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Success Stories

ERC Insulation

ERC Insulation is a local, majority woman-owned and operated business based in Boulder, Colorado, serving Boulder, Denver, Jefferson, Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin Counties. The story surrounding the formation of ERC Insulation began in 2006, when Elton and Christine Randall formed Elton Construction and Design. Elton had difficulty finding a spray foam contractor for his jobs, so he sought a solution to this problem. Elton purchased a trailer with a spray foam reactor, which he could use to do his own spray foam jobs. “Elton used it a few times, and then, this massive piece of equipment sat in our driveway. We started getting more calls for spray foam subcontracting work and what I saw sitting in my driveway was an opportunity”, recalls Christine. Thus, ERC Insulation was born in 2010, and Christine became CEO. The timing couldn’t have been better: “We were intimately familiar with the building codes in Boulder County through Elton Construction and Design, so we benefitted greatly from the Federal grants for the Energy Smart Program since there was a lack of spray foam providers”. ERC became a qualified contractor for the Energy Smart and Smart Regs programs as well as Elevations Energy Loans in Boulder County. They also became a registered contractor for Xcel Energy, including Home Performance with Energy Star. ERC holds a Class-C Contractor’s license and is accredited as a spray foam installer, providing cellulosed foam installations as well. Together, ERC and Elton Construction and Design, offer residents and small commercial businesses a one-stop-shop for energy evaluation and energy solutions implementation.

Early in the company formation process, Christine attended the, “Ramp Up: Make Your Business Profitable and Sustainable” business training series produced by the Boulder SBDC with sponsorship from the Colorado Green Building Guild. Christine was able to build a network of “like-minded” business people through the series, which became invaluable to her and the business: “The class facilitated our connection to a great group and together we helped each other build our businesses”. Since the “Ramp Up” series, Christine has continued to attend Boulder SBDC workshops and events such as the annual “Contract Opportunities Fair”, as well as the Colorado Emerging Ventures programming. Christine takes advantage of the no cost, one-on-one consulting program where she has found Sharon King, Boulder SBDC Director, to be “supportive”, “knowledgeable”, and “inspirational: some people offer consulting from a place of never having done: Sharon comes from a place of personal experience and knows how to help” say Ms Randall.

Three years from launching, ERC has 18 employees and is growing rapidly. Besides great timing, mentors and partners like the Boulder SBDC, Christine attributes their success to a strong focus on quality products, installations and personal customer care. ERC hires employees who understand the thermal envelope and can see the bigger picture of their jobs. Christine does not believe in asking employees to do something she would not do herself. Some days you will find her scrambling in crawl spaces, to help crews with installations. Christine cares deeply about her community, is a mother, business leader and environmental advocate. She is already thinking about their next company venture.

Black Swift Technologies

Boulder-based company Black Swift Technologies was founded by three PhD students from the University of Colorado. The three men were inspired to start the company from their work in the field during their studies. At CU, they learned how to chase storms and collect data using old military equipment, which is relatively complicated to use. They set out to simplify the process with unmanned aircraft systems and Black Swift Technologies was born. Although they are

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Boulder’s Best Organics

Sure, visitors to Boulder enjoy the Flatirons, the creek path, and the Pearl Street Mall. But they also enjoy Chocolove dark chocolate, Justin’s peanut butter, and Pangea lotion. Locally made products define the unique character of Boulder just as much as the town’s natural setting. This inspired Arron Mansika to form the company Boulder’s Best Organics. Boulder’s Best Organics creates gift collections of the finest organic items exclusively from Boulder based companies. Mansika chose to

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Happy Trunk

Who doesn’t like getting fun mail? The Happy Trunk is an ecommerce, subscription based company that delivers monthly “Smiles In A Box for Kids”. Vinnie Bhushan, owner, architect, and interior designer by trade, got her first inspiration for The Happy Trunk from her children. When they were in elementary school, she decided to volunteer as an Odyssey of the Mind Coach. “As an Odyssey of the Mind Coach at Flagstaff Academy in Longmont, CO, I

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Stratom

Stratom Inc., founded by Mark Gordon in 2001, is a Boulder-based unmanned robotics engineering and manufacturing firm. Stratom provides integrated solutions and products to government and commercial clients around the globe. Prior to founding Stratom, Mark worked in Sr. Management for various high tech companies. There he witnessed the volatility of the high tech industry and its move to outsource many of its products and services to foreign markets. Mark decided that he wanted to

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Bookcliff Vinyards

“We like drinking wine!” was the simple and honest reason that Ulla Merz and her husband John Garlich decided to open a winery and vineyard. “We started collecting wine in the 1970’s and grew grapes in our backyard. In 1994 we took grape growing and wine making classes and bought a vineyard in an area of Palisade called the Vinelands. That’s where we planted our first grapes in 1996. Bookcliff Vineyards was launched in 1999

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AOW Handmade

Annie Oakley Waterman is an entrepreneur and owner of AOW Handmade. AOW Handmade, founded in 2015, is a unique business that connects artisan enterprisers from all over the developing world to buyers in the United States. Whether it is textiles, silver, brass, paper maché or other materials, Annie seeks out socially responsible producers and helps them to sell their products to the western world. Annie’s favorite places to find her goods are in Mexico and

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