Colorado small businesses are less likely to change health insurers for the upcoming year, even as they anticipate continued price increases, according to the second-annual Delta Dental of Colorado Small Business Survey.
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Broomfield-based MWH Global Inc., an engineering, construction and strategic consulting firm, opened an office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The office will serve as a hub for construction and engineering professionals and an administrative staff who will support MWH’s efforts in Africa.
Upslope Brewing Co. opened its second brewery and taproom on April 24 at 1898 S. Flatiron Court in the Flatiron business park in Boulder. The 17,000-square-foot brewery allows Upslope to produce 70 percent more beer initially, with room for future expansion. The taproom covers 2,300 square feet. Upslope opened in November 2008 at 1501 Lee Hill Road in North Boulder, where it expanded six times during the past four and one-half years. Upslope will keep open the brewery on Lee Hill Road for production and as an incubator for new and innovative beer styles.
Denver-based law firm Sheridan Ross PC will open an office in May at 390 Interlocken Crescent, Suite 890, in the Interlocken business park in Broomfield. The office will have six attorneys and focus on helping existing clients in the Broomfield-Boulder region. Sheridan Ross focuses on intellectual property law with 41 attorneys and five patent agents. It has grown from a base of 28 attorneys working in the office 18 months ago. Six of the existing attorneys in Denver will move to the new office.
Realty firm Pedal to Properties moved from 1949 Pearl St. to 2014 Pearl St. in Boulder.
Technology think tank Solid State Depot moved from 5311 Western Ave. to 1965 33rd St. in Boulder.
Boulder-based Tensegrity Prosthetics Inc. changed its name to FitBionic.
The unemployment rate in Boulder County improved three-tenths of a percentage point in March compared with the previous month, while the rate in Broomfield County remained steady. Colorado’s jobless rate decreased one-tenth of one percentage point over the month to 7.1 percent, the lowest since January 2009. The rate in Boulder County in March decreased to 5.4 percent compared with 5.7 percent in February. The rate was 6.4 percent in March a year ago. In Broomfield County, the rate held steady at 6.8 percent in March, matching last month’s rate. The rate was 7.2 percent in March a year ago.
Elite Aviation, a subsidiary of Conway, South Carolina-based Chippewa Aerospace, will take over May 1 as fixed-base operator at city-owned Vance Brand Municipal Airport, providing support services for pilots and their general-aviation aircraft. Elite will replace Twin Peaks Aviation and Air West Flight Center. Elite will offer the same amenities plus equipment installation, repair and maintenance services. Previously, the closest airport offering those services was Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Broomfield. Elite will have five to seven employees in the beginning but could triple or quadruple that in the next two years.
EnergySmart, a program to assist residents and businesses in Boulder County to make their homes and buildings more energy efficient, enrolled its 10,000th residential customer. EnergySmart was launched in January 2011 after receiving a Department of Energy grant. Boulder County is one of 40 communities nationwide to have received similar grants for energy programs.
Juwi Solar Inc. in Boulder teamed with PSEG Solar Source, Delaware Municipal Electric Corp. and Sunolar Power to build the PSEG Milford Solar Farm, a 15-megawatt solar array in Milford, Delaware. The $50 million 80-acre solar farm uses approximately 62,000 crystalline-silicon solar panels to generate enough solar energy to power approximately 9,000 homes when the sun is shining. Its pollution-free energy displaces approximately 12,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually – the equivalent of removing about 2,300 cars from the road. Juwi Solar acquired the partially-developed project from Sunolar in mid-2012.
Front Range Orthopedic Surgery Center at 1551 Professional Lane in Longmont has been accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. Status as an accredited organization means the center has met nationally recognized standards for providing quality health care as determined by an independent, external process of evaluation.
Oskar Blues Brewery LLC and Left Hand Brewing Co. are on the Boulder-based nonprofit Brewers Association’s top 50 list based on beer-sales volume in 2012. Longmont-based Oskar Blues is No. 27 on the list. Oskar Blues sold 85,750 barrels of beer in 2012, a 46 percent increase from 2011. Longmont-based Left Hand Brewing was No. 43, up from No. 49 last year. Left Hand produced 49,549 barrels of beer in 2012, a 34.5 percent increase from 2011.
The Kepler space telescope made by Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. in Boulder has discovered three possible Earth-like planets in other star systems, according to NASA. Two of the Earth-like planets are designated as Kepler-62f and Kepler-62e. They orbit the same star system. The third Earth-like planet, Kepler-69c, orbits a second star system. The planets orbit in zones of their respective stars where liquid water and life is possible. The CU Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics in Boulder operates the Kepler mission with 20 students and “a handful” of full-time staff members.
The COMET Program, managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research based in Boulder, is accepting donations because of a funding shortfall of nearly $2 million. The deficit reflects this year’s government sequestration as well as further federal budget cuts anticipated in fiscal year 2014. More than 275,000 meteorologists, pilots, firefighters, emergency managers, other professionals and students rely on COMET’s MetEd website at http://meted.ucar.edu.
The city of Longmont reported a 1.1 percent decline in sales- and use-tax revenue collected in March based on transactions in February. Collections totaled $3,587,827, compared with $3,626,662 for the same period a year ago. Sales tax on retail goods was up 1.9 percent for the month, but use tax revenue decreased by 19.9 percent compared with the same period a year ago. Year-to-date, sales-tax revenue is up 6.2 percent compared with the first two months of 2012, and use-tax revenue is up 4.2 percent. Lodgers’ tax collected in March, representing stays in February, was up 3.1 percent, from $18,504 in 2012 to $19,082 this year. Year-to-date, the lodgers’ tax is up 10.4 percent, from $34,772 for the first two months of last year compared with $38,409 for the same period this year.
Boulder-based aerospace systems engineering company Special Aerospace Services LLC signed a contract to provide Ukrainian-based Yuzhnoye SDO’s rocket engine technology, systems and services to the U.S. market. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed. Special Aerospace Services, co-founded by Tim and Heather Bulk in 2006, and Yuzhnoye SDO have worked together in the past three years to develop marketing and system development concepts for applications in the U.S. space-industry market.
Boulder-based Encision Inc. (ECIA: PK) has contracted with Virtual Ports Ltd. to exclusively distribute Virtual Ports’ laparoscopic organ retraction products in the United States.
Boulder-based Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. will conduct the research needed to create a microwave instrument to measure water and wind for the U.S. Air Force as part of a government weather-satellite program. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed. The instrument may need to be designed to fit into smaller, lower-cost space launch vehicles.
Broomfield-based Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT) will provide content-delivery network services for VoiceAmerica, a producer of more than 300 original live Internet talk radio programs delivered on a weekly basis. Financial details of the contract were not disclosed. Level 3’s services will help enable VoiceAmerica to deliver its online content to a more global audience.
Louisville-based Envysion Inc. was selected by National Stores as its exclusive video provider and is half way through a 215-plus store deployment of Envysion Insight. National Stores, a family-owned, family-oriented company that operates stores under the Fallas Paredes, Fallas Discount Stores, Fallas Kid Stores and Factory 2U brands, will use Envysion’s a video-driven reporting capabilities to improve loss prevention and store profitability.
MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
Colorado Springs-based Braxton Technologies Inc. plans to purchase Boulder-based Net-Centric Design Professionals LLC and keep it open as a subsidiary. Frank Backes, Braxton’s chief executive, served as a mentor to Net-Centric through the University of Colorado’s eSpace Incubator program. Net-Centric, a 50-person engineering firm specializing in system design, cyber security and systems integration, will remain open at 1909 26th St., Suite 1E in Boulder. It was co-founded in 2005 by CU classmates German Nunez and Jerry Dinges, who earned master’s degrees in telecommunications in 2001.
Broomfield-based Aircell Business Aviation Services LLC, a provider of in-flight connectivity equipment and services to the business aviation market, completed its acquisition of the Airfone business unit of LiveTV LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of JetBlue Airways Corp. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Aircell, a division of Itasca, Illinois-based GoGo LLC, acquired LiveTV’s 1 MHz air-to-ground spectrum license, as well as the Airfone in-flight communications service, network infrastructure and back-office operational assets.
Boulder Area Bicycle Adventures, which offers bicycle and hiking tours exclusively of Boulder and the area foothills, added The Spirits of Boulder tour. The tour highlights several Boulder micro-distilleries where the guest will learn about the distilling process and sample their spirits, while taking in the scenery of Boulder along quiet bike paths.
Boulder-based Alfalfa’s Market beefed up its recycling program. People may recycle used baby food pouches, Tom’s of Maine personal care items and No. 4 plastic bags. Alfalfa’s will send the items to Terracycle in Trenton, New Jersey, to be made into plastic items such as park benches, backpacks and tote bags.
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