Category: Aerospace

Relaxed ‘munitions’ rules pave way for aerospace exports

LOUISVILLE — For the aerospace industry in the Boulder Valley and across the nation, the sky’s not quite the limit – but it’s much closer.

Government rules designed to keep American-made components with possible military uses from falling into hostile hands – the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) – increasingly hampered U.S. companies’ ability to compete with foreign producers who were under no such restrictions. Years of pressure from the satellite industry finally pushed Congress to act, and late last year most civil and commercial satellites and components were moved from the U.S. Munitions List to the Commerce Control List.

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., “took a lead role in pushing the changes through,” said John Roth, vice president for business development at Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Louisville-based Space Systems Division. “It’s huge for us.”

It’s huge as well for Boulder-based Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp.

“We support the new federal rules,” said Leonard Anthony, assistant general counsel for Ball Aerospace’s export and control office. “They make business easier for us to conduct with U.S.-allied customers while maintaining appropriate controls around sensitive technologies.”

Before the statutory shift, all satellites were controlled under ITAR including those for commercial, research, and communications. Moving those items to the Commerce Control List makes them eligible for less restrictive licensing including some exceptions under the Export Administration Regulations.

Four categories of products are covered under the relaxed rules, according to Eric Hirschborn, undersecretary for industry and security in the Commerce Department. “Items transferred include, certain commercial communication satellites and lower-performing remote sensing satellites; ground-control systems and training simulators specially designed for telemetry, tracking and control of spacecraft, …  radiation hardened microelectronics formerly controlled in Category XV of the ITAR; and parts and components of satellite bus and payloads not listed on the USML.”

Some items remain on the list of items the government deems to have military uses, such as high-precision pointing devices. The new regulations, which were authorized by Congress in late 2012 and early 2013 and went into effect in November, actually tighten some restrictions, imposing special rules for exports to China and foreign-made items that incorporate U.S.-originated components.

Still, Roth said, “probably 90 percent of products we sell are off the list now.”

The list of affected items is voluminous, Roth said – from drivers and other electronics for satellites’ solar-power arrays to hinges, latches, actuators, solar-cell sheaths and more.

“We were able to sell them before,” Roth said, “but going through the ITAR hoops made it much more complicated.”

It’s up to special customs agents from the Department of Homeland Security to physically enforce ITAR and other U.S. import and export laws. Inspections are made at U.S. border crossings and international airports.

People and companies had faced heavy fines if they exported ITAR-protected defense articles, services or technical data without authorization. In 1996, for instance, the State Department charged Palo Alto, Calif.-based Space Systems/Loral with violating ITAR and the Arms Export Control Act as part of an investigation that resulted in tightened control over the technology surrounding satellites and launch vehicles.

Memories of the strict ITAR controls still linger, Roth said. “We’ve had our marketing folks over in Europe last week, as a matter of fact. We want to start educating our overseas customers about the new rules.

“ITAR was more of a problem with customers’ perceptions,” he said. “They’d say ‘Oh, it’s ITAR. We don’t want to deal with it. It’s too hard.’ ”

Other than JAXA, the Japanese space agency, most of Sierra Nevada’s foreign customers are private companies, Roth said, “although often their contracts are with governments.”

Sierra Nevada has yet to estimate the extra revenue the relaxed rules will mean, Roth said, but “we expect to see an uptick.”

Dallas Heltzell can be reached at 970-232-3149, 303-630-1962 or Follow him on Twitter at @DallasHeltzell.

Companies to watch in 2015

Some companies are bracing for substantial growth, while others face challenges that could make or break their futures. Either way, these businesses in the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado are worth keeping an eye on this year.

By BizWest Staff


Sierra Nevada Corp.

NASA’s decision in September to award the next round of its commercial crew program contracts to Boeing and SpaceX created plenty of uncertainty around SNC’s Dream Chaser spacecraft, which is being developed at the company’s Space Systems division in Louisville. The U.S. Government Accountability Office on Jan. 5 rejected SNC’s appeal of the combined $6.8 billion award. But the company also is vying to be part of about $14 billion in work to be awarded in NASA’s next round of contracts to carry cargo to the International Space Station. Getting a piece of those awards could be a savior for Dream Chaser in the short term as SNC works to market the vehicle to other countries that might not have the infrastructure to send their own astronauts and science into space.

Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp.

The Hubble Space Telescope celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, having launched into low-Earth orbit on April 24, 1990. Ball built one of the original Hubble instruments and also developed corrective optics for the observatory in 1993. NASA’s Kepler K-2 mission, which uses a spacecraft built by Ball, continues to search for Earth-like planets in outer space. But perhaps the most anticipated event for the company this year is the New Horizons encounter with Pluto in July. Along with Boulder’s Southwest Research Institute, Ball helped develop one of the instruments aboard the NASA mission that finally will relay up-close observations of Pluto after launching on its 3 billion-mile journey in 2006.  This all comes while Ball continues to build the Joint Polar Satellite System, a polar-orbiting weather satellite being built for NASA and NOAA and slated for launch in 2017.


Advantage Bank

Advantage Bank, with branches in Loveland, Fort Collins and Greeley, has had two tumultuous years, and 2015 could be the make-or-break year for the community bank.

Officials of Advantage Bancorp have been tight-lipped about the health of the bank that has been, at times, under watch by federal regulators because of a low capital level – a key metric in determining the health of a bank. It also has had to survive a shareholder foreclosing on a $2 million note, and an auction to sell the bank that was called off at the last moment when one of two bidders walked away rather than fight a lawsuit over the auction.

Elevations Credit Union

The Boulder-based credit union, a recent winner of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award that acknowledges performance excellence through innovation, improvement and visionary leadership, is on a roll and expanding. Where it will end up in 2015 bears watching. It opened its first branch in Fort Collins in November and one in Louisville earlier in the year, bringing its total to 12 in Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer and Adams counties. Elevations, led by president and chief executive Gerry Agnes, has plans to open more branches in 2015, including another in Fort Collins. The credit union was founded in Boulder in 1952 with less than $100 in assets and has grown to become a $1.3 billion institution.


Corgenix Medical Corp.

Broomfield-based Corgenix (OTCQB: CONX.OB) caught attention in 2014 for its development of a rapid diagnostic test kit for the Ebola virus as the illness ravaged parts of Africa. But bigger developments could be coming on that front. In June, the company received a three-year, $2.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to help speed the development of the kits. In December, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Paul G. Allen Family Foundation awarded the company grants totaling $818,000 to help fund a clinical trial in Africa. The company has said its roughly 50 employees will remain in Broomfield after the acquisition by Germany-based Orgentec Diagnostika, which was announced in August.

Hach Co.

Loveland-based Hach already employs about 1,000 people in the city but could be growing that figure significantly if work begins this year on a planned $25 million expansion of its facility. Hach manufactures instruments and reagents for testing water quality and other liquids, and has been awarded major incentives to locate its new research and development facility in Loveland rather than elsewhere. Last fall, the city of Loveland and Larimer County put together a $1 million incentive package toward the effort. The Colorado Economic Development Commission, meanwhile, awarded $2 million contingent upon the company adding 204 new jobs at the site.


Synergy Resources Corp.

Shares of Synergy (NYSE MKT: SYRG) have stayed afloat despite a downturn in oil prices this year. Shares have dropped less than 15 percent since a 52-week high of $14.11 was reached in June, while other companies’ stocks have lost half of their value during the same period. Synergy has ridden an oil boom that set a statewide record of 64.1 million barrels in 2013 and plans at least $200 million in capital spending next year. Unlike other oil companies in the region, Synergy, whose 2015 fiscal year began Sept. 1, has no plans to change its capital-spending levels, said Jon Kruljac, vice president for capital markets and investor relations. Synergy has 56,600 net acres in the Greater Wattenberg Area, with a total of 1,737 drilling locations in the region.

NGL Water Solutions DJ LLC

NGL has been thrust into the spotlight after a state government investigation linked the company’s injection well to earthquakes that occurred near the Greeley airport in the summer of 2014. The company had used the well to dispose of millions of gallons of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The state is investigating whether NGL violated the terms of its disposal permit. Meanwhile, NGL has asked to boost by 20 percent the amount of water it can inject underground, despite ongoing low-level quake activity captured by a new state monitoring program. State regulators have not made a decision on NGL’s request, said state oil commission Director Matt Lepore.


Centura Health

Englewood-based Centura has emerged as a player in Northern Colorado’s and Boulder Valley’s health-care industry with a recently announced affiliation with Longmont United Hospital, adding to the region’s competitive medical landscape. Centura has 16 hospitals, including Avista Adventist Hospital in Louisville; and six senior-living communities. It also has opened wellness centers in Dacono, Westminster and Thornton. Centura will join a growing cadre of health-care providers when it stops hiring tobacco users next year.

DaVita Healthcare Partners Inc. 

DaVita (NYSE: DVA) in Denver paid a $389 million settlement to the U.S. Justice Department in a whistleblower lawsuit that accused the company of violating the False Claims Act. The company paid illegal kickbacks to physicians who referred patients to dialysis centers in Longmont and Boulder in which physicians had an ownership stake. DaVita, whose stock steadily crept above $75 in December from $60 a year ago, also faces other whistleblower lawsuits in federal courts in Atlanta and Texas. The lawsuits allege that DaVita defrauded taxpayers when the company pursued reimbursement for overused dialysis medications.


Noosa Yoghurt LLC

Bellvue-based Noosa should wrap up a major expansion at its headquarters early this year as the five-year-old company continues to boom. Boston-based investment firm Advent International purchased a majority stake in Noosa in the fall, which should only amplify the growth. “I look for them to double or triple their sales over the next few years and be the next big thing,” said Bill Capsalis, president of the board for Naturally Boulder, a trade group devoted to the natural and organic food industry in Boulder and along the Front Range. Of course, 2015 won’t come without some hurdles for Noosa. Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage recently announced that it would be dropping Noosa’s products from its store shelves as it adopts stricter requirements for its dairy suppliers.

WhiteWave Foods Co.

While Noosa is making waves as an up-and-comer, Capsalis said he believes WhiteWave (NYSE: WWAV) could become an acquisition target for a large food company as the Broomfield-based operation continues to grow and make key acquisitions of its own. Revenue hit $857 million in the third quarter of 2014, up 34 percent from the previous year. “They just have a lot of reach in the sort of nonconventional dairy shelf right now,” Capsalis said. “I think that is something some of the bigger food companies are paying attention to all of a sudden.”



Loveland-based real estate developer McWhinney is entering 2015 with a pile of plans stacked high on its drawing board. McWhinney, headed by brothers Chad and Troy McWhinney, will be partnering on several high-profile projects including a hotel in downtown Fort Collins, a redevelopment of Denver’s historic Windsor Dairy Block and a 250-apartment project in its 935-acre North Park development in Broomfield. McWhinney and Sage Hospitality, with financial support from local investors, including Bohemian Cos., will build the 85,000-square-foot hotel at the former Armadillo restaurant site on Walnut Street in Fort Collins. In Denver, it will team with Sage Hospitality to develop Z Block, located on Wazee Street between 18th and 19th streets, that will have office and retail space, plus a hotel. In Broomfield, North Park will continue to grow with housing adding to its retail and medical space.

Markel Homes

The Boulder-based homebuilder is poised to make good on plans to oversee the building of nearly 600 homes on 126 acres at West Grange, one of the largest new residential developments in southwest Longmont. Located on the southeast corner of Nelson Road and 75th Street, West Grange backs up to hundreds of acres of Boulder County open space. Current plans call for about a 50/50 mix of single-family and multifamily homes. The first of four planned phases for the project, 90 single-family and duplex homes, will be built on 28 acres. Markel is partnering with Phoenix-based Meritage Homes, which has been active in the Northern Colorado region.


LogRhythm Inc.

Bandwidth infrastructure provider Zayo Group LLC was the area’s budding star ripe for an initial public offering when 2014 began, and made good on those expectations with a successful IPO in October. For 2015, Boulder IT security firm LogRhythm could fill that role. As cyber-security breaches become commonplace, LogRhythm’s software platform helps businesses detect and respond to such threats more quickly and accurately. “I think enterprise software security continues to accelerate,” Colorado Technology Association president Erik Mitisek said. LogRhythm pulled in a $40 million funding round in July, and CEO Andy Grolnick has said he expects that to be the company’s last round before an IPO.

Decibullz LLC

Loveland-based startup Decibullz has been riding a fast track to growth seemingly since its inception in 2012, with no signs of slowing down in 2015. The company makes custom molded earphones designed to stay in place during physical activity. Decibullz, founded by gymnastics coach Kyle Kirkpatrick, won the $250,000 top prize at the Colorado State University Blue Ocean Enterprise Challenge. That money reportedly is being used to develop and patent a multitude of new products, including higher-end and Bluetooth-compatible models that could hit the market this year.

Solid Power partners with Lockheed on Air Force project

LOUISVILLE — Solid Power Inc. of Louisville will partner with Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) to develop more efficient batteries to be used in the U.S. Air Force’s intercontinental ballistic missile system.

The two companies were awarded a $2.9 million two-year contract from the Air Force, Solid Power announced Monday.

Solid Power and Lockheed Martin will develop batteries that will extend energy storage duration and be suitable for a variety of voltage, current and environmental requirements, while reducing battery weight.

“We are extremely honored by this opportunity from the U.S. Air Force to develop the next-generation of ICBM battery systems,” said Doug Campbell, president and CEO of Solid Power, in a prepared statement. “We believe that our technology is well suited to the unique requirements of ICBMs and believe that, together with Lockheed Martin, we are well suited to address the U.S. Air Force’s need for a high performance and reliable energy storage system.”

Lockheed Martin will support Solid Power in assuring that the battery design meets program requirements and in performing test and evaluation. This will include electrochemical and environmental testing of power cell units and fully configured batteries.

Dream Chaser rerouted after NASA rebuff

Private-sector space travel potential boon

Louisville – After missing out on a major multibillion-dollar NASA contract, Sierra Nevada Corp. is forging ahead with the Dream Chaser spacecraft program in a way that wouldn’t have been possible 20, or even 10, years ago.

SNC had always planned that its versatile space plane could be marketed for a variety of purposes and now, as the market for commercial space transport blossoms, that planning is paying off, in part because of the company’s other partnerships.

If a company has developed good private partners, says aerospace analyst Marco Caceres, it can survive a rejection from NASA.

“You couldn’t do that (in the past),” said Caceres, senior analyst and director of space studies for Virginia-based Teal Group Corp. “But this is a whole new market in its early stages.”

NASA’s decision to award Boeing and SpaceX $6.8 billion for its next round of commercial crew funding no doubt stings for SNC, which bases its Space Systems division in Louisville. SNC is protesting the decision to the United States General Accounting Office, a process that should take about three months.

But SNC also isn’t waiting around. From providing turnkey space programs for countries that can’t afford their own to ferrying all kinds of cargo and small satellites to space for governments, academic institutions and companies, SNC is pursuing ways to keep Dream Chaser in the mix among the next generation of spacecraft.

And because Dream Chaser is a composite structure, once the first one is built and the mold established, subsequent vehicles become cheaper to build.

“The cost of getting the vehicles built is what we’re working on now,” Mark Sirangelo, head of SNC’s Space Systems, said. “Once they’re built, the mission opportunities seem to be there.”

If upheld, NASA’s recent decision means a greater chunk of the continued development cost of Dream Chaser – slated for its first unmanned flight into low-Earth Orbit in late 2016 – will have to come from SNC or private investors. But the company’s previous commercial crew contract with NASA runs through next year, with options to extend the relationship into 2017.

Getting beaten out in the commercial crew competition by Boeing and SpaceX also doesn’t necessarily mean the end for SNC with NASA. The United States’ space agency at the end of September announced a new round of cargo resupply contracts for the International Space Station. Sirangelo said those contracts, likely to be spread out among multiple companies, could be worth up to $14 billion in all.

SpaceX and Orbital Sciences, which have current cargo resupply deals with NASA, will no doubt be in the running for those. But the European and Japanese space agencies’ contracts to carry cargo for NASA will expire. And Dream Chaser, Sirangelo said, is uniquely suited to carry cargo.

For delicate scientific research and experiments that need to be brought back to Earth, for instance, Dream Chaser has the advantage of landing on a runway within six to 10 hours of leaving the ISS. It also returns to Earth at lower g-force than capsules such as SpaceX’s Dragon, which must make a splash-down landing in the ocean.

“If you have sensitive experiments, you want it to be taken care of,” Sirangelo said. “We think a portion of this cargo contract is something we can do very well.”

Landing part of the next cargo contract, Casares said, could be Dream Chaser’s “salvation in the short term.” It would keep a steady flow of funding coming from NASA, and would also keep the relationship with the space agency developing. Casares believes a successful protest to the GAO is unlikely but keeping the relationship with NASA alive through the cargo contract could keep SNC on NASA’s radar for future crew missions.

The Obama administration spurred much of the current commercialization of space by initiating the shift toward private companies ferrying crew and cargo for NASA rather than the agency developing its own vehicles. The thinking is that private companies could  innovate faster and less expensively than the government. But in that regard, Casares said it also benefits the government to spread its contracts around to provide contingencies if one company fails.

“If they stick around, there could be opportunities,” Casares said, for SNC to take NASA astronauts to space. “If something goes wrong with these other programs, they could be in a position to take advantage.”

Casares said SNC had a couple of disadvantages in the Commercial Crew competition. While the reusable nature of Dream Chaser makes it attractive once it is proven, SpaceX has already proven that it can dock safely with the ISS, and Boeing is a longtime stalwart of the aerospace industry.

That Dream Chaser did not have its own launch rocket, as SpaceX and Boeing do, may have been a disadvantage as well, Casares said. But that too is changing.

One of SNC’s recently announced partnerships could differentiate it in the rocket arena. SNC has designed a 75-percent scale version of Dream Chaser that could launch from Alabama-based Stratolaunch Systems’ air launch system. The system is essentially a large airplane that would carry Dream Chaser to a few miles above the Earth where Dream Chaser would launch.

Such a launch strategy would increase safety and cost savings by drastically reducing the amount of rocket fuel needed to leave the Earth.

That could make Dream Chaser more attractive for SNC’s other new initiative, Global Project. That project would provide an avenue for countries like Brazil or South Korea to send their own astronauts and science into space without incurring the cost of developing their own infrastructure to do so.

Because the ISS has limited space, many countries who want to conduct research in space can’t get on it. Dream Chaser, though, doesn’t have to dock with the ISS and can act as its own independent laboratory in orbit.

SNC isn’t releasing prices on what it might charge other countries – or academic institutions if they wanted them – for such rides. But Sirangelo said the program could be operational in a couple of years.

As a new space vehicle, Casares said the big thing for Dream Chaser is to find whatever market it can that will help it establish a frequent and safe rhythm of launches.

“If Sierra Nevada can launch and land safely dozens of times over the next few years, NASA will take notice,” he said.

The success of Dream Chaser, whether it comes via the Global Project or NASA or a combination of both, is important to Colorado’s economy. SNC, headquartered in Nevada, is a $2 billion per year company. It doesn’t disclose the revenue of Space Systems separately, but SNC employs 1,100 people between its two locations in Centennial and Louisville. Three-hundred of those are in Louisville, and that’s after 90 were laid off in the wake of NASA’s Commercial Crew decision.

While Lockheed Martin will build the composite structure for Dream Chaser out of state, design, assembly and systems testing will all be done in Colorado.

In addition to Dream Chaser, SNC launched six satellites for a company called ORBCOM over the summer and is due to launch 11 more by this time next year. SNC has also had a hand in things like the Mars rovers and the New Horizons mission that will do a fly-by of Pluto next summer. Equipment the company has helped build has been sent to seven different planets.

But Dream Chaser – nearly a decade in development since Space Systems’ days as a separate publicly traded company named SpaceDev – is certainly SNC’s most high-profile space project.

With a design that harkens back to NASA’s retired space shuttles, Dream Chaser has a chance to not only become the first privately built reusable spacecraft capable of carrying people into orbit but also of carrying on the shuttle’s legacy.

“We feel like we’re picking up their torch and moving it on,” Sirangelo said.

Joshua Lindenstein can be reached at 303-630-1943, 970-416-7343 or Follow him on Twitter at @joshlindenstein.

DigitalGlobe sets Oct. 30 as date for 3Q earnings call

LONGMONT – Satellite image company DigitalGlobe Inc. (NYSE: DGI) today announced that its third quarter 2014 financial results will be released Oct. 30.

Longmont-based DigitalGlobe had $157.8 in revenue during the second quarter 2014, a 5 percent increase compared with the same period last year, according to the company’s website.

A live webcast of the earnings conference call over the internet will be provided at 3 p.m. Oct. 30.

The live webcast and archived replay will be available at the company’s website,, after the call. To access, participants can dial 855-859-2056, or 404-537-3406 for international call. The passcode is 22965956.

Sierra Nevada announces new project for its Dream Chaser

LOUISVILLE — Sierra Nevada Corp. on Tuesday morning announced a project that aims to keep its Dream Chaser spacecraft on the path to orbit despite being passed over recently for NASA funding to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station.

SNC, which bases its Space Systems Division in Louisville, presented the Global Project spaceflight program at the International Astronautical Congress in Toronto.

The new program will be a sort of commercial space program that SNC can customize for any client. It will offer government, commercial and academic clients from around the world access to low-Earth orbit missions aboard crewed or uncrewed variants of Dream Chaser. A country, for example, could contract with SNC to carry its astronauts to space or buy Dream Chaser vehicles to conduct its own missions.

As part of the project, SNC has developed an astronaut training program based on NASA standards. The training could be conducted either in Louisville or in the country contracting with SNC.

“The Global Project offers a client the opportunity to leverage and expand its local technology and industrial base by engaging government research and development laboratories, aerospace industry and universities in developing payloads, vehicle modifications and ground-processing capabilities in support of the selected LEO missions,” said John Roth, vice president of business development for SNC’s Space Systems. “This program will literally make space accessible to people all over the world, enabling those who have only dreamed about going to space finally achieve it.”

It’s expected that the program could be operational as early as 2017 once atmosphere and orbital flight testing for Dream Chaser is complete.

SNC had been slated to launch Dream Chaser on its first unmanned orbital test flight by Nov. 1, 2016, with the first manned flight coming in 2017.

An SNC spokesperson said Tuesday that those dates are still the targets despite an announcement by NASA that SNC would miss out on the next round of funding in its Commercial Crew Program. SNC still has two milestones to fulfill under the previous round of funding received by NASA that will help with the ongoing development of Dream Chaser.

NASA earlier this month awarded Boeing and SpaceX a combined $6.8 billion to continue developing their own space capsules to carry American astronauts to space for the agency.

SNC announced on Friday that it would be appealing NASA’s decision to exclude the company from further funding for the program. SNC is also still applying to be part of NASA’s next Cargo Resupply Services contract.

Woodward Inc. announces 8-cent dividend

FORT COLLINS – Woodward Inc. (Nasdaq: WWD) has declared a quarterly cash dividend of 8 cents per share, payable on Dec. 1, 2014, for stockholders of record as of Nov. 17, 2014.

Fort Collins-based Woodward earned $46 million during the third quarter, up from $23.7 million during the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose to $524.3 million from $483.8 million.

Woodward makes control systems for the energy and aerospace markets.




Ball Aerospace named prime contractor for optical satellite system

BOULDER — Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has been selected by Laser Light Communications LLC as the prime contractor for its all-optical commercial satellite system.

Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Space-based laser communications, using laser beams, provides a new way to move large amounts of information around the globe efficiently. Advantages, of the technology, according to Laser Light is the reduced mass, power, volume of equipment and faster movement of data.

Laser Light, based in Reston, Va., hopes to serve the high bandwidth data and next-generation service needs of carriers, businesses and government agencies around the world using optical-wave technology.

Ball Aerospace will be responsible for the first phase design analysis that will lead to completion of an eight-satellite constellation operating in medium earth orbit, which covers a range from 1,200 to 22,000 miles above the Earth.

The full constellation of up to 12 satellites is expected to deliver 6 terabits of data per second with service speeds of 200 gigabits per second, bi-directionally.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies is a division of Broomfield-based can manufacturer Ball Corp. (NYSE: BLL).



City of Loveland to host symposium on innovation

LOVELAND — The city of Loveland will host its first symposium and showcase Oct. 1-3, providing educational sessions and networking opportunities for innovators in Colorado.

Accelerate CO: Advancing Colorado’s Innovation Ecosystem, a free event, will be held at the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology, 815 14th St., Loveland.

The event will feature a variety of topics, including innovation at the corporate level, financial support and collaboration opportunities from government, venture capital, product and technology design, incubation and acceleration programs and government purchasing programs.

Companies and organizations that are invited to the symposium include Lockheed Martin, NASA, Loveland-based Aleph Objects Inc., Boulder-based SparkFun Electronics Inc., Denver-based Rockies Venture Club, HumaneX Ventures, EWI (Edison Welding Institute), Southwest Research Institute, XMS Capital Partners, the Colorado Angel Network, the new U.S. Patent Office in Denver, Idaho National Labs and iBridge.

“In today’s business landscape, success comes through innovation, and innovators are not only modernizing their products and services, they are enhancing how business is done,” said Marcie Erion, event organizer with the city of Loveland, in a statement. “They are collaborating, crowdsourcing ideas and problem-solving. The best innovation comes through access; access to knowledge, to case studies, to research and to partners.”

“Unlike many other symposiums, Accelerate CO provides programming and networking opportunities at no cost to attendees so that all innovators, no matter their current access to capital, can continue to bring new ideas to market, advance their industries and thus, advance our Colorado economy,” Erion said.

RSVP is required at