Epilog Laser, a leading manufacturer of laser engravers and marking systems
for wood, metal and plastic, is marking its silver anniversary next
year with well-deserved assurance.
The company has come a long, long way since its founders Steve
Garnier and John Doran were building their first laser systems in
Steve's basement back in 1988. Now, the Golden, Colorado-based
company is some 90 employees strong and offers around 30 different laser configurations for industry, small businesses and woodworkers.
had the opportunity at past trade shows to interview Epilog and learn
more about their new product innovations, but I've been equally
impressed with how upbeat and positive the folks in the booth are
about working for the company. Honestly, it's a bit infectious. So,
to pay tribute to the company's milestone anniversary, I asked Mike
Dean, director of sales and marketing, to share a few good reasons
why Epilog has cause to celebrate. He offered five that are not only
worth remembering but also probably explain why Epilog has been
ranked among the 10 best Denver-based businesses in which to work for
four years, according to a competition held by the Denver
A "Made in America" approach.
says Epilog's commitment to stateside manufacturing stems from a
belief that business is a two-way street. "We've always thought
that working closely with our partners (suppliers, employees,
distributors and so forth) would help us to be successful in the long
term because we support the people who support us." While Dean
feels this commitment probably wasn't the most economical way to do
business initially, it's paid dividends in the long run "because
everyone we've worked with has become laser experts, too." This
cooperative effort and "tribal knowledge," as he calls it,
"is a hallmark of manufacturing in America" and a key
element in Epilog's continued success.
Bringing new levels of customization to woodworking.
the ability to engrave and mark wood with a computer-driven laser may
not be a need-based requirement for most hobbyist woodworkers, it can
provide a distinctive look and "calling card" that adds
value to high-end projects. Dean says that, while a cabinetmaker
won't use the system for cutting out cabinet parts, the
photorealistic effect of the laser is perfect for cutting custom
inlays on a cabinet door or drawer face. Customers also use Epilog
systems to engrave their logo inside cabinet doors, "which
equates to an advertisement every time someone opens the door."
And, adding custom messages, photographic etches or other custom
graphics to other projects such as humidors, jewelry boxes and
plaques allows woodworkers to charge more for their services, he
Quality components and customer service.
significant difference between Epilog and most of its competition is
that Epilog manufactures about 90 percent of its own laser tubes.
Dean compares the laser tube to a car engine, both being the most
expensive technology in the machine and making the biggest
contribution to performance and reliability. By doing in-house
manufacturing, Epilog can provide superior image quality and
flexibility. Dean says he always encourages prospective customers to
do side-by-side comparisons between Epilog and other options at
trade shows, "because it's the best way to see what you're
getting. And the difference is really visible!" Epilog also
offers extensive sales education for its customers. That education
includes user clinics as well as a virtual training suite for
tutorials and instructions on common laser practices. Dean says
Epilog's technical support team is renowned for their exceptional
support and troubleshooting, as is testified on the company's
customer testimonials page.
A solid team philosophy embedded in Epilog's corporate culture.
outward focus on customers stems from Epilog's inward commitment to
employees, Dean reports. He says the company isn't about
micromanaging and doesn't tend to consider job titles important
monikers about who is empowered to do what. Instead, Epilog "hires
the most intelligent, tech-savvy and creative people ... and then we
get out of the way and let them do their jobs. Management looks out
for employees, always keeping them in the loop of new developments,
opportunities and challenges." Five of the original six
employees from 1992 are still working for the company, and he reports
only about one employee per year leaves Epilog for other job
Giving back to the larger community.
says Epilog channels some of its resources back to those in need on
both the national and local levels every year. The company sponsors
an annual toy drive for American Military Families. This year, Epilog
raised money and other donations for the Colorado Chapter of Walk MS,
the local MS 150 bike tour, the Golden Chamber of Commerce and
several local elementary schools, plus the Tennyson Center for
Children. "Oftentimes, our employees ask the workforce at large
for donations to the causes they support, and they turn out to be
some of the top fundraisers for their events of interest," he
adds. "We tend to support the efforts of everybody else here."
all of these reasons, and what he equates to sheer good luck, Dean
says Epilog not only weathered the recent recession but actually grew
over the past four years' time. "We actually have a lot of
competition in the engraving and marking business, but we've always
made an effort to be at the head of the line. Our long-term
philosophy, a solid base of distributors and our great employees are
what makes Epilog a special place and gives us so much to be thankful
for. It's been a great 25 years!"