James Ebeler, chief technology officer of Three Wire Systems, recently spoke with GovCon Wire to discuss joining the company back in February as well as his strategic goals in the role for the rest of 2022 and beyond.
In addition, Ebeler also shared his insights regarding the core values of the company culture at Three Wire Systems and the biggest improvements in emerging technologies since the rise of the cybersecurity market during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
You can read the full Executive Spotlight interview with James Ebeler below:
GovCon Wire: Congrats on recently joining Three Wire Systems back in February! Why did you want to join the company and what are your strategic goals for the coming year?
James Ebeler: “I joined Three Wire Systems back in February. I came over to the organization because there was a lot of room for growth. There are specific growth opportunities that we want to pursue, especially within our services area as well as the work our software developers are doing to start marketing our capabilities more effectively than we have in the past.
In the federal marketplace, Three Wire System has two big areas of focus for our growth efforts, including the software development arena as I mentioned and the cybersecurity market. Those will be two of the greater areas of growth over the coming years in the federal market for us.
At the end of the day, it was the teaming, growth goals and the ability to be one of the individuals who can align our capabilities that led me to join Three Wire Systems. With the direction that the federal market is heading, we’re going to need to be agile and flexible enough to maintain all of our capabilities and stay in front of our customers’ needs and requirements.
At Three Wire Systems, we have a leadership team that really understands the mission for our customers as well as our focus and understanding of maintaining our agility and flexibility as we continue to grow in the federal marketplace.
As part of our strategy, we’re going to accelerate the growth on the services side of our business as well as solution selling. We’re looking into hardware as well, but solution selling is different from what Three Wire Systems has done previously.
We can truly become trusted advisors for our customers because we’re coming in with multiple solutions ready to go. After that, we can talk about best business practices with them. That’s the plan as we move forward with our growth efforts on the services side for Three Wire Systems.
For our software business, we have this outstanding team of software developers who are trying to entrench into our system integrator partners because that has been a shortfall for a lot of organizations, but Three Wire Systems being about to offer multiple solutions and new capabilities sets us aside from any other organization.”
GovCon Wire: What are the core values that are important to your company’s culture? How has your team developed its workflow and ability to drive success in such a competitive market?
James Ebeler: “Three Wire Systems has some outstanding talent within our software development team, but I don’t believe we’re leveraging our team to the full extent of their capabilities and skills. They want to be utilized more and they will be with a lot of the things coming up in the near future.
Our teams really want to help the customers’ issues and be a major part of solving them. From a culture perspective, we are all remote these days so to get everyone together in the office is now a bit of a hindrance. Our people need to ensure that we’re at least going out and meeting our teammates, which is a great thing coming out of the pandemic and other recent events.
We have a great culture spread out across many cities and as we go back to talking about cyber personnel, I’d say the shortage or at least the inexperienced of the market has an overarching problem of needing to keep the outstanding talent that we do have.
There’s always a fine balance between hiring and keeping good talent and keeping costs controlled to remain competitive. Three Wire Systems has a great culture that is keeping a lot of our cyber talent with our company. We need to ensure that we continue to work on this by bringing in new talent from academics and other sectors as well.
You have those experienced individuals who are available, but with the demand and experience comes the compensation standards to keep them on board. We can hire 10 young kids out of university, but we still need those experienced individuals to actually mold and mentor the young kids into exactly what we believe federal markets are looking for in the future.
There’s also a balance between the return on your investment as an organization. It’s not like we have a blank check to offer. If we bring in new people or pay for experienced individuals, we have to ensure a return on our investments.
Cybersecurity is here to stay and it’s not going anywhere. If anything, the cyber market will only continue to grow over the next five years. The critical aspect is looking under the bigger cyber umbrella and deciding which portions to focus on developing to add value to our services.
I’d say the biggest thing moving forward is ensuring that we reach our strategic goals. I came to Three Wire Systems to really grow this organization. We have a plan, but the real challenge is about how you execute the plan and ensure that we remain customer focused.
If we can continue to fix their problems and remain customer-focused, Three Wire Systems will meet our growth goals twofold because that’s how you become the go-to for your clients. Our leadership team, people and resources are all on board with the direction our company is headed, which is half the battle. We’re all moving in the same direction and it’s only a matter of time.”
GovCon Wire: In recent years, what are some of the biggest improvements you’ve seen in the way we talk and think about innovation across the federal sector since the rise of cybersecurity, AI/ML, 5G and other emerging technologies?
James Ebeler: “At the moment, zero-trust is the big word on campus. As we talk to our customers, there’s still a lot of confusion based around what zero-trust truly is because there isn’t going to be a finish line to reach. Technology will continue to accelerate and change tenfold. As a result, we’re going to have to sit down with our customers and help them understand why zero-trust is important for them.
As it turns out, data security could prove to be the biggest problem. As we talk to our customers, we start by talking to them about their security ecosystem and where their gaps are located. From the zero-trust architecture perspective, the trick is finding the gaps in data or on the application side of things to learn how to integrate a solution set to fix that capability.
In my opinion, you need that intimacy with your clients to be truly successful in something like zero-trust architecture. Our philosophy is to see what the perspective of zero-trust is for them and ensure they’re understanding our point of view, and meeting in the middle to fix those gaps to move forward.
Three Wire Systems used to focus mainly on network and user security, which only happened in the last five years or so. That was our focus in the federal market space, but it wasn’t at the forefront of our portfolio or growth strategy. Nowadays, if you don’t build a solution set with the security wrapper, or you wait until the end of the process, you’ve already missed the concept.
For these new technologies, everyone seems to be having an open mind to be successful, or to try, fail and learn critical lessons on how to replicate the process and improve. A lot of that does have to do with costs and resources to do all these pilots, but I think we just keep an eye on those pilots to ensure we can leverage the lessons learned and not just keep doing the same pilot
My fear is not applying the lessons learned, running the same tests and going in circles. There are plenty of pilots happening in the federal market right now working on leveraging artificial intelligence and other technologies to help the talented people in the sector working on the more critical aspects instead of being stuck with the mundane daily aspects of the implementation.”
GovCon Wire: An important part of a company having strong business ethics in the federal sector is about helping and giving back to the greater community. Can you speak to the various charities and work with other organizations that your company does to make a difference and how people can get involved?
James Ebeler: “At Three Wire, we take our mission of serving others seriously by being active members of the communities in which we live and work. Our team is proudly involved in philanthropic endeavors and with philanthropic organizations across the nation.
Charities such as Vet Sports aim to set the standard for how to improve Veterans’ physical, mental, and emotional health through sports, physical activity, and community involvement.
Winter Sports Clinic, For over five years, Three Wire and the My Advisor Division have sponsored and supported the Winter Sports Clinic co-presented by DAV (Disabled American Veterans) and the Department of Veterans Affairs, delivers hope and inspiration to men and women who suffer profound injuries because of their military service.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, mission is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide. Three Wire Systems is a proud supporter of the work done at the Yellow Ribbon Fund to provide support and financial aid to post-9/11 Veterans and their families.
In December of 2019, Three Wire raised over $38,000 for Yellow Ribbon Fund during a benefit concert in Nashville, TN. We strive to be a good corporate citizen and to provide new opportunities for individual and community growth.”