May 2015 - In This Issue:
Helpful exporting tools from the Dept of Commerce

For a complete listing of events, visit our website
May 19 @ 8am-5pm
Ritz-Carlton Denver

This year's theme, "Advancing Colorado around the Globe," will feature global business opportunities for Colorado's most innovative and advanced industries in our state. World Trade Day presents the best opportunity of the year to network and learn from all companies doing business internationally.

June 26 @ 8:30am-4:30pm
Research Electro Optics, Boulder
$500 for full-day course and lunch

This course will cover:

  1. Datums and their importance in feature geometry definition
  2. Tolerances of Location: True Position, concentricity, symmetry
  3. Tolerances of form: straightness, flatness, circularity, cylindricity
  4. Tolerances of profile: Profile of a line, Profile of a surface
  5. Tolerances of runout: runout, total runout
  6. Tolerances of orientation: Parallelism, perpendicularity, angularity

MFG DAY 2015 is October 2nd

MFG DAY addresses common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing is - and what it isn't.

You can participate in MFG DAY 2015 in many different ways!

to host an event, find resources, or use the interactive map to locate events being held nearby


New Money, New Strategy, New Services
By Tom Bugnitz, CEO Manufacturer's Edge

We thought that, with our new award to continue as the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partner starting on July 1, it might be a good time to talk in general about the strategies and goals of the MEP system in general and Manufacturer's Edge in particular.

But first, let's talk about money. Previously, the MEP system funded Manufacturer's Edge up to $665,201 per year, subject to our matching that amount with twice that, or $1,330,402. Said another way, the MEP system didn't give us money as a grant; they gave us $1 every time we came up with $2. Our challenge was to find those $2, and we did that by selling consulting and training services to manufacturers in Colorado. (In some states, state funding is used for the match. In others, larger institutions house the MEP center, and provide the match directly.)

Starting July 1, the yearly amount will increase to $1,655,389. People are wondering, what will we be doing with all of that money? Again, that's the cap. We still need to come up with a match, but it is easier for the next three years...we only need to come up with $1 to get a matching $1 from MEP. So again, what are we going to do with all of that extra money?

What we will do is driven by the new MEP Strategic Plan, our guiding principles for the next three years. The stated mission of the MEP system nationwide is simple: enhance the productivity and technical performance of US manufacturing. Our role, as defined by MEP, is to "facilitate and accelerate the transfer of manufacturing technology in partnership with industry, universities and educational institutions, state governments, and NIST and other federal research laboratories and agencies."

Gulp. That's a handful, and a mouthful, and something that sounds like a lot of fun. Especially in Colorado, with the wealth of labs and university resources at our disposal.

But operationally, we have to engage manufacturers on the ground, in Colorado. MEP has guidance there as well, in a set of four strategic goals:

  • Enhance the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers, with particular focus on small and medium-sized companies.
  • Support national, state, and regional manufacturing ecosystems and partnerships.
  • Develop MEP's capabilities as a learning organization and high performance system.
  • Serve as a voice to and a voice for manufacturing and manufacturers in engaging policy makers, stakeholders, and clients.

Our MEP proposal for the next five years was built on those goals. We are not a training organization, or a consulting organization, or an educational organization...we're an MEP center focused on those goals, and we use our services to achieve those goals.

Our issue still is, how do we sell services that help us meet our dollar for dollar match, and still target those four strategic goals? It's about leverage. Because of the reduced match requirement, services that we sell to make our match will not only fund our operations, but also will fund new activities and services that we can provide to manufacturing in Colorado. These are things as diverse as supporting regional manufacturing groups, to providing low-cost services to very small and/or very rural manufacturers in Colorado, to helping business incubators with manufacturing startups, to partnering with regional groups to fund local MEP activities throughout the state.

We have been given a resource to use for growing manufacturing in Colorado. We will be wise stewards of that resource, doing what we already do well, but expanding to meet the evolving needs of Colorado manufacturers, no matter how big or small or where they are located.

Essential Exporting Tools and Information
The Manufacturer's Edge team hosted Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing Chandra Brown and coordinated a roundtable discussion to explore the future of manufacturing in Colorado. In addition to facilitating some important discussions, Brown also provided us with a wealth of helpful tools and resources that could be incredibly beneficial to our clients and all Colorado manufacturers.

National Trade Data

Trade Agreements Benefit U.S. Exports

Colorado Exports, Jobs, and Foreign Investment
Recent Investments in Training and System Redesigns Pay for Themselves Within the First Year and Lead to Remarkable Ongoing Savings for Qualtek
Manufacturer's Edge Success Story

Qualtek is a family-owned business in Colorado Springs that is represented by three generations of manufacturers. Specializing in metal manufacturing for the medical device and aerospace industries, Qualtek has a solid reputation for innovative problem solving and highly customizable solutions designed to meet a wide variety of unique client needs.


Having recently conducted a thorough process of market analysis coupled with internal exploration into how and where they wanted to focus their efforts, Qualtek decided to capitalize on the great success they have experienced in the medical device field with such clients as GE Healthcare. Additionally, they identified the need to target more customers who would benefit from the unique vertically integrated manufacturing system that they have adapted to meet the needs of all production industries here in Colorado.


Qualtek had previously received training and assistance from Manufacturer's Edge (then CAMT) in a variety of areas, so it was an easy decision to consult with them again for assistance with moving forward and better positioning themselves to reach their target goals. One tool that they knew they could put to use immediately was ISO 13485 and 14001 Certifications, which they will complete this summer, that has already allowed them to help one existing customer and attracted the attention of several new potential customers.



  • Increased Sales: $900,000
  • Retained Sales: $5,000,000
  • Cost Savings: $100,000


"The money we invested with Manufacturer's Edge not only paid for itself within the first year, but has also allowed us to access new markets and address previously unmet needs."

- Christopher Fagnant, Vice President of Business Development 

A Note of Thanks...
Thanks to everyone who made Beers & Gears and NOCOM 2015 a huge success!
A tour of Tharp Cabinet Company
Manufacturer's Edge would like to thank all of the people who worked so hard to make Beers & Gears/NOCOM 2015 an event to remember! We would especially like to thank our sponsors: BKD, The Bank of Colorado, and PFS Insurance Group as well as our hosts for the event: Grimm Brothers, LPR Construction, and Tharp Cabinet Company.

With over 600 attendees and exhibitors -- plus sponsors who are already asking about NOCOM 2016, it's safe to say that the NOCOM 2015 was well received and on-track to becoming a hotly anticipated annual event!

Circle Graphics
Company Week and Manufacturer's Edge Innovative Manufacturer
By Eric Peterson
Longmont, Colorado
Founded: 2000
Privately owned
Employees: 750 (480 in Colorado)

CEO Andrew cousin has helped the company capture two-thirds of the U.S. billboard market - and now he's eying another massive opportunity.
Hank Ridless brought billboard printers an idea for a tech upgrade in the late 1990s: go digital. None of them bit.

Like any innovative entrepreneur, Ridless saw the rejection as an opportunity to do it himself.

Spanning about a half-million signs on the American roadside, the billboard industry hadn't seen much change since it moved from hand-painted to mechanically printed.

When Ridless' digitally printed billboards hit the market in the early 2000s, they were half the price of their analog counterparts.

Circle Graphics further cut costs by employing ink technologists and manufacturing all of its ink in-house -- it can be 90 percent less expensive -- and generally spearheading efficiency in a stagnant industry.


Read the full article

Manufacturer's Edge
Transforming Colorado One Company at a Time