Checking in With Chris Coligado: Q&A with Smoothstack’s New EVP of Federal

Checking in With Chris Coligado: Q&A with Smoothstack’s New EVP of Federal

What is most exciting to you about taking on this new role at Smoothstack? 

In one word–opportunity. The market-solution fit could not be better. While Smoothstack’s Hire-Train-Deploy (HTD) model hasn’t yet been widely adopted in the public sector, it’s a perfect approach to solving the federal talent shortage and recruiting challenges. We aren’t beholden to the job market like other consulting firms. By creating our own net-new resources, we can help the federal sector scale their digital efforts with cleared, net-new technology resources. 

Our unique HTD approach–coupled with our small business status–is a massive differentiator for us in our role as a partner.  


What is Smoothstack’s current presence in the federal space, and what’s next?  

While we have some key partnerships in place, we’ve primarily served as a skilling or training partner to SIs like AFS and Leidos to date. In reality, I see this as just one layer of our potential impact, and Smoothstack’s leadership team agrees. I’m excited to take us to the next level.  

I’ll be looking to help us grow and extend our partnerships with more SIs into full lifecycle solution development and as a managed services provider. Our roadmap includes building out our consulting and managed services capabilities to win future federal contract engagements as a prime vendor. Large SIs can turn to us when procurements are directed to a small business prime track where we can lead the efforts to support federal agency clients directly. 


Can you share more about the quality of Smoothstack talent? 

Sure. We select high-potential developers and engineers, 99% of whom meet security clearance requirements, using our proprietary Six-Stack™ algorithmic screening approach. They’re then trained over 8-12 weeks, developing the exact combination of technical and functional skills required by each client.  

The curriculums are designed to the specifications of our clients’ development platform or production environment, and we use a Mirrored Environment Immersion (MEI)™ framework to simulate the real-world scenarios our cohort will encounter upon deployment. This is done in partnership with in-demand technology companies like Workday, Databricks, ServiceNow, Pega, and Salesforce who partner with us in standing up these simulated environments in advance.  

Upon completion of the upskilling program, our consultants can hit the ground running. Our clients have repeatedly shared that our resources often perform immediately at levels that exceed their own resources, hired through traditional methods, who possess 2-3 years more experience. 


What’s Smoothstack’s approach to driving diversity in the tech industry?  

We are truly committed to making technology careers accessible to everyone. Our merit-based approach to recruiting and training means that our resources are diverse in many different ways–72% of our talent falls under one or more diverse groups, and 51% are ethnically diverse.  

Smoothstack isn’t geographically constrained for talent like our competitors. We recruit nationally and relocate our resources, allowing us to access the best candidates regardless of where they live. We have formal agreements in place with our consultants to deploy them wherever our clients need them, covering relocation expenses with cost-of-living adjustment factors considered.  

Because our talent comes from diverse backgrounds and life experiences across the country, they enrich the teams they work with through their unique perspectives and out-of-the-box thinking that often results in better solutions and business outcomes.  

The public sector values partnerships with mission-driven, progressive partners who can help them drive DEI progress in meaningful ways. That makes Smoothstack a huge asset to agencies. 


After more than two decades of experience in the government consulting space, why Smoothstack, and why now? 

Being a part of a high-growth company is exciting, challenging, and incredibly rewarding. I love the journey of helping grow companies and all that comes with it–from investing in processes and building infrastructure to developing strategic roadmaps and partnerships.  

I also enjoy growing and mentoring talent that helps advance DEI in the workforce through a merit-based system. Throughout my career, I’ve led organizations in their DEI efforts, developing mentoring and sponsorship programs that help advance the careers of diverse candidates from junior to senior executive ranks. 

The mission, the model, the groundwork that’s already been laid–Smoothstack has all the makings to be a disruptor in the traditional government IT consulting world. I’m looking forward to really bringing our federal practice to life this year. 

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