Growth, operational and tech leadership moves across the market / adamichi

Plus a former Air Force secretary and intelligence agency director join the boards at two blue chip defense hardware companies.

22nd Century Technologies

Mike McDermott has joined the IT and workforce solutions-focused company as chief growth officer to lead its business development activities and support the proposal function.

The two-decade public sector veteran will also oversee congressional outreach, merger-and-acquisition activities and marketing in his new role.

McDermott's career includes roles such as chief operating officer of National Capitol Contracting and president of Phacil. He is also a Marine Corps veteran.


Nick Leontidis' promotion to chief operating officer is not the only important development to understand what is happening at the aerospace-and-defense company.

As reported Wednesday by the Canadian Press, CAE expects to report a massive loss stemming from writedowns in its defense business. CAE is effectively telling investors that the business has a much lower value than the amount being carried on the corporate balance sheet.

Leontidis is moving up to the COO role with a mandate to "drive additional synergies" between CAE's defense and civil aviation business segments. His promotion follows the April departure of Daniel Gelston, who previously led the defense segment as president for three years.


Bryant Thrift has moved up to the chief financial officer position from his prior role as chief accounting officer at the government-focused cybersecurity company.

Core4ce has also tasked Thrift with revitalizing its roadmap for talent development and training, plus the approach for merger-and-acquisition activities.

Thrift joined Core4ce in 2020 after approximately two decades at companies such as ECS, KSH and Stanley.


Nicole Robinson has joined the satellite systems integration company as president, approximately seven months after its acquisition by Gilat to gain a foothold in the U.S. government market.

She was most recently the chief strategy officer at Comtech for one year and joins a competitor two months after it fired then-CEO Ken Peterman, who also stepped down from the board of directors.

Robinson succeeds David McDonald, who led DataPath in the three years prior to the transaction. McDonald will transition to the role of vice chairman for the board of directors.

Second Front Systems

TJ Rowe has been appointed chief growth officer at the public-benefit software provider focused on national security programs.

Rowe will manage Second Front's business development efforts to include sales, partnerships and customer success strategies.

Second Front also announced its hire of a new chief information security officer in Matt Conner, a two-decade cyber veteran and former CISO at Westinghouse Electric Company. Conner is also an independent member of Second Front's board.

Booz Allen Hamilton's venture capital arm revealed its backing of Second Front in January.

TechSur Solutions

Pradeep Krishnanath has joined the technology transformation company as senior vice president of digital solutions and brings three decades of experience to his new employer.

He will oversee TechSur’s go-to market strategy, along with functions related to solution development and service delivery. Krishnanath most recently worked as a program director at REI Systems for 13 years.

In addition, Techsur has brought in two-decade tech veteran Shailendra Gohil as director of digital solutions to provide technical leadership for its innovation efforts. Gohil most recently worked in the same role at A-TEK.

BAE Systems Inc.

Betty Sapp, director of the National Reconnaissance Office from 2012 to 2019, has joined the board of directors for BAE’s U.S. subsidiary.

Sapp holds the distinction of being the first woman to serve as director of NRO, a joint Defense Department-Intelligence Community organization. She was the agency’s principal deputy director in the three years before her appointment to the top position.

Sapp is also a member of the boards of directors at Systems Planning & Analysis, Draper Laboratory and Ball Corp. In February, BAE completed its purchase of the Ball Aerospace business for approximately $5.5 billion.

Lockheed Martin

Heather Wilson, secretary of the Air Force from 2017 to 2019, has started her term as an independent member of the defense giant’s board of directors.

Wilson will also sit on the board’s classified business and security committee. As the Air Force’s senior civilian, she focused her attention on readiness and acquisition reform efforts.

She is currently president of the University of Texas at El Paso and represented New Mexico in the House from 1998 to 2009.