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From wartime work to peaceful play

Everyone in Colorado knows why people from other states continue to move here. The area is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, with lots of hiking and biking trails, places to mountain climb or boulder, many areas for water sports, camping and fishing. But how did Colorado become one of the major outdoor industry hubs in the […]

Outdoor startups embrace small Colorado towns

Small mountain towns in Colorado are increasingly home to incubating manufacturing startups in the outdoor industry, and none seems to be doing a better job of it than Steamboat Springs. While famous for being the home to more Winter Olympics athletes than any other in the nation, it also is home to an incredible assortment […]

Manufacturers picky about where they make camp

We all have reasons — sometimes leaking into rationalization — for being where we are. But whether it’s love, location or incredible luck or lucidity, here are some of our favorite reasons for outdoor manufacturers to be where they are in Colorado — which, of course is always a good place to continue to be, […]

Industry association: There’s green in those green spaces

The outdoor industry accounts for $646 billion in retail sales and services, $80 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues and 6.1 million American jobs, according to the Boulder-based Outdoor Industry Association. The industry shows no sign of a slowdown. Colorado established itself as a major outdoor-industry hub in the aftermath of World War […]


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  • Ball creates aerial methane sensing technology

    BOULDER — Ball Aerospace based in Boulder has demonstrated technology that can detect methane emissions remotely using piloted aircraft. The technology has applications in the oil and gas industry. Working with Stanford University and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Mobile Monitoring Challenge, Ball has produced a high-resolution, geo-referenced image of simulated methane leaks in near real-time. The Mobile Monitoring Challenge is a new competition co-sponsored by Stanford University’s Natural Gas Initiative and the EDF that involves select teams that take part in a single-partial blind study of controlled methane releases over a three-week period in May. “Ball has been testing and conducting pilot trials of its Methane Monitor technology with end users for the past 18 months,” said Brad Tousley, vice president, Commercial Aerospace and Strategic Technology of Ball Aerospace. “With an excellent leak detection threshold and wide-area survey capability, our Methane Monitor enables operators to map entire infrastructures with extreme sensitivity to find and source individual leaks.” During the challenge, the Ball Methane Monitor was flown on a twin-engine aircraft at 125 miles per hour at an altitude of up to 3,500 feet. This technique permits a rapid and long-range method of detecting widely dispersed facilities. Unmanned aerial vehicles and ground-based systems suffer from speed and range limitations, the company said. Initial results from Ball’s technology were returned to the Stanford and EDF test conductors within six hours after flight, with a full report delivered within 24 hours. Ball’s system uses active laser spectroscopy techniques to identify atmospheric methane. With this remote sensing technology, Ball can gather spatial resolution column measurements down to 50 parts per million meters of methane above background and deliver rapid results to enable visual assessment of leak sources. An individual sensor allows for daily surveillance of up to 100 square miles of oil and gas production regions, or 375 miles of transmission pipeline. The Ball Methane Monitor has multiple applications, including enabling safety evaluations of pipeline operations as well as offering a commercial technology capable of rapidly monitoring large areas of oil and gas production facilities and miles of pipeline to detect methane leaks.  

  • FC Chamber opens applications for leadership program

    FORT COLLINS — The Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce is now accepting applications for the 2018-2019 Leadership Fort Collins class. Leadership Fort Collins, a program of the chamber, was established in 1981 to inform participants about the history, government, economy, social issues, needs and opportunity in the community.  The program is designed to broaden participant knowledge of the community while enhancing leadership skills, encourage contribution to the betterment of the Fort Collins community, increase the strength and effectiveness of community leaders, equip participants to respond to the current and future challenges of the community and to provide opportunities for direct contact with influential people, businesses and organizations.  Thirty current and emerging leaders from throughout the Fort Collins area will be selected to participate in the 2018-2019 program, which will begin in September 2018 and conclude in May 2019.  Participants come together on the second Thursday of each month for a day-long session to learn about growth, environment and community planning; local government; public safety and community assistance; economic development and small business assistance; health care; history, diversity and community betterment; education and life-long learning; and teambuilding and leadership development. The tuition for the nine-month program is $750 and includes all meals, session materials and graduation recognition.  Applications are available at the Chamber or online at www.FortCollinsChamber.com.  The application deadline is Monday, Aug. 13 at 5 p.m.  Applications can be sent by email to ahutchison@fcchamber.org or by mail or delivery to the Chamber office at 225 S. Meldrum, Fort Collins 80521.   

  • Denver shuttle company to expand to Portland

    DENVER — A Denver company that makes electric shuttles that resemble rickshaws is expanding operations to Portland, Ore. According to BusinessDen, an online news site, ETukRide is expanding outside of Colorado. The company is making the move because Portland has a growing craft beer scene and is under-served by touring companies. The company has been manufacturing and operating in Denver for about four years. It sells the vehicles starting at $20,000 and also operates sightseeing and tours.  

  • Ball Aerospace Methane-Monitoring-Stanford

    Ball Aerospace detected methane leaks as part of the Environmental Defense Fund and Stanford University Mobile Monitoring Challenge. Photo courtesy Ball Aerospace.

  • Plante Moran

    EKS&H is merging with and will be rebranded to Plante Moran.

  • Black Swift lands NASA contract for Venus observation

    BOULDER — Black Swift Technologies LLC, a Boulder-based specialized aerospace engineering firm, was awarded a contract by NASA to develop an unmanned aircraft system designed to perform upper atmospheric observations of Venus. BST is proposing a planetary aerial vehicle that will use dynamic soaring, a method that will extract energy from the atmosphere allowing the device to operate in Venus’ unique conditions. “While there have been a variety of systems proposed for upper atmospheric observations of Venus, the planet’s high wind speeds pose a significant design challenge,” Jack Elston, CEO of Black Swift Technologies, said in a prepared statement. “Our solution will be designed to not only survive in the harsh wind environment but also simultaneously perform targeted sampling of the atmosphere while continuously extracting energy, even on the dark side of the planet.” The upper atmosphere for Venus has been an area wanted for exploration, due to its similarity to the pressure and temperature of Earth. The surface temperature of Venus is extremely hot, but about 31 miles above the planet surface the atmosphere is the most Earth-like, even more so than Mars. “Black Swift Technologies has provided aerial solutions for wildland fires, volcanic observations, tornadoes and hurricanes — some of the most extreme phenomena on Earth,” Elston said in a statement. “This mission is a natural extension of our focus, only now we are concentrating on the extreme conditions of Venus.”  

  • Accounting firm leaders discuss how shared culture inspired their merger

    Following the announcement that Colorado-based EKS&H was merging with Michigan-based Plante Moran to form the 11th largest accounting firm in the country, BizWest spoke with some of the leaders for the two businesses to discuss why the two organizations decided to merge into a combined company with more than $650 million in revenue, their shared company culture and what comes next. How did the conversations for merging start? Bob Hottman, CEO and founding partner of EKS&H: “At EKS&H we were going through the process of identifying things we wanted to do in the organization in the future. We decided to talk to a firm that had been there and done that to learn from. The first and only firm we wanted to learn from was Plante Moran because culturally it is identical to us. While others may have identified ways to expand opportunities we wanted to talk to someone who did it our way with the same culture we had. We started the conversation as learning from them; it didn’t start as a conversation of combining. The more we learned, the more we kept refining our strategic plan to take into consideration things Plante did. At some point, we stepped back and said, ‘We can build this ourselves and it will take us 15, maybe 20 years or we can join forces and do it now building off a stronger base and be 15 years ahead of where we would have been.’’’ Jim Proppe, managing partner at Plante Moran: “For us, after having conversations with Bob and his team, our strong alignment of culture was incredible to us. Once we realized that, we looked at all the business reasons that came together. We had just gone through a strategic planning and geographic expansion and we wanted to expand our marketplace, such as into Denver.” You both mentioned culture as being a factor in this merger a few times. How would you describe your company cultures? Proppe: “For us, it all starts with people. When someone asks us to define our culture, it’s ‘we care.’ We care about the people who work for us, the communities we practice in and our clients. It’s that dual focus on clients and our people that really makes our firm unique. And I know EKS&H has that same focus.” Hottman: “It is about people, no question about that. In our world, we’ve identified several key things important to us. These are things we’re looking for in any organization that we would combine with: We must have certain leadership, a focus on the people as well as the clients and communities we live in. Over the years, we’ve had so much respect for the entire team Plante Moran built. The fact they believe in things like leadership serving others, that truly is the culture. When you look at these two organizations and people you know they create huge opportunities to help our individual organizations grow. And it’s also going to create huge opportunities for clients, providing […]

  • Black Swift Technologies Venus-UAS-deployment

    Black Swift Technologies, of Boulder, was granted a NASA contract to develop an unmanned aircraft for observation of Venus' upper atmosphere, as seen in this rendering. (Rendering courtesy Black Swift Technologies).

  • Colorado Sun to rise out of former Post staff members

    DENVER — Former employees of the Denver Post will announce this morning at 9 a.m. an effort to use blockchain technology and cryptocurrency to create a new news medium in the state called the Colorado Sun. A report by National Public Radio and another in the New York Times outlined plans of a entity called Civil Media Co., headed by Matthew Iles, to create 1,000 publications nationwide  by the end of the year, starting in Denver. Denver Post veteran Larry Ryckman will be editor of the Sun and several former Post staff members will populate its ranks. Civil Media will cover expenses for the entity initially. A Brooklyn-based software company called ConsenSys will create a new cryptocurrency to be named CVL. People who buy CVL tokens will have a say in what Civil Media does, but because ownership will be widely spread, control by a small group will be unlikely, in order to avoid too much influence by any one group.  

  • CoBiz Financial to merge with Colorado State Bank and Trust parent

    DENVER — CoBiz Financial Inc., (NASDAQ: COBZ) with bank locations throughout the metro area, Boulder, Louisville and in Fort Collins, will merge with BOK Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:BOKF), according to an announcement this morning. Colorado State Bank and Trust is a division of BOK Financial. The two financial institutions have signed a definitive merger agreement. The transaction is valued at approximately $1 billion. About 75 percent of the consideration will be in stock, with the rest in cash. Based on the closing price of BOK Financial’s common shares on June 15, common shareholders of CoBiz will receive $977 million of total consideration, consisting of 0.17 shares of BOK Financial common stock and $5.70 in cash for each share of CoBiz common stock. The merger consideration is valued at $23.02 per share, based on the closing price of BOK Financial on June 15. CoBiz is headquartered in Denver, with approximately $3.8 billion in assets. CoBiz is a commercially-focused bank, with presence in Colorado and Arizona, specialty lending lines of business including healthcare and public finance, and fee-generating businesses including wealth management and commercial insurance. CoBiz Chairman and CEO Steve Bangert will join the BOK Financial board of directors after the close of the transaction. BOK Financial Corp. is a $33 billion regional financial services company based in Tulsa, Okla. BOK Financial’s holdings include BOKF, NA; BOK Financial Securities Inc. and The Milestone Group Inc. BOKF, NA operates TransFund, Cavanal Hill Investment Management, BOK Financial Asset Management Inc. and seven banking divisions: Bank of Albuquerque, Bank of Arizona, Bank of Arkansas, Mobank, Bank of Oklahoma, Bank of Texas and Colorado State Bank and Trust, which has a Boulder location. “CoBiz is a perfect fit as a merger partner for BOK Financial,” said Steven G. Bradshaw, president and chief executive officer of BOK Financial. “Steve Bangert and his team have built a well-respected commercially-focused bank that has consistently grown shareholder value, with a strong credit culture and differentiated approach to business banking. The two banks have enjoyed a close relationship for almost two decades, and both franchises will benefit as a result of this partnership.  We believe the combined organization will be the premier commercial bank in Colorado and Arizona.” “The merger drives an internal rate of return in excess of 20 percent, is materially accretive to earnings per share, enhances our return on equity and return on assets, and provides further geographic diversity for both banks’ loan and deposit portfolio. In addition, the issuance of over 7 million shares as consideration for CoBiz shareholders should provide additional trading liquidity in BOK Financial common stock,” said Bradshaw.   Bangert added, “CoBiz is joining forces with one of the most respected regional banks in the country. This merger will allow us to better serve our markets and provide customers with a more robust product offering, higher lending limits and a banking franchise that spans the lower Midwest and Southwest.” The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals as well as the approval of CoBiz shareholders. It […]