A 1993 graduate of Cornell University, Mr. Small developed temperature sensitive inks in his dormitory room, and launched CTI in Ithaca, NY. He moved the company to Colorado Springs three years later to allow employees to utilize the area’s outdoor lifestyle and the region’s growing entrepreneurial spirit.
CTI achieved its first of several patents in 1997, and in 2007, began supplying Coors with temperature-sensitive inks that gave rise to the slogan When the Mountains Turn Blue, It’s As Cold as the Rockies! CTI’s expertise has allowed beverage cans to receive such “metal decoration” during incredibly fast-paced, high-speed manufacturing line processes.
CTI has since expanded to provide thermochromic (temperature sensitive) inks that can indicate hot temperatures, as well as photochromic inks which are sensitive to light. In addition to Coors products, the company’s growing customer list now includes additional marketplace giants as Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, Duracell, Monster Energy and Pizza Hut.
The company’s goal is to be a partner in innovation, creation and differentiation with a service platform that has three tiers: Product Research and Development; Design; and Technical Support. CTI now has a global footprint with customers across every continent except Antarctica.
CTI’s expansion into new markets such as security and anti-counterfeiting measures is well thought out. These will all benefit from Mr. Small’s establishment of a key component that has led to CTI’s success: a 200 percent commitment to total, superior customer service. Picking up on that theme, the Colorado Springs development group, in its 2011 tribute, cited Lyle Small as “a focused visionary with a proven aptitude for innovation and adopting ideas into a meaningful advancement of technology.”
The 2011 award represents the third time the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corporation has recognized Mr. Small: in 2010, CTI was named the ”Manufacturing Company of the Year,” and in 2009, Mr. Small was cited as “Inventor of the Year” by the organization.