Colorado Springs defense contractor wins $2.3 million subcontract for artificial intelligence
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(Courtesy of Polaris Alpha/Facebook)

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Defense contractor Polaris Alpha LLC on Wednesday announced plans to add 450 employees by 2026 and build or lease 100,000 square feet of office space in Denver and Colorado Springs late this year.

The moves aim to better accommodate rapid growth of the company's space, cybersecurity and intelligence analysis software and information technology services.

The expansions will come in two phases, with Polaris Alpha adding 150 people to its 100-person Denver operation during the next year or two in a 20,000-square-foot office it plans to build in the Denver area, said Marcus Featherston, the company's executive vice president of mission solutions. Polaris Alpha, which now operates a small office in Greenwood Village, is negotiating for two sites in the Denver area in hopes of selecting one and beginning construction on offices "within weeks." The company hopes to move by year's end into the new building that will be 6-8 times larger than its current office, he said.

"We are extremely excited to accelerate our growth plans in Colorado," said Polaris Alpha President Jay Jesse said Wednesday in a news release. "The state is a major hub in our growing company. We are very bullish on Colorado as a location not only to work, but also to provide a great environment for employees and their families to thrive."

The Colorado Springs expansion also is planned to begin later this year, at a location yet to be determined, by adding 20,000 square feet of existing or newly constructed office space. Another 60,000 square feet of office space is planned "over time" to accommodate another 300 employees that would be hired during the next eight years, or sooner, Featherston said. The company employs 350-400 at its offices on Tech Center Drive, near Interstate 25 and Rockrimmon Boulevard, and at military bases and customer locations throughout the Colorado Springs area.

"We have needs and customers in both locations and we want to be able to access as much good engineering talent as we can find. We need to find them in both markets. We have between 50 and 100 job openings between our Denver and Colorado Springs offices," Featherston said. "These are good-paying jobs for software engineers, system engineers, space and computer scientists, cloud enterprise architects, machine learning specialists and other information technology professionals. While security clearance is preferred, we can help you get clearance if you don't have it yet."

To apply or get more information on the company's openings, go to www.polarisalpha.com/careers.

The Colorado Economic Development Commission approved Job Growth Incentive Tax Credits in March totaling $6.93 million over eight years for 455 jobs that will pay an average annual salary of $114,213. The project includes $8 million in capital investment, much of it to build a secure facility in Denver for classified defense work. Emily Williams, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, said the state competed against locations in Virginia and Maryland for the expansion to ensure Colorado remains "a major center of gravity for the company."

Tammy Fields, chief economic development officer of the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC, said the company also is eligible for sales and use tax rebates from the city of Colorado Springs, but hasn't yet applied for those incentives. She said the chamber began working with the company in January on the project. Rather than make separate applications to the state for the tax credits, Fields said the local chamber and the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. worked together to secure a single incentive package for Polaris Alpha to be used in both areas.

"These are a great example of the high-quality jobs we are targeting for our community in the professional, technical and scientific sector, and the biggest new jobs announcement we have made in two years," Fields said Wednesday. "We couldn't be more pleased that a home-grown company is expanding its presence here."

Intelligent Software Solutions was started in Colorado Springs in 1997 by Jesse and three co-founders - all but one of whom worked at GTE Government Systems. The company grew rapidly to make the Inc. magazine 5000 fastest-growing companies list nine times in 10 years, in 2004-13. ISS merged in November 2016 with Maryland-based Proteus Technologies and Virginia-based EOIR Technologies to form Polaris Alpha in a three-way deal financed by Washington, D.C., area private equity firm Arlington Capital Partners. Polaris Alpha now employs 1,200 and has headquarters in the Springs and Fredericksburg, Va.

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Business Writer

Business Writer