A servant attitude and a fascination with science and space exploration.
That’s what sparked the interest of John Hill, founder of TechSage Solutions, in electronics and computers back in the ’60s and led him to become actively involved with computers in the 1970s.
John became interested in science, space exploration and technology when visiting his aunt and uncle in Cocoa Beach, Florida. While sitting on the roof of their house, he was mesmerized watching rocket launches from the space center on Cape Canaveral. He took a keen interest in science and technology after reading Tom Swift books about a teenage scientist and inventor who built a spaceship. As a teenager, John became even more excited about space travel when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin successfully landed on the moon. He credits his mother, who was a science teacher; his grandparents, who were teachers as well; and his reading tutor for influencing his servant attitude. “Teachers have been a big part of my life,” John said. “When I first learned to read, I struggled and hated reading until a reading teacher helped me. I’ve been a voracious reader ever since. These people inspired a strong desire to be of service.”
A Life Of Service
With these passions instilled in him as a child, it was the military that ignited them even more. Between serving active duty in the Air Force, Texas Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve as an Individual Mobilization Augmentee (IMA), John served for 28 years.
In the early ’70s, John enlisted in the Air Force, serving active duty during the Vietnam war. As a communications security analyst, he set up secure telephone and radio communications monitoring equipment in mobile communications vans. After completing his tour of duty, John retrained. “I ran a satellite communications terminal on an island in the Mediterranean Sea,” John says. “We’d collect data from U-2 aircraft surveillance flights and transmit it back to the United States.”
After five years, he left the Air Force and joined the Air National Guard (ANG), where he got involved in the earliest stages of computer electronics and network security. “I was part of the team that installed the first computer network at the ANG unit on Kelly Air Force Base,” John says. “Our team also successfully transmitted payroll from our deployed payroll computer to San Antonio using a high frequency radio transmitter for the first time.”
After serving 15 years in ANG, he transferred to the Air Force Reserve while getting his degree at University of Texas–San Antonio. Activated during Desert Storm, John ran the Base Network Control Center at Kelly Air Force Base and helped install the first Internet firewall on the old Kelly Air Force Base.
While in the Air Force Reserve IMA program, John had the opportunity to work with NASA as a member of the Space Shuttle Contingency Communications Team. “I jumped at the chance to be involved with the space community,” John says. “We were prepared to provide emergency communications for recovery teams in case a shuttle launch had to abort. During training at NASA, I went through the mock-up of the international space station and flew the space shuttle simulator.”
A Foundation Working For A DoD Contractor
In the late ’90s and early 2000s, he worked for a DoD contractor managing the network and keeping it secure for a military agency. “Even back then we had to defend our network against hacking attempts by nation-state bad actors,” John says. “Writing proposals helped me develop a deep understanding of the compliance side.”
In 2000, John launched TechSage Solutions alongside his work for the DoD contractor. But when his employer lost the recompete, John jumped into his business full-time. TechSage focused on improving computer and network security and moved into infrastructure wiring, cabling, installing phone systems and servers. Because of their security clearance, TechSage was one of the few companies to help build secure facilities and put in network infrastructure.
In 2006, John became a managed services provider (MSP) when he “finally convinced” his wife, Beth, to join the business full-time. Beth holds a degree in business and has a background in operations and logistics. Her experience and skillsets are the perfect complement to John’s technology skills and DoD background, making them an unstoppable duo who are rapidly building one of the most sought-after cyber security and compliance IT firms by DoD contractors in Central and South Texas, as well as around the country.
Today TechSage Solutions is a top IT company serving small to medium-sized DoD contractors and one of the few veteran-owned IT services providers in Central and South Texas with a deep understanding of the DoD industry, specialized knowledge about DoD compliance and a Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) Registered Provider Organization (RPO).
An Original CMMC Registered Practitioner
Working closely with a wide variety of DoD contractor companies, John continues to be a leader in the field in compliance and computer and network security. He is the author of the book Simplify Your IT, with a second book coming out focused on cyber security that will help DoD contractors with the new CMMC compliance requirements.
“The minute I heard CMMC would be required for all DoD contractors to bid on and keep DoD contracts, I knew they’d need help,” John says. An early adopter, TechSage became one of the first IT companies in the San Antonio area trained as a CMMC RPO and is currently one of only a handful of organizations in South Texas that hold this status. John and other members of his team are awarded the designation of CMMC Registered Practitioners and have helped DoD contractors of various sizes meet the new regulatory requirements in the most efficient way possible. “We developed a proprietary process for helping DoD contractors prepare for successful completion of their CMMC, audits and the award of their required CMMC levels so they get and remain compliant,” John explains.
A Dedicated Servant Leader
Amidst his successful career, John dedicated time to serve on many boards and committees in the community, including a nine-year term on the board of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, the San Antonio Chapter of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners Board of Directors and as chairman of the STRCIC Emerging Technology Fund Regional Board, to name a few. In addition, he formed and ran the nonprofit Technology Connexus Association.
Between working for or with DoD contractors since the late 1990s, over four decades of technology experience and a military background, John understands DoD contractors’ business model and the interaction with the DoD in a way few other IT firms can. While John is still fascinated by space exploration, even recently meeting and speaking with Buzz Aldrin, his mission these days is focused on helping 500 DoD contractors modernize their technology, enhance their cyber security and receive their CMMC.
“I understand this industry,” John says. “I understand the technology and worked with compliance and security for decades. I’ve received training on the specifics required to get DoD contractors compliant with the new requirements. While I still dream of going into space, being able to help DoD contractors use their technology more efficiently and securely, or get certified, provides personal and professional satisfaction. I’m thrilled I can help many DoD contractors stay in business and thrive.”
For more information on TechSage Solutions visit https://www.techsagesolutions.com/.
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