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ABOUT US
Powderhorn Industries, Inc. was founded by Robb Ruyle in Montrose and nestled in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Montrose has a current population of about 17,000 and sits at an elevation of 5,806 feet. But, don't let that fool you. Within just a few minutes driving east on US Highway 50, you can be at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, or if you drive a little father to the south on US Highway 550, you will arrive at Ouray, gateway to the Million Dollar Highway at an elevation of 7,792 feet.
Like many new entrepreneurs, Ruyle started the company on his dining room table. He plowed all the money he had at the time - about $6,000 - into marketing. He opted to open the business in Montrose after visiting his father-in-law, who had moved there to manage a nursing home. Ruyle and his wife, Lynne, took a look around after their plane landed and almost immediately decided they wanted to live here.

Powderhorn's entire operation depends largely on its longstanding relationships. The low-frills outfit doesn't even have voice mail. His business philosophy remains a simple one...our production workers' pay is hourly, not piece rate. We have no time clocks and the work schedules are flexible. And yes, we trust our people. They can pretty much st their own schedules. Some of our folks like to work from 6:00am to 2:30pm; others like later start times. If people need time off during the day, we trust that they will make the time up later in the week...and they do. Again--trust.

We "celebrate" mistakes. When someone catches a mistake--misspelling, wrong color print, wrong product, etc.--even if it is the guy who is packing it up to ship, they get a $10 reward. It is the best money spent, because it makes everyone an inspector. Catching mistakes before they get to the customer is really important, and our system works pretty well.

 

The culture...trusting people to do the right thing, and getting the incentives in the right place so there is no incentive to do the wrong things...is the key. By the way, did I mention trust?