Colorado Springs-based government contractor Bluestaq said Friday it would hire 585 people over the next eight years after state economic development officials approved $5.57 million in incentives for the ‘business.
The nearly 4-year-old startup, which now employs 65 people in downtown Colorado Springs, will use state tax credits to hire additional workers and more than triple its downtown offices to accommodate them. , CEO Seth Harvey said on Friday.
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“We want to bring as many jobs to Colorado as possible, and this incentive helps us do that,” Harvey said. “We’ve had a lot of conversations with other communities who have courted us because of the opportunities we have.
“This helps us attract and retain talent in Colorado and maintain our headquarters in Colorado Springs. I would like to thank the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, the Office of the Governor, and the Colorado Springs Chamber (of Commerce & Economic Development Corp.) to make this happen.”
Gov. Jared Polis said “Blueestaq’s expansion builds on our success and is creating hundreds of well-paying, high-quality jobs in El Paso County,” in a news release Friday. “We are creating good jobs across Colorado and succeeding in our efforts to be a leading national model for aerospace.”
Much of the expansion is fueled by a $280 million contract extension a year ago to continue building a database of objects in space. This contract needs more staff. Under the three-year extension, Bluestaq will integrate significantly more data from more sources into the Space Force Unified Data Library.
The data helps 3,500 companies, government and military agencies, the intelligence community and others in 25 countries track space objects.
Bluestaq is also expanding into the commercial market, starting with the healthcare industry, and plans to expand its reach around the world, starting with four countries later this year, Harvey said, although he refused to identify the nations.
Bluestaq landed a major investment in November from Colorado Springs real estate and technology investor Kevin O’Neil, which O’Neil called a partnership, to help the company grow faster. The company specializes in data management systems, analytics and software; it builds “highly secure enterprise software solutions for storing, managing, and sharing data,” according to the company’s website.
“This project is layered on gains for our community,” said Cecilia Harry, director of economic development for the chamber, noting O’Neil’s investment and tax credits. “This project has resulted in the launch of Find Your COS, our new set of talent initiatives that will benefit our wider business community. This project is driving significant investment and innovation in our region.
The chamber has launched a new workforce development program called “Find Your COS” to help newcomers to the city find housing and provide opportunities for social and professional engagement. It also helps chamber members find information about relocation, neighborhoods, childcare, hobbies, and other needs. The pilot program is focused on the aerospace, defense, cybersecurity and technology sectors.
Bluestaq will get tax credits based on the number of jobs it creates over the next eight years for up to 585 full-time positions, paying an average of nearly $190,000 in an incentive package approved Thursday by the Colorado Economic Development Commission. The company has also considered locations in Ogden, Utah, and College Park, Maryland, where O’Neil’s Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation operates satellite campuses, according to a document included in the order. of the day of the commission.
“In order to meet its contract cap, the company will need to both recruit high-quality talent from out of state and retain top talent,” the document says. “The driving factors in the location decision are access to talent, cost of living and proximity to technology and innovation, as well as the ability to leverage their presence in Ogden and College Park. “
Harvey said Bluestaq will use the credits to lease and move into up to 50,000 square feet of additional office space in downtown Colorado Springs that it needs by June, to recruit and train employees, and to offer scholarships to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and other colleges to expand its internship program.
The company plans to offer five UCCS graduate and undergraduate scholarships worth $65,000 each to its interns in the fall.
“We believe in our internship program as a way to attract top talent to develop professionals from the ground up,” Harvey said. “When we spoke to our interns, two common threads emerged: they couldn’t find accommodation, especially for just three months, so they ended up using Craigslist to rent a room in someone’s house. It’s not a good look for Colorado Springs. The other issue that emerged was that they (the interns) had a hard time finding their tribe and meeting people.”
Harvey said he wanted the additional office space to be a key recruiting tool for the company, bringing “the amenities they have at home to the office, including a fitness center, golf simulators and Attracting and retaining talent isn’t just about salaries and benefits, it’s also about the office you work in, the camaraderie of the team, and the tough problems you work on. “
Harvey and three co-founders – Andy Hofle, Simon Nunn and David Rodvold – worked together at Intelligent Software Solutions before it was acquired by a private equity firm, merged with two other companies and sold to Parsons. They launched Bluestaq in April 2018 at the Catalyst Campus and the company won its first contract two months later to start building the data library.
Bluestaq won a $37 million extension to that contract in 2019 to expand the library to include air and sea data, and that same year moved from the Catalyst campus to the FirstBank building.