By Eric Heinz
As the first company to electrify Coors Brewing Company and Ball canning plants, Electric Equipment and Engineering Co. (EEE) has been a Globeville mainstay for 100 years.
The company celebrated its centennial this year, and EEE vice president of engineering Craig Morroni compiled a history book of its founding.
“I think the most important part is our focus on the customers and that our customers are speaking with engineers who are knowledgeable and have a personal connection,” Craig said about the longevity of the company.
EEE’s name comes from its ability to design, engineer, and manufacture its products at the nearly 37,000-square-foot facility at 40 W. 49th Ave. Most of the company’s early products focused on backup energy and, as time went on, EEE developed telecommunications and backup energy products for cell phone towers.
“We do everything as much as we can in house … I was lobbying for our branding tagline to be ‘integrity’,” Mike Morroni, vice president of operations, said. “I think that’s underlying what Craig’s saying about caring about the customers.”
The Morroni family came to the United States in 1907, when eventual EEE founder Anthony “Jim” Morroni arrived with his father from southern Italy. In 1920, Jim was offered a job with General Electric in California, but he never made it out there, according to the family. Jim set up his first shop in Denver down the street from the old Union Station “Welcome” arch.
The company would eventually provide electric services to the Denver City Cable Railway Company, which had 30 miles of cable railway at the turn of the century.
“When the state of Colorado was first growing, municipalities around the state needed a means of powering their local communities,” Craig said. “Our grandfather, Jim, was a General Motors engine dealer as well as a GE switchboard representative. So he would go around to the small municipalities in one month and the eastern plains and configure packages to produce power for these municipalities.”
Craig said a need for standby power applications was blossoming as Colorado continued to grow. One of the EEE’s earliest customers for those services was the Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company, which is now Lumen.
“As telephone services began to grow, standby power needed to be provided for those facilities, so that hopefully your phone works when the power goes out,” he said.
The company would eventually move into the 40 W. 49th Ave. building in the 1950s, a decade when EEE provided A.C. equipment to the Gates Rubber Company from 1951-1958. From the 1950s through the 1980s, Dick Morroni, the father of Craig and Mike, and their uncle, Tom, were at the forefront of the company, and Mike and Craig graduated with electrical engineering degrees in the late ’80s.
Today the company has customers nationwide and even in some countries abroad, working on large switchboard projects and other complex equipment.
But the lineage of the Morroni family may end with Mike and Craig, as their children are not interested in electrical engineering.
James Raymond was tapped a few years ago to be the president and CEO of the company and is leading it into the next decade. Raymond said he has been involved in the business of manufacturing and construction, but he wanted to be part of making products.
“This opportunity came up and I was super excited to come on board,” he said. “Going forward, backup power generation isn’t going away. The need for that is only expanding right now. That area of the business I think is well-poised and strong in the market.”
Raymond said he’s also interested in working with alternative energy and making products that help the next generation of cell phone reception. When asked what has kept him motivated over the years, Craig said it’s simply because it’s fun work.
“It’s absolutely a blast to be able to focus on designing something, see it built, seeing it work, and then seeing customer satisfaction,” Craig said. “I think that is the key part of what has been able to be transmitted over the third generation.”
The company held a celebration Sep. 15 to commemorate the centennial.
Editor’s note: In the print version of this story, we incorrectly stated James Raymond’s name. His name has been corrected in this version. We regret the error.