Colorado Defense Companies to Benefit from FourFront Partnership

By Tim Heaton | Oct 12, 2015

With Karla Tartz, Chief Strategy Officer, FourFront

The Office of Economic Adjustment estimates that, between 2011 and 2018, defense spending in Colorado will drop 27 percent. That's a huge hit in a state that sees $9.6 billion annually from the Department of Defense.

Faced with this new reality, FourFront, previously known as SMART, is seeking defense manufacturers interested in growing their businesses through the discovery of new markets and opportunities for their products.

To do that, FourFront is creating four regional Manufacturing Advancement Centers, each of which is attached to a statewide Manufacturing Application Research Center, focused on manufacturing applied research.

These Centers will connect manufacturers in four regions: Northern Colorado, Metro Denver, Southern Colorado, and the Western Slope.

The Centers will feature state-of-the-art digital technology and two-way video capabilities to create a productive networking and training environment where business leaders and employees alike can share best practices, get up to speed on the latest technologies and industry training and make new connections that may result in new business opportunities.

Through these Centers, FourFront will provide access to resources for research and development, workforce development, and programs aimed to promote business growth and marketing diversification.

A key focus of FourFront's efforts will be helping defense companies identify potential new products and new markets, understand and leverage existing competencies and capabilities and leverage existing workforce to implement change and take advantage of new manufacturing developments.

Through the FourFront project, CAMA is identifying companies that have been negatively affected by past defense budget cuts or will be susceptible to impacts in the current budget cycle. These firms will be eligible for technical assistance and support services and training.

The Manufacturing Advancement Centers will assist businesses by offering services such as:

• business-to-business events
• operational assessments and training
• registry in a statewide database of manufacturers and suppliers
• access to regional, national and international subject matter experts and training
• connections to a Colorado manufacturing applied research lab
• training seminars targeted on key technologies
• a voice to build and shape the needed workforce of the future

CAMA is partnering with local defense initiatives to ensure that these firms not only receive skills training but that they are connected to a larger defense ecosystem and support/mentorship platform.

For additional information on the program, please visit

Space is limited. Interested companies can apply now at

Tim Heaton is president of CAMA. Reach Tim at