A Colorado Springs company that manufactures medical devices for some of the biggest names in the business is in the midst of a growth spurt, thanks to burgeoning demand from its customers.
By the end of 2015, CEA Medical Manufacturing will have increased its Colorado Springs workforce by about 50 percent from January 2014, and it's adding a second building at its high-volume manufacturing plant in the Dominican Republic.
"Our business is booming and our staffing levels are at historic highs," said Eric Sherraden, who was named CEA's vice president and chief operating officer last month. "It is coming from growth with our existing customers that includes new designs, assemblies and transferring work from other contract manufacturers. Our engineering department has doubled to 20 people in the past few years because of all the growth that we seeing from our customers."
Started by technology industry veteran Marcus Boggs in 1988, CEA makes sterilized, single-use, electromechanical devices and guide-wire technologies used in cardiovascular, neurological and gastrointestinal surgeries for medical device giants such as Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic and Boston Scientific. Sherraden said the company is developing a new product called a septal stapler to close wounds in nose surgeries that will be manufactured in Colorado Springs for a client he declined to identify.
A year ago, CEA had 83 employees at its Springs headquarters; today, it has 103, and expects 125 by year's end to accommodate another year of double-digit revenue growth, Sherraden said.
CEA is expanding its high-volume manufacturing operation in the Dominican Republic even faster than its Colorado Springs operations. It's added 260 employees in the past year and is leasing a former casket manufacturing plant that it has spent the past year remodeling to accommodate additional manufacturing space, Sherraden said. CEA has adequate manufacturing space in the Springs for its lower-volume products, he said.
The company's reach also extends to the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. It's working with students to help design new products and has hired a few recent graduates.
CEA also wants to start an apprenticeship program in maintenance with another local institution later this year.
Sherraden has spent most of his career at CEA, joining the company in 1998 for what he thought would be a short-term job as a material handler. He was promoted seven times over the next 16 years, mostly in supply chain management, before moving into manufacturing and eventually heading those operations as vice president. He spent six months as procurement manager for Colorado Springs-based medical laser manufacturer Spectranetics Corp. before replacing Steven Burdorf as chief operating officer at CEA.
"I came back for the opportunity to continue to lead the company in a much different role than before," Sherraden said. "It is really a family atmosphere here and I want to continue to help the company grow and provide new opportunities for our employees."