CHAMPION_TC_1920.pngChampion 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

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.


Jess RichterChief Revenue Officer


As Chief Revenue Officer, Jess Richter is responsible for building out global sales, business development, marketing and customer success. He brings more than 20 years of sales leadership, alliance partnering and front line sales experience in the enterprise technology and consulting industries.

Mr. Richter joined from Lieberman Software, a cybersecurity vendor specializing in privileged identity management where he held executive leadership roles in both sales and strategic alliances.  There, he won recognition as the Microsoft 2015 Partner of the Year (App Dev) and was named a Channel Chief by CRN three times.  Prior to Lieberman, Mr. Richter founded and managed a boutique consulting firm and has held direct sales and management roles with Peregrine Systems, MicroWarehouse, Dun & Bradstreet and IBM. Mr. Richter has a B.A. in Economics and Psychology from the University of Rochester.


Jim WinettInterim CFO


Mr. Winett is Co-Founder and Managing Director of The DPAA Group, LLC, focused on creating strategy and providing execution for B2B and B2C companies. He is a hands-on operational and financial executive with over twenty-five years of change management, consulting and start-up experience. As a business consultant and advisor, Mr. Winett has provided consulting services since 1987 to over 70 clients ranging from early-stage startups and turnarounds to large U.S. and overseas manufacturers, distributors, retailers and service corporations. Mr. Winett has particular strengths in organizational change, restructurings, business development, strategic planning and execution and finance.

As an entrepreneur, Mr. Winett has started-up and developed numerous successful companies, including founding and operating companies in Internet Fulfillment, Consulting and Consumer Products industries. These include co-founding and running ICCS Partners, a financial services and business consulting firm, founding and managing, a third-party fulfillment company for online retailers, co-founding The Agency for Sports Ethics, LLC the world’s premier independent anti-doping program for professional cycling and other sports, and serving in interim and executive roles with various consulting clients.

Mr. Winett received his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University in 1992 and his B.S. in Accountancy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1987. He is also a CPA (inactive status).


John ShearerCo-Founder and CEO

John Shearer Photo

Mr. 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 this 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.

Shawn RileyChief Data Officer

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.

Mike SimsCo-Founder and Director

Mike Sims Executive Management and business startup expert

Mr. Sims has held several chief and senior executive management positions in industries as diverse as commercial banking, publishing, graduate business education and high profile business federations.

Mr. Sims has served as a member of several corporate boards of directors. Currently a Co-founder/Director and an investor in Champion Technology Company, Inc. an Artificial Intelligence cyber security enterprise software analytics company.  He is a Senior Advisor to a startup software company focused on the residential rental market He has served as Chairman of an international food company, a board member of a Los Angeles community bank, a publicly-traded education technology company and a southern California technology support group. He is former Chairman of the National Veterans Association.

Mr. Sims is a U.S. Army Security Agency veteran who served in Vietnam.  He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska.

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 “Laz” Lazarikos is a recognized expert and visionary when it comes to building, deploying, and supporting information security, fraud and big data solutions.  Laz is a three time CISO and has more than 30 years of experience building and supporting some of the largest InfoSec programs within the financial services, retail, hospitality, technology, healthcare, and transportation verticals.

Laz is the CISO at vARMOUR and his past roles include: IT Security Researcher and Strategist at Blue Lava Consulting, 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 Team

Rick BergDirector of Cybersecurity Operations

rickberg industry recognized cybersecurity intrusion detection and incident response expert

As Director of Cybersecurity Operations, Rick Berg leads the development of cybersecurity strategy and policy and thrives on solving complex problems.  Rick is an industry-recognized security expert with nearly 20 years of hands-on operational experience executing cybersecurity advanced analysis at a Department of Energy National Laboratory. During his tenure at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, he specialized in Intrusion Detection, Incident Response and Analysis, Forensic investigation of computers, mobile devices, network data, and eDiscovery.  He has multiple certifications in computer forensics, workplace investigations, memory analysis, and penetration testing. Rick has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Management of Information Systems from Washington State University.

Peter NeorrSenior Software Engineer

Peter Neorr algorithm development expert Peter Neorr is a Senior Software Engineer. His expertise in algorithm development enables him to turn ideas into code. He is a serious software craftsman with over a decade of experience creating innovative solutions to difficult problems. Peter’s experience with multiple programming languages, desktop applications and client/server systems make him an impressive member of our core technical team.

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..

Dallas PhillipsSoftware Engineer

Dallas Phillips computer science developer During his last year of service with the Marine Corps as an Infantry Assaultman in Afghanistan and in the Pacific, Dallas was introduced to the realm of computer science and began to self-study the basics of programming with C++. Deciding that this was a field of study that he would like to pursue, he applied to Washington State University Tri-Cities as an undergraduate in computer science. Dallas’s ambitious attitude and eagerness to get into the field led him to Champion Technology Company, where his assistance in the development, testing, and documentation of DarkLight as an intern led to a  position with the company.

Denise HohimerOperations/Office Manager

Denise Hohimer business and management Denise Hohimer brings to bear experience working in budgeting and finance. Previously at Boeing Aerospace she estimated and monitored military budgets on a multi-million dollar scale, prepared budget forecasts, briefed management on budget and schedule status, and successfully navigated government audits. Her project management and organizational skills are essential to the core Champion team.  Denise has a Bachelors of Applied Science degree in business management from Central Washington University.

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.

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.

Cheyanne SchneiderSoftware Engineer I

Cschneider.jpg A recent Washington State University graduate of the Management Information Systems program, Cheyanne Schneider crossed paths with the team at Champion Technology as she researched the industry of cyber security and analytics. Her experience in the finance industry, working with varying software for investment analytics lead her to pivot her focus into software engineering. With an innate ability for process improvement, Cheyanne consistently capitalizes on her ability to focus on the small, yet invaluable details, and pair this with her passion to create and manage great software.

Ryan JoycePart Time Software Engineer


Building computers at a young age and an interest for electronics brought Ryan into the world of computing and soon after, he learned how to program with his first programming language, Python. With a new love for computers and programming, Ryan began his Computer Science Degree at Washington State University and became much more familiar and comfortable with C and C++. With an interest in penetration testing, AI, cyber security, and cyber forensics, Ryan became an intern and is now a part time developer at Champion Technology Company helping to develop and test back-end work for DarkLight.