August 2015 - In This Issue:
For a complete listing of events, visit our website 
MFG DAY 2015
October 2  

Manufacturing Day has been designed to expand knowledge about and improve general public perception of manufacturing careers and manufacturing's value to the U.S. economy. Manufacturing Day is for students, parents, educators, media, customers, suppliers and the community at large. Visitors will learn about real career opportunities, training and resources. In addition, manufacturers will learn about business improvement resources and services delivered through manufacturing extension partnerships.

The core element to Manufacturing Day is the schedule of manufacturers' open houses. Manufacturing Day will promote the open house schedule through its planned general and trade media campaign, which will alert thousands of people to the opportunity to visit manufacturers and see for themselves that manufacturing is alive and well in America and needs skilled employees. It will also make it possible for manufacturers to visit other manufacturers in their region that may be potential business partners - either as customers or suppliers.
October 6 & 7 
The Mortgage Solutions Financial Expo Center | Colorado Springs

Get ready for SOCOM EXPO 2015.
The Southern Colorado Manufacturing Expo & Conference - is an exciting event conceived to showcase the region's growing manufacturing sector and connecting manufacturers, suppliers, service, and capital.
SOCOM EXPO is equal parts exposition, networking and education.
Come and join us and see what's made, and how it's made, right here in Southern Colorado. This event will showcase:
  • Manufacturers
  • Supporting organizations
  • Suppliers
  • Service companies
  • Live product demonstrations
Learn more about how manufacturing is contributing to the current and future growth of our economy. Students and job seekers will have the opportunity to talk face-to-face with representatives from leading employers about growing career opportunities in manufacturing.
Please join us for SOCOM Expo 2015 and support the companies that are driving a manufacturing revival in Southern Colorado!
Manufacturer's Edge Success Story: Research Electro Optics
REO makes big changes to better serve clients and create a positive internal culture where employees are empowered and invested  
Based in Boulder, Research Electro Optics is widely recognized as a leader for producing highly specialized optics necessary for multiple applications throughout the defense, aerospace, semiconductor, medical  and industrial fields. With clients throughout their home state of Colorado, such as Ball Aerospace, REO's services are also in high demand across the globe with over 25% of their business coming from other countries.

When Paul Kelly was named President and CEO of Research Electro Optics three years ago, he not only brought with him more than 30 years of experience in manufacturing, but also a mission to take REO to the next level of performance and to an age of faster growth. It is not unusual for a company that has been around for more than 40 years to hit a plateau, and as Kelly says, "a company that is flat is a company that is falling behind."

Kelly's first step was to identify where improvements could be made in order to expand the business, attract new clients, and recruit and retain the most talented workforce. After administering a series of surveys to their client base and employees, REO identified a number of areas that needed to be addressed. On the client side, they discovered that, even though the quality and technology of their product was top notch, clients were hungry for faster turnaround and delivery times. The surveys also revealed that the employees, although highly committed to the company, were eager for opportunities to give more input and become more personally invested in the organization.

At this point, REO reached out to Manufacturer's Edge to provide them with the necessary training and expertise to address the issues they had identified through the surveys. By using the concepts they gained from systems such as Kaizen and 5S, REO redesigned the way they processed orders, implemented more checkpoints for communicating with the clients, and improved delivery time. The result is that REO's clients have been delighted with the improvements. In fact, one of their largest clients, for whom they produce tens of thousands of components each year, recently recognized REO for "Flawless Execution" reflecting a 100% track record for quality and on-time delivery. Another large customer recently presented them with an award as an Outstanding Small Business for 2014.

Internally, REO also implemented many of the suggestions made by their employees and continue to solicit their feedback on everything from flexible workspace needs to administrative issues. Consequently, the internal culture of REO has changed and employee morale is improving as they feel that they have more buy-in, are heard by their leadership, and that their efforts are recognized and appreciated.

"We still have a lot of work to do, but we are confident that we know what we need to do to move forward. We are encouraged by the improvements we have already made and are excited that our clients and employees are benefitting from those results." 
- Paul C. Kelly, REO President &

Manufacturer's Edge Introduces a Familiar Face in a New Role
Cynthia Christie named Director of Client Services
Cynthia Christie
Many of you know and love Cynthia Christie who has been with our team from the very beginning of the MEP in Colorado in the nineties. She has immeasurable passion and excitement for helping manufacturers improve their business. We are excited to announce that Cynthia will be taking on a new role within Manufacturer's Edge as the Director of Client Services. Cynthia will be responsible for helping us identify best practices and transformational programs that have significant measurable impact that our clients have grown to expect from Manufacturer's Edge. Please join us in congratulating Cynthia in her new role at Manufacturer's Edge!

For questions about the programs and services available from Manufacturer's Edge please feel free to contact us at
Mount Sopris Instrumental Company
Company Week and Manufacturer's Edge Innovative Manufacturer  
By Eric Peterson
Denver, Colorado
Founded: 1951
Privately owned
Employees: 25
President Thom Mandl is bringing a Lean approach to the longtime maker of geophysical probes, winches, software, and other tools for seeing underground.

The history of Mount Sopris Instrument Company reads like a good novel, with lots of twists and turns.

After CSU grad student Fred Fowler started the company to make scintillation counters for Colorado's uranium industry on the Western Slope, it merged with a manufacturer that made respirators in the 1960s before going into making geophysical equipment borehole drillers. The company was acquired, moved to California, then moved back to the Front Range. In recent years, software has become an increasingly important product, and is often developed and marketed in tandem with Advanced Logic Technology in Luxembourg.

Uranium is still a part of the business, says Mandl, and Mount Sopris also supplies systems to groundwater, mining, geotechnical, environmental, energy, and research entities -- in other words, anyone who needs an accurate reading on what's going on below ground. The company's probes detect everything from gamma radiation to gas and water flows to magnetism, and they can even can sample fluid and record 3D images for posterity.

Mining, traditionally a stalwart market for Mount Sopris, is a bit off in 2015, but groundwater is the biggest, and growing strong, Mandl says. "That's a big market for us" -- about 60 percent of sales.

The customer base is worldwide: Mount Sopris ships to 120 countries and exports account for about two-thirds of all sales. "The business comes from all over the world," says Mandl.

Productivity is a focal point of late, and Mandl, whose C.V. lists stints at Procter & Gamble and Ford, joined the company in early 2014 to help implement a new approach. Mandl took over for owner John Stowell with a directive to "make the business smarter and make the business healthier." (...)