Agility. Ingenuity. Integrity.

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 bachelor's degree and a master's 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). Ms. Alderson has been recognized in the industry as a Washington Post Top 25 Female Executive and awarded a 2011 Federal 100 Award.

Jennifer Felix EVP, CFO

Ms. Felix is the Chief Financial Officer and an Executive Vice President of Sotera Defense Solutions. She oversees all of the financial operations of Sotera’s business including strategic planning, accounting and financial processes and procedures.

Ms. Felix brings to Sotera the knowledge she has gained from 20 years of experience as a financial professional in the government services and technology sectors. Her career includes serving as Controller of two private equity-backed companies, Deltek, Inc. and Vangent, Inc.   During her tenure with those organizations, Ms. Felix took Deltek through an initial public offering and helped Vangent secure a successful sale to General Dynamics.  

As Vice President and Corporate Controller for Vangent, Ms. Felix was retained in the General Dynamics/Vangent merger for a role in General Dynamics Corporate office where she took on the role of Financial Planning Director in charge of all mergers & acquisition (M&A) for General Dynamic’s largest and most acquisitive business segment, IS&T, with over $11 billion in technology and services revenue.  She is well versed in leading financial operations improvements, including financial systems and complex M&A integrations.

While serving as Vice President of Finance at Deltek, she built and directed the company’s accounting and finance support functions. Throughout her career, Ms. Felix has established herself as a leader in developing and implementing best-in-class processes to help her organization achieve exceptional accounting, financial planning and analysis, budgeting, forecasting and dash-boarding. She has also demonstrated her ability to serve as a positive change agent in organizations and, during her time at American Management Systems (AMS), Ms. Felix successfully transformed a very decentralized finance organization into one cohesive unit.  Early in her career Ms. Felix spent 8 years with the public accounting firm Deloitte & Touche working with high growth technology companies.

Ms. Felix is a graduate of the University of Maryland and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Virginia Society of CPAs.

Kirk Herdman EVP, Business Development

Kirk Herdman is the Executive Vice President of Business Development 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.

Matt Talbot SVP, CAO

Matt Talbot serves as the Chief Administrative Officer for Sotera Defense Solutions.  In this role, Mr. Talbot is responsible for the delivery of a comprehensive suite of administrative services in support of Sotera’s flawless execution of programs on behalf of our customers, and ensuring functional compliance against all relevant standards.

Prior to joining the company, Mr. Talbot worked for over 23 years at large and small businesses in the industry supporting a diverse base of federal, commercial and international customers. This experience includes over 19 years as a contracts professional at SAIC where he led the contracts function for the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group – a P&L center with annual revenues > $4B that was committed to support of the Intelligence Community.  More important, his efforts as an administrative professional have allowed Mr. Talbot to be a team-member on a number of programs that have conclusively made a difference to our warfighters and increased the security of our nation.

Mr. Talbot has earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Virginia Tech and a Master’s Degree from the University of Adelaide Graduate School of Management in South Australia.

Rick White SVP, CIO

Rick White serves as the Chief Information 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.

Alex Drew SVP Ops – Data Fusion & Analytics Solutions (DFAS)

Alex Drew is the Senior Vice President of Sotera’s Mission Systems business. Alex provides operational leadership and oversight for this part of Sotera’s business that delivers C4ISR, net-centric communications systems, and applied science disciplines to meet the mission-critical needs of Sotera’s national security customers.    

Alex joined Sotera in 2005 and led its Intelligence Solutions business (formerly known as The Analysis Corporation) between October 2008 and March 2012. Most recently Alex led the integration of three cyber security companies to form Sotera’s Cyber Systems & Solutions business focused in the Ft. Meade, Maryland region. Prior to this he was a Senior Vice President and General Counsel of a technology company serving the US Intelligence Community (IC). He was previously an Associate at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld practicing in the fields of litigation and energy law.

Upon graduating from Miami University of Ohio, United States, in 1982, Alex was commissioned an Ensign in the US Navy and upon completion of sea duty in 1987 was qualified as Chief Engineer for navy nuclear reactors,  He then served on the Navy’s Operations staff as the Strategic and Submarine Warfare Analyst for the Director of Naval Intelligence and also served as the Navy’s representative to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) working four crucial National Intelligence Estimates on nuclear matters.  Mr. Drew completed his nine years of active duty Navy service and joined the Naval Reserve Intelligence Program in 1991. During this time he supported operational intelligence missions at the Office of Naval Intelligence, served as the Acting General Counsel for the Director of Naval Intelligence, and eventually commanded the largest Naval Intelligence Reserve Unit overseen by a Commander. Immediately following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Alex was recalled to active duty for four years and spearheaded the Crisis Operations Division for the Joint Staff J2. He then served as a Senior Watch Officer for the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) and was the representative from the DIA’s Joint Intelligence Task Force for Combating Terrorism (JITF-CT) that helped establish the NCTC’s Operations Center. He later oversaw the production of over 400 HUMINT Reserve analysts deployed worldwide. Alex recently retired from the Navy at the rank of Captain.

Mr. Drew holds a BS in Physics from Miami University of Ohio and a Juris Doctorate degree from the Catholic University, Columbus School of Law

Mark Savarese SVP Ops – Engineered Solutions (ES)

Mark Savarese is the Senior Vice President and General Manager for Sotera Defense Solutions, named to the position in May 2013. Mark leads Sotera Engineered Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sotera Defense Solutions and is located in Easton, MD. As General Manager, Mark is responsible for all strategic and business operations and decision making that impact Sotera Defense Solutions’ financial results, employee morale, and customer satisfaction.

Mark comes to Sotera Defense with a strong background in both corporate and military defense. From January 2011 to October 2012, as President, Benteler Defense Corporation, Mark ensured profitable growth of the multi-million dollar Benteler Defense segment in North America, capitalizing on DoD and commercial OEM market opportunities including potential M&A strategic considerations. Prior to Benteler Defense Corporation, Mark was Vice president, Textron Marine & Land Systems, where he led Strategy, Capture, and Business Development functions from 2008-2010 and received Green Belt six-sigma certification. From 2005-2008, Mark was with General Dynamics Land Systems as the Director for United States Marine Corps Programs leading the General Dynamics Land Systems Joint Venture “Force Dynamics” with Force Protection Industries Inc. located in Ladson, SC. Mark managed a multi-billion dollar portfolio of four combat/combat support vehicles including the life saving Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle.

Prior to his business career, Mark had a distinguished 28-year career in the United States Marine Corps, retiring honorably in 2005 as a Colonel. He served primarily as an AV-8B Harrier fighter pilot and he commanded at the squadron and air group levels. He is a certified, Level III member of the Department of Defense Acquisition Professional Corps in program management and a decorated combat veteran. Mark holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Springfield College in Springfield, MA, a Master of Arts from the United States Naval War College in Newport, RI and a Master of Science from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington, DC.

Jack Hess VP, Intelligence Analysis & Operations (IA&O)

Mr. Hess is the Senior Vice President for the Intelligence Analysis & Operations (IA&O) Business Unit. 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. 

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).

Steve Niezgoda VP Ops – Mission Information Technology (MIT)

Mr. Niezgoda is the Senior Vice President of the Mission IT business of Sotera Defense Solutions, Inc. (Sotera). Mr. Niezgoda has over 25 years’ experience leading mission-focused information technology solutions for both the public and private sectors.

Mr. Niezgoda’s extensive career has included several high profile roles including the position of Science and Technology Advisor, Terrorist Screening Center (TSC), directly serving the TSC Director, with responsibility for improving overall mission effectiveness and operational efficiency. As part of this position, Mr. Niezgoda helped to establish organizational mission/vision/values, strategy maps, balanced scorecards and led a comprehensive analysis of operational effectiveness across all operating units which resulted in changes in organizational structure, business process and performance metrics, and information technology.

As Program Manager for the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a program that helps solve crimes by matching DNA evidence recovered from crime scenes to DNA collected from known arrestees and convicted offenders, Mr. Niezgoda built and developed a solution from initial concept (serving 14 pilot laboratories) to an international program serving over 100 crime labs and received the FBI’s Director Award for Science and Technology as a result.

Mr. Niezgoda has authored and co-authored numerous articles in professional journals and magazines, including Byte and Science. Mr. Niezgoda has spoken at conferences throughout the world and is a recognized expert in DNA informatics and information sharing. He served on the Hurricane Katrina Victim DNA Identification Expert Group and the World Trade Center Victim Identification Panel.

Mr. Niezgoda earned a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech in 1986 and a Masters of Business Administration from George Mason University in 1997.