Parsons started participating in The Gazette’s Best Workplaces program this year but proved to be a quick study — the Virginia-based defense, intelligence and infrastructure conglomerate was named the top extra-large employer (those with 300 or more employees) on its first attempt.

The company employs nearly 500 people in Colorado Springs, mostly from acquiring Braxton Science & Technology Group in 2020 for $300 million and Polaris Alpha for $489 million in 2018. Parsons employees in Colorado Springs work in software development, systems engineering, cybersecurity, space operations and ground systems development, and are spread among locations in downtown, the Catalyst Campus and the Colorado Springs Tech Center.

Parsons continues to add to its defense contracting, aerospace and cybersecurity operations through acquisitions, spending more than $850 million during the past two years to buy defense contractors Sealing Technologies and Xator, cybersecurity providers IPKeys and BlackHorse Solutions and space contractor Echo Ridge. Xator is based in New Jersey, while the other four companies are based in the Washington, D.C., area.

Three recent contract wins are expected to drive growth in Parsons’s Colorado Springs operations during the next few years:

• Parsons won a $16 million contract in October 2022 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to provide engineering services, information technology functionality and flight operations support to operate the agency’s Polar Operational Environmental Satellite network.

• The Defense Advanced Projects Agency selected Parsons in December 2021 for an $11 million contract to plan, standup and demonstrate a prototype ground operations center for the agency’s Blackjack surveillance satellite network in low-earth orbit.

• Space Force awarded Parsons a $185 million task order to provide information technology engineering, space expertise, software development, scientific analysis and data analytics to develop, maintain, operate and enhance its space situational awareness software.

The Colorado Springs operation also will play a key role in a new five-year single-award contract awarded earlier this year by the General Services Administration with a potential value of $1.2 billion. The contract supports the Department of Defense and the intelligence “community” in delivering global quick reaction capabilities using advanced technology.

Parsons attracts employees not just for the pay and benefits — jobs in the aerospace industry routinely have annual salaries of more than $100,000 — but also because “we feel like we are making a difference for the warfighter. People who work for us are incredibly smart and think outside the box, asking hard questions to make things better,” said Hedi Wright, vice president of strategic national solutions for Parsons in Colorado Springs.

The company focuses much of recruiting on military personnel who are transitioning out the service and also new graduates from local universities and colleges across the state. Parsons participates in the Department of Defense SkillBridge program, which places those who will be transitioning out of the military within six months into an unpaid internship in many industries with a goal of the intern getting a job offer at the end of the internship.

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