By Eric Peterson | Apr 14, 2019
On the evening of April 4, CompanyWeek and Manufacturer's Edge presented the fourth annual Colorado Manufacturing Awards (CMAs) at the University of Denver's Cable Center.
The event has grown every year since inception, with 2019 marking the first to venture beyond Colorado state lines with awards for standout manufacturers in New Mexico and Wyoming.
As CompanyWeek founder Bart Taylor put it during his remarks, "We've come from so many places. We've come from Albuquerque tonight, Laramie, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, Greeley. One person has come further than any other: We're very happy to have Caroll Thomas [director of the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program] from Washington, D.C."
An early video interview with Left Hand Brewing President Eric Wallace by Hoptocopter Films might have captured the reason people traveled to Denver for the event. Noted Wallace: "Manufacturing is how you build wealth in your community. You have good jobs, you're bringing in raw materials, and you're selling the products outside your community."
That's really the crux of the importance of manufacturing to Colorado, and any other state. Same goes for cities and regions.
For that precise reason, the CMAs strive to elevate the companies doing the most moving and shaking across a dozen different manufacturing sectors, and there are plans to get bigger and better for the event's fifth year in 2020. Said Taylor: "We're just getting started."
Finalists: Odell Brewing Company, TRVE Brewing Co., WeldWerks Brewing
Winner: WeldWerks Brewing
Quote of note: "I started in my garage with my co-founder, Colin Jones. Now we're 30 people. I agree with what Eric [Wallace] said: People are the heart of manufacturing." -- Neil Fisher, co-founder and head brewer, WeldWerks Brewing
Finalists: Cambrex Corporation, Infectious Disease Research Center at CSU, Osypka Medtec
Winner: Infectious Disease Research Center at CSU
Quote of note: "This is really an asset for the state of Colorado, but also nationally and internationally." -- Ray Goodrich, executive director, Infectious Disease Research Center at CSU
Finalists: Boulder Organic Foods, Teton Waters Ranch, Wild Zora
Winner: Wild Zora
Quote of note: "Food is one of our fastest growing manufacturing sectors in Colorado . . . an industry model that actually shines brighter on the national stage than in its own state." -- Rob MaCoy, partner, BKD
Finalists: Merritt Aluminum Products, StickerGiant, Titan Robotics
Winner: Merritt Aluminum Products
Quote of note: "Without great people, none of it is possible. We've got a great team. I'll put them against anybody in the industry." -- Taylor Merritt, chairman and CEO, Merritt Aluminum Products
Finalists: Cogitic, Custom Microwave, High Precision Devices, Ingram Machining
Winner: Custom Microwave
Quote of note: "We've been around for 53 years. We've built so many different antennas for so many different applications. I'm really proud to be part of this company." -- Clency Lee-Yow, president, Custom Microwave
Finalists: Boyer's Coffee, VOORMI, Vortic Watch Co.
Winner: Boyer's Coffee
Quotes of note: "It's really about trying to connect the farm to the cup and telling that story." -- Jason Barrow, co-owner, Boyer's Coffee
"For me, it's really about our employees and our customers. We're just two business owners up here." -- Douglass Barrow, co-owner, Boyer's Coffee
Finalists: Barber-Nichols, Special Aerospace Services, Wren Industries
Winner: Wren Industries
Quote of note: "It's really nice to know small business still means a lot. At the Lockheed Martins and the Boeings, we're still moving forward." -- Mike Sneddon, president, Wren Industries
Finalists: Robin Kniech, Denver City Council; Tom Neppl, Springs Fabrication; George Newman, Front Range Community College
Winner: Robin Kniech
Quote of note: "It starts with personal stories. Manufacturing put food on my table, put a roof over my head, and put health insurance in my life." -- Robin Kniech, at-large council member, Denver City Council
After remarks from Manufacturer's Edge CEO Tom Bugnitz and MEP Director Caroll Thomas, Mezel Mods, a manufacturer of aftermarket pinball parts, won the Land of Enchantment's top honors for its innovative use of 3D printing.
Quote of note: "I'm really honored to be representing the small manufacturers of New Mexico. We might be small, but we are mighty and powerful." Kristin Browning-Mezel, head honcho, Mezel Mods
Finalists: Electrichlor, Kennon Products, Frog Creek Partners
Winner: Kennon Products
Quote of note: "In the Western states, we're building on the shoulders of pioneers." -- David Bell, director, Manufacturing Works
Finalists: Green Dot Labs, incredibles, Wana Brands
Winner: Wana Brands
Quote of note: "Manufacturing is all about making things better, month after month, year after year. " -- Dan O'Connor, COO, Wana Brands
Finalists: Guerrilla Gravity, Ross Reels, Topo Designs
Winner: Ross Reels
Quote of note: "Look at this state we live in. 6,500 feet is our average elevation. We're at the top. That's why we're crazy." -- Tony Lugard, COO, Ross Reels
Finalists: Distillery 291, Golden Moon Distillery, Laws Whiskey House
Winner: Distillery 291
Quote of note: "We started in a 300-square-foot production facility, we moved to a 7,000-square foot production facility, and this year we're moving to a 25,000-square-foot production space." -- Philip Rawleigh, brand ambassador, Distillery 291
Finalists: Encore Electric, RK, Tharp Cabinet Company
Winner: Tharp Cabinet Company
Quote of note: "Our competitors build boxes. We build an experience." -- Garth Rummery, president, Tharp Cabinet Company
Finalists: Bolder Industries, CoorsTek, Solid Power
Winner: Bolder Industries
Quote of note: "I want to thank everybody at the company who works at the company every day. We are at 50 employees now and were 14 a year ago." -- Tony Wibbeler, CEO, Bolder Industries