The Colorado Manufacturing Awards reach a milestone in 2020 — five years of celebrating companies and people reimagining manufacturing in this most unlikely industrial outpost.

Surprising or not, Colorado’s sector is today a national model of diversity and innovation, and the 40+ companies and people selected from a record number of nominations represent the best-ever CMA finalist class.

Here’s the first wave of CMA finalists. It’s an influential class.

The wine group is a CMA first. The finalists are equally fresh; innovation for this group means refocusing on quality even as new production and packaging solutions continue to shape the industry.

Two past CMA winners are back to defend hard-earned titles in the Building & Construction Manufacturer of the Year category, only to compete against a successful upstart from Aurora. Colorado’s crazy-innovative food sector is represented by two of its leading brands and one of its most influential co-packers.

Equipment makers dot the manufacturing landscape here and three of Colorado’s finest emerged as 2020 CMA finalists. The Aerospace category is unsurprisingly brilliant, with a finalist from last year, Barber-Nichols, Inc., returning for a go at the top spot.

Finalists in the Consumer Brand category flash industry-leading design acumen, appropriate as the CMAs first-ever Innovative Design category shines a light on companies and products conceived and manufactured in the tightening design-to-production continuum reflective of modern shops.

Three distinctive Energy & Environmental finalists round out this first wave, setting the table for next week’s remaining 2020 CMA finalists.

Outstanding Food Brand/Copacker

Ready Foods, Denver

American Outdoor Products, Boulder

Honey Smoked Fish Holdings, Denver

Innovative Product — Design-to-Manufacture

Eldon James/WilMarc, Fort Collins

Guerrilla Gravity, Denver

TEI Rock Drills, Montrose

Outstanding Consumer Brand

Black Hound Design Company, Arvada

Meier Skis, Denver

Parasoleil, Westminster

Aerospace Manufacturer of the Year

Barber-Nichols, Arvada

AdamWorks, Centennial

Roccor, Longmont

Outstanding Energy & Environmental Manufacturer

VAIREX air systems, Boulder

Agri-Inject, Yuma

Segrity, Denver

Winery of the Year

Carboy Winery, Littleton

The Storm Cellar, Hotchkiss

Buckel Family Wine, Gunnison

Building & Construction Manufacturer of the Year

RK, Denver

Tharp Cabinets, Loveland

CeDUR, Aurora

Industrial/Equipment Manufacturer of the Year

TEI Rock Drills, Montrose

Right Stuff Equipment, Denver

Panther Industries, Highlands Ranch

Read about the remaining finalists next week:

Outstanding Woman in Manufacturing (with Women in Manufacturing, Colorado chapter)

Outstanding Craft Distiller

Advanced Manufacturing & Machining Award

Outstanding Bioscience Manufacturer

Outstanding Cannabis Manufacturer

Outstanding Craft Brewer

Bart Taylor is publisher of CompanyWeek. Reach him at

Register here to attend the fifth annual Colorado Manufacturing Awards April 2, 5-8 p.m., as winners are announced at a gala reception and program.