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.
CEO & President
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.
Vice President of Finance & Administration
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.
Tim Brumfiel, Sr.
Vice President of Operations & Development
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.
Dr. Matt Wolfe is VT-ARC’s Director 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.
Director of Engineering, Test & Evaluation Division
Mr. Mike DiFrancisco 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.
Currently, Mike’s focus is on applied research and testing of wireless technologies, and on guiding test campaign management capabilities.
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.
Dr. Laura Freeman
Director of Information Sciences & Analytics Division
Dr. Laura Freeman is a Research Associate Professor of Statistics and dual hatted as the Director of the Intelligent Systems Lab, Virginia Tech Hume Center and the Director of the Information Sciences and Analytics Division, Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation (VT-ARC). Her research leverages experimental methods for conducting research that brings together cyber-physical systems, data science, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning to address critical challenges in national security.
She develops new methods for test and evaluation focusing on emerging system technology. In her role with VT-ARC she focuses on transitioning emerging research in these areas to solve challenges in Defense and Homeland Security. She is also a hub faculty member in the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative and leads research in AI Assurance. She is also the Assistant Dean for Research for the College of Science, in that capacity she works to shape research directions and collaborations in across the College of Science in the Greater Washington D.C. area.
Previously, Dr. Freeman was the Assistant Director of the Operational Evaluation Division at the Institute for Defense Analyses. In that position, she established and developed an interdisciplinary analytical team of statisticians, psychologists, and engineers to advance scientific approaches to DoD test and evaluation. During 2018, Dr. Freeman served as that acting Senior Technical Advisor for Director Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E). As the Senior Technical Advisor, Dr. Freeman provided leadership, advice, and counsel to all personnel on technical aspects of testing military systems. She reviewed test strategies, plans, and reports from all systems on DOT&E oversight.
Dr. Freeman has a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, a M.S. in Statistics and a Ph.D. in Statistics, all from Virginia Tech. Her Ph.D. research was on design and analysis of experiments for reliability data.
Karl Maxwell Ph.D.
Director of Strategy, Policy & Planning Division
Dr. Karl Maxwell is VT-ARC’s Director of Strategy, Policy and Planning Division. He is responsible for providing the vision, strategy, and leadership necessary to grow the division’s science and technology analytics and services portfolio. He has over 20 years’ experience that encompasses planning and evaluation, health care service delivery, and public health policy research and analysis.
Before joining VT-ARC, Karl spent twelve years in the public health community as a civil servant leading several large-scale Federal epidemiological evaluations, used by senior executives to develop policy and to make major funding decisions. Additionally, Karl has been the chief architect for strategic plans and science communication plans for several agencies, including the National Institutes of Health. Prior to joining the federal government, Karl was a senior management consultant, providing technical expertise on strategic planning, performance measurement, and program evaluation.
His education includes undergraduate degrees in science and health services administration; a master’s degree in public health administration; and a doctorate in health policy from the University of Maryland.
Board of Directors
Mr. Dwight Shelton – Chair of the Board
Vice President for Finance & Chief Financial Officer (Retired)
Dr. John Dooley – Board Secretary-Treasurer
Chief Executive Officer & Secretary Treasurer
Virginia Tech Foundation
Mr. Dewey Houck – Director
Vice President & Chief Data Analytics Officer (Retired)
Boeing Defense, Space & Security
Dr. Brett Malone – Director
President & CEO
Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center
Dr. Steve McKnight – Director
Vice President of Strategic Alliances
Dr. Scott Midkiff – Director
Vice President for Information Technology & Chief Information Officer
Dr. Ray Smoot – Director
Chief Executive Officer (Retired)
Virginia Tech Foundation
Dr. Daniel Sui – Director
Vice President of Research & Innovation