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Success Stories

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 build a company for growth and stability. Early on, Stratom focused on consulting, new product development, product launches, and product transfer services for clients like Advanced Energy Corp, UC Denver, and the National Veterans Training Institute. Mark recalls that it is was through UCD that they were introduced to government contracting opportunities.

Seeing government markets as being less volatile, offering long term contract opportunities and having greater long run stability, Mark decided to take the company in a new strategic direction. In the 2007-08 timeframe, Stratom shifted it focus to robotics and R&D. Bootstrapping the business, winning research dollars and government contract awards as well as increasing product sales, the company grew. Today, Stratom has set itself apart with a strong mix of subject experts and engineers who understand their target customers’ needs. They develop products and design services that have an identified need and market. Stratom engineers have a strong background in commercial products and they know how to bring Stratom’s products to market.

When asked what factors have been critical to Stratom’s growth, Mark says that the SBDC, his strong Advisory Board and the Rocky Mountain AUVSI chapter (Association of Unmanned Vehicles Systems International where he now serves on the National Board) have been instrumental to his company’s growth and success.
“As an early stage company, before setting up my Advisory Board, the SBDC team of consultants was a great sounding board for me,” Mark recounts. As the company began to grow, Mark took advantage of SBDC classes around Sales and Marketing and HR topics like Workman’s Compensation. He sent his staff to SBDC classes for training. As an advanced technology company, Mark has taken advantage of the Colorado Emerging Ventures (CEV) programming and team of consultants. The CEV team has provided market research and analysis around commercial applications for Stratom’s products and services.

“Now that we’ve moved on to become a second stage company – just shy of 30 employees — we’ve become involved with the SBDC Advanced – Economic Gardening program with one-on-one consulting, looking at some new markets that we’re trying to engage in” says Mark. “These would be new national and international commercial markets where we are trying to use our robotics systems across new applications. With this new full year program we get a lot of strategic consulting advice, research and one-on-one services to help us focus on these new markets and grow the company.”

In describing his experience over the years with the SBDC, Mark says, “I have been so impressed with the professionalism and passion of everyone working with the SBDC. They are not only willing to help, but they know how to help. There is a vast level of experience that I can tap into to help my business succeed.” It was through networking at CEV workshops and Chamber events that he also found his invaluable extended team of professionals and mentors. As a result, Mark has been a tremendous supporter of and advocate for the SBDC. He has been a keynote lunch presenter at SBDC’s full-day Emerging Ventures Event and participated in SBDC workshops, sharing his vast business expertise and advice with other Boulder County businesses.

Sante Fe Coffee and Burrito Company

Arturo Maestas launched the Santa Fe Coffee and Burrito Company, in Longmont, CO, on April 11, 2011. Santa Fe Coffee and Burrito Company is a Spanish and Southwest restaurant with a diverse menu, featuring both Spanish and American style dishes. Arturo has relatives in Albuquerque, NM and sought to bring the ambiance of Santa Fe, NM, to Longmont, CO. Arturo remodeled the entire restaurant with the help of few family members and friends. The beautiful

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Ku Cha House of Tea

Originally from China, husband and wife entrepreneurial team, Qin Liu and Rong Pan graduated from the Leeds School of Business at Colorado University with the dream of starting their own company. The original business idea was from Qin’s Business Plan Preparation class while enrolled in CU. In 2005, they launched their business, drawing upon the 5000-year-old tradition of drinking tea. In 2007, Qin and Rong changed the company’s original name from “The Leaf – All

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Plains To Peaks Chocolate

Plains to Peak Chocolate Company is run by Sunni Sylvester and her husband Jeff. The two did not always have aspirations to make their own chocolate, but like many businesses today, a simple passion and idea can be all it takes to start something great. The direction of your business career can be random, and that is exactly what happened with Sunni and Jeff. “We started randomly. I would buy chocolate, look at the ingredients,

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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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Grasshaven Outdoor

The media has called her the “Martha Stewart of Camping” and it is a title she proudly wears. Dawn Bitz, founder and majority owner of Grasshaven Outdoor is in business to bring sophistication, style and comfort into our time outdoors through stylish outdoor camping equipment, unique RV housewares and general outdoor fun products. Grasshaven Outdoor also strives to deliver a wealth of great ideas and outdoor recipes. Dawn got her inspiration when, as a busy

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Leenie’s Southern Cafe

Conversations, laughter, biscuits and homemade jam melt together at Leenies Southern Café. Established in January 2006, Mel Flores and Eileen Gilmore’s restaurant in Longmont, CO has become a destination for those looking for a classic Southern breakfast and lunch restaurant in Longmont. The dining area is blanketed in simple white tablecloths and is surrounded by shelves loaded with Leenies jams and dishes while local artisan artwork decorates the walls. The atmosphere is relaxed and the

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