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7/27/2003

Local trio of firms at top among innovators

By Tony Kindelspire
The Daily Times-Call

LONGMONT — Longmont was well-represented Thursday night at the Boulder County Business Report’s annual IQ — or Innovation Quotient — awards.

Three companies based in Longmont pulled in awards — and in one category, all the nominees were from the city.

Joe Ryan, president of Ionic Fusion, took time when accepting his award to thank the company’s customers.

“They push us to places we really didn’t know we could go,” Ryan told the 450-plus who turned out at the Raintree Plaza and Conference Center.

Ionic Fusion, incorporated in 2001, has developed a proprietary process that allows the company to impregnate “target materials” into virtually any surface. The technology can be used in the injection molding industry, electronics and health care, among others.

Appropriately enough, the company took the IQ award in the Commercial and Industrial Products & Services category.

Longmont’s Cornice Inc. beat out two other locals — Conduant Corp. and InPhase Technologies — to take the award in the Computer Products & Services category.

Cornice has developed a portable, 1.5-gigabyte storage device for use in MP3 players, personal stereos and other handheld devices, and has already landed several large manufacturers as clients.

Two and a half years old, Cornice announced earlier this year that it had landed $22 million in venture capital money in order to bring its product to market.

The other Longmont winner Thursday night was CreekPath Systems Inc., a storage company that won in the Software Products & Services category.

In accepting the award, Dennis Grant, CreekPath’s CEO and chairman of the board, had some optimistic news to share with the crowd.

“We are ahead of our numbers half-year, which is unusual for this climate,” Grant said in a thick Scottish brogue, adding that his company expected to hire 30 more people by year’s end.

Now in its fourth year, the IQ awards showcase the most innovative companies in Boulder County. This year, there were nearly 80 companies vying for awards in 10 categories. It was the second year the awards have been held at the Raintree, and the Longmont Area Economic Council was a major sponsor of the event.

“There was so much competition this year,” said Theresa Szczurek, president and CEO of Technology Management Solutions and one of the judges for this year’s awards. “We don’t only have start-ups that we’re choosing from. You saw Roche (Colorado Corp.) and UCAR (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research); there’s some large companies that are doing some innovative things.”

Other categories and their respective IQ Award winners were:

• Business Products & Services — CTEK, which was honored for its “Finance Track” program, which helps early-stage companies get financing.

• Consumer Products & Services — IZZE Beverage Co., producers of IZZE Sparkling Fruit Juices.

• Internet/Web Products & Services — LifePics, a Boulder company involved in online imaging and photo-finishing.

• Medical and Health Products & Services — Roche Colorado Corp., a drug company that has invented a 106-step process for developing a new class of AIDS drugs.

• Non-Profit Products & Services — YWCA of Boulder County, honored for “Children’s Alley,” which has offered emergency, drop-in child care — particularly for children with special needs — in Boulder for the past 20 years.

• Sports and Leisure Products & Services — GoLite LLC, which has invented C-Thru, a fabric and apparel line that dissipates perspiration. The product is marketed to indoor and outdoor athletes, as well as the military and police markets.

• Telecommunication Product & Services — Roving Planet Inc., which makes management and control systems for wireless networks.

Tony Kindelspire can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 291, or by e-mail at tkindelspire@times-call.com.