Colorado Springs, Colorado
Defense industry components
Industry: Industrial & Equipment, Contract Manufacturing
Products: Defense industry components
Cogitic has written itself in the history books: The precision manufacturer is the supplier of specialized metal parts for the U.S. Navy's new USS Colorado submarine, the country's first submarine to carry the name, "Colorado."
Entrepreneurs Jared and Jonathan started the company in 2004. The two brothers, years earlier had owned a metals fabrication, engineering, and repair operation that was hit hard by government budget cuts and sequestration.
"With Cogitic, we knew sustainability had to be a goal so we concentrated on non-offshorable, high value military and high tech markets," Jared explains. That search has paid off, creating a vibrant future for the small company's machining, engineering, testing, and materials expertise.
Today, Cogitic is in growth mode, looking for larger quarters and ready to invest in additional CNC equipment, a bigger labor force and advanced training. The company supplies a variety of military and commercial clients, but its major focus is the manufacture Level I and nuclear parts for submarines.
"We're one of just two Level I-certified companies in Colorado -- and one of about 70 nationwide," says Jared. The operation produces specialized ball valves, shaft seals and Virginia Class Locking Rings used by the U.S. Navy.
The company also provides parts to support aging weapons systems in submarines and aircraft carriers. Using specialized metrology equipment, fequipment, the company is capable of measuring and validating extremely precise components to ensure compliance with customer requirements.
The valves and seals of a nuclear reactor power plant on a ship or submarine -- similar in complexity to a rocket in space -- must be engineered to withstand intense temperature and pressure changes. "The cost of failure is incalculable," he says.
Ironically, its land-locked Rocky Mountain location wasn't a problem for its work on the USS Colorado. "There's a huge Navy presence here in Colorado, thanks to General Dynamics," says Jared. That's one reason why, in 2014, Cogitic was selected by General Dynamics' Electric Boat division as a strategic partner and supplier.
The operation currently features state-of-the-art machining, lathe, milling, welding/cladding, and testing equipment, but the brothers are searching for room to grow. The company's sweet spot is a run of 15 to 50 pieces, but that could change. Business continues to expand. And only occasional metal plating or heat-treating jobs are outsourced. So far 80 percent of business comes from repair and replacement. The other 20 percent involves building new products to exact customer specs -- some within a few millionths of an inch.
Challenges: "Finding new customers," says Jared. "We also want to grow capacity to offer our existing partners and clients the expanded services they require."
Opportunities: "We could double or triple our revenues in the near future, once we expand our footprint and add employees," says Jared.
Needs: "Talent. We often have to recruit nationally to find the quality engineers and technicians we require," says Jared. "Our goal is to marry the experience of seasoned employees with younger 'book-trained' software and technology professionals."