General James M. “Mike” Holmes
General Mike Holmes retired from the Air Force in October 2020 after nearly 40 years of service. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, an adjunct fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a senior advisor at The Roosevelt Group, the Chairman of the Board at Red 6, and advises several defense and tech companies.
He completed his Air Force service leading the transformation of Air Combat Command (ACC), a global organization operating and sustaining over 1000 aircraft and 11 Air Force Bases with an annual operating budget of $7.4B. As the Air Force’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Programs, he led a team that shifted Air Force strategy to respond to a new national security environment and built and defended the USAF‘s input to three $600B Five Year Defense Plans with the Department of Defense…
and U.S. Congress. As the Deputy Commander of Air Education and Training Command, he directed all aspects of USAF education and training, from basic and technical training to advanced degree programs. As the Air Force’s Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Requirements, he coordinated global Air Force operations and requirements with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and regional military commanders. As Principal Director for Mid-East Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, he formulated regional defense policy with the National Security Council and Department of State and coordinated US defense relationships and activities with international partners. Before assuming his strategic roles, he commanded Air Force teams in positions of increasing complexity, responsibility, and accountability at the squadron, group, and wing level, including a year in command of Air Force forces in Afghanistan.
Mike graduated from the US Naval War College National Security Strategy program with highest honors and completed both the US Air Force’s School for Advanced Air and Space Power Studies program and the Fighter Weapons Instructor Course. He was the Graduate of the Year in the University of Alabama’s MA in History program at Maxwell AFB and received a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tennessee. He is a fighter pilot with over 4000 hours in the F-15 and T-38, including over 500 combat hours, and continues to fly general aviation aircraft.
Mike Santelli is the Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors of Converged Security Solutions (CSS), LLC. He has over 25 years of transformational business leadership, operations experience, financial management, and a value creation track record.
Mike has worked extensively as a strategic advisor, C-Level leader, and executive partner to private equity backed companies in…
the government contracting sector where he history of building strong management teams through clear direction and targeted business development. In addition, Mike has successfully focused on customers by building high-performing teams and employing a service first leadership philosophy. His customer base has been comprised of some of the most mission critical federal government entities, including the Intelligence Community, DOD, DHS, and many more.
Prior to his appointment at CSS in 2019, Mike served as the EVP and Chief Financial Officer at System High Corporation, a private equity held leading provider and integrator of global protection, counterintelligence, and security engineering services. Prior to this, Mike was President and CEO of OMNIPLEX World Services Corporation, a provider of integrated security and investigations solutions in partnership with the intelligence community that was also sponsored by a private equity group. Mike’s achievements at OMNIPLEX included substantial revenue growth and margin expansion, as well as business development and cultural transformation. Mike also spent 12 years with USIS, a $650M Security Solutions company serving the intelligence, defense, and federal/civil markets. Before USIS, Mike worked for PriceWaterhouseCoopers in the Business Assurance Practice.
He earned his MBA at Carnegie Mellon University and his BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Vanderbilt University. Mike lives with his wife and two daughters in Leesburg, VA.
Captain James O’Connell USN (Retired)
Captain James O’Connell USN (retired) is currently a consultant who primarily works with the Department of Defense supporting special operations force’s training and exercises. Jim served on active duty for over 26 years. His last assignment was Commander, Naval Special Warfare Group ONE, where he was responsible for the west coast SEAL Teams. Upon retiring he was appointed as the Director of the Joint Irregular Warfare Center at U.S. Joint Forces Command and served as the Department of Defense’s Executive Agent for Joint Urban Operations. Jim is on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Youth Sports Association, OneChurch and the Old Dominion Junior Rifle League.
He received a bachelor’s in ocean engineering from the United States Naval Academy in 1979 and a master’s in international relations from the Naval War College, College of Naval Command and Staff in 1992.
Vice Admiral Tom Moore retired from the Navy in August 2020 after 39 years of service. He is a Corporate Vice President for Government/Customer Relations for the Mission Technologies Division of HII and advises several defense and tech companies.
He completed his Navy service from 2016-2020 leading the Naval Sea Systems Command, an 85,000 person organization with an annual budget of $55B charged with the design, construction, maintenance and modernization of all of the Navy’s ships and submarines. As the Navy’s Program Executive Officer from 2011-2016 for Aircraft Carriers he led the Navy’s largest acquisition program in the design and construction of the new FORD Class Carriers and the life cycle sustainment and modernization of the nation’s 10 NIMITZ Class Carriers. As the Navy’s Director of Fleet Readiness from 2008-2011 he was responsible for a $40B annual budget for the maintenance and operations of all Navy ship and aviation units. When he retired, he was the second longest serving Engineering Duty Flag Officer in the Navy’s history behind ADM Hyman G. Rickover. Before assuming his Flag Officer roles he led various teams in increasing scope and complexity at all levels.
Tom graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Operations Analysis. He completed the Navy’s nuclear power training pipeline and was a certified nuclear engineer. He has advanced degrees in Information Systems from The George Washington University and an Engineer’s and Master’s Degrees in Nuclear Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Meredith Melo currently serves as ITA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program manager. In her role, she is the SBIR subject matter expert, responsible for educating both internal and external stakeholders on the specific differences between SBIR Phase I/II/Ill. Melo also supports the company’s Growth team, in pursuit of new work on SBIR contracts vehicles.
Melo joined ITA in 2020, as manager of Market Development where she was responsible for managing and tracking task orders on ITA Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts, managing internal Power BI reports, conducting task order research and she served as the program manager for OASIS contracts. Prior to joining ITA, she served as an alumni and student engagement specialist at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education where she managed relationships with stakeholders, developed, planned and executed engagement opportunities.
Melo holds a bachelor’s degree in human nutrition, foods and exercise from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree in public health from George Mason University.
Katelyn Melo Byrd
Katelyn Byrd leads the ITA Growth Team which is responsible for customer acquisition and retention, and growing revenue, in a strategic and purposeful manner, aligned with ITA’s Just Cause of working toward a secure, stable and sustainable human ecosystem. She leads a team of professionals who facilitate the capture process, market ITA through a robust strategic communications strategy and develop innovative solutions to align with customers’ missions.
She has held progressive leadership roles since beginning her tenure at ITA in 2014, within the Customer Solutions, Operations, and Marketing and Communications functional areas, most recently serving as Chief People Officer prior to her current role.
Byrd previously served at the pleasure of Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli III as Director of Administration, overseeing support services in Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology and Office Operations for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Byrd holds a bachelor’s degree in hospitality and tourism management from Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business.
Mark Honecker served as CEO of ITA International (ITA) until June 30, 2023. He currently holds the position of a member of the ITA Board of Advisors. During his tenure as CEO, Honecker led a team of professionals in delivering integrated customer solutions worldwide. He joined ITA in 2019 as the president of the ITA Global Security business unit, bringing with him over 34 years of federal service experience. In January 2021, he was promoted to the role of president and chief operating officer of ITA.
With more than 34 years of diverse experience as a federal employee, Honecker spent 21 years as a senior member of the Senior Executive Service. While he initially focused on financial management, strategy, and logistics/business transformation at the Pentagon, his final two assignments were in fleet operational commands. He served as the deputy commander at the Naval Network Warfare Command in Norfolk, Virginia, where he provided leadership for over 15,000 personnel in over 20 countries, supporting 290 ships and approximately 900,000 customers. In his last assignment, Honecker held the position of executive director/chief of staff for a four-star fleet commander at U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia, for over 13 years. In this role, he was responsible for generating ready Navy forces for global employment, providing operational and planning support for two Combatant Commanders, and overseeing the business operations of the Fleet. He also served as the chief of naval operations senior civilian.
Honecker holds bachelor’s degrees in business administration and economics, as well as a master’s degree in public administration. Additionally, he completed the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Seminar XXI program in foreign politics, international relations, and national security. He is also a 2009 graduate of the Hampton Roads CIVIC Leadership Institute. Honecker has received numerous government awards, including the Presidential Rank Award from four different presidents and the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Navy Distinguished Civilian Service awards – the highest honors bestowed upon DoD executives.