Machining her role: Executive runs one of the largest woman-owned firms in Colorado

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Lindsey Robinson, president and owner of Industrial Screen and Maintenance, oversees diverse operations in Grand Junction and Casper, Wyo., that include machining, fabricating and urethane coating. ISM ranks among the top 100 women-owned companies in Colorado, according to the latest results of an annual magazine listing.

Lindsey Robinson considers herself something of an outlier as a woman who owns a machining company. But that doesn’t change a managerial approach she says focuses on diversifying and growing operations while providing a good place to work for employees.

If anything, Robinson says she strives to continue building on a family business established more than 50 years ago as well as a reputation for customer service. “We like to solve problems.”

Robinson is owner and president of Industrial Screen and Maintenance, overseeing operations in Grand Junction as well as Casper, Wyo.

With $8 million in 2019 gross revenues, ISM ranks 35th among the top 100 woman-owned companies in Colorado in the latest list compiled for ColoradoBiz magazine.

Comfort Keepers, a company offering in-home services to seniors and others who need assistance, was the only other Grand Junction firm to make the list. Owned by Ora Lee, Comfort Keepers reported gross revenue of nearly $6 million in 2019 and moved from 48th to 45th.

Robinson says she was pleased to make the list. “We’re super excited. That’s pretty cool.”

Robinson says ISM participated for the first time in the ranking process to increase awareness as a woman-owned business. The company has nearly completed the process to earn certification from the U.S. Small Business Administration as a woman-owned business.

That offers an advantage, she says, in providing services and products to other companies as well as competing for government contracts set aside for women-owned businesses.

ISM offers a range of services and products that include machining, fabricating and urethane coatings. True to its name, the company provides screens for the mining and drilling industries as well as hemp processors and breweries, Robinson says.

Robinson bought ISM in 2018 when her father, Daniel Miner, retired.

Miner took over the operation in 2000 when his father, Robert “Pete” Miner retired. Robert Miner started ISM in Casper in 1969 by manufacturing screens for the uranium industry, a product the company still produces.

Robinson and her husband, Aaron, became involved in 2005 when ISM opened a location in Grand Junction. Aaron oversees company operations. Lindsey Robinson says they joined the family business in part to relocate from New Mexico.

Robinson says she initially handled sales and marketing, drawing on her experience as an account executive for a telecommunications company.

In addition to a 63,000-square-foot facility in Grand Junction, ISM operates three facilities in Casper. The company employs 18 in Grand Junction and 13 in Casper.

ISM has faced challenges over the years, Robinson says, in coping with the business cycles of the energy industry to which the company provides products and services. When energy exploration and production activities slow, so do sales. “Your business model changes overnight.”

To keep skilled and experienced employees on the payrolls during downturns requires creativity, she says. Her grandfather used to fix refrigerators and garage door openers to stay in business. Robinson says she strives to diversify operations by providing different products and services for different markets.

ISM has increased the products and services it provides with urethane — a versatile material that can be used in a range of applications, Robinson says. The company makes custom molded products and also offers urethane linings. The linings provide protection against chemicals and abrasion that enables components to last far longer.

What hasn’t changed over 50 years, she says, is the capability and willingness of the company to help customers solve problems — whether that’s fabricating a replacement to a part that’s no longer available or designing something new.

ISM also continues to offer a good place for employees to work, Robinson says, with good benefits and livable wages. Employees provide quality products and services because they care about what they’re doing. They care because the company in turn cares about them, she says.

While more women work in the machining industry, Robinson says she still considers her role unique.

Balancing her role at work and her role at home as the mother of three daughters presents challenges as well.

But Robinson says she enjoys running the family company, changing operations to meet changing circumstances and juggling what can be a hectic schedule. “I love it. I thrive on challenge.”