Executive Spotlight: Chris Pehrson, Chief Growth Officer at Parry Labs

Chris Pehrson, chief growth officer of Parry Labs, recently spoke with GovCon Wire regarding his motivation for joining the company as well as what he hopes to accomplish and focus on the mission of its customers and growth efforts for Parry Labs in the federal landscape.

In addition, Chris Pehrson also discussed the work that Parry Labs is doing with the Department of Defense to enable new platforms as the government works to drive JADC2 and MDO capabilities across federal agencies during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.

“Parry Labs is on a steep growth curve and our business pipeline is full for the foreseeable future. In fact, the biggest constraint on growth is having enough people to do the work…We currently have over 80 open requisitions, mostly for engineers and program managers, and Parry Labs plans to double our workforce before the end of the year.”

You can read the full interview with Chris Pehrson below:

GovCon Wire: Congrats on joining Parry Labs as its CGO! Why did you want to join the company and what were the attributes of its mission that attracted you to the role? What do you hope to accomplish with the company?

Chris Pehrson: “I spent the first 24 years of my career in the U.S. Air Force as a pilot and electronic warfare officer, and for almost 12 years I’ve been at General Atomics Aeronautical Systems in various leadership roles.

I’m passionate about aviation and with my background in computer science, have always been an advocate for leveraging technologies like automation, autonomy, and artificial intelligence to ensure our armed forces maintain decisive advantage over potential adversaries.

My work at General Atomics was extremely rewarding and it was a difficult decision to leave, but the opportunity at Parry Labs was exciting and aligned with my personal interests and professional goals.

I met John ‘JD’ Parkes when he founded Parry Labs in 2016 and I have been tracking their progress ever since. He is a visionary CEO who instills a spirit of innovation that drives the company forward.

I was attracted to the energy and talent of the team he’s built, and the promise of Parry’s paradigm-changing technology. In my new role, I’m looking forward to creating a brand that captures the essence of who we are, charting a growth strategy to help realize the company’s full potential, and building a team of professionals to help solve our customer’s toughest challenges.

Since joining Parry Labs in April, I’ve had a steep learning curve but everything I’ve seen from the inside only reaffirms my initial impressions about the company’s potential, the solid technical foundation of their solutions, and the tremendous capabilities we can deliver to our customers.

The corporate culture is centered around innovation with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and feels more like a high-tech Silicon Valley company rather than a traditional defense contractor.”

GovCon Wire: What can you tell us about the company’s recent growth initiatives? What are your strategic goals and are there any new markets that you’re keeping an eye on?

Chris Pehrson: “Parry Labs is on a steep growth curve and our business pipeline is full for the foreseeable future. In fact, the biggest constraint on growth is having enough people to do the work. We have about 100 employees today working at facilities in Alexandria, Virginia; Columbia, Maryland; Huntsville, Alabama; and at our newest location in Dallas, Texas.

We currently have over 80 open requisitions, mostly for engineers and program managers, and plan to double our workforce before the end of the year. This onboarding process takes time and effort, but finding the right people with the right skill sets is critical to our success.

What’s driving this growth is Parry Labs’ novel approach towards enabling open mission systems on military platforms. We do this by implementing a cloud computing infrastructure at the tactical edge, which in simple terms means we enable plug-and-play integration of mission systems on manned and unmanned aircraft, ground vehicles, ships, or any platform operating at the ‘tactical edge.’

Because our cloud architecture is certified for airworthiness, cybersecurity, and other rigorous platform requirements, we can “containerize” mission system applications and rapidly integrate them without the high costs and long schedules typical of mission systems integration.

To convey the power and potential of the Parry Labs approach, consider that mission systems include radios, data links, sensors, Assured Precision Navigation Timing (A-PNT) solutions, AI/ML algorithms and more, and that with our cloud computing infrastructure, we can integrate them across multiple, dissimilar platforms more rapidly and at lower cost.

Although Parry Labs is a hardware and software technology company, our success ultimately depends on our people. Technical competency may get you in the door but enduring relationships are built on trust and reliability.

We’ve been fortunate to prove out our technical capabilities on a number of platforms and this had led to tremendous organic growth within those programs. What we’re experiencing now, because of the trust and confidence we’ve earned, are opportunities to deploy our capabilities in adjacent markets.

Our initial focus was on unmanned aircraft systems, but now our customers are inquiring about our solutions on manned aircraft, unmanned underwater vehicles, and ground vehicles, to name a few. Parry Labs stands ready to provide the solutions that will help our customers rapidly and affordably maximize their mission capability.”

GovCon Wire: What can you tell us about Parry Labs’ work with DoD to enable new platforms as the government works to drive JADC2 and MDO capabilities across its agencies and the federal market?

Chris Pehrson: “The Department of Defense is moving towards open architecture and open mission systems to break vendor lock, accelerate delivery of best-in-breed capabilities, and lower costs across the entire program life cycle. This is the core competency of Parry Labs so we are positioning ourselves to be at the forefront of this movement.

A great example is Parry Labs Stellar Relay family of systems. It’s one of our main product offerings that is essentially COTS hardware running the Parry Labs cloud infrastructure that hosts government-owned or third-party software. Stellar Relay is OMS and FACE compliant so it supports both U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army open standards.

At Parry Labs, we believe Stellar Relay technologies will be foundational to JADC2 and warfighting in the MDO environment. We’re working with another industry partner to incorporate Multi-Level Security (MLS) and Cross-Domain Solutions (CDS) in the Stellar Relay family of systems, which will be available before the end of this year.

This added capability, as well as the integration of multiple A-PNT solutions will make Stellar Relay even more relevant as the Department implements JADC2 and the new Joint Warfighting Concept.”

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