Cybersecurity company picks Colorado Springs for expansion; did mayor’s birthday vocals seal the deal? | Subscriber Content | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

A veteran-owned cybersecurity and technology company will bring at least 130 jobs averaging nearly $170,000 a year to Colorado Springs in what business leaders and local government officials call the latest economic development coup for the Pikes Peak region.

Invictus International Consulting, based in Alexandria, Va., announced Thursday that it’s selected the Springs for an expansion, saying it was attracted in large part by the presence of longtime military installations such as U.S. Space Command, U.S. Northern Command and the Air Force Academy.

At the same time, Invictus was impressed by the city’s growing aerospace and cybersecurity network that includes companies such as Northrop Grumman and business parks like the Catalyst Campus Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation, which serves as a hub for defense and aerospace businesses.

Founded a decade ago, Invictus offers cybersecurity and internet service provider engineering and operations support for government agencies, defense organizations and private-sector clients.

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Invictus is one of the nation’s “preeminent cybersecurity companies,” said CEO Jim Kelly, and protection of its clients’ data is a critical function of its employees.

“The future is in technology,” Kelly said after the company’s expansion was announced at a Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce & EDC news conference, attended by local business and government officials. “We are bringing a real technical workforce to the area.”

Expanding to the Springs will allow Invictus to collaborate more closely with its military partners and leverage the area’s employee talent pool, Kelly added.

“This decision was not made lightly, but with careful consideration of the rich military heritage, innovative spirit and strategic significance of the region, one that truly rose to the top as we assessed many of the competitive locations for growth,” he said. “Colorado Springs, with its esteemed military installations and thriving technological ecosystem, provides the perfect backdrop for Invictus to thrive and grow.”

Invictus — which has 300 employees, 65 of whom are in Colorado — expects to create 130 jobs in Colorado Springs at an average annual salary of $168,923, according to a news release. The positions will include administrators, analysts, engineers, managers and technicians.

But “the world’s drama,” as Kelly described global conflicts, could lead Invictus to double its Springs workforce, though he added there are no guarantees.

The company also expects to spend $3.9 million on capital investments as part of its Springs expansion, said Johnna Reeder Kleymeyer, the Chamber of Commerce & EDC’s president and CEO.

Over the past two years, more than 4,200, high-wage jobs have been announced for the Colorado Springs area by existing businesses or newcomers, she said in December. Those companies also plan to spend more than $2 billion on capital investments.

“This is how we grow our economy, ladies and gentlemen,” Reeder Kleymeyer said at Thursday’s news conference.

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Invictus hasn’t yet settled on a permanent office site in Colorado Springs; Kelly said he’s targeting 20,000 square feet initially — which would include warehouse space — that would open by early 2025. He said he’s intrigued by the city’s Peak Innovation Park business campus at the southeast side Colorado Springs Airport because it would put Invictus near other defense and aerospace companies.

Invictus received local and state incentives for choosing the Springs; the company also had considered Reston, Va., and San Antonio for its expansion.

The Colorado Economic Development Commission approved up to $2 million in performance-based Job Growth Incentive Tax Credits for Invictus over eight years, the news release said. Those incentives are contingent on the company meeting job creation and salary requirements.

In addition, the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC facilitated a local incentive package with the city of Colorado Springs and El Paso County valued at $370,493, according to the release.

As a cybersecurity company, Invictus plays a key role to help ensure the nation’s security and will be at home in Colorado Springs’ “defense ecosystem,” said Mayor Yemi Mobolade.

“Invictus … is a one-of-a-kind defense company, investing in cyber and security threats,” Mobolade said. “But more than that, this company is founded on strong values and principles, including loyalty, dedication, service and devotion to duty — the same values that are inherent in our community’s strong ties to the military.”

Invictus, Kelly said, was named after his father’s favorite poem, which “encourages those to believe in themselves in overcoming adversity.”

While the Springs’ military ties and financial incentives played roles in Invictus’ expansion decision, Mobolade’s personal touch didn’t go unnoticed, Kelly said.

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When Invictus was in talks a few months ago with local officials, Kelly said Mobolade told him he wanted to meet to discuss the company’s plans.

Kelly agreed to see Mobolade in the Springs on Dec. 15, but warned the mayor that he also needed to return to Highlands Ranch in suburban Denver. That’s where his mother, Kathleen, lives and was celebrating her 97th birthday.

When he learned that, Mobolade offered to sing happy birthday to her over the phone.

“As soon as he said that, I dialed her,” Kelly recalled. “I said, ‘Mom, the mayor of Colorado Springs is here on the phone.’ She goes, ‘what?’ So I explained. And he sang happy birthday, and it was awesome.”

Did Mobolade’s birthday vocals put Colorado Springs over the top as it wooed Invictus?

“It didn’t hurt,” Kelly said. “You don’t make business decisions on that. But, I’ll tell you, it was a value add in the decision.”


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