Blue Ocean Consulting, a Kansas City-based software development company, was founded in 1995 in Lawrence, Kan. by two University of Kansas graduates. Co-founders Juan Sola and Scott Woodward met each other at KU while pursuing their Master's degrees and discovered a need for website development in Kansas City. Sola and Woodward answered a few questions about the creation and growth of Blue Ocean Consulting.
How did you two connect?
Sola: We met while pursuing our Master's degrees in Computer Engineering at KU. I graduated a semester after Scott. We both had jobs at a KU research center called the Center for Excellence in Computer Aided Systems Engineering (CECASE) while we were students, and full time positions after we graduated.
Woodward: CECASE was funded through Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation (KTEC). It was later renamed Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC), which still exists. The purpose of the Centers for Excellence (there were 5 around the state specializing in different technology areas) was to support technology development for Kansas businesses.
Why did you decide to start the business?
Sola: In the late 80's and early 90's, because of our studies and jobs at KU, we had already plenty of exposure to what the Internet was back then: a global computer network reserved almost exclusively to research and educational institutions. In the mid 90's, when the commercialization of the Internet started, we saw a need and an opportunity to provide web development and hosting services to companies in the Kansas City area.
Woodward: Specifically, one of the main projects was to help build an information resource (a website and resources to access it) to communicate the programs offered by KTEC around the state. As we met with businesses, many of them asked if we could help build websites for them. As this was competing with fledgling businesses it was not something that we could do as a part of the Center. However, that was the trigger for us to start our own company.
What is your biggest/greatest success since starting the business?
Sola: There are so many success stories at Blue Ocean, but if I had to choose one to which I feel personally linked, I would say it would have to be how we have been able to adapt to new technologies throughout the years and evolve with them while having a blast doing it. Technology is always changing at a very fast rate, and even more so now. In the 20+ years since we have been in business we kept the company moving forward by embracing the state of the art and always seeking the optimal combination of available technologies for our clients.
Woodward: I would also count our long time partnerships with our clients such as CFFM, Smart401k, KCP&L, The Builders Association and others where we have been able to continue to support our clients’ business as their business has changed.