PORTLAND, Maine — A Massachusetts information technology consultant has plans to open an office in downtown Waterville early next year, bringing on 20 employees in January with hopes of eventually growing to a projected 200 positions.

John Williams, the chief strategy officer for Collaborative Consulting, said in a telephone interview Wednesday that the company plans to grow to between 50 and 75 employees by the end of 2016, keeping a similar pace over the next few years.

That pace in future years depends on how business goes and how easy it is for the company to recruit and train new employees, but Williams said the projection of growing to 200 in two to three years “feels like a reasonable growth pattern.”

The company, Collaborative Consulting, on Wednesday announced its plan to move into space in the Hathaway Creative Center, a commercial and residential redevelopment of the city’s historic Hathaway Mill. It will operate in Waterville as Collaborative Waterville.

Williams said his company had eyed Maine generally for an expansion, settling on Waterville because of the offer to partner with Colby College, offering internships, faculty and staff training, and other opportunities for professional development.

“We decided on Waterville in large part because of the opportunity to work closely with Colby College,” Williams said.

Williams, who will lead the company’s expansion, said Collaborative is working on getting state economic development incentives, which he said put Maine on par with other states the company considered for expansion.

“They weren’t a tipping point for us like Colby was, but they level the playing field with states that have similar programs,” Williams said.

William Robichaud, the company’s founder and CEO, said in a news release that the company also plans to work with Thomas College and Kennebec Valley Community College to provide technology and business skills education for students.

“Waterville is an ideal fit for us because of its dynamic community, exceptional workforce and impressive educational infrastructure focused on innovation,” Robichaud said in a news release.

The company headquartered in Burlington, Massachusetts, said it has about 450 consultants along the East Coast. It offers consulting for businesses seeking help with data, analytics and other technology needs.

Collaborative announced the expansion during a news conference at which Gov. Paul LePage, Colby College President David Greene and local officials spoke, praising the new business and jobs downtown.

The announcement comes after the start of an effort by Colby and others to redevelop the city’s downtown.

“When Colby began partnering with the city and others on revitalization efforts, we knew that sustained economic development would be critical to supporting the long-term needs of the people of Waterville and central Maine,” Greene said in a news release. “Introducing 200 jobs in Waterville will have a tremendous impact on efforts currently underway to bring new vitality to downtown.”

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.