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Business Profiles

Live in a Rural Community and Compete in the Global Economy

Ciello LogoInnovation and forward thinking are no strangers to Ciello, Powered by REC.  When the REC started Ciello, their goal was to make fiber optic broadband internet service available throughout the San Luis Valley.  The company is expanding all of the time, adding customers in the 8,000 square miles of the Valley - doing aerial work year-around and underground work from spring to late autumn.  In just four years, Ciello has deployed 630 miles of fiber as well as wireless internet service, making broadband available to 12,000 households and businesses.    

Fiber Optics and CablingIn addition to serving as a regional provider to municipalities and rural areas, Ciello has reached out to off-the-grid locations.  Residents living or building a new home in the Valley’s off-grid locations can get a point-to-point wireless connection; they can call over Wi-Fi and attend regular conference calls.  This service is invaluable to people who do international business and need 24-hour service each day. For customers living up some of the local canyons, such as Pinos Creek and San Francisco Creek, Ciello service is the only option for getting a cell phone connection.

Ciello’s Monroe Johnson says he is amazed at the importance of landlines to their customers, “out of the company’s 4,400, almost 1,500 kept their landlines. Most work-at-home customers find that 100 megabit (Mbps) service is sufficient for their needs; very few need a gigabit (Gbps). For work-at-home, Ciello offers a virtual private network and very low latency, which is the speed it takes a packet to get from their office to Denver, for example.  Because of this, virtual private networks work very well.”

Valley hospitals and larger companies utilize 100 Mbps Transparent LAN Service for their point-to-point network connections to other offices.  Ciello also partners with other companies to help them reach facilities outside the Valley.   

For security, Ciello connects its fiber all the way to the modem that provides Wi-Fi (wireless) coverage throughout business locations and residences; there is no easy way to eavesdrop on Ciello’ s secure connections. Symmetrical fiber connection speeds up to one Gbps are available.   

The company will have two Network Operations Centers in the Valley and has Internet Protocol Version 6 Support (IPV6), which offers billions of addresses. Ciello also installed wireless towers to temporarily reach many additional customers in the Valley.  In areas where a good signal is available, 100 Mbps connections are available.

Ciello has four points of redundancy – one over Poncha Pass and three over La Veta Pass (on two separate fiber cables).  And they are working on more; eventually additional routes will go over Wolf Creek Pass to Pagosa and Durango, and on south to Albuquerque.

Story by Upper Rio Grande Economic Development 1/31/2020

Engineering the Future of Hemp Production

FormationAg logo horizontal tightIn the heart of the Upper Rio Grande is Formation Ag, an engineering and equipment fabrication company developing solutions for harvesting and processing industrial hemp. Initially a division of Power Zone Equipment, Inc., in late 2018 Formation Ag moved into its new location just north of Monte Vista, Colorado and repurposed a 28,000 square-foot building.

FormationAg TractorAfter one year from that date – and only in their second year of business – they have increased production six-fold. The company employs 25 people, nearly all of whom were hired in 2019 from the local skilled talent pool; they are now looking outside the region for more engineers.

Formation Ag is the United States pioneer of specialized farm machinery for the Industrial Hemp Industry and a leader in industrial hemp farming. Less than two full years into its inception, the company is meeting challenges head on, from working with federal and state regulatory agencies that are currently behind schedule, to educating customers on the characteristics/qualities/advantages of the many varieties of hemp.

The company is always working on new products for growing, harvesting, decorticating, and processing industrial hemp. They engineered, designed and manufactured a “gentle” Harvester for the fibrous “tough” hemp plant to eliminate wrapping, jamming, and damage caused by traditional harvesting equipment.

Randy Wright, Operations Manager, says “Industrial hemp for CBD requires a gentle approach to prevent loss or degradation of oils. We can engineer for 80% of the hemp varieties, but the remaining 20% of crops are problematic, like the big, bushy “Christmas tree” varieties. In the future we plan to educate and help farmers to start with a plant variety that works best as a production agricultural crop.”

Formation Ag has benefited from bringing in Manufacturers Edge, a leading consulting service to coach personnel in a program of collaboration-focused industry. Wright credits Formation Ag’s success to hiring good employees with excellent work ethics, initiating them in the shop as assembly people before being moved to other areas, then coaching them to be part of the improvement process of the factory and the product.

Story by Upper Rio Grande Economic Development 11/27/2019