates 1 percent of annual revenue to grassroots environmental nonprofits.