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Family-Owned Industrial Furnace Company Experiences Record Sales After 50 Years in Business

With the help of: Manufacturer's Edge


In the mid-1960s, Deltech founders Calvin L. Stevenson and Donald J. Drinkwater were metallurgists who met working for Denver Mine and Smelter Supply. The two saw an opportunity to go into business for themselves as consultants to the mining industry. This new business venture, however, unfortunately coincided with a drastic downturn in mining and they suddenly found themselves stranded until they received a phone call that would set them on a completely different path and change their lives forever. An executive at CoorsTek (then Coors Porcelain) was in search of an engineer who could design highly-customized furnaces and had been referred to Cal Stevenson as the man who could get the job done. Fifty years later, the company is flourishing as Deltech furnaces have been installed in national labs, universities, and industrial ceramics manufacturers across most of the US and more than 31 other countries. Notable Deltech clients include the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the National High Magnetics Laboratory.

The Challenge

Mary Stevenson started working part-time at Deltech when Donald retired while simultaneously pursuing other opportunities, most notably obtaining a Ph.D. in Philosophy and teaching at a local university. She made the decision to take up the mantle full-time in the mid 1990’s as Cal approached retirement, and has been the president of the company ever since. Always looking for ways to improve and expand, Mary decided to pursue ISO certification upon recommendation from Merrick & Company after landing a sub-contractor agreement with them. Jon Jaggers, her representative with the local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), agreed that it would be helpful and introduced her to the team at Manufacturer’s Edge, part of the MEP National Network™.

I would absolutely recommend Manufacturer’s Edge to other manufacturers. I have and I will continue to tell people about the existence of Manufacturer’s Edge.

— Mary Stevenson, President

MEP's Role

The first step was to tour the Deltech facility and get to know the Stevenson family, the employees, the layout, the workflow, and the culture. Through that process, Sumer Sorensen-Bain of Manufacturer’s Edge was able to pinpoint the organization’s specific needs in order to customize the ISO training to meet their purposes.

Deltech has seen a number of improvements since obtaining ISO certification, including an expedited approval process. Potential clients no longer need to find alternative resources for vetting Deltech’s quality. Even international organizations accept the ISO certification as a universal indicator allowing Deltech to be automatically qualified. Additional outcomes include improved manufacturing processes, higher product quality, fewer errors, and a complete overhaul of the procurement process. As a result, Mary reports that Deltech experienced their best year ever in 2018 and were even able to hire a new employee – a mechanical engineer named Ryan who just happens to be Cal Stevenson’s grandson – thus continuing the Deltech family business tradition into its third generation.

Created June 2, 2020, Updated July 12, 2021