Executive Spotlight: Q&A with Jared Shepard, CEO of Hypori & Founder of Intelligent Waves, Warriors Ethos
Executive Profile: Q&A with Jared Shepard, CEO of Hypori & Founder of Intelligent Waves, Warriors Ethos
Fairfax County’s strategic location near the federal government, along with access to talent, especially cleared talent, are among the reasons that make Fairfax County a pivotal location for conducting government-related information technology services, according to Jared Shepard, CEO of Reston-based IT firm Hypori, Founder and Chairman of IT firm Intelligent Waves, and Founder and Chairman of Warriors Ethos, a nonprofit organization.
“We call this area the Tech Beltway and if you are a government contractor, you want your company based here,” said Shepard. “The amount of technology leadership that comes here to solve problems for the U.S. government is unequivocal. There’s nowhere else that you can go and find the same type of concentration.”
Shepard sat down with the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) to tell us about how and why he started Hypori and Intelligent Waves. A U.S. Army Veteran, Shepard also talks about his motivation for launching Warrior Ethos, which helps Veterans launch civilian careers.
FCEDA: Tell us about your background.
Jared Shepard: I’m a United States Army Veteran with more than twenty years of information technology, federal services, and sales experience. I was fortunate enough to enlist in the Army after dropping out of high school, which sent me on the path to climb through the ranks and catch up on my education. Following my time in uniform, I became the Lead Technical Planner for the U.S. Army and later deployed in Iraq as a civilian IT leader from 2003-2005, where I helped architect the U.S.-built DoD Iraqi network infrastructure. In 2006, I founded Intelligent Waves to support a critical need of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), based in Fairfax County. I was personally deployed to build the first Counter-IED Operational Intelligence Center (COIC), then built COIC capability into every Major Command in Iraq and Afghanistan. I grew Intelligent Waves around the tactical and strategic needs of the Warfighter. In 2021, I established Hypori as a spinoff company and now serve as a member of Intelligent Waves’ Board of Directors.
FCEDA: Tell us about Hypori and Intelligent Waves. When and why did you start the companies?
Jared Shepard: In 2006, I launched my first business, Intelligent Waves, which delivers mission-focused multi-domain operational expertise and innovation to the government through high-impact technology solutions in cybersecurity, data science, enterprise network and systems engineering, software development, and platform mission support.
In 2019, my team and I were working on a unique problem-set in the Department of Defense (DoD) on denied space operations with the ability to go somewhere that is conflicted or constrained and to be able to communicate in a secure way. In the process of trying to build that solution, I learned about a small Texas-based startup called Hypori. I ended up buying the technology IP and hired six of its original developers. Eventually, we realized that we had something way bigger in uncontested space technology. I knew we had something that actually was going to change the way edge technology is going to work for the world.
In 2021, I launched Hypori as an independent company and hired CEO, Tony Costanzo to run Intelligent Waves and I transitioned to the Chairman of the Board.
FCEDA: Are the company’s mission-driven and if so, how?
Jared Shepard: Both Hypori and Intelligent Waves are solving problems that will have a major impact on the way technology works and create a safer world.
FCEDA: Why did you choose Reston for the location of Hypori and Intelligent Waves?
Jared Shepard: Reston and Fairfax County are a pivotal location for conducting government-related IT business. This area is the center of where technology companies focus on all government-related services. We call this area the Tech Beltway and if you are a government contractor, you want your company based here. The amount of technology leadership that comes here to solve problems for the U.S. government is unequivocal. There’s nowhere else that you can go and find the same type of concentration.
FCEDA: What type of innovations does your companies utilize?
Jared Shepard: Both Hypori and Intelligent Waves’ solutions are delivered to customers as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering. While Hypori offers a secure, zero-trust Virtual Mobile Infrastructure (VMI) environment, Intelligent Waves utilizes Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) technology.
FCEDA: What differentiates the companies from competitor companies?
Jared Shepard: One of Hypori’s biggest differentiators is its emphasis on security. The Hypori Halo secure virtual device provides an unparalleled defense in depth to isolate and protect privacy, personal data, and organizational data; eliminate data at rest requirements from the physical device; minimize the risk of data loss; and essentially eliminate the risk of introduction of malware into an enterprise from an end user device.
Intelligent Waves’ proven ability to operate globally in a wide range of environments coupled with the team’s deep understanding of customer needs and requirements enables it to provide cost-effective solutions to support the most complex missions. Intelligent Waves is focused on creating a more secure nation – anytime, anywhere, and within any domain.
FCEDA: Is there a good talent pool here in Fairfax County/Northern Virginia, and if so, why?
Jared Shepard: Being located in Fairfax County’s Tech Beltway gives you direct access to experienced talent. It is a unique location as a hub for talent with the requisite skills – whether gained through formal education, apprenticeships, or other training programs or via serving in the military. Not only do you get access to intelligent and capable IT folks, but people who have already gone through the clearance process and have the ability to support, the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and other intelligence communities. These organizations all have strong background checks and clearance requirements, so they have already gone through some vetting.
FCEDA: Tell us about your recruitment of veterans and military spouses and why they make good employees.
Jared Shepard: As a Veteran business owner, I have established company values that are grounded in our commitment to National Security and to the hiring of our nation’s Veterans. This also extends into to military spouse. The reason for this is because Veterans have a unique skill set that is valuable to me, my businesses and any organization.
When you’re in the military the best skill you learn isn’t leadership, but it is actually followership. Followership is the ability to truly work with an organization. It means the person understands the chain of command, whom they’re working for, how they can contribute to make the command and the organization successful, and how to work with people to their left and to their right. That’s how the military survives, and that mindset is then the foundation of how they work moving forward. Military spouses share in those beliefs and understand the true meaning of commitment and sacrifice as well.
I highly recommend if you find yourself in a position of leadership or you can influence the hiring process, go out of your way to look for Veterans and military spouses. You’ll find that you’ll get some great quality members in your team who have invaluable skills.
FCEDA: Tell me about Warriors Ethos. When and why did you start it?
Jared Shepard: I established Warriors Ethos as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2013 that helps Veterans launch civilian careers. Warriors Ethos also provides assistance in the career planning, professional development, and placement of service members, their spouses, and caregivers throughout their transition. Service members have the opportunity to learn civilian cultural competency (up close and personal), learn how to “sell” themselves in an interview situation, and develop the beginning of a professional civilian network. The ultimate goal of Warriors Ethos is to ensure that everyone participating in the program achieves a successful job placement – one that leads to the start of the next phase of a very successful civilian career.
FCEDA: Anything else you’d like to share?
Jared Shepard: I’d like to take the time to recognize those who have helped me over the course of my career. I’ve accomplished a lot because of the really great leaders who encouraged me throughout my entrepreneurial journey and have been fortunate to have them be a part of the various teams during my career. I am also thankful for the employees who work tirelessly as we strive to accomplish our joint mission. Together, we have done amazing things to make each organization, Hypori, Intelligent Waves, and Warriors Ethos, what they are today.