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Colorado Companies to Watch 2016 offer services and solutions

These second-stage businesses offer everything from moving to risk management

Lisa Ryckman //July 5, 2016//

Colorado Companies to Watch 2016 offer services and solutions

These second-stage businesses offer everything from moving to risk management

Lisa Ryckman //July 5, 2016//

Buehler Companies

Founded: 1912

Base: Denver

What the company does: Interstate and international relocation and product transport, local residential packing and moving, office and industrial moving and other moving and storage services.

Buehler has seen a recent surge in sales and revenue, leading to an expansion of sales staff and hauling capacity. The increases have meant the ability to add fleet and expand warehousing. With five current locations, Buehler anticipates adding to its operations.

Culture connection: The company’s core values focus on team work, looking out for each other, being part of the solution, doing the right thing and maintaining a positive outlook. Contractors and crews are being trained to become Qualified Labor Specialists with recognition for completing the courses.

Columbine Label Co.

Founded: 1988

Base: Centennial

What the company does: Print and manufacture pressure sensitive product identification type labels.

The internet hasn’t been kind to the printing world, but pretty much everything you buy has a label on it, and Columbine Label has made the most of their market position. Going digital in 2010 has eliminated the sometimes huge start-up costs for products with multiple skus and allowed its customers the flexibility of purchasing less product more often.

For the company’s customers, extremely high quality, elimination of obsolete product, storage requirements and the flexibility to rebrand or make required changes without excessive waste is invaluable. For the company, it has meant streamlined processes and production, improving lead-times to our customers to around three days.

Secret sauce: Columbine Label is the only such printer in the Denver area with both Flexographic and Digital equipment in-house, giving the company the digital advantage on shorter runs, and traditional printing long run capabilities.

Culture connection: The company prides itself on its employees longevity, many of which have been there more than 15 years. Employees participate in a company-wide profit-based bonus incentive.  that helps drive that participation. Management reviews and investigates ideas, but much

Giving back: The company matches its employees’ donations to the Arapahoe Adopt-a-Family program.


Founded: 2000

Base: Denver

What the company does: Provides high-availability enterprise data center services to the business community.

FORTRUST offers adaptable colocation space for any size enterprise supported by optimal power infrastructure, connectivity and physical security to safeguard mission-critical business services. FORTRUST Denver is one of the largest data center in the region, with more than 300,000 square feet. In addition to the national headquarters in Denver, FORTRUST has data center locations in Phoenix, Arizona and Edison, New Jersey.

Why Colorado? The region’s temperate climate offers data center operators the option to supplement their cooling with up to 8,000 hours of free air cooling each year, reducing cooling costs and helping the data center to run more efficiently.

In the last year, the company has increased staff by more than 25 percent due to client demand and continued growth in the colocation and data center services industry.

“We are pleased to have our company and employee growth reflect the hard work and dedication we commit to our clients,” says Josh Moody, SVP of Sales “Industry growth is constant, in large part due to the cloud initiatives and virtualization that are driving demand for resilient colocation facilities. Now more than ever, companies and service providers need a data center they can rely upon.”


Precision Sample, LLC

Founded: 2010

Base: Denver

What the company does: Online and mobile sample provider to the market research industry.

Precision Sample owns and operates more than 3.5 million proprietary online, mobile and social panels in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. The company says panel growth is trending at more than 300,000 new members monthly, making its panels among the market research industry’s largest.

Defining innovation: Precision Sample uses proprietary technologies to access broad survey audiences and validate their identities and quality as a survey participant. The company recruits new respondents through its Opinion Network, a method now being copied by others in the industry.  Precision Sample has also recently launched a respondent validation product, Quality Sentinel, to fight fraud and lack of respondent validation, long-time issues for the market research industry.

Giving back: Survey participants can donate their survey rewards to charitable causes with a company match. More than $20,000 has gone to a variety of causes including Clean Water Fund, Girls Who Code, Habitat for Humanity and the National Park Foundation.

Down the road: The company is working on technologies to collect vast amounts of behavioral and social data from its respondents to bridge the gap between consumer research conducted with quantitative data (small data) and big data sources. It also is innovating new research methodologies with partners at MetrixLab.

Sand Cherry Associates, Inc.

Founded: 2001

Base: Littleton

What the company does: Consulting firm specializing in supporting Fortune 500 tech and investment companies.

Sand Cherry clients include the top North American companies in the cable, broadband, wireless, and media industries as well as various private equity firms. Sand Cherry’s practice areas include product and marketing, business and customer operations, and customer acquisition and retention. Sand Cherry is a good partner for job growth in Colorado and has also been recognized by the University of Denver’s Daniels School of Business, as a key hiring company for MBA graduates.

Defining innovation: It is “future vision”: As Wayne Gretzky said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.” Sand Cherry’s competitive advantage centers on intimate involvement in the launch of the newest products and services in the cable and broadband industry and the “know how” to stay ahead of the curve. The company has supported the early launches of broadband Internet, high-definition TV, video-on-demand, WiFi, home security, and TV Everywhere services.

Best practices: The company stays abreast of emerging technology and consumer trends by creating connections with Colorado and Silicon Valley private equity firms investing in technology innovation companies; cultivating relationships with industry analysts and experts in academia; and working and partnering in markets outside the U.S.

Giving back: For the “Sand Charities” program, five to seven employees make impassioned pitches before the entire company on behalf of their select causes. The audience then votes via text to determine the allocation of the company’s charitable dollars. In 2015, the Sand Charities fund supported Flashes of Hope Denver, Wild Animal Sanctuary, Girls Inc. Denver, Southeastern Guide Dogs, and Father Woody’s Haven of Hope. The company also sponsors the U.S. Disabled Ski Team.


SpenDifference, LLC

Founded: 2008

Base: Denver

What the company does: Provides resources, expertise, technology and leverage to restaurant chains.

SpenDifference (SD) supports clients with information: delivering sourcing, risk management, procurement across all categories, business intelligence, predictive analytics, integrated distribution and logistics, quality assurance and indirect spend management. Collaboration with chains manages costs and improve clients’ competitive advantage. SD saves an average of 6.5 percent across all customers.

Secret sauce: SD’s IT team built a business intelligence tool that takes currently unusable data and creates a predictive cost model.


Thought Ensemble Inc.

Founded: 2008

Base: Denver

What the company does: A national management consulting firm focused on IT strategy development and implementation services.

Thought Ensemble challenges clients on the problem solved to make sure it’s the right one. It is a virtual company, but partners do hands-on delivery work for clients rather than the standard consulting model of a partner ‘popping in’ to an account for a question-answer session and dinner.

Game-changer: The company made the decision to offer a new service area – Strategic Acceleration. Clients often had difficulty finding resources to implement Thought Ensemble strategies once the initial project was complete. In 2015, the company began placing senior resources to help with the program management and organizational change management needed to support the implementation. This now accounts for 60 percent of revenue and drives current growth.

Secret sauce: Rather than developing a proprietary model to apply to all companies, Thought Ensemble offers clients a variety of models adapted to the problem at hand. . The company is consistently developing intellectual capital – thought and frameworks.