While Colorado is gaining worldwide recognition as a hub for startup growth, how much of that attention is focused on rural communities? With a new 8-episode podcast series, Startup Colorado will turn the spotlight to founders farther off the beaten path. The Flyovers will feature interviews with entrepreneurs driven to build businesses in the places they call home.
The Flyovers is hosted by Alan Wartes, a writer, musician and digital media producer based in Gunnison. Through his discussions with entrepreneurs, Wartes reveals the challenges, opportunities, and chiefly, the importance of founding a business in a rural community.
Episode 8: Youth Entrepreneur Fair – Starting Entrepreneurs Early
In this special episode of The Flyovers, host Alan Wartes talks with John Wittler, Regional Coordinator and Development Director of Ogallala Commons—a Great Plains region community advocacy non-profit. Wittler shares his vision for an OC program called the Youth Entrepreneur Fair—a kind of business incubator for young people in rural communities.
Episode 7: Bonsai Design – Adding Some Zip to Rural Economics
In this episode, our host Alan Wartes talks with Sarah Shrader, owner and co-founder of Bonsai Design in Grand Junction, Colorado. The company is a one-stop shopping center for the design and installation of world-class aerial adventure courses—from tree-top canopy tours to 3,000 foot zip lines.
Episode 6: Delta Brick & Climate Company – Mud, Methane, and the Mad Scientist
In this episode, host Alan Wartes talks with Chris Caskey, founder and owner of the Delta Brick and Climate Company in Paonia. Caskey is a chemist and materials scientist working to position his company to make a difference in several big picture environmental challenges at once.
Episode 5: Fence Easier – Better Fences, Better World
Fence Easier founder Ray Lyons proves that startups happen everywhere and that innovations that emerge from necessity will captivate your bottom line, your heart, and your soul. Join our host Alan Wartes as he discusses how Ray developed a new method of installing fences that cuts time on the range in half, allowing for more BBQ with the family.
Episode 4: StoneAge Waterblast Tools – Built to Last
In this installment, host Alan Wartes talks with John Wolgamott, co-founder of Durango-based high-pressure water blasting tools manufacturer, StoneAge. Established in 1979 in a garage workshop, the company is now a leader in a different kind of innovation—employee ownership. We explore what it takes to not only startup, but to keep going.
Episode 3: Hemp Foundry – Riding the Wave
“Riding the Wave” is part three in a series of six special episodes of the Flyovers. In this episode, host Alan Wartes talks with John Kelly, CEO of the Hemp Foundry in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The manufacture of CBD products — which are derived from hemp, and not to be confused with cannabis — is an industry that’s in the process of exploding all across the world. Kelly and his crew at the Hemp Foundry are at the leading edge of that wave.
Episode 2: Oveja Negra – Black Sheep of the Family Business
Oveja Negra makes making things cool. They are more than a bomb-proof bikepacking bag manufacturer; they are a culture in and of themselves with the rare honesty that owns every step of their journey from the kitchen table in Leadville to their growing factory in Salida. Not to mention, Lane’s commitment to her company leaves you ready to apply for a job.
Episode 1: Land & People Are Our Cultural Levers
As Hickenlooper aired during his time as Governor, topophilia or “love of place” is a cultural norm in Colorado. We felt it essential to explore this dynamic as we launched the podcast series. Land and people are our core cultural commodities, and it is interesting to witness how one informs the other. The Wright, in Golden, CO – an annual conference for outdoor-inspired misfits and startups – was the perfect place to feature the kick-off to this series in honor of rural entrepreneurs.