Michael Sutton, X8’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), leads the development and execution of X8’s enterprise information security program, providing strategic guidance on the implementation, security and architecture of X8’s information systems, and identifying the associated risks they present in the ever-changing threat landscape.
Michael has over two decades of information technology and security experience in both the public and private sectors. Having worked at multiple startups, as well as large agencies including the U.S. Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and State, he has extensive experience designing, building, and securing complex network environments and testing security protocols. Immediately prior to joining X8, Michael worked at the Department of Defense as an active member of its cyber operations and cyber threat intelligence community.
Michael holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management Information Systems and a Master of Science in Computer Science from Loyola University Maryland, as well as multiple industry certifications, including (ISC)2’s CISSP-ISSAP and CCSP.
David Ortiz, X8’s Vice President and Principal Engineer, oversees the firm’s engineering and design teams to develop innovative technical, operational and research solutions that meet complex customer requirements. His diverse background in laser physics, information assurance, cyberspace operations and organizational leadership enables him to engineer and advocate for enterprise-level cyber solutions, for the U.S. Government and private industry. David’s accomplished career began as a weapons officer in the Air Force, but he soon transferred to scientific research and development within the Intelligence Community. As a junior scientist he led research projects in optics and technical security where he designed his first invention for the U.S. Government by the age of 26. In 2003, he transitioned to the U.S. Air Force Reserve to focus his efforts on research, development and security implementation within the Federal Government. As a civilian scientist and reserve officer, he held positions in space launch analysis, cyberspace planning, security operations center design & management, cyber analysis, optical research, national cyber policy and cyberspace operations. He supports the Director of Joint Forces Headquarters – Cyber Forward as an IMA, advising on cyberspace operations, policy, planning and capabilities and mentoring rising cyber officers and airmen. David holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics and a Master of Science in Information Assurance from Norwich University, The Military College of Vermont. David lends his volunteer time a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and most recently as the Club Officer for Maryland Alumni. Additionally, he is a published author and holds two patents in laser physics – one in detection, and the other in lens design for high speed data transfer.
Shelia Baesch, X8’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), leads the firm’s administrative operations, overseeing the finance, contracts, compliance and human resources functions. With more than three decades of experience working in the Intelligence Community, she provides extensive operational expertise and maintains security clearances, transfers and processes.
Shelia started her career as a DoD employee at the National Cryptologic School Television Center and, in a few short years, progressed to the director’s staff at the National Security Agency. Subsequently, she has focused her career on contracting for the Intelligence Community, leading and navigating small companies to extensive growth.
Sam Nithilesh, X8’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO), oversees all financial functions at X8, to comprising financial planning and analysis, budgeting, pricing, and regulatory compliance. Prior to X8, Sam worked as a management consultant for a public accounting firm which specialized in outsourced CFO services, government compliance, policies and procedures, and financial operations for various industries. He conducted financial statement reviews and audits, directed bank covenant audits, guided SF1408 and DCAA compliance, and coordinated proposal pricing. Sam earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting and Finance from George Washington University, and is an active member of GovCon and CFO round-tables for Greater Washington regional chapters.
Sterling Rooke, X8’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), leads X8 with the progressive vision and cutting-edge approach needed to ensure the company meets the evolving needs of its customers. His relaxed organizational culture promotes independence and advancement in the fields of cyber operations and security, enabling success and growth for the company and its employees.
Sterling is committed to developing the most advanced applied technology solutions for full-spectrum cyber operations in both the government and commercial sectors. His expertise stems from a diverse background in the U.S. Navy, where he was an Information Warfare Officer, and in academia, where he earned his PhD in Engineering from the University of Maryland College Park. His training, research and work experience spans a variety of disciplines including cyber operations, chemistry, materials science, optical communications, fiber optics, cryptology and civil engineering, among others, all shaping him to become one of the leading cyber experts in the field.
Sterling currently serves as an Air Force Reservist and Cyberspace Operations Officer, working with USCYBERCOM. He previously served as the Director of the International Society of Automation (ISA) Communications Division and Chair of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Instrumentation and Measurement Chapter in Washington, DC. He holds multiple industry certifications including (ISC)2’s CISSP and CEH.
A clear and thoughtful writer and communicator, Sterling frequently publishes articles on industrial controls, IoT, cybersecurity, and sensor technology and is a regular keynote speaker at national technology conferences.