About Us

Management Team

Deb Alderson President & CEO

Deb Alderson joined Sotera Defense Solutions as President & CEO on July 8, 2013. She is known for her energetic leadership style and has a track record of developing high performance teams focused on driving operational excellence and business growth.

Ms. Alderson has over 25 years of experience working in national security and prior to joining Sotera she was the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of SRA International where she oversaw four main operating groups with over 6,000 employees. 

Prior to SRA, Ms. Alderson was President of the Defense Solutions Group at SAIC, with responsibility for over 14,000 employees focused on delivering command, control, computing and communications solutions, and systems engineering and integration, in support of the critical missions of federal agencies. Before SAIC, Ms. Alderson was President of the Systems Engineering Group at Anteon, which she grew from $65 million to $400 million through the delivery of solutions in support of the Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps and the Department of Homeland Security.

Ms. Alderson holds a bachelors of science degree and a masters of science degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. She is a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors for both the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) and the Professional Services Council (PSC), and is active in the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA), the Air Force Association and the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA).

John Pitsenberger EVP, CFO

John Pitsenberger is Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President for Sotera Defense Solutions, Inc. (Sotera) providing leadership and oversight to the financial planning & analysis, corporate treasury, corporate facilities, accounting, and tax functions.

Prior to joining Sotera, Mr. Pitsenberger has served in leadership roles at both publicly traded and private-equity backed companies.  He was the Vice President and Corporate Controller of two private equity-backed businesses, Pacific Architects and Engineers (PAE) and Apptis, Inc.  At PAE he was responsible for the accounting and shared services organizations of the $1 billion government contractor with geographically dispersed operations in the Middle East and Africa.  While at Apptis he managed all of the accounting functions and systems as well as helping to secure the successful sale of the company to URS Corporation.  Prior to working at Apptis he was the Senior Director and Assistant Corporate Controller of Deltek, Inc. where he took the company through an initial public offering.

Earlier in his career Mr. Pitsenberger served as the Assistant Corporate Controller for American Management Systems, a $1 billion publicly traded international government and commercial contractor.  At AMS he was responsible for mergers and acquisitions, all SEC reporting, and supporting the sale of the company to CGI in 2004.  He began his career in public accounting at Beers & Cutler, PLLC (now Baker Tilly) practicing in both tax and audit and is a CPA with a B.S. in accounting from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Kirk Herdman EVP, Chief Strategy Officer

Kirk Herdman is the Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Vice for Sotera Defense Solutions, Inc. (Sotera) providing leadership and oversight to the company’s business development and operations functions.

Immediately prior to joining Sotera, Mr. Herdman was the Senior Vice President and General Manager for Defense and Science Programs at Wyle Information Systems where he was responsible for nearly 1000 employees supporting mission critical programs valued at over $150M in annual revenues for the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA).

Before Wyle, Mr. Herdman spent over 15 years with General Dynamics (formerly Veridian) where he was Vice President for Defense Business Development within General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems (GDAIS). While there, Mr. Herdman was responsible for defense agency business development activities for over a $1 Billion operation. Other positions Mr. Herdman held include Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Veridian Engineering’s Applied Technology Group (ATG) and Director of Veridian Engineering’s San Diego, C.A. office.

Mr. Herdman has a B.S in Applied Mathematics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; he is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s Darden Business School Executive Training Program on Leadership Change; and he has attended numerous other senior management training courses.

Jesse Watters SVP, General Counsel

Jesse Watters is the Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for Sotera Defense Solutions, Inc. (Sotera).  Mr. Watters’ oversees all of the legal affairs of Sotera and its subsidiaries, and advises the company on such matters as corporate governance, litigation, technology licensing, acquisitions and divestitures, real estate, intellectual property management, regulatory, compliance and employment issues.  He also serves as the company’s Chief Compliance Officer responsible for the day-to-day implementation, management and operation of the Ethics Compliance Program.

Prior to joining the company, Mr. Watters served as Corporate Vice President, Deputy General Counsel of Alion Science and Technology Corporation, a technology company servicing the U.S. Government.  In this position, Mr. Watters was responsible for all the business and operational legal issues of Alion to include responsibility as the Corporate Compliance Officer for Alion’s Ethics Compliance program.  Mr. Watters previously served as the Deputy General Counsel of the Coalition Provisional Authority, Office of the Inspector General and specialized in the areas of government contracts and compliance while at the law firms of Holland & Knight, LLP and Patton Boggs, LLP.  During his professional endeavors he also served as an Adjunct Professor at the Joint Military Intelligence College where he taught National Security Law.  Mr. Watters served on active duty and in the reserves from 1984-2009 first as non-commissioned officer and later as an officer in the U.S. Navy.  His tours of duty included the USCINCLANT, USSOUTHCOM, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Department of Defense, Office of the Inspector General and the Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division.

Mr. Watters received a B.A. in International Affairs from The George Washington University and a J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law.

Rick White SVP, CTO

Rick White serves as the Chief Technology Officer for Sotera Defense Solutions. Mr. White is responsible for architecting and implementing industry-leading IT solutions to enhance the company’s operations and leads the development of innovative and differentiated solutions to help Sotera’s customers meet their mission-related information and technology needs.

A retired Navy Captain, Mr. White has over 35 years of experience working in national security. Prior to Sotera, Mr. White was Chief Technology Officer at Wyle Information Systems where he was responsible for developing go-to-market solutions and building Wyle’s IS Consulting Practice. Before Wyle, Mr. White was VP for Federal Consulting and Managing Partner for Navy, Justice and Intelligence Community clients at Gartner Consulting.

Mr. White has a MSA, Information Resource Management, from Central Michigan University and a B.S. in Physical Science from the United States Naval Academy.

Mark Freeman EVP, C4ISR

Mr. Freeman joined Sotera Defense Solutions as the Executive Vice President for Advanced Programs in November of 2013, and is currently the EVP of the C4ISR Division.  He has thirty years experience in the Federal marketplace focusing on corporate development through the growth and diversification of core businesses.

Prior to joining Sotera, Mr. Freeman was the Vice President for Corporate Development at SRA International where he managed all facets of business development for the Civil Group, and provided strategy for large-scale opportunities across the firm.  Mr. Freeman was the Vice President for Marketing of SAIC's Defense Solutions Group (DSG).  In this role, Mr. Freeman worked across the $4.6B DSG organization and SAIC enterprise to identify and qualify opportunities for the firm, and develop and implement capture strategies.  He worked closely with DoD and other federal agency personnel to understand the focus and direction of SAIC’s customers, and coordinated with industry partners to build teams.  Prior to joining SAIC, Mr. Freeman was the Vice President of the Center for Security Strategies and Operations within Anteon Corporation.  He was responsible for the complete operations and strategic planning for a profit and loss center.  Mr. Freeman implemented a business strategy resulting in organic growth within his group of over 35% per year.

Mr. Freeman holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Virginia Tech.

Jack Hess SVP, Intelligence Operations & Technology Division

Mr. Hess is the Senior Vice President for the Intelligence Operations & Technology (IOT) Division. He has been with Sotera since 2009, managing the analysis and operations work for Intelligence Community clients. In July of 2013 he was promoted to Vice President and Manager of the IA&O Business Unit.  In May of 2014, he was promoted to Senior Vice President and now manages the IOT Division

Mr. Hess retired as a Special Agent from the FBI Senior Executive Service (SES) in 2009 after 21 years of service. Mr. Hess held various senior positions in the FBI, to include Associate Director of National Intelligence, the FBI’s senior liaison to the Intelligence Community; Section Chief for the Counterterrorism Division’s Communication Exploitation Section; Chief of the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime; and Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). He has extensive investigative, tactical and management training and has received numerous investigative and management awards.

Mr. Hess also spent six years in public accounting. He left a managerial position with M. Sternlieb & Co. CPAs to join the FBI.

Mr. Hess holds a BA in Accounting from Rutgers University, a certificate in Strategic Planning from the Kellogg School of Management and an MA in Homeland Security Management from Long Island University (5/2014).

Deborah Drake SVP, CHRO

Ms. Drake is a trusted advisor and strategic leader with 20 years of experience in proactive and innovative approaches in all areas of HR to include recruitment, training, compensation and recognition, employee relations, benefits, communications, organizational development, international deployment, affirmative action/compliance, policies and procedures, acquisition/diversification and HRIS/analytics.  She is a leader in change management, aligning business strategy with the human capital strategy, organizational design, talent acquisition and retention, and development.  Ms. Drake is a strong collaborator, communicator, change agent, and project manager. She has a Masters Degree in Human Resources and BA in Psychology.  Her primary HR experience has been primarily in the government contracting business to include the intelligence community, DoD, DHS, NASA, DARPA, DTRA, FBI, FAA, and local/state requirements.