The Owl Cyber Defense Employee Spotlight is our way of highlighting some of the incredibly talented individuals that we’re lucky enough to have on our team. At Owl, we recognize our people are our most valuable assets, we strive to bring together candidates who have a wide range of backgrounds and experiences onboard. This month we are recognizing those who have served our country for National Military Appreciation Month.
Which branch of the military did you serve in?
I served for 24 years in the United States Navy. I was a Cryptologic Technician specializing in Intelligence Collection and Analysis, Sensitive Compartmented Information/Special Access Programs, Combat Service Support and Executive Leadership. I served in the National Security, Joint Intelligence, Aviation Warfare and Naval Special Warfare communities and also served as a Senior Enlisted Leader at the United States Naval Academy where I taught leadership to our future naval leaders.
What are some of the things you remember about adapting to military life?
I am a fourth generation service member so adapting to military life was not too challenging. My father was station in Spain, Japan, Guam and multiple locations in the United States so as a child, I was able to experience a lot of things that others kids my age never could. When I enlisted in the service, these experiences as a child made my travels to Scotland, Germany, Qatar, Iraq, Afghanistan, Djibouti, Hawaii and multiple locations inside the mainland United States seem second-natured. I enjoyed the discipline and camaraderie that the military instilled in me and in many ways I still carry those values with me today.
When did you leave the military? What were your first few months out of the service like?
I retired from active duty on June 30th, 2018 as a Senior Chief Petty Officer (E-8). The first month after retirement was a well-deserved vacation where I enjoyed many long naps and many tall beers. After the first month I started working at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), so wearing a suit and not having to shave every day was quite the transition. I felt an enormous weight lifted off my shoulders and a sense of excitement of what the future held.
How would you describe the work you do at Owl Cyber Defense and the impact it is making?
As the Security Officer for Owl Cyber Defense, I have an extremely servant role. My focus is on making sure that our team has the proper clearances and accesses in order to seamlessly support our customers and the training and awareness to ensure we are prepared for whatever the future holds. Security has an impact on the entire organization; from finance to supply chain, marketing, IT, HR, engineering and more…security has a part to play. In my short time with Owl (six months) I have worked on installing new security systems throughout our locations, established new security policies and provided many forms of security training to our personnel. I hope that I am making a positive impact on Owl now and for many years to come.
What is your proudest career moment?
It’s difficult to drill down to one proud moment when I think of my 24 year career. I achieved a rank that only 2% of service members ever reach, I deployed to combat zones four times totaling two and half years in hostile territory, I earned a Bachelor’s Degree on my second deployment and a Master’s Degree on my fourth, I was at the Pentagon on 9/11, I earned two warfare designators, and taught at the most prestigious military academy in the world. All of those things make me extremely proud, however, the one thing that sticks with the most about this question is that I couldn’t have accomplished any of the things I have without the team members that I served with. I served with the finest men and women this world has to offer and couldn’t be prouder of them. My proudest moments are seeing the team members that I led, accomplishing all of their goals. Knowing my family’s future and safety is in their hands now, makes me proud.
Nathan Gorka is the Facility Security Officer for Owl Cyber Defense.