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Colorado & the Aerospace Industry: A Match Made at 5,280 Feet

Colorado is home to the second largest space economy in the United States, making it an ideal location for small businesses in the aerospace industry.

While attending the Colorado Aerospace Day event on March 20, I was impressed by the wide variety of small businesses and the high degree of innovation focused on aerospace in this state. 

The latest statistics are impressive: Colorado has the second largest space economy in the country; 25,500 Coloradans are directly employed in aerospace, with a payroll exceeding $3.4 billion; the aerospace industry indirectly supports more than 188,000 jobs; Colorado has almost 500 small businesses in the aerospace field; and the state is home to multiple federal and state aerospace agencies.

Small businesses often struggle entering the aerospace industry. The complexity of government procurement is one of the challenges. Fortunately, the State of Colorado and other organizations recognize the many barriers to entry and work hard to collaborate with small businesses to support and assist them to succeed.

For example, Colorado provides grants and funding through its Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), and Colorado’s various Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) provide free counseling to all small businesses. Colorado has also invested in developing an advanced technology component through the Boulder SBDC office that benefits the aerospace industry. Additionally, multiple public universities educate new entrepreneurs and innovators, conduct research and development, and enhance Colorado’s image in the international aerospace community.

Other organizations, such as SCORE and Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), provide invaluable – and free – resources to small businesses on a variety of matters, with PTAC focusing on government contracting support. Various organizations throughout the state, including the Colorado Space Coalition (CSC), the Colorado Space Business Roundtable (CSBR), the Colorado Chapter of Citizens for Space Exploration, Colorado Space Foundation, the University of Colorado’s Aerospace Ventures, and Manufacturer's Edge also support the aerospace industry.

And yet, even with all these available resources, businesses have discovered that it can be useful to have an experienced guide like me to help them discover – and remain on – the right path. My own contribution to this community is a passion for aerospace and the knowledge and expertise to help small businesses navigate the complex maze of government procurement regulations to succeed. Through my firm, Palmetier Law, I look forward to partnering with small businesses and aerospace organizations in Colorado. While aerospace is still not easy for small businesses, Colorado companies have many resources that are focused on helping them succeed – and I’m excited to add my name to the list.



On March 20, 2017 during the Colorado Aerospace Day, the Colorado legislature passed Senate Joint Resolution 17-019 Concerning the Designation of March 20, 2017 as “Colorado Aerospace Day” and designated March 20 as Colorado Aerospace Day.

In the resolution, the Colorado legislature stated that it:

(2) Recognize[s] and appreciate[s] Colorado's space and aerospace companies and organizations, especially the growing membership and activities of the Colorado Chapter of Citizens for Space Exploration, whose activities to promote space exploration are helping to increase public understanding and enthusiasm for exploration funding;

(3) Recognize[s] and appreciate[s] the contributions of Colorado's universities, colleges, and national research laboratories to the space and aerospace industries, including their expertise in exploration of the planets and the universe and space-based Earth observation; home to multiple governmental agencies such as the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado Boulder, NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center, five key military commands--North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), the U.S. Strategic Command's Joint Functional Component Command for Space (JFCC-Space) Missile Warning Center, the United States Air Force Space Command, and the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command and three space-related United States Air Force bases--Buckley, Peterson, and Schriever, as well as the operation of the GPS satellites that support the global economy as well as the warfighters.


About the author

Karri Palmetier

Founder and owner of Palmetier Law, Karri Palmetier more than two decades of experience in government contracting and aerospace and defense industries. Her extensive background in working for and with the U.S. Government (Department of Defense, U.S. Air Force, the Intelligence Community, and NASA) gives her a unique perspective, helping companies understand the underlying policies and rationale for the government position.

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