XetaWave steering clear of fracking bans

BOULDER – Radio maker XetaWave LLC, which counts oil and gas operator companies among its customers, is moving its manufacturing operations to Louisville this week – steering clear of fracking bans – as it puts a growth plan in motion that could mean double its current number of employees by the end of the year.

About half of the company’s 23 employees will move into about 10,000 square feet of space in a 17,000-square-foot building at 248 Taylor St. at the Colorado Technology Center in Louisville, said Jonathan Sawyer, founder and chief executive of the company. In June, the company will move the rest of its operations in Boulder to Louisville, Sawyer said.

“We’re constrained by space, and we have very aggressive growth plans,” Sawyer said. XetaWave plans to hire five employees in the next two months, to start, he said.

XetaWave’s moving plans have changed twice in recent months as voters in neighboring communities of Lafayette and Broomfield passed measures to prohibit hydraulic oil and gas fracturing, or fracking, as it’s called, Sawyer said. The company Sawyer said he also changed his mind about moving to Broomfield after the building’s ownership changed.

“We were very much attracted to a (Lafayette) building, but the fracking thing made us get cold feet. What changed for us in Broomfield was the fracking ordinance there (and) issues and problems with the building,” Sawyer said.

The address in Lafayette was not released. The Broomfield location being considered was a 24,000-square-foot space at 100 Technology Drive in the Interlocken business park.

The city of Louisville offered XetaWave some tax incentives to relocate, Sawyer said. And he said he believes Louisville voters aren’t interested in ballot measures about fracking.

“I feel very confident that the community is not going to pass any crazy anti-fracking ordinance like the other communities around here,” Sawyer said.

Lafayette’s Community Rights Act approved by voters says it is unlawful for any company to engage in creating oil- or gas-related infrastructure to support industrial activities related to natural gas and oil extraction. After reading the language of the act and talking to a Lafayette city attorney, Sawyer said he decided not to take the risk that the company could be prosecuted if it moved to Lafayette.

XetaWave announced in September that it had received a $7 million investment to aid in its growth and development. The company is currently located in a 4,000-square-foot space at 1668 Valtec Drive, near the corner of Arapahoe Road and 75th Street.

The company makes radios that transmit data from field operations for energy sectors such as oil and gas and wind energy, as well as for the military.

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