DarkLight-Logo@2xChampion Technology Company, Inc., created DarkLight to solve a major and growing problem for industry and government – too much information with too few human analysts to make sense of it and then act in a timely proactive manner. Champion’s patented System For Advanced Reasoning To Enhance Enterprise Decision Making was designed to be an analyst's workflow engine and initially derived from "person of interest" research. It is a revolutionary system created by one of the United States Department of Energy (DOE) top national research laboratories, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). CHAMPION was brought to industry through a unique collaboration between PNNL and Early X Foundation, a non-profit IP monetization organization. CHAMPION is a 2015 R&D 100 Winner recognizing its importance in the international technology field, and received a 2015 FLC (Federal Lab Consortium) award for government to commercial technology transfer.

Champion Technology Company, Inc. was founded in Santa Monica, CA where it maintains executive offices. Our Richland, WA office focuses all its attention and expertise to applying this groundbreaking patented reasoning system to the cybersecurity challenges facing the government, commercial industry and non-government organizations globally.

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Leadership Team

Dan WachtlerCEO

Dan Wachtler DarkLight

Dan Wachtler is an accomplished entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience serving in both executive and sales leadership roles. Previously, he was the President of root9B Holdings, Inc., a NASDAQ listed advanced cybersecurity firm and creator of the first-ever commercial HUNT platform. Mr. Wachtler has led numerous capital raises and managed large corporate realignment efforts to include international expansion efforts.

Prior to root9B, as CEO of IPSA International, Inc. he transitioned the firm from being an armed protection and investigations service provider to an international risk advisory firm with a client list that included 6 of the ten largest global financial institutions, all of the Big 4 consulting firms and multiple international Government leaders.  Mr. Wachtler was the CEO of IPSA International, Inc. from November 2005 until its sale to root9B Holdings, Inc. in February 2015. He is passionate about working with companies and teams who prioritize making a difference in their chosen line of work.

John ShearerCo-Founder

John Shearer Co-Founder DarkLight

John Shearer is an award-winning international technologist, inventor, educator, serial entrepreneur and former CEO of several tech ventures who previously served as Practitioner Faculty and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management.

He has been instrumental in substantially growing the MBA Entrepreneurship Program at Pepperdine University and has co-founded the Early X Foundation, a unique Intellectual Property commercialization process.  In his teaching role, he develops MBA student-founded, innovation-based businesses. Globally, he locates and evaluates cutting-edge technologies with significant commercial value from other universities, national and international research laboratories and within the private sector for commercialization.

He has extensive global experience and a strong network of innovators, executives and educators. He has held executive management positions with numerous start-up and venture backed companies and has successfully commercialized early-stage research and development projects ranging from innovative image conversion systems and output devices to large-scale data collection and network optimization systems for the electric, gas, and telecommunications industry. He holds degrees in physics and business (M.B.A.) from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Mr. Shearer currently holds multiple worldwide patents, granted and pending, in the wireless power and energy harvesting fields.

In support of the Northern Ireland Peace Process (1996-2000) John was an official United States delegate promoting commercial partnerships between Northern Ireland start­up technology companies and university research institutes with U.S. based entrepreneurial companies. Specifically, John joined the delegation teams of U.S. Secretary of Commerce Daley, Under Secretary of Commerce Mottur and Colorado Governor Owens.  He also participated in meetings hosted by President Bill Clinton at the Whitehouse.

Ryan HohimerCo-Founder and CTO

Ryan Hohimer Photo

Ryan Hohimer received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE) in 1995 from Washington State University. Immediately, the US Department of Energy (DOE) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) put him to work in data collection and analysis in energy and national security domains. This placed him into “Big Data” before “Big Data” was cool. Dealing with the challenges of managing massive data sparked his interest in metadata. The Semantic Web Technologies (SWT) which emerged from metadata representations became a central component of Ryan’s Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (KR&R) acumen.

Ryan honed his KR&R skills through nearly 19 years of research and project management at PNNL. He is the lead inventor of the CHAMPION technology. He was the Principle Investigator and Project Manager overseeing the development of the first prototypes. The first prototypes addressed cyber-behaviors in Insider-Threat and Cybersecurity.


Shawn RileyCDO & CISO

Shawn Riley Cyber Security Expert

A recognized thought leader in the defense and intelligence communities, Shawn Riley, Executive Vice President at The Center for Strategic Cyberspace and Security Science, brings over 25 years of cyber security, all source cyber threat intelligence, and artificial intelligence experience with an unparalleled understanding of the pitfalls that overtake modern security teams.

Shawn started off as a programmer in 1986 before spending a decade in the US Navy Cryptology Community supporting NSA/CSS missions worldwide focusing on information security, information assurance and information operations.  He then transitioned to the defense industrial base where he spent the next decade embedded inside government cyber centers as an expert and mentor to both domestic and international agencies.  Since 2010, Shawn has primarily focused on applying Artificial Intelligence knowledge representation and reasoning to cyber security to include state-of-the-art intelligence methodologies.

Board of Directors

G. Louis Graziadio IIIDirector


G. Louis Graziadio III is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Second Southern Corp., the managing partner of Ginarra Partners, L.L.C., a closely-held California company involved in a wide range of investments and business ventures.

For over 40 years, Mr. Graziadio has been active in corporate finance and investment banking with an emphasis on restructurings of private and public companies, as well as corporate spin-offs and IPOs.

Mr. Graziadio is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Acacia Research Corporation, World Point Terminals, LP, and the Chairman and CEO of Boss Holdings, Inc.  He is also a member of the Pepperdine University Board and serves on the Board of Visitors of Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management.

Mr. Graziadio previously served as a member of the Board of Directors of True Religion Apparel, Inc. and Rosetta Resources.  He was also a Director of Imperial Bancorp, a Los Angeles-based commercial bank acquired by Comerica Bank in 2001 and was previously the Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Imperial Financial Group Inc.

Howard KoDirector

howard_ko.jpg successful Venture Capitalist focusing on technology investments Howard is with ECA, a venture capital firm focused on early stage technology investments. He was previously with Mission Ventures, a leading Southern California venture capital firm focused on software and semiconductor investments. Prior to Mission, he was with Salomon Smith Barney in their Technology Investment Banking Group where he was involved with public and private financings and M&A. Howard has also served as co-chair of the San Diego Telecom Council Wireless Infrastructure Group. He was a member of the Board of Reviewers for the San Diego based Center for Commercialization of Advanced Technology, an organization funded by the Department of Defense. Howard holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from UCLA and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Advisory Board

Dave AucsmithAdvisor

Dave Aucsmith

David Aucsmith is a senior computer scientist and technology leader currently working as the Chief Scientist of root9B, a Senior Principal Research Scientist at the Applied Physics Laboratory of the University of Washington, and as an independent consultant.

He has worked in a variety of security technology areas including secure computer systems, secure communications systems, security architecture, random number generation, cryptography and cryptographic systems, steganography and network intrusion detection. Aucsmith is a former officer in the U.S. Navy and has written extensively on cybercrime, cyber espionage and cyber warfare. 

Representative to numerous international, government and academic organizations including the National Academy advisory board on Survivability and Lethality Analysis and the Directorate Advisory Council for the National Security Directorate of Pacific Northwest National Labs. He is co-chairman of the FBI’s Information Technology Study Group, a member of the President’s Task Force on National Defense and Computer Technology and a member of the Department of Defense’s Global Information Grid Senior Industry Review Group. Aucsmith was also U.S. industry representative to the G8 Committee on Organized, Transnational, and Technological Crime where he participated directly in the G8 summits in Paris, Berlin and Tokyo. 

Aucsmith holds 33 patents for digital security and is a member of the advisory board for the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Aucsmith holds a BS degree in biochemistry from the University of Georgia and MS degrees in physics from the Naval Postgraduate School and information and computer sciences from the Georgia Institute of Technology respectively. Additionally, he has a Certificate in Fine Arts Photography from the University of Washington. He currently lectures at the Naval Postgraduate School and the USAF Air War College.

Michael Kluse Advisor

michael-kluse retired Chief Executive of science and technology national research laboratory

Recently retired chief executive of one of 17 Department of Energy (DoE) National Research Laboratories, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, with an annual budget in excess of $1B and 4500 employees.  PNNL provides science and technology to the DoE missions of fundamental science, energy, environment and national security.  Mr. Kluse was responsible for the strategy development, execution and overall leadership of PNNL’s national security business serving the DoE, the National Nuclear Security Administration, US Dept. of Defense, Dept. of Homeland Security, the intelligence community and the US Defense industry.

Under Mr. Kluse’s leadership the Champion software was funded, created and patented. He holds an MS in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Ohio State University; a BS in Systems Analysis from Miami University, Ohio; and is a Graduate Fellow of the MIT Seminar XXI Program in International Security.

Demetrios "Laz" LazarikosAdvisor


Demetrios Lazarikos (Laz), a recognized visionary for building Information Security, fraud, and big data analytics solutions, is the Founder and IT Security Strategist for Blue Lava Consulting.  Laz has more than 30 years experience in building and supporting some of the largest InfoSec programs for Financial Services, Retail, Hospitality, and Transportation verticals.  Laz is a three time former CISO and some of his past roles include: CISO at vArmour, CISO at Sears, CISO at Silver Tail Systems (acquired by RSA/EMC), VP of Strategic Initiatives at ReddShell Corporation (acquired by TrustWave), and a former PCI QSA. Laz is an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management, holds a Master’s in Computer Information Security from the University of Denver, an MBA from Pepperdine University, and has earned several security and compliance certifications.

DarkLight Senior Team

Alex GibsonSenior Software Engineer and Architect

Alex Gibson cybersecurity software architect and developer Alex Gibson is the Senior Software Engineer and Lead Architect at Champion Technology Company Inc. He has 15 years of experience as a software architect and developer. Before joining Champion, he worked at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for 14 years where he worked on multiple projects of national concern and security. He won an R&D 100 award for his work on the Universal Parsing Agent. He is an expert in Object Oriented Design (OOD), Open Service Gateway Initiative (OSGi), Integrated Development Environments (IDE), and Continuous Integration.

Doug LoveSenior Software Engineer

Doug Love visual analytics expert Doug Love is a Senior Software Engineer with 11 years of experience. At the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory he worked on commercial grade visual analytics tools such as IN-SPIRE, a flagship product of the laboratory. He has an outstanding expertise in designing and implementing Graphical User Interface (GUI) components that are intuitive and user friendly. In addition to his GUI talents, he brings a passion in optimizing the efficiency of the Champion code..

Ian RobertsSenior User Experience Designer

Ian Roberts User Experience and research expert Ian Roberts brings over 20 years of experience to his role, which includes user interface design, graphic design, user research, software documentation, software testing, usability testing, video creation, and agile scrum coaching. Ian previously worked at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and has a masters degree from the University of Idaho in Human Factors Psychology.