ColoradoBiz Top Company finalists: From manufacturing to real estate/construction/contracting



Years in business: 59

Location: Henderson

CEO: Mark Swanson

Company snapshot: Birko provides the meat, poultry and food industries with specialty chemicals needed for cleaning, sanitation and as aids in production. Its product line includes more than 200 formulations – from cleaners and sanitizers to processing and rendering agents – used in federally inspected meat plants. Many of the company’s formulations are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency, and many of its chemical formulas and processes are patented.

Notable practices: In 2011, Birko acquired Chad Equipment LLC, a Kansas-based manufacturer specializing in automated washing and pasteurizing systems for meat harvesting and processing operations. This acquisition expanded Birko’s equipment portfolio, enabling it to serve customers’ complete food safety needs for chemistry, equipment and technology – from harvest to processing to intervention to final product.

Community involvement: In honor of Birko’s founder, the Ward Smith Memorial Scholarship was established at Texas A&M’s Department of Animal Science in 1980. Birko supports several institutions of higher learning – including Colorado State University, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Cal Poly and Fresno State – through volunteering and collaborating on research for the betterment of food safety.

Equipment Inc.

Years in business: 56

Location: Denver

CEO: Jeff Popiel

Company snapshot: Geotech Environmental Equipment manufactures and distributes equipment used for sampling, monitoring and remediating groundwater and soil pollution. Its customers include international government, consulting and private industry.

Notable practices: Through its product-development processes, Geotech has created a technology commercialization conduit, successfully commercializing several products born in university laboratories and licensed from private inventors. Geotech helps local manufacturing companies compete by providing contract manufacturing services such as printed circuit board design, engineering and assembly.

Community involvement: CEO Jeff Popiel serves on the board of the Elyria Swansea Globeville Business Association (ESGBA), which is working to improve the local community and economy. Geotech raised $50,000 last year for 161 disadvantaged local families during the holidays

International Inc

Years in business: 168

Location: Denver

CEO: Hugh Charvat

Company snapshot: Schrader is a pioneer in tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), a vehicle safety feature that is now standard on all cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. and growing in use globally.

Notable practices: Schrader has successfully translated a deep understanding of TPMS to create EZ-sensor technology, a product that is simple enough for the installer to master, requires minimal investment to update and can be used for the widest range of vehicle models operating in the market.

Community involvement: Schrader participates in community-related activities and local government in communities where its manufacturing facilities are located. On a national scale, Schrader is heavily involved in government and association partnerships relative to vehicle safety and tire pressure monitoring legislation in global markets.


Lijit Networks

Years in business: 6

Location: Boulder

CEO: Todd Vernon

Employees: 50

Company snapshot: Lijit Networks, a wholly owned subsidiary of Federated Media Publishing, provides online advertising services, audience analytics and reader engagement tools to more than 125,000 sites on the Independent Web.

Notable practices: Lijit’s open door policy means employees have just as much knowledge as management when it comes to revenue projections, financing updates and hiring. Lijit is completely transparent with its publishers, providing them with a full suite of tools to help grow their business, including an advertising management console where they can log in to get as much detail as is available on their ad performance and revenue.

Community involvement: CEO Todd Vernon is a Boulder TechStars mentor, a mentorship-driven seed stage investment program. The company participates in local events such as Ignite Boulder, Boulder Open Coffee Club, and the Denver and Boulder New Tech Meet-Ups. The company hosts an annual Boulder digital media conference,, that brings together top advertising and publishing executives in Denver/Boulder and across the country for a one-day roundtable discussion about the changing digital media landscape.

Madwire Media

Years in business: 3

Location: Loveland

CEO: Joe Kellogg

Employees: 95

Company snapshot: Madwire Media provides website design and development, Internet marketing, branding, video and commercial production, and public relations. Madwire’s goal is to help facilitate growth and product exposure through its signature products.

Notable practices: Madwire Media has hired 92 employees in its three years of existence and recently completed construction on a 10,000 square foot building which will allow it to hire an additional 35-50 employees before the end of 2012.

Community involvement: Madwire holds a monthly Facebook fundraiser to benefit a community organization or nonprofit group. The company also offers pro-bono work for local non-profits in the community, creating new websites, commercials, marketing and other services.

Pure Brand Communications

Years in business: 9

Location: Denver

CEO: Dan Igoe

Company snapshot: Pure Brand Communications is a full service agency specializing in public relations, media training, advertising, research, media planning and buying, digital/social media and graphic design.

Notable practices: Pure tells its clients to “be famous for who you are,” an obvious phrase that’s not easy to realize. It begins with an audit session: an in-person, rigorous examination of every client’s brand. The goal is to break down the brand, to find the one thing that sets it apart – what story will resonate with the target audience.

Community involvement: Pure has donated in-kind services worth $40,000 annually to pro bono efforts that benefit numerous youth-related causes. Pure is in its eighth year of a partnership with the Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation to help promote via media relations the Courage Classic, a three-day, 157-mile fundraising bicycle tour in Summit County.


Enterprise Fund

Years in business: 35

Location: Denver

CEO: Ceyl Prinster

Company snapshot: Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) provides “patient and flexible capital” to early stage and emerging businesses, especially those owned by low-income, low-wealth and other underserved entrepreneurs. In addition to providing loans, CEF supports borrowers with business counseling and mentoring. The average repayment rate is 95 percent.

Notable practices: Over the years, CEF has made nearly 1,200 loans, which financed close to $25 million in small-business development in Colorado and contributed to the creation or continuation of almost 5,000 jobs in the state. In 2011, the average CEF loan to a Colorado small business created or maintained six jobs. The financial institution has helped women and minorities gain access to capital, with 51 percent of the loans to women and 26 percent to minority-owned businesses.

Community involvement: CEF staff has been involved with the Construction Empowerment Initiative of the City of Denver that helps to streamline contracting so that minority-owned businesses can bid on city projects. CEF is a member of the Sustainable Food Policy Council and the Healthy Food Financing task force, which works to help alleviate food deserts in Colorado.


Years in business: 61

Location: Denver

CEO: Robin Wise

Company snapshot: Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain Inc. (JA) volunteers visit classrooms to teach elementary, middle and high school students about economic concepts, financial literacy, critical thinking skills, and how to work as a team. JA has 4,600 volunteers who annually serve as many as 105,000 students in 4,428 classrooms in more than 535 schools.

Notable practices: After participating in JA programs, 84 percent of high school students said JA connected what they learned in the classroom to real life; 73 percent of middle school students said JA made them more aware of career options; and 77 percent of elementary school students said JA made school more interesting.

Community involvement: In 2011 the organization launched JA Finance Park, a hands-on budgeting simulation opportunity that helps students build a foundation for future personal financial success. The 5,500-square-foot touring business community features two dozen storefronts and kiosks, a gathering park and a college and career corner, all sponsored by local companies. JA also sponsors the Stock Market Challenge, a fundraising and educational event that tests participants’ investing skills with $500,000 worth of mock stock. There is also the Colorado Business Hall of Fame, jointly produced by JA and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, to recognize outstanding Colorado business and civic leaders from the past and present.


Years in business: 12

Location: Denver

CEO: Dean Abrams

Company snapshot: OpenWorld Learning (OWL) provides a fun and challenging STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) after-school program that teaches advanced computer technology to Denver Public School students. OWL’s mission is to support students’ school success by tapping the power of digital technology and peer teaching to develop leadership skills and ignite a love of learning.

Notable practices: OWL has served more than 4,549 students, including 518 third- through eighth-grade students from low-income families. For the 2011-2012 school year, the OWL programs were offered in seven schools throughout Denver, including the first OWL Outcome Evaluation Site designed to conduct a three-year evaluation of the impact on the behavior, development, digital literacy and academic achievement of participants.

Community involvement: More than 92 percent of the students in the participating schools qualify for federal free or reduced-cost lunch programs and more than 52 percent are English Language Learners. The neighborhoods in which these schools are located average 850 criminal offenses per year. OWL programs operate during the critical after-school timeframe of 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., when a high proportion of youth crime is committed and youth are most at risk for engaging in unhealthy activities, such as substance abuse and sexual activity.


Delta Disaster

Years in business: 6

Location: Arvada

CEO: Michael Mastous

Company snapshot: Delta Disaster Services provides full-service restoration for property owners who have sustained damage due to water, fire, mold, ice or other property damage. Technicians are certified in advanced water damage mitigation techniques, dehumidification systems, mold remediation and corrosion control, and they must successfully complete an intensive 12-week in-house training regimen as a condition of their employment.

Notable practices: In 2011 Delta Disaster Services was named by the Colorado Governor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade as one of 50 Colorado Companies to Watch. This year the company opened its first franchise office in Utah and is preparing to open offices in Colorado Springs as well as Fort Worth, Texas and Palm Beach, Fla.

Community involvement: Each month, employees volunteer for a different charity. The 2012 employee selections include Denver Rescue Mission, Habitat for Humanity, American Cancer Society Relay for Life, and a Thanksgiving Food Drive for the Arvada Food Bank.

Mass Service
& Supply LLC

Years in business: 16

Location: Pueblo

CEO: Mary Catherine Grasmick

Company snapshot: Mass Service & Supply is a full-service general contractor that is currently working on projects at Buckley Air Force Base, Peterson Air Force Base, and the Fort Carson Army installation.

Notable practices: Mass Service & Supply is expanding its Green Building capabilities. Mass is a member of the U.S Green Building Council and is constructing its projects to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) status. LEED certification is a recognition that a construction project or building utilizes environmentally friendly building practices during construction or remodeling, such as recycling steel and using water efficiently.

Community involvement: Mass has worked with Catholic Charities to assist with employment placement for the disadvantaged, formed a team for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, and is a member of the Latino Chamber of Commerce in Pueblo. Mass lists among its philanthropic efforts Fort Carson Holiday Turkey, Jump Rope for Heart for the American Heart Association, Make A Wish Foundation, Pueblo County Hockey, and United Way.

Electric Inc.

Years in business: 11

Location: Westminster

CEO: O.J. Fleming

Company snapshot: Northern Electric is an electrical contractor, with project sites that include correctional facilities, Denver International Airport, manufacturing plants, and the U.S. Navy. Recent projects include site grounding to properly ground steel structures and conveyor belts for Newmont Mining for a mine in Nevada, and electrical construction and special systems installation for the Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center in Poplar Bluff, Mo.

Notable practices: Northern Electric does electrical installations, which include power distribution, lighting, fire alarm and security. The company also builds pre-fabricated pump stations, called Electrical-Houses or E-Houses, that provide the electronic control systems for oil wells. In 2011 the company launched MCS Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Northern Electric Inc. and RK Mechanical Inc. MCS Group provides complete construction services for the oil and gas industry, including modular construction, design and engineering and instrumentation, and other services.

Community involvement: When an employee developed a health condition that kept him out of work, Northern Electric’s team decided to raise money for him by holding a raffle for a flat- screen television. All of the proceeds went to the worker.

Categories: Real Estate