Top Company 2022: Manufacturing

The outpouring of applications for this year’s Top Company awards is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of enterprises that do business in the state. Applications for the 35th annual awards numbered in the hundreds, and it was particularly encouraging to see so many companies rebounding from two years of COVID restrictions, with most posting revenue and employee gains approaching—and in some cases, exceeding—pre-pandemic numbers.

This year’s Top Company winners and finalists represent 13 industry categories, plus a startup category for companies in business less than four years. Entrants were judged on three criteria: outstanding achievement, financial performance and community involvement. The judging panel was made up of ColoradoBiz magazine’s editorial board and two representatives from the business community.

Winner — Growing Spaces

Pagosa Springs

Gardeners in Colorado looking to grow year-round can turn to Growing Spaces, which manufactures and installs geodesic greenhouse kits. The greenhouse is 100% solar powered and utilizes a thermal mass in the form of an above-ground pond. The company supports customers through blogs, videos and Facebook groups offering help with gardening challenges.

Growing Spaces purchased a new manufacturing facility and has used the additional space to improve production efficiency. The manufacturer also added solar, so both shops are run off 100% renewable energy.

Each year Growing Spaces offers an Urban Farming Grant for an underserved community. In 2022 the grant winners were Harlem Grown in New York City, and Valor Point VA Domiciliary in Lakewood. The 26-foot Growing Dome for Valor Point, scheduled for September installation, will be used for both inpatient and outpatient education, and to help veterans learn a new skill and get back into the workforce.

Employees are active in the Pagosa Springs community, and volunteer at the local food hubs and Habitat For Humanity. Employees get first choice of the produce grown in the company’s own domes, and Growing Spaces also donates the food it produces to the local food hubs in Pagosa Springs and Golden. Growing Spaces is looking to expand its presence in the Front Range, and hopes to open a new office and manufacturing facility in Denver in 2023. It also wants to establish hubs in other states and countries through either expansion or partnerships.

Finalist — Alpen High Performance Products

Louisville

Alpen High Performance Products custom manufactures super-insulating, thermally efficient residential and commercial windows and doors. The company uses a proprietary combination of component products including lightweight suspended-film technology, ultra-thin glass, and either fiberglass or fiberglass-reinforced uPVC framing systems.

Alpen’s new product, WinSert, is a high performance secondary window insert to improve existing single-glazed or lower-performing double-pane windows. The new product was recognized as a BuildingGreen Top 10 Product for 2022. Also, the U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) Green Proving Ground (GPG) Program conducted nearly year-long testing and evaluation of WinSert secondary window inserts and reported that the inserts demonstrated up to 18% whole-building energy savings based on energy modeling.

After the December 2021 Marshall Fire, Alpen employees assisted with the relief efforts for neighbors in Louisville and Superior by collecting donated goods and supplies. Alpen is further helping with the long-term relief efforts by developing a specific window product line to assist with rebuilding homes. This product will make it more accessible for homeowners to rebuild with high efficiency window components, helping the fight against climate change.

Alpen hosts quarterly meetings to recognize employees and show appreciation for the hard work that goes into manufacturing this product. The company is a sustaining sponsor for the Colorado Green Building Guild (CGBG), helping make high performance building more accessible for all, and looks to become a major influencer in the retrofitting and upgrading of existing older building stock to bring it up to today’s energy performance standards.

Finalist — Agri-Inject

Yuma

Agri-Inject manufactures chemical and fertilizer injection systems that connect to irrigation systems. The equipment allows the irrigation systems to do double or triple duty by applying both water and fertilizers, chemicals, or other helpful products simultaneously. The system promotes environmental benefits, user safety, timely and precision application as well as cost savings for growers.

Since 2013, Agri-Inject has been undergoing an operational transformation. Beginning with a digital 3D model, the company reorganized the entire factory to promote efficient movement of people, product and information. It removed walls, installed lighting, polished old concrete, and designed and installed new storage and production cells. It expanded the facility by 40% and recently broke ground to add another 25%. There is also a one-piece flow production line for a product line that is about 60% of total business volume, switching from an outmoded batch philosophy and reducing assembly time by over 70%.

Among the company’s product innovations is ReflexCONNECT. The Reflex product line is centered around sophisticated controls to operate injection pumps featuring PLC control and touchscreen interfaces. ReflexCONNECT takes that step to the age of IoT (Internet of Things), bringing the control features to the web, allowing remote control and monitoring of equipment from a computer, tablet or smartphone.

Agri-Inject works with schools to educate students about manufacturing, and holds a Manufacturing Day event, bringing in students from nearby schools for a tour of the facility, and discussion of products, markets and processes.