Red Spade Investigations has some news, but the Wichita company wants to be careful about sharing it.
“We’re good at what we do, but we also don’t want everybody to recognize us because we then can’t be good at what we do,” investigator Maurice Thomas says.
“The general public has no clue we exist.”
The firm of six investigators is based in downtown Wichita but is now expanding into Colorado and the greater Washington, D.C., area with plans for more future expansion as well.
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“We definitely already have a nice foothold here in Wichita and south-central Kansas as well as Kansas in general,” says president Mike Ward, who started in the business in 2006 and formed an LLC in 2012.
“We’re probably getting to the zenith of where we can grow,” Thomas says. “At some point, we’re going to saturate the market.”
The new locations are “kind of breathing room,” he says.
Ward and Thomas say they and the firm’s other investigators have streamlined their processes in order to more quickly turn cases.
“We got to the point where we’ve developed this model, and our investigators are doing so well,” Thomas says.
Ward says taking the system to other places “is going to allow us to duplicate what we have now.”
He says they have a support network that allows them to be more successful than single investigators working on their own.
“They don’t have that network capability.”
The investigators are all former or current military or law enforcement members.
“We believe we are providing an incredible service to our client base,” Thomas says. “Our client knows everything we know almost instantaneously.”
Ward says Red Spade offers a variety of services.
“Any kind of investigation that needs to be done, we handle it,” he says. “The spectrum of types of investigations we can do is literally endless.”
The firm’s name is “kind of an amalgam of several different ideas,” Ward says.
“It’s a little bit of noir Sam Spade,” he says, calling Dashiell Hammett’s fictional detective one of his favorite characters.
“Are investigations like they are in the movies?” Ward says. “I would say yes and no. Mostly no.”
Though he does do surveillance – one of the most typical ways investigators are portrayed in the movies – Ward says it’s not what it seems.
“There’s not just a guy sitting across the street, you know, eating doughnuts the whole time, smoking cigarettes. There’s much more that goes into it than that.”
Ward says his job involves a lot of planning, searching records and making detailed reports.
“Sometimes it’s fun. I love this job,” he says. “Sometimes it’s very, very difficult. Sometimes it’s very stressful. But if you can get that … one bit of information for your clients … then that’s the most rewarding part of this job.”