Top Company 2014: Manufacturing

Manufacturing winner: Hercules Industries (watch a video about Hercules)

Founded in 1962, Hercules Industries has worked for nearly 50 years to refine its business. That means the family-owned company has carefully stamped out its position in the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) industry by investing in the latest technologies, refining its manufacturing process and moving into new, profitable areas – but also investing in its employees with hearty benefits, on-the-job training and health and fitness amenities.

“We’ve always emphasized our respect for human dignity in everything that we do,” said William M. Newland, Hercules’ chairman, president and CEO.

Hercules is privately owned and currently counts around 360 employees. It operates four manufacturing facilities and 12 sales and distribution centers in the region. The company has been owned and operated by the Newland family since it was founded, and today William Newland is transitioning ownership to his son, Andrew, after taking over the business from his father, William, the company’s founder.

Newland said Hercules has worked to streamline its business to best meet customers’ needs. That means it can supply virtually all of the products a residential or commercial builder would need for heating and air conditioning systems, including the necessary tools and other accessories. Indeed, today Hercules is one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of air ducts and processors of “flat sheets” for HVAC systems.

Hercules has 2,500 active contracts including mechanical and residential building HVAC construction contractors.

Hercules’ dedication to improving its products and processes has even led the company to begin buying direct from domestic steel mills, including Severstal International. That focus on refinement and efficiency has carried the Newland family and its work force through the highs and lows of more than five decades of business.

Manufacturing finalists:

Gibson Athletic/RAGE Fitness


Before Made in America was popularized and before health and fitness were fashionable, Gibson Athletic began making products to improve people’s lives through functional movement. Recognized as one of the fastest growing privately held companies in the country, 40-plus-year-old Gibson Athletic has grown from its core focus in the dance and gymnastics communities to new fitness-focused audiences with its innovative products. Coming up: an expansion into the therapy equipment market with its Moving Mountains brand, helping support people with autism and other sensory processing disorders. Gibson looks forward to doubling its work force, building out its Denver campus and capturing an international audience, as well.

Oskar Blues Brewery


Founded in 1997 and debuting craft beer-in-a-can in 2002, the brewery has since experienced explosive growth, now distributing in 37 states around the country. Recognizing that product design can dramatically impact consumer goods, Oskar Blues intends to continue creating innovative packaging to serve new and already popular brews to its audience. The brewer — which also manufactures Reeb bikes in Longmont — is presently in the thick of construction on a mountain bike destination and performance space in western North Carolina, where it opened its second brewery in 2012.