The story behind Colorado Springs engineering firm IP Automation
The Colorado Springs Business Journal’s latest issue features a one–on–one interview with Ilia Petkov, founder of Colorado Springs engineering firm IP Automation. The interview highlights Petkov’s unparalleled work ethic and passion for “building machines and creating things.”
With resilience, resourcefulness and hard work, Petkov triumphed a long journey from fleeing communist Bulgaria to founding the top Colorado Springs engineering firm, competitive both nationally and internationally. After escaping Bulgaria, Petkov worked at a machine shop in Mozambique and later as a handyman at the Vatican. He never lost sight of his final goal: putting his engineering degree to work in the United States.
Though Petkov’s English was limited upon arriving in California, his first employers at Schlage Lock immediately recognized his unlimited talent and work ethic in engineering design. After that, Petkov was involved in major engineering projects, including developing a new brake testing system that saved the airline industry more than a billion dollars.
Petkov started Colorado Springs engineering firm IP Automation in 1992 and “It’s all work, work and more work since then.” A typical day for Petkov begins between 1–2 a.m., with a daily workout at 4 a.m. because, as he explains, “I need to stay in shape.”
Nearly twenty–five years after IP Automation’s establishment, Petkov’s talent and commitment is evident in the engineering firm’s success in a wide range of machining capabilities. With in–house laser cutting, a wide variety of fabrication services, engineering design and automation equipment, IP Automation’s reputation for innovation is well–known in the Colorado Springs engineering community as well as internationally.
At 73 and still dreaming just as big as in 1992, the IP Automation founder completes his dedicated work ethic with a playful sense of humor and encouragement to fellow and future entrepreneurs.
Most of all, Petkov has a true passion for his engineering work. When asked what he does for fun, Petkov answers, “I work. This is what I do. I love my job; I love building machines and creating things. I love to be here.”