Phil Castle, The Business Times
Eric Goertz not only oversees operations at a growing Grand Junction manufacturer, but also promotes what he hopes will become a growing industry sector in Western Colorado.
The dual successes of Capco and Goertz attracted the recognition of a statewide membership organization for manufacturers. Capco received the Manufacturer of the Year award from the Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance.
CAMA President Tim Heaton says the award reflects the success of Capco in advancing its work force, technology and business, but also the success of Goertz in advancing the manufacturing sector.
In addition to working as vice president of operations at Capco, Goertz serves as chairman of the CAMA West Chapter.
Goertz was involved in establishing the first chapter of CAMA as a successor organization to what was the Western Colorado Manufacturing Alliance and before that the Mesa County Manufacturer’s Council.
Goertz attended the annual CAMA meeting in Denver where the awards were presented and was surprised when it was announced Capco had won the Manufacture of the Year Award. “I was very pleased and honored.”
A defense contractor that provides weapons mounts for platforms and vehicles, counter measures for aircraft and other products for the military, Capco has operated in Grand Junction since 1971, Goertz says. With 270 employees, Capco ranks among the largest employers in the Grand Valley and largest manufacturers in Western Colorado. Goertz says he’s worked for Capco for 25 years.
While defense contracting is a highly competitive process, Capco fares well because of its capabilities, Goertz says. The company can take a product from conception and design through development and fabrication without relying on subcontractors. “We do all of that, and that sets us apart from a lot our competition.”
At the same time, Capco isn’t limited by current capabilities given the technical expertise of the staff to react quickly to take advantage of new opportunities, he says.
At a time when other defense contractors have faced declining work because of shrinking budgets, Capco has increased sales and production, Goetz said. In fact, he expects to increase staffing by 30 to 40 in 2016 to fulfill a new contract.
Heaton says CAMA awards recognizes members for advancing various aspects of their operations, whether its personnel, manufacturing processes or business. The Manufacturer of the Year award takes into account all those criteria, and Capco was selected over five other nominees.
In addition, though, the award honors Goertz for his leadership in uniting manufacturers in Western Colorado and promoting the industry, Heaton says. The creation of the CAMA West Chapter, the first for CAMA, served as a model for a second chapter that formed in the Colorado Springs area, he says.
Goertz also has been involved in organizing a manufacturing summit in Grand Junction for the past two years to promote connections among manufacturers on the Western Slope and across the state. Goertz arranges tours of local manufacturers, networking events and meetings in which participants share best practices. In addition, he serves as chairman of an advisory committee that makes sure engineering students at Colorado Mesa University learn what they need to succeed at jobs in manufacturing.
Those efforts have furthered the mission of CAMA and nearly 250 manufacturers that belong to the organization, Heaton says. “We’re about growing manufacturing and putting Colorado manufacturers on the map.”
Manufacturing has achieved some success in that regard, Heaton says, in ranking second among industry sectors for job creation so far in 2015, behind only construction. But manufacturers also face what Heaton called “headwinds” in slowing energy development related to low prices, a strong dollar that makes exports more expensive and uncertainty in the global economy.
Given the higher wages manufacturers pay and materials and services they purchase from suppliers, growth in the sector constitutes a riding tide that lifts all boats, Goertz says. “That’s kind of how I view things.”
The Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance West Chapter meets the third Thursday of every month. For information, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.coloradomanufacturing.org.