Photo collage of employees from VT-ARC

Our combination of talent, motivation, knowledge, tools, facilities, and skill resident in our team, yields performance above the levels reached as individuals alone. It takes all of us to produce great achievements. Our team’s focus on excellence means we can give our customers practical and optimized solutions that balance multiple criteria and constraints.

VT-ARC Leaders

John Forte

CEO & President

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Mr. John Forte is the CEO and President of VT-ARC, responsible for guiding strategic growth in applied research and development with the intent of strengthening national security, driving societal impact, and improving the human condition. Prior to VT-ARC, Mr. Forte served as one of the US Air and Space Force’s 5 science and technology executives (EPAs), responsible for advising the command, control, communications and networking needs of the warfighter and the Department of Defense.

He was charged with creating forward leaning and innovative ecosystems across government, industry and academia and helped establish and direct the Air and Space Force’s first Digital Architecture and Infrastructure Directorate under the Department of the Air Force’s Chief Architect Office.

Mr. Forte served nearly 10 years as a senior leader within the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL). His culminating assignment was as the Executive for the Homeland Protection Mission Area, directing the development and implementation of technologies and solutions to protect the United States against a variety of asymmetric threats. While at JHU, he founded and served as the Interim Director of JHU’s Institute for Assured Autonomy, a center of excellence charged with driving safety, security, and reliability into the future autonomous world.

Mr. Forte served in numerous senior leadership positions within the public and private sectors, including the Morgan Franklin Corporation, MITRE, and as the Chief Scientist for the White House Communications Agency. He also served as a communications officer in the US Army, assigned to multiple airborne and special operations units and deploying in support of operations in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq.

Mr. Forte earned a BSEE from the University of Tulsa and an MSEE from George Washington University with a focus in Communications and Networks. He also completed Executive Programs at the Harvard Kennedy School on Cybersecurity: The Intersection of Policy and Technology; as well as on National and International Security.

Don Maffei

Vice President of Finance & Administration

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Mr. Don Maffei brings 25 years of corporate finance, operations, and management experience to the VT-ARC team. His extensive involvement with small businesses and startups has provided a wealth of experience in strategic planning and implementation of various control and reporting systems while maximizing efficient use of resources.

As the leader of the finance and administration team, Don provides strategic input on the direction of the corporation as well as day-to-day planning, implementation, and management of all financial, compliance, human resources, and information technology matters.

Before joining VT-ARC, Don provided CFO consulting services to various small government contractors, manufacturers and nonprofits. Previously, he was the CFO/COO and cofounder of a high-technology government contractor. Don began his career as a design engineer developing new defense electronics systems for a worldwide leader in radar development. Later, he was named the Director of Programs for a boutique defense contractor specializing in radar imagery.

Don holds an MBA degree in finance from the University of Maryland, an MS degree in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins University, and a BS degree in electrical engineering from Case Western Reserve University.He was charged with creating forward leaning and innovative ecosystems across government, industry and academia and helped establish and direct the Air and Space Force’s first Digital Architecture and Infrastructure Directorate under the Department of the Air Force’s Chief Architect Office.

Tim Brumfiel, Sr.

Vice President of Operations & Development

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Mr. Tim Brumfiel, Sr. is VT-ARC’s VP of Operations and Development, responsible for overseeing daily operations and programs, defining and implementing operations strategy, structure, and processes, and managing the corporation’s business development activities.

Prior to his current position, he was VT-ARC’s business development/capture manager primarily responsible for building relationships with Virginia Tech research institutes, industry, and government organizations. As a VT-ARC program manager, he lead the AFWERX-DC innovation hub providing collaboration space and data analytics support. He also supported the Army Research Laboratory with technology transfer using automated approaches to discover industry partners likely to adopt specific ARL technologies.

Prior to VT-ARC, he served in the U.S. Army for over 25 years, retiring as a Colonel. His tactical assignments were with cavalry, armor and light reconnaissance units where he lead and commanded units from platoon through battalion level. His final assignment was in the Pentagon on the Joint Staff as the J-33 Current Operations Division Chief.

Tim is a distinguished military graduate from Texas A&M University. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army’s Command and General Officer Staff Course where he earned a Masters in Military Arts and Science, and National Defense University’s Eisenhower School where he earned a Masters in National Security and Resource Strategy with a specialization in Supply Chain Management.

Matt Wolfe, Ph.D.

Vice President of Technology

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Dr. Matt Wolfe is VT-ARC’s Vice President of Technology and is responsible for the corporation’s technology development strategy and commercialization efforts. In this position, Matt is responsible for ensuring VT-ARC’s technical, business development, partnership, and commercialization activities align with the corporation’s business strategy.

Before joining VT-ARC, Matt spent six years in the intelligence community as a civil servant performing S&T development, procurement, and technical operations activities. Prior to joining the federal government, Matt provided technical expertise in support of medical diagnostics, counter-WMD, and special operations forces technical programs at DARPA.

Matt holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry (magna cum laude) from the College of Charleston, earned his doctorate in Biochemistry and Biophysics from the University of Minnesota, and performed research as a post-doctoral and Lenfant Biomedical fellow at the National Institutes of Health. He has published and presented original research and has authored numerous white papers and proposals that have led to the development of several advanced technologies.

Mike DiFrancisco

Chief Engineer

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Mr. Mike DiFrancisco is VT-ARC’s Chief Engineer, working with the Corporation’s executives and senior leadership to draw connections and pathways for our talent and assurances in our deliverables and approaches. He is an experienced Technology Executive and Engineering Manager with functional expertise in Communication Systems, RF Design, SATCOM, Cyber Technologies, IT Infrastructure Systems, and Networking. He has demonstrated experience in planning, analysis, design, procurement and management of RF Communications systems and networks for the DoD and the Intelligence Community.

Prior to joining VT-ARC, Mr. DiFrancisco was a Principal in Booz Allen Hamilton’s Cyber Technology Center of Excellence focused on developing and managing Cyber Technology-related business with Intelligence Community customers. Earlier in his 25-year Booz Allen career, Mike focused on network & communications systems support to DoD customers, serving as Program Manager and Lead Systems Engineer on several large programs. Mr. DiFrancisco received a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Penn State in 1984 and a M.S. from George Washington University in 1991.

Kate Klemic, Ph.D.

Director of Science & Technology Engagement & Analysis Division

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Dr. Kate Klemic is the Director of the Science and Technology Engagement and Analysis Division. Kate is a technical leader with broad S&T experience and expert facilitation skills in building and managing highly effective programs that strengthen relationships across the S&T enterprise to advance scientific discovery and technology innovation.

Prior to joining VT-ARC, Kate spent 18 years in basic and applied research and development, technology transfer, and STEM outreach. Kate led several highly collaborative, multidisciplinary bioscience R&D projects in both academia and industry that resulted in 8 publications, one book chapter, one patent and a NIH funded STTR grant that received Phase II funding. She has served on NSF SBIR/STTR panel reviews and has led the strategic marketing of technology to industry.

Kate’s strengths are strategic planning and technology assessment, communication, and networking to identify partners and nurture collaborations, and a high level of enthusiasm for science and technology.

Kate earned a PhD in Biophysics/Bioengineering from Case Western Reserve University and a BS in Physics from Wayne State University.

Michael Miller

Director of Engineering, Test & Evaluation Division

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Mr. Michael Miller is the Director of the Engineering, Test & Evaluation Division. He is charged with creating the Division’s strategy, developing business, guiding programs, collaborating with the staff and leadership alike, and achieving impact with advanced wireless systems.

Michael is an experienced business and technology leader in the defense and space sector; leading programs and providing strategic leadership to advance innovation in 5G/6G wireless technologies, spectrum policy, cybersecurity, airborne/space-based platforms/sensors, through applied research, prototype development and collaboration with academia, industry and government. Over the past 5 years, he has led a diverse portfolio of engineering programs and staff within ETED.

Prior to joining VT-ARC, Michael provided business and technical leadership over a diverse portfolio of DoD programs as the Director of Operations for a medium size defense contracting corporation. Before taking this position, Michael served over six years as a senior advisor on the Secretary of Defense’s ISR Task Force where he led the identification, development, integration, and deployment of over $900M in new and emerging intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) sensor and exploitation capabilities to support Combatant Commander urgent operational requirements. Michael also served at Joint Forces Command, leading several test and evaluation projects designed to reduce fratricide between U.S. and Coalition Forces in urban and rural battlefield environments. Prior to his civilian career, he served in the U.S. Air Force as an operator onboard the JSTARS airborne C2/ISR platform, with multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Michael holds a Master’s degree in Theology from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Liberty University.

Maegen Nix, Ph.D.

Director of Decision Science Division

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Dr. Maegen Nix is the Director of the Decision Science Division at Virginia Tech’s Applied Research Corporation. Dr. Nix is a veteran and a former intelligence officer with 25 years of experience in the national security community and academia. She has developed curriculum, taught, and lectured at numerous defense and civilian institutions, to include the United States Naval Academy, the Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy, the United States Army Special Warfare Center and School, the Defense Science Board, and the Aspen Institute.

Dr. Nix is an expert in asymmetric and grey zone operations. At her previous position at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, she led numerous program portfolios related to irregular warfare and insurgencies, cybersecurity, critical infrastructure security, national communications, autonomous systems, and intelligence. Dr. Nix established foundational research and development initiatives at Johns Hopkins regarding information operations, countering foreign influence, and supply chain analytics. She has also led interagency wargames for regional and functional combatant commands and served as the Chief of Staff for the Lab’s 1200-person organization focused on asymmetric operations.

Dr. Nix earned a Ph.D. in government and politics from the University of Maryland, an M.A. in political science from Virginia Tech and a B.S. in political science from the U.S. Naval Academy.

Brock Duckett

Director of IT & ISSM

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Brock spent over 20 years in the IT industry in numerous roles ranging from individual contributor to managing global teams. Prior to joining VT-ARC, Brock provided technical leadership over a Managed Service Provider delivering a vast portfolio of Information Technology and Cyber Security services at ECS as the Director of Engineering and Solution Architecture. Before taking this position, Brock worked at McAfee where he was responsible for creating custom solutions for customers across the DoD, public and private sectors. Brock also worked as an IT System Administrator while attending Old Dominion University.

Karin Whitwood

Director of Contracts

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Ms. Karin Whitwood is VT-ARC’s Director of Contracts, managing staff, daily operations and policies within the department’s scope of contract, subcontract and grants administration and procurement. Karin is also responsible for developing and aligning the Contract department’s long-term strategy and goals to those of the corporation. Prior to joining VT-ARC, Karin worked in several large, global companies gaining extensive experience in government contracts (federal, state, local and international) and commercial contracts, all primarily involving information technology and professional consulting services. Karin holds a B.A. degree in Communications and English from Randolph College (formerly Randolph-Macon Woman’s College). Karin also holds CFCM professional certification in contract management through NCMA.

Christy McFerren

Human Resources Manager

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Christy is VT-ARC’s Human Resources Manager and is a trusted advisor to employees, senior leaders, and executives. She is charged with developing and improving HR processes and strategies, overseeing performance management, recruiting, benefits, compliance with local, state and federal regulations, designing and implementing employee retention strategies, rewards and recognition, and promoting a positive workplace culture. She is very passionate about employee wellbeing and continues to strive to make a positive impact on the organization as a whole.

Prior to joining VT-ARC, Christy was a Director of HR & Operations at Ox Hill Companies and Edge (Commercial Real Estate), Corporate Support Manager for G2SF (IT Consulting), Systems Analyst for Tecumseh Professionals (FEMA Contract) and a Computer Specialist for the General Services Administration.

Christy strengths are integration, policy and procedure development, employee relations, communications, and marketing.

Christy attended Northern Virginia Community College for Information Systems, earned her HR Management Certification from George Mason University, and is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) where she also earned her Mental Health Ally Certificate.