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Two Colorado Springs companies announce partnership to grow defense technology contractor |


Asset management company The O’Neil Group and defense technology contractor Bluestaq announced a partnership Monday, which the Colorado Springs businesses say will help Bluestaq double its workforce and position the firm for national growth beyond the defense and intelligence sectors.

The O’Neil Group has made a “significant investment” in Bluestaq that makes it a part owner of the business, president and CEO Kevin O’Neil said in a joint announcement with Bluestaq officials. He declined to disclose the size of The O’Neil Group’s ownership stake.

That investment will help keep Bluestaq’s headquarters in the Springs and provide it with resources to accelerate its already rapid growth, O’Neil said. Launched in April 2018 by four founders, Bluestaq now has about 60 employees that are paid an average of $168,000 a year, the company says.  

“We’re looking to help a very, very solid technical company grow,” O’Neil said.

Bluestaq specializes in data management systems, data analytics and software; it builds “highly secure enterprise software solutions for storing, managing and sharing data,” according to the company’s website

The firm primarily serves the Department of Defense and the nation’s intelligence community, said Seth Harvey, who will remain as Bluestaq’s CEO under The O’Neil Group partnership.

The O’Neil Group’s investment will help Bluestaq grow to about 120 employees over 18 months, Harvey said, while it potentially adds energy, law enforcement, health care and academic clients to its work for the Defense Department and intelligence community.

“There’s many other sectors where data management and data security are vital,” he said. “Just at the recent gas line cyberattack (on Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline). So I think this partnership really allows us to explore the potential of our support to other sectors, which we’re really excited about.”

To that end, Bluestaq will look to possibly add offices outside Colorado Springs as it searches for top-flight employees, Harvey said.

“Whether it’s opening up new offices in other talent markets, whether it’s continuing to grow organically here, all of that should be considered,” he said. “And this partnership (with The O’Neil Group) will help us.”

Bluestaq officials had talked over the last year about the company’s growth possibilities and what it would take to achieve its goals, Harvey said. They recognized they’d need outside help “if we’re going to continue on this growth trajectory and reach that potential,” he said.

An alliance with O’Neil was a natural fit, Harvey said.

Bluestaq opened its offices in the Catalyst Campus for Technology & Innovation, a business park developed by The O’Neil Group on downtown Colorado Springs’ east edge that’s become a hub for space and technology ventures. Bluestaq has since moved into larger digs in the First Bank Building downtown, where it occupies 21,000 square feet.

The two parties have followed each other since Bluestaq began, and company officials literally picked up the phone and called O’Neil to discuss their growth plans, Harvey said.

“We’ve been in contact with him since we were here at Catalyst,” he said. “We regularly see each other and it’s something we just started having conversations on.”

O’Neil said Bluestaq’s technologies and capabilities will allow it to grow nationally and meet the demands of commercial sectors outside the defense and intelligence communities.

Keeping such a company and its headquarters in the Springs, along with the value it brings to its employees, is vital to the community, he said.

Bluestaq was among 429 companies nationwide that made Inc. magazine’s 2021 Best Workplaces list. The company also has several partnerships and programs with local groups, such as Pikes Peak Community College, Palmer High School, the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. 

“It’s a great company,” O’Neil said. “So for us to hang onto it, I think it’s critical to create the value proposition that Colorado Springs has world-class companies. And Bluestaq is definitely at the top of that pack.”

As partners, Bluestaq will tap Kevin O’Neil and his staff’s “experience and knowledge of growing other companies and building up other things across our community,” Harvey said. “We’re going to leverage their knowledge and their expertise and their experience in doing just that.”

In addition to developing Catalyst Campus, O’Neil’s company owned defense contractor Braxton Science and Technology Group before selling it for $300 million last year to Virginia-based engineering and construction giant Parsons.

O’Neil also owns several downtown office buildings — including one at 6 N. Tejon St. that houses The Gazette — and is an investor in a group that bought the former Union Printers Home east of downtown this year.

He’s also proposed development of an 11-story office building downtown and a 25-story apartment tower that, if constructed, would become the city’s tallest building.



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