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Staff Stories

Our staff are dedicated people who deliver incredible value to our customers. But all of us are much more interesting and complex than just what we do at work. Here we highlight some of our staff who do amazing things every day in their spare time.

Glenda Harris

The Bionic Renaissance Woman
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Glenda Harris

The Bionic Renaissance Woman

If you ever get the chance to see Glenda Harris perform, you might think after the first song that she’s a talented singer and guitarist. By the end of the second song, you’d realize that she also plays the Harmonium, Sitar, Hardanger Fiddle, Violin, Mandolin, and dobro. And by the end of her set, you will probably have lost count of exactly how many instruments she’s played (it’s 12, by the way). Glenda started playing music when she was only six years old, and credits the public school she attended as the gateway to her now seasoned understanding and passion for music and the arts.

In addition to Glenda’s musical career, she’s also a Software Tester for NetCentrics, supporting the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and testing all custom applications prior to release. She’s also supported the Explorer Space Shuttle Program at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and she’s worked in the commercial arena for companies like Intuit, which took her to California – a place that both satiated and ignited her musical appetite.

While working in San Diego, Glenda discovered the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe. Camping on long weekends, Glenda took part in recreations of long-ago battles between Viking Hoards and the Roman Legion, and engaged with the community to educate others about the history and culture, performing arts, games and pastimes, and food and drink of centuries ago.

Glenda takes her experiences with SCA a step further, taking a day off every year to lead an educational session at her local YMCA. In full costume, Glenda gives a historic presentation about the people and culture of the past. From musical performances to art lessons, Glenda provides elementary children an enriching, hand-on experience that truly brings history to life. From the Icelandic Vikings and Molly the Innkeeper’s daughter to Medieval England and a Lady-in-waiting, Glenda tries to incorporate historical information as well as a moral with each performance.

Glenda’s personal interests vary almost as much as the number of instruments she plays – and many of them require precise physical movement and control. Glenda has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, an inherited condition that affects connective tissues such as joints, but she’s made it a point not to let it stand in the way of what she loves. Upbeat, positive, doing what she loves and seeking to help others, Glenda is an example of NetCentrics’ core values in action.

Glenda’s band, The Bionic Woman and the Six Million Dollar Man, recently performed at Highmark Brewery. Listen to the performance on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/larry.hinkle.3/videos/10215340510803188/?lst=1811221466%3A1148373287%3A1532713560

Joy Brathwaite

Unafraid of the Unknown
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Joy Brathwaite

Unafraid of the Unknown

Joy Brathwaite is a photographer supporting the Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) Visual Information/Multimedia & Engineering Services (VIMES) contract at Fort Belvoir. She photographs various INSCOM events – from official ceremonies and warrant officer balls, to historical artifacts and the construction of the new INSCOM headquarters.  But despite her creative eye, Joy’s educational background isn’t in photography – it’s in aerospace engineering.

After graduating from Georgia Tech with her B.Sc., she obtained her M.Sc. and ultimately her Ph.D. – all in aerospace engineering. Two years into her Ph.D. work, however, Joy started thinking about changing the career path she was on. Knowing she’d regret pulling out of the program, she finished her studies and started working for the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA). As a Research Staff Member at IDA, Joy supported the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation in the Pentagon on operational tests of Marine and Army aviation systems. She continued in this role for over six years before finally making the decision to change the trajectory of her career.

“Most people are afraid of the unknown,” she said. “But for me, one day I had a job as an engineer and the next day I was a photographer doing what I loved. And if it didn’t work out, I knew I could always go back to engineering. Switching careers is not as treacherous of a jump as most people think.” Joy worked as a freelance photographer for several years before establishing her own company, Joy Brathwaite Photography, where she specialized in headshots, business portraits, and corporate events.

Joy joined NetCentrics in September of 2017, taking her photography career yet another step forward. “So many people worry about what they might lose, but sometimes you have to focus more on what you might gain,” she said about her journey to where she is today.

One of NetCentrics’ core values is “leap courageously” – and Joy’s attitude towards life and her professional career are the perfect embodiment of that ideal.

Domenique Malone

A man about the total experience
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Domenique Malone

A man about the total experience

Domenique Malone is a Macintosh System Administrator for NetCentrics, supporting the Joint Service Provider (JSP) Service Delivery Team at the Pentagon. Originally from Wisconsin, Domenique graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a BA in Multimedia Digital Arts and Information Technology. He worked as an Apple Creative while pursuing his Master’s in Education, with an emphasis in Educational and Instructional Technology, then transplanted to the DC area after receiving his degree. While with Apple, Domenique focused on maximizing the end-user experience for his clients, unveiling untouched capabilities, minimizing frustrations, and leveraging technology to simplify everyday challenges and frustrations. But this focus on experiences didn’t stop with Apple – it extended into his personal life as well.

From thoughtful Thanksgiving dinners with family, to meaningful conversations with almost every person he meets, Domenique values every moment, every exchange, every second of his experiences with others. So, when he decided to propose to his girlfriend of 5 years, Shoji, Domenique decided to pull out all the stops and create both an experience and a memory.

After handpicking the perfect diamond and setting, Domenique planned a trip for him and his soon-to-be-fiancé to Rio de Janeiro. Because he wanted his proposal to not only be an incredible experience, but also carry religious significance and sentiment, he planned to propose at the Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) statue on Pentecost Sunday in 2016.

The day arrived, and after a flight from DCA to Miami, Domenique’s master plan started to crumble. Neither he nor Shoji had their Brazilian visas and could not board the last leg of their flight.

However, after showing some of the JetBlue airport staff the ring and explaining what had happened, Domenique was able to secure a next-day flight to Barbados, one of the islands JetBlue services that neither Domenique nor Shoji had been to previously. Thinking his original proposal plan was ruined, Domenique stayed up all night trying to figure out how he could pull off the perfect proposal experience. The next morning, he and Shoji decided it might be fun to go parasailing, so they booked a boat before their afternoon flight.

Once out at sea, Shoji unexpectedly volunteered for them to go first. Because Domenique talked to the Captain and other guests ahead of time, everyone knew what was about to unfold, and the pressure was on. Once harnessed, the couple slowly climbed their way to about 500 feet before Domenique carefully pulled out a ring box and started to open it.

Domenique said, “I love you, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” As he slowly started to open the box, he asked, “Will you be my….” – but before he could finish the question, the box slipped out of his hands and fell over 500 feet into the water below, giving Shoji but a glimpse of the ring that he was about to put on her finger.

After what seemed like an hour in the air, the pair finally landed back on the boat, and Domenique got down on both knees (because they were on the boat) to properly propose all over again – but this time with a ring between his fingers. Confused and overwhelmed, Shoji said “absolutely” – only to learn later that Domenique had intentionally dropped the box with a fake ring for dramatic effect but had the real ring safety-pinned to his shorts. The turn of events, the obstacles, and overall experience of the entire trip and proposal went viral, with more than 7,000 views. Check out the video of the proposal here.

Domenique and Shoji were married on August 13, 2017 and continue their experiences locally and abroad, sharing their experiences on social media via #themaloneexperience.

Domenique’s personal passion and dedication to the most meaningful experience is demonstrated in both his personal life and his professional career, demonstrating NetCentrics’ core values of “be genuine,” “leap courageously,” and “we are family” – and we’re proud to have him as part of our family.

Jerry Darby

Federal IT Contractor by Day, Musician by Night
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Jerry Darby

Federal IT Contractor by Day, Musician by Night

Jerry Darby is the Systems and Server Operations Lead supporting the Military Commissions Defense Organization (MCDO) for NetCentrics Corporation. Jerry and his team handle all of the service desk tickets for the roughly 200 MCDO personnel, providing tier II support and managing servers at the application level. While some of the tickets submitted are easily fixed, many of them require both creativity and curiosity to resolve.

While Jerry’s job allows him to exercise his creativity during the day, he pursues another creative outlet on nights and weekends – he’s also the lead guitarist and singer in a classic rock cover band, The Darby Brothers. Jerry was introduced to the world of music by his father, a fan of country western music. He learned to play the drums on his brother’s kit at the age of six, but as a Navy brat, he needed an instrument that was a little more mobile. So once he discovered his father’s old electric guitar when he was about 10 years old, he hasn’t been able to put it down since.

Jerry moved to Virginia his eighth grade year. Being new to the school, Jerry was looking to make some new friends when he spotted another boy, Tommy Silis, in the cafeteria, telling a story to a group of awe-struck girls. “I’ll never forget the first time I saw Tommy,” recalled Jerry. “Whatever he was talking about, I just knew I wanted to be a part of it.” The young boys quickly became friends and started playing music together, along with Jerry’s brother, Jeff, their good friend Jim Erb, and another friend from school, Eric Schlam.

The group continued to play together through the 80s and 90s, writing their own music, and performing at local venues under the name Islander. Their musical talent and creativity ultimately afforded them the opportunity to play a one month tour in Bolivia. Over the course of that tour, Jerry and his band played in front of more than 10,000 fans at each concert, they appeared on a TV show called The Jackie Show, which had a daily viewing of more than 3 million, and came very close to getting a record deal. “God didn’t want me to be a rockstar forever, but he gave me a little taste,” said Jerry about his time in Bolivia.

The ‘five brothers from four different mothers’ continued their life journey together, inspiring and speaking through their music. In 2005, they formed The Darby Brothers, covering classic rock songs from Journey, Zeppelin, Boston, and others, and they continue to perform at local venues and for corporate events.

On September 28, The Darby Brothers will be competing in a battle of the bands style charity event called Law Rocks. Rebranded as The Disclaimers for the event, the band has raised more than $6,000 for a charity they selected called So Others Might Eat (SOME). The winner will be chosen based not just on the judges’ score, but also the donation total, sponsorship total, and audience vote.

Whether he’s solving complex issues for his customers behind a desk, or rockin’ out on stage in front of thousands, Jerry is living out some of NetCentrics’ core values with his creativity, curiosity, ingenuity, and thoughtful care.

Want to see Jerry perform live? Visit http://www.thedarbybrothers.com/ or visit https://lawrocks.org/wdc to buy tickets for his upcoming charity event.

Janis Ward-Catlett: Inspiring Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

NetCentrics employee helps youth cultivate leaderships skills
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Janis Ward-Catlett: Inspiring Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

NetCentrics employee helps youth cultivate leaderships skills

Janis Ward-Catlett started sharing inspirational quotes on her Facebook page as a part of “Motivational Monday” – a way to encourage her friends and followers on a consistent basis. After falling ill, she wasn’t able to post for several weeks, much to the disappointment of her social media followers. The resulting outcry, in fact, was so great that Janis decided to start not only a blog, but ultimately a non-profit, dedicated to mentoring students from fourth to twelfth grade. The non-profit – Maneward Inspirational Leadership Development (MILD) – offers academic support, community engagement, field trips, workshops and summits, and other resources for students with the intent of making a difference in the lives of youth through enlightenment, encouragement, and empowerment.

After advocating for several parents who reached out to her about their children, Janis contacted the school Superintendent. That correspondence resulted in Janis speaking at a principals’ meeting and eventually receiving requests to work with multiple schools. Since founding MILD, Janis has worked with students at five different schools and developed various curriculums for students with different needs – among them a program on leadership development, which focuses on personal character, self-respect as well as respect for others, and the impact of personal attitude on mental health.

Janis earned her bachelor’s degree in leadership management and strategic planning from the University of Mary Washington. Afterwards, she attended the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) virtually, completing classes online and earning her master’s in project management followed by an MBA. Janis credits her virtual courses – collaborating on group projects with peers scattered across the U.S. – for preparing her for a career in IT. Many of the customers she has supported over the years have been virtual – stationed in another building, state, or even country.

As an IT Business Process Analyst and Architect for NetCentrics at the Pentagon, Janis seeks out opportunities for gained efficiencies and process improvements – identifying gaps and weaknesses in her organization and determining the best way to support her customer’s mission. “Working with children has really helped me in my professional career as well – helping people, whether they are 14 or 48, is about understanding them. Everyone can get better, and everyone is coachable. But to coach them and help them, you have to ask the right questions,” Janis said.

Her dedication to her customers and her team, combined with her desire to positively impact youth exemplify NetCentrics’ core values of thoughtful leadership, doing the right things and doing them right, and serving those who serve us all.

Janis is currently pursuing her doctorate in strategic leadership with a concentration in coaching (virtually) at Regent University in Virginia Beach.

Mesay Degefu

Bank fraud specialist turned cyber professional
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Mesay Degefu

Bank fraud specialist turned cyber professional

Many undergraduate students find themselves working at hotels and restaurants to pay their rent and tuition, but Mesay Degefu found an alternative employment opportunity, working for Bank of America while he studied at Marymount University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration. He didn’t know it at the time, but his introduction into the financial world would ultimately lead him to a career in cybersecurity for the federal government.

After receiving his undergraduate degree, Mesay worked in commercial sales for Bank of America, then moved into compliance and ultimately became an operations manager. While working with the compliance control team, Mesay helped prepare the bank for audits and inspections, ensuring that the bank met the standards issued by the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

After more than 10 years with Bank of America, Mesay had a developed a comprehensive understanding of fraud and banking security, and started shifting his career toward cybersecurity. While working to help the bank remain compliant and also combating the growth in various types of fraud, Mesay took several cybersecurity courses offered by Bank of America. While advances in technology brought many benefits to banking customers, Mesay realized the increased need for a strong cyber defense posture to protect customer privacy and accounts.

Mesay’s experience and expertise provided him opportunities for career growth and in 2015 he took a job with a government contractor as a Systems Administrator for the State Department. While there, he also began taking graduate courses at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC). He graduated in 2016 with a Master of Science in Cybersecurity technology degree, and also earned several cyber certifications, including Security+ and Certified Authorization Professional (CAP). In 2016, Mesay joined the NetCentrics family, working as a certification and accreditation (C&A) analyst for the US Coast Guard.

Mesay has always had an interest in technology, tinkering with MS DOS, Pascal, and QBasic in high school, but he never really thought he would have a career in IT. Despite his undergraduate and master’s degrees, he’ll still tell you he’s just learning about cybersecurity. Mesay’s curiosity has brought him success in his career, and his willingness and patience to listen and learn, combined with his creative thinking and imaginative engineering help him solve cyber challenges for the Coast Guard in his current role.

Not surprisingly, Mesay is currently enrolled at UMUC to pursue his Master of Business Administration (MBA).

 

Eric Cortina and the LERIC Project

NetCentrics employee innovates to help the homeless
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Eric Cortina and the LERIC Project

NetCentrics employee innovates to help the homeless

Eric Cortina, a Configuration and Project Manager for NetCentrics Corporation, is part of a team responsible for managing projects for the Secretary of Defense – making sure communication networks remain online and secure, and managing changes to those networks. And right now, he’s also trying to bring a different type of change through another project.

The LERIC Project started with an idea that Eric and his fiancé, Lauren, (ergo, LERIC) had in 2016 – they were trying to figure out the best way to help the homeless in the national capital region. With winter around the corner, they decided to help keep the homeless warm with blankets – something that can be an instant help to those sleeping outside, in heatless shelters, or in multi-family homes and apartments without heat.

In 2017, Eric and Lauren formally started the LERIC Project, donating a blanket to the homeless for every blanket that they sell through their company. The blankets sold were originally $51 – not only covering expenses and shipping for both blankets, but also representing the 50 states plus the District of Colombia that they hope to impact. Since then, Eric has been able to reduce the cost to $40, while also adding other items like beach blankets, bedding, and bags.

Eric and his fiancée are engaging with their community in a genuine effort to improve the quality of life for the homeless – a selfless and sincere effort, and an amazing demonstration of NetCentrics’ core values.

To learn more about the LERIC Project, or to purchase a blanket and help Eric and Lauren reach their goal of donating 2,500 blankets by fall 2017, visit http://lericproject.com.

Kerry Kachejian

The Real Forrest Gump
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Kerry Kachejian

The Real Forrest Gump

Kerry Kachejian, a Senior Account Executive for NetCentrics, has found himself in a number of amazing, ironic, and serendipitous circumstances, with many of the events in Kerry’s life taking place because he was in the right place at the right time.

It all started when Kerry got his first job at the age of 13 – a paperboy delivering all the news, stories, and other happenings in his small hometown of West Chester, Pennsylvania – making only $12.00 every two weeks. Although it wasn’t much at the time, Kerry took the job to help his family cover the hospital bills for his brother, Kevin, who was tragically paralyzed from the neck down at the age of 11 from a bicycle accident. The news of Kevin’s accident hit the community hard, and it was the headline of the local newspaper that Kerry delivered to his neighbors.

A Single Ticket

After months of struggling to pay the hospital bills, Kerry’s family was left with no choice but to sell their house. Kerry’s parents (Rocky and Helen) placed the ‘For Sale’ sign in the yard. On March 6, 1975, one year to the day after Kevin’s accident, Rocky stopped at a local convenience store and purchased a single lottery ticket – on a whim, in desperation, as one last reach for hope.

That ticket turned out to be one of the best purchases of his life. When Kerry delivered the local newspaper the following day, his father found out that he had a winning ticket – enough to take the house off the market and pay off some of the hospital bills. When Kevin was preparing to graduate from high school, his friends asked him what he planned to do. Kevin stated that he wanted to get out of his wheelchair, walk up, and get his diploma. Someone leaked the plan. TV news crews were alerted and helicopters flew into Henderson High School. Sure enough, with the help of two friends, Kevin stood from his chair and slowly walked up to receive his diploma. It was an emotional and powerful event for the thousands in attendance, and another headline in the local newspaper.

An Unlikely Lineup

A few years later, when Kerry was a teenager, a policeman stopped into the high school football locker room and asked the players if they could stand in a murder line up. While all of his friends balked at the opportunity, Kerry volunteered and walked away with a $10.00 cash reward. Turns out, the criminal in the lineup was convicted, and Kerry was still able to get a security clearance later in life.

From West Chester to West Point

Kerry went on to graduate from high school in 1978, and after receiving a postcard in the mail, applied to The United States Military Academy at West Point. After a one year application process, Kerry was accepted, making him the first person in his family to receive an undergraduate degree (Aerospace Engineering), and launching him in a completely new trajectory with the military. While at the Academy, Kerry played Division I lacrosse, and was called on as a cadet to escort the American hostages who returned from Iran. Since then, Kerry’s life was continuously filled with fortuitous and ironic circumstances.

Kerry graduated West Point in 1982, and became Airborne and Ranger qualified. He served as a combat engineer in Germany when the country was divided. He remembers the cold war days, facing off against the communist Soviet and East German forces. Kerry and his unit were trained in explosives, demolitions, landmines, and even small nuclear weapons. He fondly remembers the great German beers and autobahns with no speed limits.

Kerry joined the Army Reserve in 1988, and began a career in industry. He worked for GE Aerospace, SPC, (PEO IEWS and DARPA), E-Systems, Raytheon, and Harris. For a few years, he ran his own company called Bold Solutions. At the same time, he became a Registered Professional Engineer (Civil) and served in the military with the Army Corps of Engineers. He was involved in the national response for dozens of earthquakes, hurricanes and other disasters, including Hurricane Katrina which devastated New Orleans.

Along the way, Kerry enrolled in the engineering program at Virginia Tech and earned his MS in Systems Engineering, and later, another MS in National Resource Strategy at the National Defense University. While at NDU, his seminar had eyes on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 when it was attacked by terrorists in American Airlines Flight 77. Four of Kerry’s colleagues from Raytheon were on the aircraft.

A Presidential Encounter

In 2002, Kerry and a few colleagues were having breakfast in the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Shanghai, China as part of his international travel with the National Defense University. Across from them, Kerry noticed several well-dressed men with short hair and ear pieces. Naturally, he struck up a conversation, and they turned out to be US Secret Service. Later that day, Kerry and his colleagues were invited to a private meeting with President George Bush Sr. (41). Ironically, after flying halfway around the world, they met the President of the United States.

Rebuilding Iraq

Later in his military career (2004), Kerry deployed to Iraq, with the daunting task of helping rebuild its infrastructure. Rebuilding was hard enough. Rebuilding the entire country under constant enemy attack was nearly impossible. On his first day in Iraq, he was hit by a 1000 lb. truck bomb. Initially, Kerry had 200 SUVs for his mission, but only a handful had bullet proof armor. He was ordered to transfer those to Navy SEAL, Lt. Michael Murphy, for another operation – to protect the Iraqi Prime Minister. Murphy was killed the following year in Afghanistan and his story was told in the movie “Lone Survivor”. Being left with mostly unarmored SUVs, Kerry and his team went to extreme measures to protect the reconstruction teams so they could move personnel from site to site. They drove at speeds of 90-110 mph in their SUVs, changing lanes every few seconds to dodge roadside bombs, and put a tailgunner in the back to shoot any insurgents chasing them. They lost many teammates – military, contractor and civilians during the mission. Kerry exemplifies NetCentrics’ core value of leaping courageously and his experiences ultimately led him to publish his first book: SUVs SUCK in Combat, which received the literacy hero award in 2011.

The Final Piece

Kerry retired from the Army and from Raytheon in 2012. He immediately went to work on his bucket list. It started with a bucket of chicken and a bucket of shrimp, he followed it up with a bucket of golf balls and a bucket of beer. Having survived that, he decided to go back to work and have some more fun.

In May of 2013, Kerry was invited to New York to speak at the National Security Roundtable with the Heritage Foundation. His business trip just happened to coincide with the final construction of the new World Trade Center (aka WTC1 or Freedom Tower). While there, Kerry’s old Army buddy, Mike Donovan, who was now the Program Manager for the entire WTC1 project, escorted Kerry to the very top of the tower while the final piece of steel was set in place. Matt Lauer was onsite and TV news crews were orbiting in helicopters. There were no walls at the top, so the view was spectacular. While at the top, one of the escorts gave Kerry a Sharpie and asked him to sign the steel. So, he wrote a personal message to his wife, Alice, and children Kent, Kara, and Katie on the steel column that faced West Point. It is now permanently encased at the top of Freedom Tower.

Getting it all on paper

Beyond his hectic schedule in business development for NetCentrics, Kerry is working on his second book, soon to be published. It is titled, The Paperboy: The Best Entry level Job in America. It is a gift to his children, and it includes hundreds of stories of his family, friends and colleagues, some of which we’ve captured here.

Kerry’s life has been filled with fortuitous and ironic circumstances, as well as many opportunities to do the right things and apply thoughtful leadership to improve the quality of life, exemplifying some of NetCentrics’ guiding principles and core values. We’re glad to have him as part of our team.

Vathana Say

From Remedy Administrator to Art Director
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Vathana Say

From Remedy Administrator to Art Director

In her role as a Remedy Administrator for NetCentrics at the Pentagon, Vathana Say manages access and controls to the ticketing system and works with her peers to solve technical problems and develop ways to better serve their customer. In many ways, she is both a teacher and a student, learning about solutions from her peers and also sharing that knowledge with her customers.

Her teaching doesn’t stop there. Vathana is also the Assistant Art Director and Dance Teacher for the Cambodian Buddhist Society Cultural Committee. As the daughter of the former Cultural Committee President, Raci Say, she grew up dancing at the Cambodian Buddhist Temple as part of the art program. In 2005, she started teaching others the cultural dance techniques and she became an apprentice teacher in 2012.

Much like the technical standards she uses with Remedy to keep the tool functioning properly, Vathana applies similar standards with her dance students, ensuring that everything from the specific movements to the cultural aspects of the tradition are preserved from generation to generation.

In both her technical work for her customers as well as her work with her students, Vathana is patient and passionate, demonstrating NetCentrics’ core values by applying creative thinking and thoughtful leadership to improve the quality of life.

Loilette Loderick: leading the way for women in technology

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Loilette Loderick: leading the way for women in technology

Loilette Loderick is a Senior Information Assurance / Web Application Engineer for NetCentrics at the United States Coast Guard, but her path to her current role as someone who works to defend against cyber attacks started in a much different place. Growing up in England, Loilette finished school at 16, then started a program similar to the U.S.’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Program, where she gained a year of working experience with computers, photography, electronics, and teaching. While she enjoyed her experience with computers and technology, she was the only woman in her class and didn’t see it as a long-term career – at least not at first.

After finishing the program, Loilette took a job with Roche Pharmaceuticals, where she first met Trish Norris, a network manager and also the first woman she met in the IT field. Under Trish’s tutelage, Loilette rekindled her interest in computers and decided to go back to school to pursue a degree in computer science.

After finishing the program, Loilette came to the U.S., but found it difficult to find a job in her field, so she took a job as a Pre-School teacher at Andrews Air Force Base, until after six years, Loilette landed an interview for a position as a Budget Analyst at Fort Belvoir with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). Although she didn’t have any experience, she convinced the interview panel that she could master the skills required in just six weeks – and that's just what she did, ultimately working in that role for six years. In addition to developing and executing an operating budget and supporting the 11th Wing at Bolling AFB and the Pentagon’s financial staff, she made the time to enroll in a graduate program at Bowie State University (BSU) to complete her Bachelor’s Degree.

While in school, she met a Certification & Accreditation Assistant Director at DLA – a connection that ultimately led her to a job at VAREC, a subsidiary of SAIC, as a Senior Helpdesk Technician, where – at the time – she was the only female tech on the team, a scenario that she was by now accustomed to in her journey. During the day, Loilette completed more trouble tickets than anyone else on her team – proving both her expertise and work ethic. At night, she worked towards completing her Masters in Management Information Systems at BSU. Loilette’s hard work and determination were ultimately rewarded and she was promoted to a position as an Information Assurance Manager, where her abilities were yet again challenged, but also broadened.

Over the next several years, Loilette took several positions with various government agencies and organizations, including a position with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA)/Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC), where she was awarded both Employee of the Quarter and Employee of the Year. With each position, she found not only technical obstacles that she turned into learning opportunities, but she also faced challenges as a woman in technology.

Loilette eventually found her way to NetCentrics, where she works as a Subject Matter Expert (SME), discovering and remediating vulnerabilities, and bringing awareness and visibility of their operational impact on web applications. With no previous program in place, Loilette gained many successes on the initial Web Assessment Task Order. Her hard work, steadfast determination, and dedication to the mission have resulted in the task order migrating into a standalone program. The insight gained from her assessments led the Coast Guard to implement this new Web Application Security Program. In 2015, she was recognized as one of the “People Who Made a Difference in Security in 2015” by SANS. Loilette also found her way to Women in Technology (WIT), a group dedicated to the advancement of women in IT, from the classroom to the boardroom, providing leadership development, education, mentoring, and networking opportunities for women in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

Over the course of her career, Loilette has frequently found herself the only woman on her IT team. As part of WIT, she’s had the opportunity to meet other women in similar circumstances and encourage them to continue to pursue their goals. When asked what advice Loilette offers, she replied, “Perseverance and persistence – those are the two things I always remind other women they must have to find success in the IT field. It’s true for men too, but especially for women. You have to use every obstacle in life to motivate yourself.”

Loilette is currently helping several other women from NetCentrics join WIT and together they are starting their own WIT group within NetCentrics as a mentorship program and forum. Loilette’s path has been an exciting one full of obstacles, all of which she has hurdled by following some of the same principles that NetCentrics holds as key values – creative thinking, imaginative engineering, and thoughtful leadership.

To learn more about WIT, visit http://www.womenintechnology.org/.

 

Jake Null

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Jake Null

Mild-mannered Network and Problem Management Engineer in one of the world’s most demanding IT settings by day, passionate Music Director in one of the nation’s most talented theatre scenes by night – Jake Null has mastered the art of merging the creative with the technical. Music and theatre are in his blood.  Literally.  Jake’s parents were actors and directors when they met, and his mother still plays an active role in the theatre today.  At a young age, Jake was exposed to the theatre, and, perhaps more importantly, to the music that accompanies many theatrical productions.  Despite making it to the Junior Olympics as a swimmer, Jake’s love of music as a teen led him to give up the sport to spend his summers taking extra classes in music theory, composition, and conducting. He also built his first recording studio and started giving voice lessons while in high school.

Jake pursued his passion at Virginia Tech, continuing to make and record music, receiving a Bachelor’s degree with minors in Music, Theatre, and Humanities and the Arts.  While at Tech, he re-discovered his interest in the theatre and began to combine the two interests.  But after looking at the job market, Jake decided to take a full time job in IT, to pay the bills, which allowed him to pursue his other love, the theatre.

As a problem manager, Jake and his counterparts are confronted with critical problems that impact thousands of users at the Joint Service Provider (JSP). Jake takes a creative approach to figuring out the source of the problem and determining corrective actions. He employs a creative detective-like approach to identify, understand, recreate, diagnose, and resolve IT problems. In the evenings and on the weekends, as the Music Director for the Keegan Theatre (among others), he is doing much the same thing – finding the right instrumentation and audio production to complement the actors on stage.  Jake has been involved with some leading productions in Washington DC theatre, ranging from the rock and roll influenced American Idiot to a more melancholy Next to Normal.  His work has been recognized to the extent that he has been nominated for a Helen Hayes award three times and won his first Helen Hayes award for musical direction in May 2016.

In his spare time, he offers voice and music lessons and still has a recording studio in his apartment.  Ultimately, Jake hopes to integrate the two interests in his life, technology and music, to improve both industries.  If your Enterprise IT works more effectively or you recently enjoyed a production in one of DC’s many theaters, chances are Jake played a role in both.

Phillip Lee

How many oysters can an oyster shucker shuck?
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Phillip Lee

How many oysters can an oyster shucker shuck?

Yes, it is an existential question, but it happens we know the answer.

Philip Lee is a network security engineer by day. He works diligently with our team to ensure our military has the tools it needs to make the best decisions possible. By night and weekend, however, Philip is recognized in the Chesapeake Bay area as one of the leading oyster shuckers in the Eastern US. In fact, in 2007 he was the Chesapeake Bay Oyster Shucking Champion. No one shucked oysters like Philip that year, and no one brings more energy and enthusiasm for his work than Philip.

What, you might ask, does oyster shucking have to do with keeping our military’s networks safe and secure? Phil, and all our team, approach everything the do with the passion that makes them champions. At work, at home, all the time.

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