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ARCHIVED  December 1, 1996

Region’s universities lure high-tech calibration firm

FORT COLLINS – A former employee of the National Institute for Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md., has turned to the private sector and located his company in Fort Collins.Jerry Messman ran a calibration standards program at NIST for years before launching his own firm, Spectro Standards Analytical, to provide the same service with a fraction of the red tape. After nurturing the firm for three years from his home in Maryland, Messman recently moved everything to approximately 1,000 square feet in the Drake Professional Park in Fort Collins.
It’s a lot closer to his family in Nebraska, and he’s able to draw talent from the universities in Northern Colorado.
“I like this area because we deal with optical materials and wanted to start producing optics,” Messman said.
Before relocating the company, he made several trips to Boulder and Fort Collins to assemble a “top-notch production team” that will assist with optics production on a contract basis.
“By coming here, I increased our capabilities almost exponentially,” he said.
NIST is the nation’s measurement-science laboratory, setting standards for weights and measures.
“The program I ran had so much interaction with industry,” he said. “The types of instruments we worked with were used by pharmaceutical, biotech and chemical manufacturing companies.
“At NIST, the whole thing was growing, but there wasn’t enough manpower or money to go around,” Messman said. “I saw this as something in the private sector to help the overload that NIST couldn’t do.”
Over time, Messman has attracted big clients.
“We deal with all of the blue-chip biotech and pharmaceutical companies from around the country,” he said. Customers also include firms from Puerto Rico, China and soon, Canada.
Specto Standards Analytical recalibrates measuring devices for those companies and recertifies calibration materials. Soon, it will begin producing and selling optical materials.
“NIST produced materials that companies could buy and then do their own calibration inhouse,” Messman said.
He plans to do the same, making spectrophotometers for customers.
After his current two-year lease is up, Messman envisions building a new lab for his company or moving it to true laboratory space somewhere else in the area. He took the first space available when coming out here simply because he needed to get set up quickly.
He’s hired his first full-time employee, Andrea Reeves, and expects he may eventually employ five.
“It’s not a tremendous economic impact,” Messman said, “but it’s a very prestigious type of business that lets some of these big companies know where Fort Collins is.”
It’s not inconceivable, he said, that eventually, a large firm may relocate to the area simply because of Spectro Standards Analytical being here.
As for Reeves, he said, “She’s one of the reasons we’ve been able to move so quickly.”
While she handles calibrations, Messman is freed to work on other aspects of the business.
He currently is negotiating with a major distributor in New Jersey who wants to buy his company’s optical products to relabel and resell.Firm moving from Adams to Weld
FREDERICK – Metal Sales Inc. is preparing to relocate its business from Adams County to a 106,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility in the Frederick West Business Park.
Weld County and the Town of Frederick were chosen over Pueblo during the site-selection process.
Approximately 35 existing jobs and 22 new ones will be part of the transaction.
According to the Greeley/Weld Economic Development Action Partnership Inc., Metal Sales will invest about $4 million in the new facility and its accompanying 18-acre site.
Metal Sales produces steel panels and components for the building industry and has 12 sales and manufacturing locations. Products include materials for roof, wall and fascia panel systems and structural materials.
EDAP is preparing a Community Development Block Grant on behalf of Frederick that seeks $100,000 for a new turn lane that will enter the property from the Interstate 25 Frontage Road.
The new building should be completed in the spring.Ill. firm expands to Fort Collins
FORT COLLINS – An Illinois-based electronics firm is spinning off a technology division and basing it here.
Decatur Electronics Inc., which makes speed-measuring devices, will establish a local office for engineering design and product development.
The private, family-owned firm employs approximately 60 people at its headquarters. Company officials were drawn to this area by Colorado State University graduates who now work for the company.
“We have two engineers who came to us fresh out of CSU,´ said Jim Sanner, head of the technologies division. “They’ve been homesick for Colorado ever since they came to us.”
Sanner has already relocated to the area. The engineers will follow, and two or three hires likely will take place soon after.
Sanner expects the newly established division to operate out of his basement for two or three months before moving into an industrial area in or near Fort Collins.
Decatur Electronics’ primary product has been radar devices for law-enforcement. Its products are used both nationally and internationally.
Its other area of expertise is speed-measuring devices for sports, chiefly baseball and softball. It’s hoped, Sanner said, that the company will move further into that market.
“We’ll be going beyond the pro market to high-school coaches and softball leagues,” he said.
While the technology for sports-measuring devices has continued to improve, prices have gone down. A product that once cost $1,400 now is about $750, Sanner said.
Decatur Electronics uses a microwave antenna that emits electromagnetic waves and uses the Doppler shift to feed the signal back into a computer or radar device.
The company has evaluated photo radar and speed cameras, such as are in use in Fort Collins now. Sanner noted, however, that the method is having difficulty finding acceptance in the United States because of its “Big Brother” image.
He said that although there are not too many companies involved in the development and manufacturing of speed-measuring devices, competition in the industry is strong.
A similar company based in Loveland, Colorado Time Systems Inc., produces speed-measuring devices for swimming and other sporting events.Airpark lands distribution facility
LOVELAND – Ground-breaking has occured for a new regional distribution facility for Coors Beer and associated beverage products at the intersection of Earhart Road and Wright Drive in the Loveland-Fort Collins Industrial Airpark.
The facility will be owned and operated by High Country Beverage Corp., with Dave Nichols as president. The company purchased almost 2 1/2 acres for the site that provides easy access to Interstate 25 and a Northern Colorado distribution territory.
The 32,000-square-foot facility will include administrative offices and both dry and cold storage for Coors products.
Design and construction services were provided by Architectural Resource Group and R.C. Heath Construction Co., both of Fort Collins. The land was sold by Tom Livingston of the Everitt Cos.Cabinet manufacturer sets up shop
FORT COLLINS – A veteran cabinet manufacturer has moved to a new location in the Lincoln Warehouse Condos.
Wood Masters, a woodworking and cabinet-manufacturing company that builds custom cabinets, countertops and fixtures, purchased 1713 E. Lincoln Ave., a 4,500-square-foot commercial space.
Owners Brian and Janice Tormey were able to make the purchase because of a $250,000 U.S. Small Business Administration-guaranteed loan. It was arranged by Tom Wilczynski of The Money Store Investment Corp.’s Fort Collins office. The commercial broker in the deal was Ron Kresl of Miscio & Stroud Inc.
“We’re hoping that we can maintain the current level of work until we can afford to expand,” Brian Tormey said.Sales & leases
Ewing Irrigation Products leased 7,398 square feet at 901 S.W. Frontage Road, No. A, in Fort Collins. Almost 50 years old, the company is a fast-growing irrigation wholesaler and has 45 branches in seven Western states. This is its first move into Colorado. Dan Eckles and Tricia Diehl of Realtec Commercial Real Estate Services Inc. arranged the deal.
Stamper Black Hills Gold leased 1,500 square feet at the Rocky Mountain Factory Stores in Loveland. Steve Pfister of Realtec handled the deal.
Poudre Feed Supply has occupied 6,500 square feet at 6204 S. College Ave. in Fort Collins. The property recently was sold to John DeFilippi of Boulder Enterprises. Steve Stansfield and Dan Eckles of Realtec handled the deal.Carol Wood covers real estate for The Business Report. She can be reached at (970) 221-5400, (970) 356-1683, (800) 440-3506 or via e-mail at ncbr@aol.com.
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FORT COLLINS – A former employee of the National Institute for Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md., has turned to the private sector and located his company in Fort Collins.Jerry Messman ran a calibration standards program at NIST for years before launching his own firm, Spectro Standards Analytical, to provide the same service with a fraction of the red tape. After nurturing the firm for three years from his home in Maryland, Messman recently moved everything to approximately 1,000 square feet in the Drake Professional Park in Fort Collins.
It’s a lot closer to his family in Nebraska, and he’s…

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