CU Boulder honored for positive impact of international students on nation’s economy

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross presented the University of Colorado Boulder with the President’s “E” Award for Exports at a ceremony on May 22, in Washington, D.C.

The President’s “E” Award is the highest recognition any U.S. entity can receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports. CU Boulder, the only institution of higher education to receive this year’s award, was specifically called out for prioritizing international education and doubling international student enrollment over the past five years.

“The University of Colorado Boulder has demonstrated a sustained commitment to export expansion,” Ross said in his congratulatory letter announcing its selection. “The institution’s growth of employment tied to increases in the number of international students was also particularly notable. The University of Colorado Boulder’s achievements have undoubtedly contributed to national export expansion efforts that support the U.S. economy and create American jobs.”

In total, Ross honored 32 U.S. companies and organizations from across the country with the President’s “E” Award for their role in strengthening the U.S. economy by sharing American ingenuity outside of our borders.

While education is not considered a commodity by all, that perception is changing, said Larry Bell, assistant vice chancellor for global strategic initiatives at CU Boulder.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (left) presented Larry Bell, ​assistant vice chancellor for global strategic initiatives (middle), with the award in Washington, D.C. They are joined by Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade Kenneth E. Hyatt.

“The trading of knowledge is something that is increasingly being thought of as an economic commodity,” Bell said. “The Denver World Trade Association featured knowledge and research innovation as a commodity in World Trade Day this year.”

Bell pointed out that international education is the seventh largest export industry in the U.S. At CU Boulder, 3,079 international students were enrolled in 2016–17, up from 1,643 five years earlier.

“It’s not just tuition we’re talking about,” Bell said. “These students also rent rooms, buy food, buy clothes, buy cars. They spend money outside of simply tuition.”

Nationally, international students have a $32 billion economic impact, he said. International students at CU Boulder contributed $106 million to the state’s economy last year and supported more than 1,600 jobs, according to NAFSA, the Association of International Educators.

U.S. companies and institutions are nominated for the “E” Awards through the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Commercial Service, located within the department’s International Trade Administration. The U.S. Commercial Service helps U.S. entities expand in international markets by lending their expertise at every stage of the exporting process.

U.S. exports totaled $2.21 trillion in 2016, accounting for nearly 12 percent of U.S. gross domestic product. Exports supported an estimated 11.5 million jobs nationwide in 2015, according to the most recent statistics from the International Trade Administration.

In 1961, President Kennedy signed an executive order reviving the World War II “E” symbol of excellence to honor and provide recognition to America’s exporters. Criteria for the award is based on four years of successive export growth and case studies which demonstrate valuable support to exporters resulting in increased exports for the company’s clients.

“One thing people consistently don’t fully appreciate is that international students contribute greatly to the local economy – in addition to the contributions they make in the classroom and the diversity on the campus,” Bell said.

» Read more: CU Boulder honored for positive impact of international students on nation’s economy | CU Boulder Today

>> Submitted by: CU Boulder, Office for Strategic Relations

Vertafore establishes headquarters in Denver; launches Centers of Excellence Strategy

Vertafore, the leader in modern insurance technology, announced on May 22, the launch of a Centers of Excellence strategy designed to further enhance customer service and accelerate innovation.

As part of this strategic investment, Vertafore is aligning with technology industry best practices of co-locating teams with specialized expertise to drive effective collaboration, improve speed-to-market, and provide innovative products and solutions to meet the evolving demands of customers across the insurance industry. Vertafore designated offices across North America as Centers of Excellence, each of which will house a specific product team or business function to provide the consistency and proficiency needed to deliver a superior customer experience. The company also announced that Denver will be the new location of Vertafore headquarters as well as a Center of Excellence focused on agency management and insurance knowledge base solutions.

Each Vertafore Center of Excellence will bring together agile teams to increase the speed of innovation. In addition to Denver, other Centers of Excellence are located in: Atlanta, Georgia; Bothell, Washington; East Lansing, Michigan; Greenwich, Connecticut; Pulaski, Tennessee; Windsor; Connecticut; and three Vertafore locations in Canada.

“We are launching our Centers of Excellence strategy because we want our primary focus to be driving customer success and producing increasingly positive customer outcomes,” said Amy Zupon, Vertafore Chief Executive Officer. “To achieve this goal, we felt that we needed to fully commit to aligning our business to be entirely customer-centric. We are confident that this strategic investment to unite our specialized teams in combined business units will offer significant benefits to our customers through speed of development, scale, and sharing of best practices.”

» Read more: Seattle-area insurance-software company is moving HQ to Denver | Denver Business Journal

>> Submitted by: Metro Denver EDC

Colorado’s Advanced Industries Accelerator Program Awards $2.9 Million to Technology Startups

The Colorado Economic Development Commission (EDC) approved $2.9 million in Advanced Industries Accelerator (AIA) grants for 18 Colorado companies with technologies that will positively impact key industries from health to manufacturing. The program has awarded over $40 million since its inception in 2013.

“Colorado is a national leader in innovation and business startups,” said Office of Economic Development and International Trade executive director Stephanie Copeland. “The Advanced Industries Accelerator program is a key initiative in encouraging such activity within the State and we are thrilled to fund so many innovative organizations.”

The Colorado EDC approved 15 Colorado companies to receive Proof-of-Concept and Early Stage Capital Grants for a total of $2,696,489. Additionally, three Colorado companies – Arthroventions, Optienz Sensors, LLC, and IM Therapeutics -were approved for second round or “transition” funding for $203,511.

Proof-of-Concept grants are open to Colorado research universities, federal labs located in Colorado and other labs with valid technology transfer offices for pre-commercialization research and commercialization preparation. Early Stage Capital and Retention grants fund companies commercializing innovative technologies to create viable products that meet a market need and can be created or manufactured in Colorado and exported globally.

The Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant program received 124 applications this grant cycle. Applications were reviewed by committees of business, technical and financial experts, as well as by an industry-specific reviewer. Of the applicants, 24 companies were invited to participate in a pitch session in April with the full AIA committee. Final recommendations were approved by the Colorado EDC on May 18.

The next application cycle for Proof-of-Concept and Early Stage Capital and Retention Grants will open on July 3, 2017 and applications will be due August 31, 2017. Infrastructure grant cycle will open Feb. 1, 2018 and close on April 2, 2018.

Approximately $40,773,560.79 from the Advanced Industry Fund has been granted since the inception of the program in 2013. To date, the program successes include the creation of 492 new jobs and approximately 593 jobs retained. Additionally, these funds have helped the technologies acquire an additional $200,353,734.29 dollars in grants and investments to further commercialize these advanced technologies.

The Advanced Industries Accelerator Program (AIA) was created in 2013 to promote growth and sustainability in Colorado’s advanced industries by driving innovation, accelerating commercialization, encouraging public-private partnerships, increasing access to early stage capital and creating a strong infrastructure that increases the state’s capacity to be globally competitive. AIA encompasses three distinct grant programs: Proof of Concept, Early Stage Capital and Retention, and Commercialization Infrastructure.


  • Astra, LLC – ASTRALiTe has developed a revolutionary lidar technology that penetrates the water, measuring the water depth as well as mapping underwater infrastructure, with a range resolution of 1cm.
  • Colorado School of Mines – Researcher- Dr. Nils Tilton- The objective of this proposal is to develop more efficient and sustainable methods of water treatment.
  • Colorado State University/CureImmune – Researcher- Dr. Amanda Guth – CureImmune is developing the first immuno-oncology checkpoint inhibitor drug (beta alethine, BA or 4cure™) that is a stable small molecule, inexpensive to manufacture, easy to store and ship and that can be administered at home.
  • Colorado State University/LaPorte Ag Therapeutics Researcher – Dr. Steven Dow- MucosImmune is a liquid, topically administered, next generation immunotherapeutic designed to improve on first generation injectable immune therapeutics for cattle.
  • Elementum 3D – will utilize an innovative reactive additive manufacturing (RAM) technology to develop and commercialize advanced new 6000 and 7000 series aluminum alloy metal matrix composites (MMCs).
  • GitPrime (Durango, CO) – is cloud software that provides productivity analytics for teams of software developers.
  • Living Ink Technologies – Living Ink has developed a solution that is a patent pending technology ink formulations using algae cells as a bio-pigments and other components that are plant-based for a sustainable, renewable, biodegradable and safe ink replacement.
  • Matrix Analytics – Matrix Analytics has developed LungDirect which provides real time data analytics, PCP and patient letter population, multi-disciplinary reporting, advanced nodule tracking, and more for lung cancer patients
  • Meadowlark Optics – The proposed work will set a new frame rate standard using our recently developed high voltage, large format 512×512 pixel SLM as a replacement for our low voltage, small format 512×512 pixel SLM (Spatial Light Modulators).
  • Molon Labe, LLC – Molon Labe has developed a new commercial aisle-widening staggered airline seat.
  • Mountain Racing Products (Grand Junction, CO) – Eko Sport, Inc. dba Mountain Racing Products (MRP) is a manufacturer of high end bicycle components and will be launching a new suspension fork line aimed at the new hub standard.
  • Rebound Technologies – IcePoint is a liquid sub-cooling product that plugs into legacy refrigeration systems, both new and retrofits, to boost performance of industrial freezers. Unmatched efficiency and control make IcePoint the future of refrigeration.
  • Solo-Dex- Solo-Dex Inc – is a medical device company founded by Colorado physicians to promote the use of nerve catheters for pain management by using Continuous Peripheral Nerve Blocks (CPNB) for orthopedic surgery.
  • University of Colorado – Denver Researcher – Dr. Randall Tagg- The work outlined in this proposal aims to develop systems for the industrial scale production of electronics-grade single-walled carbon-nanotubes (CNTs).
  • Vartega Carbon Fiber Recycling, LLC – Vartega creates strong and lightweight low-cost carbon fiber through the use of its patent pending chemistry-based recycling process.

>> Submitted by: Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade

Winds of change: Xcel is getting smarter and greener about energy

The Denver Business Journal just recently published an exclusive, in-depth report on Xcel Energy’s massive shift to a clean energy supply.

“They’re the leader in the land. Nobody in America does more wind than Xcel Energy,” said former Gov. Bill Ritter.

As Xcel Energy is increasing energy choices for their customers, they are also exceeding their already-aggressive environmental goals: going from just 2% carbon-free energy in 2005 to more than 40% by 2021; reducing carbon emissions by 45% as well. And, they have surpassed their targets while staying under budget.

Read full article free of charge: Behind Xcel Energy’s big bet on wind | Denver Business Journal

Three Colorado Companies Win Prestigious Honor of Governor’s Award for Excellence in Exporting

Colorado companies Meadowlark Optics, Project C.U.R.E. and VAIREX air systems were announced May 15, as the three winners of the 2017 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Exporting for their contributions to the Colorado economy through international trade.

“Meadowlark, Project C.U.R.E. and VAIREX are shining examples of how exporting can help expand businesses, increase profits, and grow Colorado’s economy,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “From fuel cells to polarization products to medical supplies, exporting provides access to 95 percent of the world market outside our borders. We are honored to recognize these companies for their commitment and wish them continued success.”

Meadowlark Optics (Frederick, Colo.) is an international thought leader in light-based technologies and has an extensive international portfolio, exporting to 30 countries. Meadowlark, established in 1979, supplies a variety of industries with innovative polarization solutions and engineering services. Meadowlark has been a valuable contributor to the infrastructure of the Colorado Photonics Industry (CPIA) since it initially launched in 1997, and has financially sponsored international scientific symposiums and performed worldwide speaking engagements to raise global awareness of the problem-solving solutions that light-based technologies can provide. Exports currently represent over 59 percent of Meadowlark’s sales.

Project C.U.R.E. (Centennial, Colo.), the world’s largest distributor of donated medical supplies and equipment, exports these products to hospitals and clinics in more than 133 countries around the globe. Project C.U.R.E. has been an industry leader in developing new ways to export medical supplies to resource-limited communities across the globe, including creating an efficient and accurate inventory system, improving supply chain management, and providing expert management of logistics. Exports currently represent over 96 percent of Project C.U.R.E.’s sales.

VAIREX air systems (Boulder, Colo.), an international technical leader in fuel cell air systems, manufactures advanced air blower systems based on the company’s patented breakthrough technology. VAIREX is focused on blowers for fuel cells in the 1-30 kW power range, which represent over 90% of all the fuel cells sold in the world today. Currently, VAIREX exports to customers in 17 countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia and exports represent 56 percent of VAIREX’s sales. The company is poised for the rapidly growing global fuel cell industry.

The Governor’s Award for Excellence in Exporting was first given in 1970 and recognizes economic growth through international business. Winners were formally recognized at this year’s World Trade Day, the region’s premier international trade event. This year’s World Trade Day theme was Containers to the Cloud: Trade as Goods, Services & Knowledge.

Awardees will receive $500 worth of consulting services through the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade’s (OEDIT) Global Consultant Network. The program connects qualifying Colorado companies to global opportunities and market education.

Colorado exported $7.5 billion in products in 2016, and an estimated $14 billion in services. The Excellence in Exporting Award recognizes this contribution to the state’s economy by highlighting noteworthy accomplishments by Colorado exporters. More information about OEDIT’s export grant programs can be found here.

>> Submitted by: Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade

M10 Technologies moves to Durango


The La Plata Economic Development Alliance is pleased to welcome M10 Technologies to Durango, Colorado. Jim Rosenberger, managing partner, moved M10 Tek to Durango in December of 2016. M10 Tek is one of only three certified platinum SAP service agencies in North America. M10 Tek has been a leading solution provider in the areas of ERP, CRM, Business Intelligence, and Supply chain since 1992.

“You can have the best software in the world but if you aren’t using it correctly, it’s value is diminished. Businesses of all sizes need an SAP Digital Transformation strategy and more importantly, need that strategy implemented correctly.”

M10 Tek is a provider of Senior, Principal and Platinum level SAP consultants in the industry. The mission of an SAP Platinum consultant is multi-faceted. Platinum’s are, first and foremost, very knowledgeable about their area of focus within SAP. The group was meant to represent the top 5% of SAP’s consulting force.

Asked why he chose to move his company to Durango, Jim cited the great lifestyle and the passion he and his family already had from numerous annual visits to the region. “We can work from anywhere. For us, the quality of the community and our ability to raise our kids were deciding factors in coming to Durango.”

Roger Zalneraitis, Director of the La Plata Economic Development Alliance, said that Jim’s story was familiar. “Businesses choose Durango and La Plata County because it is a real town in a beautiful environment.” He also noted a recent trend in technology firms. “We have had several new tech start-ups as well as tech inquiries about moving here recently. The lifestyle combined with a great workforce, and Fort Lewis’ efforts to launch a new computer engineering program are helping to grow more quality jobs here.”

Jim concurred, also noting that high speed internet and better air service were critical for his firm. “Tech firms like M10 Tek need to be able to reach our clients quickly through reliable internet and great flight service. Without that, firms like mine can’t move or grow in great towns like Durango.”

Since moving to Durango the company has already hired four people. There are currently seven employees at the office, with plans to add even more as their headquarter functions expand.

>> Submitted by: La Plata County Economic Alliance

Wren Industries to Work on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft Project

The Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP) announced on May 10, that Wren Industries, a division of S Gang Enterprises in Grand Junction, Colo., has been awarded a contract to manufacture closeout seal plates for NASA’s Orion project. Wren Industries won the contract following an RFQ process led by Arcata Associates Inc. on behalf of aerospace giant Lockheed Martin.

NASA’s Orion spacecraft will transport humans to destinations beyond low-Earth orbit such as the moon and eventually Mars. The deep space project currently utilizes nearly 1,000 manufacturing subcontractors, of which more than 100 are based in Colorado, mainly on the Front Range. S Gang Enterprises is the first company based in Mesa County, Colorado, to be awarded such a contract and to join the esteemed list of approved suppliers to Lockheed Martin.

“Colorado has a well-established aerospace community and the award of this contract further acknowledges the Western Slope’s well-educated workforce and high-technology business environment,” said Colorado Congressman Scott Tipton (R-District 3). “I commend the efforts of everyone involved in making this project a reality.”

“This is a milestone not only for Wren Industries, but for the entire Western Slope,” added Rep. Dan Thurlow (HD55 – R). “There has been a concerted effort to highlight the many great aerospace companies operating in all parts of the state, and this win proves our efforts are beginning to be acknowledged.”

This contract is the result of several years and numerous coordinated efforts to raise awareness of aerospace businesses on the Western Slope, including multiple road trips and interactions between Lockheed Martin and local businesses organized by the Colorado Space Business Roundtable (CSBR). Congressman Tipton and Rep. Thurlow are among the notable supporters of these efforts, alongside GJEP and CLUB 20, an advocacy group on the Western Slope.

“Getting to Mars is a massive undertaking,” said Joe Rice with Lockheed Martin who has helped organize the CSBR Road Trips. “It’s going to take great people and companies from all parts of the United States, and all parts of Colorado, to get us there. Manufacturing companies on the Western Slope bring superior quality and competitive prices to this effort. We look forward to further aerospace growth in Western Colorado.”

Wren Industries launched in 1998 as a parts manufacturer for the rock climbing industry. Mike and Shannon Sneddon of S Gang Enterprises bought the company in 2008 and reimagined it as a precision manufacturing operation serving the aerospace and energy industries. Under the Sneddon’s, the company has grown approximately 15 percent per year and has expanded from a 2,000 to 10,000-square foot facility.

“We’re honored to be trusted with this contract,” said Sneddon. “While it’s a small contract, it allows us to prove our worth, and we are confident it is the first step toward a long-term relationship.”

Wren Industries has already received two additional RFQs for projects pertaining to the Orion spacecraft. For more information about Wren Industries, visit

>> Submitted by: Grand Junction Economic Partnership

Western Pathways Conference 2017 – Special offer to EDCC Members

Western Pathways Conference 2017
May 11-13, 2017 | Denver, CO

Economic Development Council of Colorado:  EDCC2017WPC

The 2017 Western Pathways Conference is uniquely focused on an issue central to the future of our economy and society: how can we build an education and workforce development system that will prepare ALL young adults for careers leading to economic independence? This will be an action oriented conference in which teams from the participating states will work together to develop plans for addressing such issues as the skills gap, strengthening connections between business and education, providing high-quality career development and career pathways, and much more. The Western Pathways Conference will attract national leaders from business, education, government and philanthropy to share knowledge, experience, ideas, and best practices.The Conference is organized and hosted by the Global Pathways Institute at Arizona State University in partnership with the Colorado Business Roundtable, Education Commission of the States, Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education, and Business-Higher Education Forum.

The Global Pathways Institute at Arizona State University hosted the 2015 and 2016 Southwest Pathways Conferences in Scottsdale, Arizona. Last year’s conference attracted 500 participants from 28 states and over 90% of surveyed attendees said they would recommend that a colleague attend this year’s conference. Because of this success and the requests from states outside of the Southwest to get involved, the Global Pathways Institute and our partners have expanded the conference to include all 19 western states.
Explore the 2016 Southwest Pathways Conference

Presented by:
The Global Pathways Institute at Arizona State University is committed to creating an America in which all young people are prepared to lead productive and successful lives. We believe that providing young people with high-quality career development and multiple pathways is the best way to help them discover and develop their potential and achieve economic independence.

In Partnership With:
Colorado Business Roundtable
Business-Higher Education Forum
Education Commission of the States
Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education
Colorado Workforce Development Council

Mesa County, CO: Adaptive Towers Approved for Rural Jump-Start Tax Credit

The Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP) is pleased to welcome the latest company to join Colorado’s Rural Jump-Start Tax Credit program in Mesa County. Adaptive Towers, approved last month by the Colorado Economic Development Council, will immediately begin work on a new manufacturing facility in Grand Junction and expects to hire upward 13 new employees in Mesa County before year-end.

“We are very pleased to be accepted and approved for the Colorado Rural Jump-Start program,” said Tracy Harmer, President & CTO, Adaptive Towers. “We are excited to bring our new division to the Grand Junction area and thank all those that have helped us achieve this major step.”

Adaptive Towers, a new division of Adaptive Communications LLC, will manufacture self-standing, self-supporting, rapid-deployment communications towers that provide Internet and cellular connections in remote, underserved areas. The patent-pending towers require no in-ground foundation and can be assembled onsite in under three hours, minimizing engineering and construction costs.

“The applications for these towers are near-endless,” said Kristi Pollard, GJEP Executive Director. “Think of military bases, emergency response operations, oil rigs or any companies working in remote locations with minimal infrastructure to support traditional communications towers. Adaptive Towers will provide a much-needed service to these organizations and we foresee large growth potential. We are excited to have the company join our growing family of Jump-Start businesses that are revolutionizing how and where we do business from the heart of Colorado’s Grand Valley.”

Adaptive Towers is the eighth company to be accepted into the Jump-Start program in Mesa County. The statewide tax credit program allows businesses to operate virtually tax-free for up to eight years, provided they add at least five net new jobs to the local economy and form a partnership with Colorado Mesa University.

With the inclusion of Adaptive Towers, Jump-Start Mesa County is projected to add over 600 jobs and $25 million in new, annual salaries to Mesa County, Colo., by the end of 2020.

For more information about Adaptive Towers and parent company Adaptive Communications, visit or

AGENDA ANNOUNCED: Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) Travels to Northern Colorado for its Regional Economic Development Forum

On June 8, 2017 representatives from economic development organizations from around the state, elected officials, and local business leaders, will gather in Northern Colorado at The Ranch Event Center, for Economic Development Council of Colorado’s (EDCC) Regional Economic Development Forum (click for more information and to register), the second in a series of forums scheduled for 2017.

The EDCC is taking a comprehensive approach to how we share information. Each region of Colorado is unique, but can often be similar in assets and challenges. By using examples from the host region, attendees are learning about new tools and resources they can apply in their own communities. The objective of these forums is not to recreate the wheel, but to come together and share best practices to ultimately better Colorado’s economy as a whole.

Hosting this one-day event is Region 2, Larimer and Weld Counties (click for preliminary agenda). Attendees will hear specific presentations on regional transportation and how to leverage partnerships to address critical infrastructure needs at the local level; the importance of sector partnerships as it pertains to healthcare and manufacturing; and how to address the growing need for a talent pipeline as our regions across the State continue to grow. Elizabeth Garner our State’s Demographer will give us a comprehensive view of this region and how it impacts other parts of our State.

We are pleased to announce our keynote speaker for the forum. The recently appointed executive director for Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), Stephanie Copeland, will keynote the day’s luncheon. This will be a great opportunity to meet Stephanie and get a glimpse into her plans for the next two years.

Event supporters:
Presenting Sponsors, City of Fort Collins, Upstate Colorado, Town of Windsor, Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade (OEDIT) | Gold Sponsor, Colorado Office of Film, Television & Media, Northern Colorado Economic Association | Platinum Sponsor, Poudre Valley REA, Metro Denver EDC, Colorado Workforce Development Council: Sector Partnerships | Media Sponsor, Loveland Reporter Herald


For more information and to register for the event, click here.