Technology used for water applications is really flowing these days in Fort Collins.

Water-philes met this month to hear the latest at a gathering of the Colorado Water Innovation Cluster at the Rocky Mountain Innosphere. The cluster was created to spur collaboration among water companies and drive development of new technologies to address water challenges.

OptiEnz Sensors’ Ken Reardon, a professor of chemical and biological engineering at CSU, is doing his part.

Reardon, chief technology officer at OptiEnz, said the company has developed water-monitoring devices that can continuously measure chemicals in water. The Innosphere recently took the start-up in as a client.

The size of a penny, an OptiEnz sensor can measure small concentrations of organic compounds in water quickly and efficiently.

The technology has applications in everything from the oil and natural-gas industry to food and beverage businesses.

Conventional methods in water monitoring typically require doing so from one location. The sample must then be sent to a lab, and its chemical composition can change during the process.

“Sometimes you don’t get critical information,” Reardon said.

OptiEnz’s sensor can be placed in several locations, including in underground aquifers, and can report data remotely – and immediately.

“It’s a case of getting an answer right away,” Reardon said.

As an example, the sensors could send an alert if chemicals such as benzene and toluene, known to occur in fluids used in hydraulic fracturing, enter groundwater. Fracking involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into a drilled hole to release oil and gas trapped in shale formations like the Niobrara in Northern Colorado.

OptiEnz’s sensors also could be used to measure amounts of chemicals in water that a drilling operation plans to dispose of, Reardon said.


OtterBox nets $10 million in counterfeit case

A federal judge has awarded OtterBox a $10 million judgment in the sale of counterfeit cases by an eBay seller.

Judge Dean D. Pregerson for the Central District of California also awarded the mobile case manufacturer “substantial” attorney’s fees in the sales of 20,000 counterfeit Defender Series cases during the past 10 months, OtterBox said.

The judgment orders the eBay seller to avoid pursuing similar conduct in the future, the company said.

“As the OtterBox brand continues to strengthen, we will see infringement become a prolific, constant battle,” OtterBox Founder and Chairman Curt Richardson said. “For us, protecting intellectual property has become another cost of doing business, right alongside materials, labor and shipping.”


CHD Bioscience’s CEO to retire; Handley to lead company

Ted Ziemann, chairman and CEO of CHD Bioscience Inc. in Fort Collins, will retire Dec. 1.

CHD Bioscience sells disinfectants that kill bacteria and spores in hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants and other places. It also can be used to sterilize medical devices.

Ziemann will remain chairman of the company, a position he has held since 2000. He began as CEO in 2007 after retiring as president of Cargill’s health and food technologies division. Ziemann will remain active in investor relations and partnerships along with his responsibilities as chairman.

Mike Handley, vice president of the company’s Regulatory Affairs, Quality and Business Development units, will replace Ziemann as chief executive. He will retain his current responsibilities in addition to his new role.

Handley, who also is president of the Northern Colorado Bioscience Cluster, said he will continue his efforts with the organization, but will focus on the company.


Giles named CEO of Colorado BioScience Association

April Giles, executive vice president of the Colorado BioScience Association, has been named president and CEO following a national executive search, the nonprofit said this month.

Giles replaces Holli Riebel, who resigned in June to accept a position as chief operating officer for the Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce. Meantime, Giles had been responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Denver-based life science industry association, which has 350 members.

A committee of the association’s board of directors selected Giles, who joined the association as director of operations in 2006. She moved to vice president of administration and operations in 2009, and was promoted to executive vice president in 2010.

Steve Lynn covers technology for the Northern Colorado Business Report. He can be reached at 970-232-3147, slynn@ncbr.com or twitter.com/SteveLynnNCBR.