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Don’t be surprised if you feel at home on your first visit to Pensacola. That’s because we have a large, growing cybersecurity community. Whether you work for a federal agency, the US military, or a private-sector company, you’ll find a lot of folks with similar jobs and backgrounds. In fact, our region is home to more than 2,000 cybersecurity professionals. And with our Dog-Friendly craft breweries, bistros, and beaches, your dog will make friends too. (Who knows, the cat might like it too.)

Innovative Neighbors

The world renowned Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition is doing world-changing research right downtown and, just blocks away, the University of West Florida’s Center for Cybersecurity is the regional hub for cybersecurity education and research and the NSA/DHS Center of Academic Excellence Regional Resource Center for the Southeast. Just down the road is AppRiver, a global email security company and our leading employer, Navy Federal Credit Union, whose campus employs nearly 9,000.

Quality of Life, Low Taxes, and Commute Times

Your job has taken you a long way. Now take your job where you want to be. Low taxes are just one advantage. Without long commute times, you’ll get days of your life back every year – and you’ll be spending them in a place where the people and the weather are warm, and the business climate is just as friendly. There’s more to do here and our low cost of living means you’ll have more money to do it with.

 

Compare Housing Costs:
Washington DC
2 br/2 ba – $3,094/month
Pensacola, FL
2 br/2 ba – $1,635/month

Local Employers

Connect with some our leading tech employers.

Cyber Talent

The talent, education, industry and military investment make Pensacola a natural for Cybersecurity. The place, the people and quality of life make it a natural for you.
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Senior Information
Security Analyst

Chris Hendricks

Believer. Thinker. Innovator. Mold & Statistic Breaker. Husband. Father. Chris Hendricks doesn’t fit into a box . . . and he is in a place where no one wants him to.
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From teaching kids about programming with CoderDojo to creating Bantucola, an online directory of black businesses, his non-stop contributions to his community haven’t slowed with the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

As the technology officer for the African American Heritage Society, Chris is pioneering ways for technology to help transform the rich African American history in Pensacola. He also works with the Kukua Institute in the Belmont Devillers district with “Back to the Blocks” project.

 

The Blocks’ compelling story dates back to Reconstruction, when the thriving commercial neighborhood attracted racially diverse individuals looking for a place to start fresh.  “We can actually virtualize what’s historically known as The Blocks here in Pensacola and bring to life what it looked like as a very diverse neighborhood in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.”

 

Chris is a senior information security analyst at Navy Federal Credit Union, Pensacola’s leading employer, currently in its tenth year as one of Fortune 100’s best companies to work for.

 

Chris is a senior information security analyst at Navy Federal Credit Union, Pensacola’s leading employer, currently in its tenth year as one of Fortune 100’s best companies to work for. From Chris’ experience, the credit union should take the top spot on any “best place to work list.”

 

“The experience that I’ve had since I’ve been at Navy Federal has been one of tremendous camaraderie,” Chris says.

 

“I work five minutes from my house. And since March, Navy Federal has been on the forefront of moving to a remote workforce. We went remote early and fast, and it was a great experience. Not only is the culture here incredible when we are together, but when there was a major change, Navy Federal was behind us 100% to support us in the best way.”

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Cyber Thought Leader

Dr. Eman El-Sheikh

“The CyberCoast is emerging as a national cybersecurity capital, with its diverse educational programs, growing industry, and strong defense assets.”
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Dr. El-Sheikh leads The University of West Florida’s Center for Cybersecurity’s efforts as the Southeast Regional Hub for the NSA/DHS National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity and has received several grants to enhance cybersecurity education and training. She teaches and conducts research related to the development and evaluation of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for cybersecurity. The author of several books and over 70 peer-reviewed articles, Dr. El-Sheikh holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Michigan State University.

 

According to Dr. El-Sheikh, The CyberCoast is emerging as a national cybersecurity capital, with its diverse educational programs, growing industry, and strong defense assets.

 

“Growing the Cyber Coast requires developing a strong and diverse workforce. The University of West Florida is designated as an NSA/DHS National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (CAE-C) and serves as the Southeast CAE-C Regional Hub, one of five Cybersecurity Hubs across the country. The UWF Center for Cybersecurity leads efforts to develop innovative solutions and advance cybersecurity education, workforce development, and research, both regionally and nationally. Through innovative workforce programs, such as Cybersecurity for All®, research, outreach, and partnerships, the UWF Center for Cybersecurity is working towards narrowing the cybersecurity skills gap and expanding the Cyber Coast.”

 

Website: https://uwf.edu/go/cybersecurity/

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Founder

Tim Shoop

Tim’s path to the world of creating tech businesses is one worth hearing. Just ask him for a coffee meeting to get the scoop.
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Tim Shoop is founder and Chief Executive Officer of Digital Boardwalk, one of the fastest growing I.T. service companies in Florida. Founded in 2009 and headquartered in Pensacola, Digital Boardwalk now serves clients in more than 25 states across the U.S, helping to make them more productive and secure with technology.

 

They say, “third times a charm.” As his third business, Digital Boardwalk quickly rose to its success and has received several awards for outstanding customer service, superior response times, and philanthropic contributions. Digital Boardwalk was also recently recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in America, as well by Channel Futures as one of the top 500 Managed IT Providers in the world.

 

If you want to learn how Tim was introduced to the world of creating Tech Businesses, just ask him for a coffee meeting. He may tell a story about once living in a tent and aspiring to be in movies.

 

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/timshoop/

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CISSP-CISM

Mike Arbrouet

``Our CyberCoast has never been more attractive to top talent. As remote work becomes the new norm, this attraction will only intensify. Imagine making California wages during the week and surfing our beautiful beaches on the weekends. It does not get any better than this.``
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When he is not fathering or husbanding, Mike Arbrouet is on a mission to help bridge the cybersecurity skills gap on a global scale.

 

Toward that end, he co-founded Haiti Cyber Con, a non-profit that is on the frontline working with the disadvantage youth in that country, providing them with access to hacking workshops, effective mentorship and the tools needed to accelerate their careers in STEM. It is all being organized here on the CyberCoast.

Prior to founding Haiti Cyber Con, Mike, and his brother Blaise, founded YottaSec, an information security consulting company located in the US and Canada. YottaSec specializes in strategic risk management, security program management, remediation/optimization and training, security governance, threat hunting, program assessment and compliance.

Most recently, Mike joined the Infragard North Florida Chapter, headquartered in Tallahassee, as its vice president. In this role, Mike represents the chapter from Pensacola to Panama City, enforcing the effective partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the CyberCoast private sector through seamless collaboration for the protection of the U.S Critical Infrastructure. Selected Fellow for both ARIN and ICAAN, Mike is multilingual, holds multiple cybersecurity certifications, and is currently completing a master’s degree in Cybersecurity at the University of West Florida.

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Passionate DevOps Agilist & Product Owner

Rachel Ley

“It’s amazing to me. I will spend the workday on my computer, and spend early evenings kayaking at the beach with my children. You really can’t ask for a better workday.”
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Rachel Ley grew up on the CyberCoast and loves spending the summers on the water. She journeyed along the West Coast for a bit and headed back this way after missing the white sand and emerald waters.

 

Rachel stumbled into IT and Cybersecurity, and now she can’t see herself anywhere else. She’s passionate about bringing humanity back into the technology industry, creating thriving cultures where people understand how much they matter.

 

“It’s amazing to me. I will spend the workday on my computer, and spend early evenings kayaking at the beach with my children. You really can’t ask for a better workday.”

 

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachel-ley13/

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Cybersecurity Analyst

Fred Touchette

“We’ve got a great coast. Plus, it’s a good hub for the Southeast region with New Orleans and Atlanta nearby. It’s so scenic.”
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Cybersecurity analyst Fred Touchette is one of America’s top experts on email security and cyberthreats, whose work has been cited and quoted by news media worldwide. These days, the Pensacola resident is working with the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC), helping safeguard the organization’s cutting-edge research for DARPA, NASA, and other public agencies and private-sector companies. “IHMC is inspiring,” he says. “All the research pushes you to be on top of your game.”

 

Hired in September, Touchette finds himself working a lot of nights and weekends at home when he receives alerts. Whether he’s home or at the office, however, he’s happy to be in Pensacola. “It’s so scenic,” Touchette says. “We’ve got a great coast. Plus, it’s a good hub for the Southeast region with New Orleans and Atlanta nearby.”

 

Another thing he appreciates about the area is that it’s not crowded and congested like those larger cities. That’s important for people who value their personal space and enjoy peace and solitude. That might sound unusual for someone who also owns a local bar. “Then again,” Touchette says, “it’s called The Elbow Room for a reason.”

 

Company: Institute of Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC)

 

Website: www.ihmc.us

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Director, gBETA Pensacola

Jonathan Kretz

When Jonathan Kretz and his wife, Michelle, honeymooned on the CyberCoast they knew they wanted to make a move to stay.
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“We were just like, wow, we’d like the speed! We liked the consistent temperatures we liked the small, almost small-town vibe. “

An entrepreneur who founded AI Company TechComb in Dallas, Jonathan jumped at that the opportunity to leave the larger city to helm gBETA Pensacola. gBETA is a program of gener8tor, a free, seven-week accelerator for early-stage companies with local roots.

“Pensacola truly has an atmosphere that is supporting an entrepreneurial ecosystem to just explode the job growth and I saw kind of this opportunity to be a piece of a puzzle that is primed to just really take off,” Jonathan says, “But mainly it was just that Pensacola called us 15 years ago. We’ve been back a half a dozen times since, and now we’re here for good.”

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathan-kretz/

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Senior Consultant and Custom Solutions Architect

Aaron Sago

For 12 years, Aaron Sago has worked as a Senior Consultant and Custom Solutions Architect for the New York-based company, Acoustic, from his home in Gulf Breeze, Florida.
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For 12 years, Aaron Sago has worked as a Senior Consultant and Custom Solutions Architect for the New York-based company, Acoustic, from his home in Gulf Breeze, Florida.  Acoustic is an old/new company having begun as SilverPop in 1999. It was bought by IBM and then bought and rebranded as Acoustic in 2019. Acoustic is a Martech company that is reimagining marketing technology by lessening the burdens of repetitive tasks.

 

Aaron was one of the pioneers of remote working when he decided to make a move to the Cybercoast in 2005.  Tired of the bustle of Atlanta, he and his wife researched the best place to raise a family that also would be on the water. Pensacola fit all their criteria.

 

“Pensacola feels like a major metro area without the traffic,” Spago says. His move paved the way for others to follow him into remote work and is keen for more to follow, “I would love to have some co-workers join me!”

 

“It’s nice, comfortable, safe, affordable and on the water.” An avid fly fisherman, Aaron also loves the nearby fresh water,  “We have the beach but one of the coolest things is all the aquifers and natural cold water springs just down the road.”

 

Company: Acoustic

 

Website: https://acoustic.com/

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaronsago/

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Serial innovator

Janet Woolman

“I believe that our startup OxeFit, Inc. will become one of those local legend “Steve Jobs” type stories that will show case Pensacola as a place where it is possible for a new - to - the - world technology to transform an industry and change the world.”
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Serial innovator, former academic/R&Dleader, entrepreneur, information scientist, startup “operationalizer,”Janet Woolman has worn many hatssince moving to CyberCoast in 2016.

 

An Information Scientist with a Master’s degree from Louisiana State University, Janet began her academic career in the classification, management, and applied science of information/data and rapidly moved on to building a 52,000 square foot regional entrepreneurial center and growing a university research/innovation portfolio by over $15 million dollars in external funding.

 

In 2016, Janet moved to Pensacola andfounded Innovation Strategies, LLC. Her data-driven, system-based approach amalgamates methodsfrom information science, engineering, psychology, business, and the creative arts to generate business ideas and solve problems.As a business owner, she led a project to reduce risk by 30% for a large Louisiana chemical corporation and collaboratively developedthe Cybersecurity Strategic Plan for Pensacola, Florida to addressan emerging $1trillion dollar national problem.

 

In 2020, Janet joined forces with an elite inventor and high-profile CEO to create and commercialise a disruptive technology that will fundamentally change the way strength training is currently conducted. Shecurrently handlesbusiness and human resource operations for thisnewly founded corporation, Oxefit, Inc. OxeFit’s team includes a CEO that co-founded and led international enterprises and held executive positions in software companies that pioneered new edge technology. During this time, his leadership contributed to the prestigious Global Unicorn Club award recognising companies valued at $1B+and a recent acquisition by Microsoft for over $1.3B.

 

Janet says the close-knit networks in Pensacola create a great opportunity for businesses development and growth.““I believe that our startup OxeFit, Inc.will become one of those local legend “Steve Jobs” type stories that will showcase Pensacola as a place where it is possible for a new-to-the-world technology to transform an industry and change the world.”

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Rising Cyberstar

Marie Perry

“I love being part of the growth of Cybersecurity in Pensacola, FL.”
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It was a stop at downtown coffeeshop that changed Marie Perry’s life.

 

“These two guys in front of me were talking about cybersecurity,” Perry says. “They had just come from a conference, and this one guy says, ‘You know, we were trying to hire 1 million people in cybersecurity last year and they didn’t even scratch the surface.’ So, I got my coffee, sat down, hopped on my phone and looked up cybersecurity, and I’m seeing that, straight out of college, these jobs are offering 60, 70, 80 thousand dollars. After about five years you’re looking at a six-figure job.”

 

Already enrolled at Pensacola State College, Marie contacted her advisor and switched her major.

 

Marie took advantage of the many opportunities Pensacola offers Cyber professionals to connect. “ I started going to networking events with IT Gulf Coast, for whom I interned for a year.” Perry also attends the annual ITENWired, hosted by IT Gulf Coast, and encourages students to do the same. “Every local IT professional and company is there. It’s a great place to network, socialize and shop for opportunity.”

 

Marie is the President of the WiCyS (Women in Cybersecurity) Florida Chapter. “WiCyS Florida is helping women, both professionals and students to make bigger strides in their careers. I love being part of the growth of Cybersecurity in Pensacola, FL”

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marie-perry-0981b6169/

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Senior Penetration Tester

Scottie Cole

“You won’t find a better spot. The instant I leave work, I’m at home. And home just happens to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.”
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Scottie Cole thinks all high-tech and cybersecurity employees should move to Pensacola and work from home as he does. Okay, maybe not everyone. But he certainly appreciates the flexibility to work for Atlanta-based Raxis as a senior penetration tester – without having to leave his home on the coast.

 

Cole says companies should encourage remote work and not just for employee satisfaction, but also for the sake of the bottom line. “You don’t have to rent a building as long as you can do video conferencing,” he says.

 

His own experience? “Pretty awesome actually.” If he wasn’t at Raxis, Cole might consider working in tourism extolling the Gulf of Mexico beaches and the area’s natural beauty.

 

“You won’t find a better spot,” he says. “The instant I leave work, I’m at home. And home just happens to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.”

 

Company: Raxis

Website: https://raxis.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottiecole/

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Chief Technology Officer

Kevin Schmidt

“I knew someday I would start my own tech company, and there was no other place other than Pensacola that resonated with me.”
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Kevin’s love for Pensacola goes to back to his childhood. As a born-and-raised West Pensacolian, he grew up knowing how special Pensacola is. At the age of 11, he began running a dial-up Bulletin Board System (BBS) off his Commodore 64 computer. This exposed him to an ecosystem of like-minded, computer geeks. “Because of the military presence, Pensacola has a long history of being a computer hub of sorts, “ Kevin says. In 1993, he began working at the Gulf Coast Internet Company (GCIC), which was a dial-up Internet provider. He later moved to Atlanta in 1996.

 

Kevin always wanted to move back home. In 2017, after 21 years away, he came back. “I knew someday I would start my own tech company, and there was no other place other than Pensacola that resonated with me.” Kevin is now CTO of ARGO Cyber Systems, a 24×7 managed cyber threat detection company. “We want to make cyber security, threat detection and response affordable for companies of all sizes; we help companies stay up-and-running and shield them from cyber-attacks.” He goes on to say that “being older now, I appreciate other aspects of Pensacola I didn’t value when I was younger, like the low cost of living, great beaches, restaurants, and entertainment. These are all things that make Pensacola attractive to startups like ARGO Cyber Systems, but also those looking to relocate for a better life.” Kevin hopes he and ARGO Cyber Systems can help expand Pensacola’s reach beyond the southeast as a well-known cyber hub, further solidifying our dominance as the Cybercoast.

 

Company: ARGO Cyber Systems

Website: https://www.argocyber.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/argo-cyber-systems/