It takes a while for me to get to Travis Haley. His administrative assistant Kelsey responded to my email request for an interview saying he could give me two hours on a Thursday afternoon during my unexpected visit to Phoenix recently.
I arrive just before our schedule appointment at 1:00pm. The new headquarters of Haley Strategic Partners (HSP) is a desert sand brick building in the McDowell Mountain Ranch Business Park in Scottsdale. I missed the grand opening by just 5 days.
The front door is locked so I ring the bell and someone behind the tinted glass buzzes me in. I am immediately greeted by two mannequins, the one on the left wearing an old Haley chest rig and the one on the right a new model. It turns out the reception area is also a showroom and retail store.
I tell Sara Life, the showroom sales associate who let me in, that I have an appointment with Mr. Haley and she heads to the back and up the stairs to get him. This gives me some time to explore the stunning retail space. Past the mannequins to the right is a “bar” that looks into a workshop with a BCM Haley Strategic Jack Carbine mounted on a work-stand, handguards and tools on the back counter, and various pistols displayed on the wall.
The bar stools have traditional round cushioned tops but are set on top of what look to my inexperienced eyes like the tubes from shoulder-fired rocket launchers. The tubes are seated in small weathered steel framed squares of sand and rock. Taken together the aesthetic suggests the deserts of the Middle East more than the Sonoran Desert of Arizona.
I have a seat on one of the barstools and soon enough someone who is not Travis Haley comes into the showroom from the back. He introduces himself to me as Chris Casalena, the CFO of Haley Strategic Partners since March 2017. Casalena is a freelance CFO, hired by companies in a variety of industries (from furniture to high tech) to provide his leadership and expertise on a short or long term basis. Casalena currently has three clients with HSP being 50% of his work.
According to Casalena, revenues for Haley Strategic Partners currently are 80% from products and 20% from training, especially training of “responsibly armed citizens.” (Haley later tells me his pre-Magpul company, Simply Dynamic Inc. [SDI] Tactical Inc., was exclusively involved in defense contracting, but 70% of HSP’s sales are in the commercial market.)
Although the showroom does feature the Incog holster systems produced by HSP in partnership with G-Code Holsters, the flagship HSP product is the chest rig.
After the chest rig, HSP is best known for its rifle sling, which is also well-represented on the many rifles scattered about the showroom.
After chatting for about 20 minutes, Casalena goes back upstairs to look for Haley. This gives me another opportunity to explore. I find Travis Haley is simultaneously nowhere and everywhere. A full-facing picture of him does not appear anywhere in the main showroom, but his logo and symbol, the dragonfly, is ubiquitous.
Moving toward the reception desk, I see an artist’s workstation and chair to the right, and next to that is a display of four works of art. They are part of a Signature Series produced by visual artist Ellison Keomaka in collaboration with and on behalf of Travis Haley.
Keomaka is also HSP’s Chief Creative Officer and is responsible for the amazing design of the new showroom.
Keomaka and Haley have made a series of videos available on YouTube to explain each of the four pieces in the signature series.
For the story of the dragonfly and its significance to Travis Haley, you can read a plaque hanging on the wall in the showroom (below) or listen to Haley’s explanation on the Skillset magazine podcast.