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George Morris, right, client services manager for Imulus, listens to Mark Walker, vice president of sales and marketing at Conduant Corp.

Designs on the future

George Morris, Former workers form company out of closed unit

By Erika Stutzman Camera Business Writer
January 18, 2003

In the summer of 2000, now known to be the beginning of the end for countless small technology operations, a successful Pennsylvania-based Internet strategy and design firm called Refinery opened a Boulder office.

By November 2002, the still-surviving firm had laid off its local production staff to become a small consultancy.

But three members of that production team struck out on their own, establishing Imulus, a Longmont company that aims to create everything from an Internet strategy, to brand-building, to marketing and advertising campaigns for clients including Conduant Corp. and the YWCA of Boulder.

"We can offer Fortune 500 experience, but we don't need to charge what large consultant firms need to charge," said Scott Hooten, creative director of Imulus.

Imulus is comprised of Hooten, George Morris, client services manager, and John Skufca, technology director.

"On Nov. 1, 2002, they (Refinery) laid off the production people who were still left," Morris said. "The same day, we decided, 'Yeah, we can do this.'"

Mark Walker is vice president of sales and marketing for Longmont-based Conduant Corp., which makes recording and playback equipment for the scientific research, military and aerospace industries. Walker started working with the Imulus team members when they were still with Refinery, and the relationship continues.

"Our existing Web site does not reflect our business enough," Walker said. "We needed a change."

The result is not only an upcoming Web site that looks more sophisticated and is easier to navigate, but a relationship with a team that put together a cohesive image for the 12-employee Conduant, including a trade show booth and brochures.

"We would go to one company for artwork, then another for brochures and another for a Web site," Walker said. "I wanted to put all my marketing eggs in one basket. I can't stand going to all these different people 'Can you please get our new logo to these other people to put together a brochure, then we can send that off to the Web people.'

"They (Imulus) can do everything," Walker said.

The Imulus team is not unique in continuing its operations after the parent firm decided to shut it down.

Boulder-based International Approvals Laboratories, a testing firm, was founded by two former executives of the Boulder unit of TUV, a German firm. When TUV announced it was pulling out of Colorado, Bob Cresswell and Todd Seeley formed a business plan, took out loans and bought the six-employee unit from TUV in order to keep it operational.

That sale, which closed this month, included the current office and lab in Boulder and a remote testing site near Lyons.

Imulus' formation, since it wasn't a business purchase involving assets, was considerably less formal.

"Refinery gave us a server in exchange for me driving their equipment back to Pennsylvania," Morris said.

The three are bootstrapping their firm, working from home in order to keep their expenses to a minimum.

They hope to post a profit by March or April, and one of their first goals is to establish an office, probably in Longmont. Though their debt load is low-to-none, they acknowledge the difficulty of launching a new firm during a technology spending drought.

"We figure if we can be successful in this economy, then when it turns around, we'll be set," Morris said.

Contact Erika Stutzman at or (303) 473-1354.


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