Kodak Colorado Division employs 1,800 Northern Colorado residents with an annual payroll of $80 million, contributes $8 million in state taxes and spends $50 million in local purchases annually.

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WINDSOR — Kodak Colorado Division has been an indelible part of Northern Colorado since 1968. Situated on 2,200 acres in Windsor, the company employs 1,800 people from both Weld and Larimer counties and boasts an annual payroll of $80 million.

Eastman Kodak, headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., was incorporated in 1901 by George Eastman, three years after he introduced his first Kodak camera and roll film capable of taking 100 pictures. Kodak is now an international company employing more than 95,000 people worldwide — about two-thirds of them in the United States. Though known best for its film and cameras, Kodak manufactures many other products.

“Around the world, consumers rely on Kodak products to print magazines and newspapers, produce motion pictures for business, education and entertainment, make plain-paper copies, store and retrieve information and assist in diagnosis of medical problems,” explained Lucille Mantelli, director of communications and public relations at Kodak Colorado Division.

The company’s two largest Imaging Material Manufacturing divisions are located in Rochester. The Manufacturing Equipment Division is responsible for the hardware side of the business — cameras, printers, projectors and equipment — while the Kodak Park Site is responsible for the software side of photography, namely film, papers and chemicals.

Kodak Colorado is a division of the IMM Organization and operates as the western extension of the Kodak Park Site. The Windsor plant is the primary manufacturing center for medical X-ray film, thermal media, motion-picture film and color paper. It also is involved in some of the stages of manufacturing other photographic films and cameras. Also located in Windsor is Kodak Polychrome Graphics, a partnership subsidiary that manufactures printing plates.

Kodak’s presence in Northern Colorado has long been felt in numerous ways. The company contributes $8 million annually in property, sales, use and state income taxes to Colorado. It also spends about $50 million on purchases within the state. Imaging solutions from Kodak support the needs of a wide range of government agencies, including on-demand publishing systems at state universities; film, cameras and digital imaging products used by law-enforcement agencies; and image-management systems in public-records offices.

The company also has a commitment to education, diversity and culture, Mantelli said. Kodak Colorado donates more than $375,000 annually to local nonprofit organizations, including United Way campaigns in Weld County, Fort Collins and Loveland/Berthoud; area schools, universities, health and human services and community revitalization programs. About 15 percent of Kodak Colorado employees volunteer in Northern Colorado communities on a regular basis, and numerous employees serve on community boards and as elected officials.

Kodak has also initiated programs to help use the many talents of handicapped adults through employment at Foothills-Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Larimer County and Schaefer Rehabilitation Center in Greeley. The work includes inspection and sorting of raw materials and supplies used at Kodak Colorado, inspection of specific products manufactured at the plant, and assistance in recovering and recycling raw materials.

“Kodak’s aid to youth groups in Northern Colorado includes strong support of Junior Achievement programs such as Economics of Staying in School,'” Mantelli said. The program brings consultants from Kodak and other area businesses to seventh-grade classrooms to teach a seven-week course in the real-world realities of attaining higher education. Kodak employees also devote time to Colorado Business Week, an economic-education program for high-school juniors and seniors. The program teaches the free enterprise system through a computer simulation game of company management.

“Through group exercises designed to provoke thought and stimulate in-depth personal interaction, company members and their advisers become a closely knit community by the end of the week,” Mantelli said.

Kodak Colorado also offers a variety of services to the region’s schools by providing films and audio-visual presentations on a free-loan basis. Films cover such subjects as career opportunities in technical fields, photography and Kodak.

Kodak Colorado also strives to carry out its day-to-day operation with minimal effect on the environment. Of the company’s 2,200 acres of land, about 1,500 are leased for farming and grazing. Four hundred acres have been reserved for wildlife preservation. The company’s landscapers have built nests for geese and planted a variety of shrubs and trees to provide food and shelter for wildlife.

Kodak also leases about 40 acres of property along the banks of the Poudre River to the Colorado Division of Wildlife. The land is designated a Watchable Wildlife area and is open to the public. In 1998, a 3.3 mile stretch of the Poudre River Trail, which travels along Eastman Drive, was opened to bicyclists, walkers and skaters. The trail will eventually link Fort Collins, Windsor and Greeley.