Loudoun’s Cyber Leaders Named Washingtonian’s 2021 ‘Tech Titans’

Buddy Rizer Washingtonian

Loudoun Economic Development’s Executive Director Buddy Rizer was named a Washingtonian “Tech Titans” for the fifth-straight year, one of a handful of Loudoun County-based leaders who made the list.

Considered to be a “guide to the most important and innovative leaders in Washington’s digital economy,” the prestigious honor considers both reporting and peer nominations as part of its selection process.

“It’s a humbling honor to be named on a list that contains so many leaders that I respect and admire.  . While my name may be on the award, it’s Loudoun’s business-friendly ecosystem that deserves credit, including our entrepreneurs, the Board of Supervisors and community partners, and our tireless team at Loudoun Economic Development,” Rizer explained. “This continued recognition speaks to the success that Loudoun County has had in attracting the best and brightest to live, work, learn and play in Loudoun.”

The more than 170 award recipients were divided into entrepreneurs, financiers, cybersecurity, networks, government, policy influencers, industry heavies, and satellite makers. Rizer was one of just two non-federal-level government employees named to the list.

His recognition is, in part, attributed to Loudoun’s meteoric rise as Data Center Alley, the world’s largest and fastest-growing hub for data center and dark fiber.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rizer was instrumental in organizing the 350-plus data center companies throughout Virginia, working as a united industry to ensure that they were considered an essential service. This strategy helped ensure a global transition to remote work, learning and entertainment with minimal growing pains or interruption in service.

In addition, Loudoun County accelerated more than 4.5 million square feet in data center space into the development pipeline, adding more than 30 projects to Loudoun’s Fast-Track Commercial Incentive Program.

In addition to Rizer, several other Tech Titans choose Loudoun as a place to innovate and grow:

John Wood, CEO, Telos: After five decades in business, his cybersecurity firm finally issued an IPO last November. Wood has been with Telos for three decades and is current chairman of the Alliance for Digital Innovation, a trade group that lobbies the feds to modernize their digital tech.

Among their many headlines this year, Telos celebrated:

Aaron Higbee, Cofounder and CTO, Cofense: U.S. investment firm BlackRock put a reported $10 million into Cofense in April 2020, upping its existing stake. Cofense specializes in phishing prevention. Higbee, who formerly held positions at Lucent and Time Warner Cable, cofounded Cofense in 2007.

Among their many headlines this year, Cofense celebrated:

Other Tech Titans representing organizations that have made major investments and contributions in Loudoun County include:

  • Teresa Carlson; Former Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector, Industries, and Training; Amazon Web Services (now President of Splunk);
  • Jennifer Taylor, President and CEO, Northern Virginia Technology Council;
  • Kathy Warden; Chairman, President, and CEO; Northrop Grumman;
  • Amy Gilliland, President, General Dynamics Information Technology;
  • Joel Kaplan, Vice President of Global Public Policy, Facebook;
  • Brian Huseman, Vice President of Public Policy, Amazon;
  • Fred Humphries, Vice president of US government affairs, Microsoft
  • Hugh Gamble; Vice President, Federal Government Affairs and Public Policy; Salesforce;
  • Jay Carney, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Amazon;
  • Karan Bhatia, Vice President of Public Policy and Government Relations, Google.

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