- By Brian Edwards
- Native Contracting
Waséyabek Development Company, the economic development arm of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Tribe, said it acquired a majority ownership stake in VES, LLC, a Maryland-based software development and integration firm specializing in solutions for the Department of Defense (DoD). Terms were not disclosed.
VES, headquartered in Aberdeen Proving Ground, focuses on addressing software integration challenges for the DoD, specializing in custom infrastructure software, embedded platform integration, and prototyping emerging technologies for tactical edge architectures. The company, which employs 50 and generated revenue of $10.3 million in 2022, will be integrated into the Waséyabek Federal Group of companies.
Matthew Vidovich, chief executive officer of VES, and Bryan LeBaron, the software firm’s chief operating officer, will continue to lead the company in partnership with Waséyabek. Each will retain a minority ownership share of VES.
Deidra Mitchell, president and CEO of Waséyabek, called the acquisition a strategic move to expand the tribal enterprise’s federal contracting business in the defense industry. It’s the first acquisition Waséyabek has made of a company with existing federal defense contracts, she said, calling VES a platform in the tribal enterprises software and I.T. vertical.
The deal was managed by Waséyabek's internal due diligence team and supported by the accounting firm BDO and the law firm Dickinson Wright PLLC. Schneider Downs & Co., Inc. (formerly Springer Lawson & Associates) served as advisors to VES during the acquisition process.
With the acquisition of VES, Waséyabek's non-gaming investments now comprise 31 entities and more than 500 employees, according to a statement.
The VES transaction follows the September 2023 acquisition of a majority stake in BLDI, LLC, an environmental engineering, consulting and remediation firm headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Both deals are part of an ambitious long-term strategy aimed at transforming Waséyabek into a billion-dollar company by 2040. Mitchell emphasized a stepwise approach, targeting a top-line revenue of $250 million by the end of the next five years, with the current year's revenue projected at $93 million.
As it heads into 2024, though, Waséyabek expects to take a pause on acquisitions in order to integrate new operations and expand its federal contracting business, Mitchell said. “We're expecting word on some large contract awards, and so I think we're going to have our hands full with the federal space — in a good way,” she said.