PNDC Staff

DENISE RYSER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Denise leads PNDC’s efforts to support member businesses, by developing sales growth opportunities in direct defense and security sales and building a strong and connected supply chain in these industries. Her background in government relations, partner support, and business development make her a trusted advisor to the PNDC community. With a keen focus on member needs, Denise’s recent projects include supporting the launch of the Pacific Northwest Mission Acceleration Center (PNW MAC), leading delegations to defense focused trade shows in London and Washington D.C., and supporting PNDC’s Advocacy Committee to connect Pacific Northwest businesses with their elected officials to communicate legislative needs and impacts.

Email: [email protected]

 

SAM ZVIRZDYS, DIRECTOR OF MARKET DEVELOPMENT

Filling the roll of Director of Market Development, Sam Zvirzdys responsibilities include the growth of our organization through bridging member businesses, developing new relationships, growing our member network of DOD manufacturers, and expanding the supply chain network for everyone in the Pacific Northwest. Sam’s background in business to business manufacturing sales has helped him learn the in’s and out of manufacturing from both the B2B and B2C. Sam went to school in Caldwell, ID at the College of Idaho where he played left tackle for 4 years on the football team while earning his degree in Business Management with a focus in Marketing.  

Email: [email protected]

 Nicole H.

Nicole Hallack, office manager

Nicole is a dynamic professional with success supporting top-tier executives in Fortune 500 giants like Nike and Adidas. She is a strategic thinker, a self-starter known for boosting efficiency and profits through innovative solutions. She comes with unparalleled versatility and a rare blend of skills in Human Resources, Marketing, Operations, and IT. Her commitment to continuous growth is evident with core competencies ready to elevate any team. She brings a proven track record of confidentiality, professionalism, and a relentless pursuit of excellence to high-profile executives. She loves the outdoors and since her daughter is grown and out of the nest, she spends most of her time doing things with her 2 pups.

Email: [email protected]

 Erin H

erin herringshaw, events coordinator

Email: [email protected]

 

PNW MAC Staff

Chris GROVES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR oF the PNW MAC PROGRAM

Chris Groves connects innovative startups with National Security partners to enhance mission capabilities for front line operators.

His prior role with Oracle Government Defense and Intelligence fueled Chris’s passion for working with startups and expanded his knowledge of tech available to support National Security innovation. He built close partnerships with a portfolio of startups and applied Oracle’s cloud infrastructure and tactical edge hardware to develop pathways for National Security customers to onboard innovative, mission-relevant solutions.

Chris established a strong foundation in National Security during a 25-year career as an Operations Officer for the CIA. In a series of field command roles, he empowered teams to achieve significant results for the CIA's core mission objectives. He served in multiple war zones, applied cyber capabilities to intel operations, and enhanced relations, joint operations and/or training programs with foreign partners, US Military, and with US Intel and Law Enforcement Agencies.

Delivering effective leadership and providing a great work environment are important to Chris. He works hard to inspire teams to deliver their full potential, champions innovation and creativity to produce enhanced impact, and fosters a positive and inclusive team environment that keeps employees motivated, productive, and focused on the mission. 

Chris holds an MBA from Thunderbird International Business School and enjoys developing new skills through executive education programs.

Email: [email protected]

 

DRADIN KREFT, PROGRAM MANAGER

Dradin Kreft has a passion for the air and space industry, which is reflected in his impressive resume, which includes earning his law degree from University of Mississippi with a concentration in Air and Space Law and working for U.S. Representative Steven Palazzo.

During his time working for U.S. Representative Steven Palazzo, Dradin managed interest groups and maintained working groups for aerospace, science and technology during the complex legal and political environment of 2020. He also conducted a comprehensive review of policy, law and documents from many government entities while working for Seattle-based law firm, Stritmatter Kessler Koehler Moore.

As Program Manager for PNW MAC, Dradin enhances the defense connection within the Pacific Northwest industry ecosystem and executes and builds upon grant opportunities for technology and defense in the region. He also focuses on facilitating growth at the MAC through community building, expanding access and awareness about what the MAC can offer local businesses and leaders, and ensuring cohesion of industry interests.

Email: [email protected]

MITCH EHKLE, MISSION INNOVATION LEAD

Mitch is joining PNDC - MAC from the Idaho Department of Commerce where he had worked since January 2020, As an International Trade Specialist with the state of Idaho he planned, coordinated and executed several global trade activities. They include a state-led industry focused foreign trade mission, and trade shows in 5 continents. With a decade of prior experience working in the defense manufacturing sector of Idaho, he regularly provided consultations with businesses from various industries throughout the state with firsthand knowledge and an understanding of the many facets and challenges of growing a business. Mitch is married (with two good dogs), and has a BBA in International Business from Boise State University. Mitch's proudest background info is being a US Marine Corps OIF (2005) combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient.

Email: [email protected]

 

JOEY CORIGLIANO, PROGRAM MANAGER

We are excited to welcome Joey Corigliano as the new Compliance Manager for the Pacific Northwest Mission Acceleration Center. Joey has a strong foundation in national security innovation. He has expertise commercializing deep- tech such as, unmanned aerial systems (UAS), biotechnology, healthtech and space technology. He started his career in the US government working for the US Secret Service and working on defense policy for US Congressman Adam Smith. Later, he served as Chief of Staff to Insitu, a UAS company based in the Pacific Northwest. After working at Insitu, Joey founded a healthtech company with investment from NYU and Cornell. He graduated from Cornell’s one-year long startup accelerator and NYU’s startup bootcamp program. Joey recently helped spin out a startup from University of Washington’s Genomics Lab. The company completed the Nucleate accelerator program. Joey holds a JD from New York Law School and BA from the University of Washington.

Email: [email protected]

 

Todd WOODS, PROGRAM DIRECTOR - NATO DIANA

Todd is a dynamic relationship builder with diverse experience and broad perspective guiding clients ranging from Fortune 500 enterprises to venture-backed startups, through the process of international market expansion. Creatively adept at navigating complex environments to deliver actionable results and sustainable growth.

Ideal team player skilled at internal and external cross functional collaboration and engaging key global customers, partners, vendors and influential government contacts. Highly motivated, detail oriented and passionate about creating meaningful connections.

Todd is a distinctive expatriate, in-country engagement experience in Asia, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Russia and the EU.

Email: [email protected]

 

JAKE TOZIER, MISSION INNOVATION LEAD

Jake Tozier served 14 years in the United States Army as both an enlisted artilleryman and as a Warrant Officer flying CH-47 Chinook Helicopters. During this time Jake had multiple deployments to include, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Honduras. After leaving the service Jake transitioned his military experience and applied it to working in and with the military-connected community, startups, entrepreneurs, federal and state agencies, and  the nonprofit sector.

In 2016 Jake co-founded Bunker Labs Seattle in Washington state, setting out to build an entrepreneur ecosystem that supports the military connected community during transition from active duty to entrepreneurship. During this time Jake worked with and established lasting relationships with some of the most military supportive organizations in the PNW to include, the Schultz Family Foundation, Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, Starbucks, Comcast, Business Impact NW, Hawk Transition Center, UW,  Washington State Military Transition Council, WSVDA, and more.

After establishing Seattle’s Bunker Labs, Jake served as the West Regional Director for Bunker Labs National. During this time, he led efforts in launching and supporting 9 new chapters. Jake last served as the National Resource Director for Bunker Labs,  supporting their flagship program Veteran in Residence. Over the last 5 years Jake has advised hundreds of companies many of who have gone on to be very successful.

Jake lives in beautiful Tacoma, Washington with his wife Janna and their two daughters Josephine and Aubree.

Email: [email protected]