It's been a busy couple of months for Page Tucker and his team at ProStar Geocorp.
The Grand Junction-based geospatial intelligence system company that specializes in mapping subsurface utilities and pipes has a new chief operating officer who brings the experience of working at multiple billion-dollar companies.
Vasa Dasan joined the organization Jan. 21 and is commuting between Boulder, where he teaches at the University of Colorado part time, and Grand Junction roughly every other week.
But possibly a bigger development is that ProStar is on the verge of becoming a publicly traded company through a reverse takeover. ProStar's board approved the agreement Tuesday and the goal is to have it signed by Feb. 28. ProStar will be trading sometime in May, Tucker said.
ProStar will take over Doxa Energy, an oil and gas production/exploration company that concentrates on onshore projects. Doxa is based in Vancouver and is traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The move will make ProStar the only publicly traded company with its headquarters in Grand Junction.
According to Tucker, ProStar's CEO, Doxa will give the majority of its shares to ProStar. Doxa will become ProStar Holding Corporation in Canada. ProStar Geocorp will continue to operate in the U.S.
He said the company will have a presence on stock exchanges in the U.S. and in Frankfurt, Germany, in addition to Canada. This also opens the door for more acquisitions down the road and, Tucker hopes, will further help Grand Junction grow as a place for technology-based businesses.
"I will do whatever I can to turn Grand Junction into a tech hub," Tucker said. "This is a huge step in that direction."
According to a news release from Doxa regarding the transaction, ProStar had roughly $500,000 in assets, $3.4 million in liabilities and an estimated revenue for 2018 of $1.6 million as of Sept. 30. Some of the initial stock will be used to pay down accrued debt.
Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce Business Retention and Expansion Director C.J. Rhyne said ProStar going public can help put the area on the map as a place where businesses such as this can thrive.
"They've been one of the companies to watch. We've been seeing that growth here locally and now the world is going to know."
Tucker said that going public will improve ProStar's access to capital and provide liquidity for shareholders as they can now sell at any time. The capital is necessary in showing the market there is value in the company. Also, hiring a person such as Dasan will help, he said.
"It's huge. He'll make sure the tech is scalable," Tucker said.
Dasan has more than 30 years of experience in the software industry and has been part of companies such as Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems, which was acquired by Oracle in 2010 in a multibillion dollar transaction.
He played a key role in developing software that helped launch Sun Microsystems from a million-dollar company to a billion-dollar one. He also holds several patents.
Dasan said he wasn't really looking to join a new company, but when a recruiter contacted him, he met with Tucker and said he liked what he heard.
Tucker feels Dasan can help propel the company to greater heights.
"For me, this validates us," Tucker said. "He feels confident we can be a billion-dollar company."
Dasan will continue teaching classes in the Engineering Management Program at the College of Engineering at University of Colorado, Boulder and said there could be an opportunity to collaborate with his students and possibly open a ProStar campus in Boulder. In addition to Grand Junction, ProStar has an office in Raleigh, North Carolina.
With the goal of adding more precision to underground utility mapping, Dasan said there is much room for improvement in the industry.
"I believe civil engineering, oil and gas and transportation has been using old technology," he said. "It's poised for change."
ProStar incorporated in 2014 and launched its first product two years later. Notably, it is currently under contract with the Colorado Department of Transportation, which is using ProStar's technology for its Interstate 70 expansion project in Denver. It is also working with the city of Grand Junction and the Utah Department of Transportation in addition to multiple oil and gas companies.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misidentified Dasan's role at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He teaches in the Engineering Management Program in the College of Engineering.