The Leahy Center has a new Professional Services Director: Jason Ehlers, a Champlain College graduate who’s worked both in and out of the college in cybersecurity and education. We sat down with him to talk about his plans for the future.
Editor: Hey! How are you doing? Tell us a little about yourself!
Ehlers: Hello, I’m doing well, thank you! My name is Jason Ehlers, I’m 43 years old, and I’ve worked in the Burlington area for a few years now. I live in a log cabin up in north central Vermont along with my wife, three cats, and five ducks, and I have family all over the world, from Ohio to Japan. I’ve been working in IT and cybersecurity fields for over 20 years now, both back in San Diego, California, and up here in Vermont.
You talked about how you’ve been doing cybersecurity and IT related work for a while now, can you tell us a little bit more about that?
I started messing with IT and electronics when I was a kid in the 80’s. I got my first IT job in ‘97 as a Residential Network Technician (RNT) at Bowling Green State University. By ‘98, I was the supervisor of all RNT’s (17 of them) at 20 years old. I joined the Marine Corps in the Communications Security Equipment (ComSec) field, where I was a technician, supervisor of technicians, information assurance (IA) leader, and everything else under the sun for six years. By my departure, I was the Operations manager for the most important technical help desk in the Marine Corps.
After the USMC, I pursued my degrees at Champlain, working in the Leahy Center. I was also a Senior Analyst at Kivu Consulting, where I had many hats. I built and co-led a variety of different teams at Kivu and was the senior threat analyst for a Managed Security Services line.
What were some of your experiences with Champlain College before now?
Quite extensive! I got involved with the college back in 2013, when I was still living in California, thanks to Jonathan Rajewski and Dave Gerns at the Champlain College Military and Veteran’s Service Office. Studying online, I was working as close as I could with the Leahy Center from my position. I ended up interning with both the Military and Veteran Service Office and the Leahy Center for about a year, where I built professional relationships with Champlain’s academic advisors, finance team, Career Collaborative, Military and Veteran Service Office, in-house faculty, and CPS.
Can you share with me what it was like working in the Leahy Center Where have those skills gotten you over these past few years?
I loved it! It catapulted my opportunities in the civilian cybersecurity and digital forensics fields. I learned a lot from those around me, as there are so many smart students that participate in Leahy Center projects. I had the benefit of having a lot of related experience before I got to the Leahy Center. Of course, the relationships you build at any opportunity are always important. I also liked the technical exposure and observing differing and fresh perspectives on things.
Looking a bit inwards, how would you describe the working environment here at the Leahy Center? How does that factor into your future plans?
I’m an operations manager at heart. I love the culture that draws people here, and I will continue to build that culture. This should be the country’s best experiential learning experience in our field of study. If I go sooner than planned, it will be to teach at Champlain full time.
Are there any projects that you are currently involved with/starting that you would like to talk about?
I’ve finished two weeks of absorbing data about what we do and how we do it. Currently, I’m digging into what our professional services are so that we can confidently offer them to local nonprofits, schools, and government entities. I want current students, future students, and outside organizations to seek out the Leahy Center for professional services. This requires incorporating more academic disciplines into our projects and operations. If I can achieve a part of that, it’s a win.
To wrap it up, is there anything that you would like to add?
Thank you for taking the time to see who I am and what I’m up to. I hope my energy influences others to pursue related fields or get involved with the Leahy Center. Stay tuned and see where we go from here!
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The post Interview with New Professional Services Director Jason Ehlers appeared first on The Leahy Center for Digital Forensics & Cybersecurity.