Home > CO > Grand Junction > Education, Careers & Opportunity > Grand Junction, CO: Big on Business

Grand Junction, CO: Big on Business

Diverse economy, high quality of life and affordable costs (did we mention amazing outdoor recreation?) make Western Colorado a haven for entrepreneurs and companies.

By Bill Lewis on February 3, 2023

Tipsy Trailer in Grand Valley, CO
Tipsy Trailer

Companies that protect data security, monitor the condition of infrastructure equipment, design innovative outerwear and operate a mobile bartending service are completely different, but they have one thing in common. They excel at doing business in Grand Junction and the surrounding communities, thanks to a great location, bustling economy and other factors.

“I have worked in and loved the food and beverage industry for over 20 years and have been looking for the perfect opportunity to start my own business. And this was definitely it. The mobile bar industry is doing some really cool things and I am so excited to see where it goes,” says Sarah Keen, owner of Tipsy Trailer.

The company is a mobile bartending business that serves specialty cocktails in a vintage bar trailer. She launched her business with the support of the Business Incubator Center in Grand Junction. Keen participates in the Commercial Kitchen Program, which helps culinary professionals achieve their dreams.

Did You Know?

The Business Incubator Center supports entrepreneurs in Mesa County
and the surrounding area on the journey from business launch and growth
to stabilization and long-term success.

Grand Valley’s unparalleled quality of life and lower cost encouraged cybersecurity firm Cloudrise to relocate to Grand Junction, CO from Denver. The results have met the high expectations of founder and CEO Rob Eggebrecht, who notes its affordability and access to recreation options. “You’re so close to so many outdoor activities,” he says. “It’s just a phenomenal opportunity.”

Cloudrise focuses on securing data wherever it resides and assists organizations by assessing, enabling, automating and managing their data protection and privacy programs.

Diverse Economy in the Grand Valley

Grand Valley offers a sophisticated and diverse economy that includes aerospace and advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, energy and renewables, health and medical care, and outdoor recreation.

Industry-leading companies with operations in the region include West Star Aviation and Capco. West Star’s Grand Junction operation occupies more than 281,820 square feet of space. The company employs more than 400 workers in Grand Junction. In addition to its fueling support services, West Star Aviation specializes in business aircraft maintenance, modifications and refurbishment for turboprop to long-range business jets.

Thriving in Grand Valley

Grand Valley’s diverse economy ranges from a health care sector that employs thousands of workers to a legacy agriculture sector that includes production
of grapes, peaches and honey. The region is home to more than 30 wineries
as well as craft breweries and distilleries.

Capco is a designer, developer and manufacturer of highly engineered mechanical and energetic devices. The company serves as a prime contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense and serves commercial customers in a variety of industries.

Capco operates from a 100,000-plus-square-foot facility and has a workforce of more than 300, including an in-house engineering team of engineers, physicists and chemists.

Leitner-Poma in Grand Valley, CO

From Outerwear to Infrastructure

The region’s vast outdoor recreation opportunities, mild climate and diverse terrain attract companies that cater to outdoor enthusiasts, such as bike components makers DT Swiss and Mountain Racing Products, and aerial lift manufacturer Leitner-Poma.

Outerwear manufacturer Loki was founded by brothers Dirk and Seth Anderson, who envisioned the company while climbing Mount Sneffels in 1990. The weather changed dramatically, and they had the idea for clothing that would change as well. For example, Loki gear changes to be warmer with built-in mitts and a neck warmer or cools down with vents. Some gear can turn into backpacks.

Companies like Hayden Data are a key element in the region’s economy. The company’s main U.S. operation is in Grand Junction. The company developed patent-pending technology to monitor structural, environmental and operational conditions of equipment including utility poles, oil and gas assets, and telecommunications towers.

The technology can help identify fires and other issues before they become catastrophic events. “Particularly rural Colorado, characterized by wildfire risk and remoteness, will greatly benefit from seeing the deployment of our technology across transmission and distribution infrastructure in the region. Making the power grid and communities safer and more resilient is our mission, after all,” says Florian Gegier, director of sales and business development at Hayden Data.

Business Spotlight: Aspen Technologies

Complementing the region’s high quality of life is its growing business and entrepreneurial scene. Charlie Conaway, founder of Aspen Technologies Group, moved to Grand Junction in 2011, started his company in 2018 and hired his first employee in January of 2019. The company works with Amazon Technologies, a research and development subsidiary of Amazon, to help clients move their call center platforms to the cloud. Livability chatted with Conaway about living and working in the Grand Valley.

What made you want to start Aspen Technologies, and why here?
I worked for other companies like us prior … I just basically took what I knew the other vendors were missing, and I knew that I wanted to do it. I knew I had to be immersive. I knew that Grand Junction had a lower cost of living. I knew that it had fewer distractions for employees. Our team – there are fewer distractions, so they come to work, and they like their freedom, they can go do stuff. But what I didn’t account for was some of the core talent we were able to find in Grand Junction that’s just off -the-scales smart people.

What kind of success have you seen since you started?
We’re now 60 to 70 people, mostly in Grand Junction. We’re not only working with small and medium customers, but we’re also working with Allegiant Air, which is actually not our biggest. We run the State of Colorado. We run the California DMV. We’re about to revamp (airlines) United and American’s call center platforms, which is unheard of for a company of our age and size. We’re actually doing GEICO, so by next year when you call 1-800-GEICO, that’s going to be all the stuff that we rebuilt … When you think about American, United and GEICO, it’d be hard to find someone that doesn’t interact with one of those three companies.

What advice would you give entrepreneurs starting a business?
Get the right plan in place, look at the multiyear vision, and then get the right funding in place to do what you really want to do. Finding a good financial partner is important. And then the other is how to operationalize and automate as much as possible.

– Writer Lindsey Hyde contributed to this article.

Array ( [0] => 157269 [1] => 148488 )
Array ( )
Array ( )
Array ( [0] => 157269 [1] => 148488 )

More To Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Keep up to date with our latest rankings and articles!
Enter your email to be added to our mailing list.