HALO Leadership

HALO Maritime Defense Systems has assembled a team of smart, dedicated, hard-working professionals, unmatched in the industry. The management team is comprised of leading executives from industry and the military, providing the insight and ability to advise and execute substantial security initiatives.

Read more about HALO’s Management Team, Board of Directors and Board of Advisors and see why HALO is the leading marine barrier company that is up-ending the waterside security market.

Management Team

Eric Johnson


Eric Johnson joined HALO in 2008 as one of the founders leading the development of our first barriers through successful US Navy crash testing at the US Army Aberdeen Proving Grounds. Since becoming HALO’s CEO in 2017, Eric has been leading the executive team in a commercial transformation of the company from early-stage, niche product into a global contractor with brand recognition as the next generation by the U.S. Navy. With an appreciation for design talent, Eric facilitated the growth of HALO’s world class marine engineering team, driving HALO’s innovative, branded products and array of IP. Eric and his business development team have established regional offices in the Middle East and cultivated relationships, closing deals with customers and international partners in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. HALO products are now protecting the waterfronts of some of the most critical infrastructure worldwide. As CEO, Eric has created a proactive business environment where others are successful and where synergy is achieved to support HALO’s ambitious goals. Tailoring product solutions and partnerships to capture new revenue opportunities, Eric is adept in analyzing system and operational needs. His understanding of how HALO’s stakeholders expect the company to perform and guidance for HALO’s internal teams have helped the company achieve sustainable growth and profitability.

David Tolly


David Tolly is the Chief Financial Officer of HALO Maritime Defense Systems. As a nationally recognized leader in the restructuring consulting industry, prior to joining HALO, David was known for his skill at leading urgent, yet solid actions and strategies to maximize financial performance and stakeholder value during times of transition in highly complex, global, and multi-national public and private companies. Characteristically, he is known as a calming force while he skillfully untangles immensely complex, multifaceted, and tumultuous situations, to lead many strategic initiatives that have had a positive impact on multiple business areas, driving costs down and margins up, increasing revenue, and improving overall performance while winning trusting consensus among diverse stakeholders. What sets David apart is his willingness to push the envelope in terms of what is possible for a business, as well as his courage in defining and forging a new path forward and to disrupt an underperforming status quo. A Purdue University graduate, David’s 40 years of experience includes 10 years as Chief Financial Officer followed by 25 years as an interim CEO/CFO and turnaround consultant for over 50 companies with revenues from $5-$600 million. These companies were involved in consumer products, aerospace & defense, plastics, oil & gas, precision metal machining and fabrication, publishing, firearms, sporting goods, point of purchase, packaging, apparel, personal care products, consumer electronics, capital equipment, business services, and other manufacturing, retail, and distribution businesses. As part of HALO’s leadership team, David uses his vision and leadership to work across all departments in the company in order to determine best possible strategies for utilizing and optimizing financial resources to ensure company growth and profitability both in the short term and long term. Passionate, cross-functional, creative, and results-driven, David believes that data should drive decisions, but with fresh creativity to support the goal of aggressively growing the business. He has an outstanding background in supporting private equity and boards of directors in maximizing shareholder value. Demonstrating an uncommon complement of financial management expertise, combined with strong business acumen, David views HALO’s business with a wide lens that can also narrow down to connect the dots, identify business drivers, and understand complex issues to help the HALO team to maximize organizational capabilities, take action, and drive results in HALO’s business of saving lives and protecting assets on the waterfront.

Dr. Judson DeCew


Dr. Judson DeCew, Chief Technology Officer, leads the technological and scientific vision of HALO. Through his leadership, he has helped HALO diversify its product base, increase system capabilities, and expand HALO’s market share. As part of HALO’s leadership team, Jud has contributed his engineering expertise in delivering maritime security solutions and helped HALO to double its business in successive years. Jud has been a noteworthy leader in the ocean engineering space for over 20 years, working on projects that ranged from offshore aquaculture farms, marine renewable energy, and maritime security systems. He led efforts ranging from laboratory experiments and numerical analysis through active deployment of marine systems in near-shore and offshore environments spanning four continents of the world. Jud received his Ph.D. in Ocean Engineering from the University of New Hampshire, where his dissertation focused on the dynamics of flexible structures in open ocean environments which helped to make HALO’s superior technology an industry standard. Inspiring honesty, integrity, and hard work, as CTO, Jud has cultivated a leading team of multi-disciplinary engineers that is advancing waterside security system technology to protect vital assets against growing maritime threats such as waterborne improvised explosive devices. Jud has authored over 30 peer-reviewed journal publications and conference proceedings. Under Jud’s leadership, the HALO team has been awarded dozens of patents for HALO’s innovative products and technology.

Board of Directors

Honorable Jay M. Cohen, Rear Admiral USN (RET)


Admiral Cohen is a native of New York. He was commissioned in 1968 upon graduation from the United States Naval Academy. He holds a joint Ocean Engineering degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Master of Science in Marine Engineering and Naval Architecture from MIT. His early Navy assignments included service on conventional and nuclear submarines. From 1985 to 1988 Cohen commanded USS HYMAN G. RICKOVER (SSN 709). Following command, he served on the U.S. Atlantic Fleet as a senior member of the Nuclear Propulsion Examining Board, responsible for certifying the safe operation of nuclear powered ships and crews. From 1991 to 1993, he commanded the submarine tender USS L.Y. SPEAR (AS 36) including a deployment to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation DESERT STORM. After Spear, he reported to the Secretary of the Navy as Deputy Chief of Navy Legislative Affairs. During this assignment, Cohen was responsible for supervising all Navy Congressional liaison. In June 2000, Cohen was promoted in rank and became the 20th Chief of Naval Research. He served during war as the Department of the Navy Chief Technology Officer (a direct report to the Secretary of the Navy, Chief of Naval Operations and Commandant of the Marine Corps). Responsible for the $2B+/year Navy and Marine Corps Science and Technology (S&T) Program (involving basic research to applied technology portfolios and contracting), Cohen coordinated investments with other U.S. and international S&T providers to rapidly meet war fighter combat needs. After an unprecedented five and a half year assignment as Chief of Naval Research, Rear Admiral Cohen retired from the Navy on February 1, 2006. Unanimously confirmed by the US Senate, Cohen was sworn in as Under Secretary for Science & Technology at the Department of Homeland Security (responsible for DHS Research, Development, Test and Evaluation) on August 10, 2006 (the day of the British Airways liquid explosive plot in England). His success at DHS is documented in a recent National Geographic TV special “Hi- Tech War on Terror” that documents the high risk/high gain innovation portfolio which Cohen put in place to make the nation safer. The current administration continues to build on this solid foundation. Since leaving government, Rear Admiral Cohen is now a principal in The Chertoff Group and serves on numerous corporate boards.

Dennis McGinn

Admiral Dennis McGinn served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment from September 2013 until January 2017. In this role, he moved naval installations toward greater security and mission resiliency though energy efficiency, renewable energy, micro-grids, and other technologies.

Nick Lewin

Nicholas S. Lewin has been a private investor since 2000 operating in both the public and private markets. Mr. Lewin has invested across many industries, and throughout the capital structure. Mr. Lewin invests in special situations and in companies with innovative technologies and strong intellectual property. Generally, these are activist situations working with management. Representative industries include, Biotechnology, Healthcare, Telecom, and Media. Along with HALO, Mr. Lewin sits on the board of Duramedic, a Durable Medical Equipment provider. Mr. Lewin holds a BA from Johns Hopkins University.

Board of Advisors

David B. Waller

Mr. Waller served as Deputy Director General and Head of Management of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from 1993 through 2011. The IAEA — with its more than 160 Member Countries — has a multicultural staff of more than 2,300 in Vienna; regional offices in New York, Geneva, Toronto and Tokyo; laboratories in Austria and Monaco; and inspectors and experts working around the world. It is charged with verifying nations’ nuclear non-proliferation commitments (including the special cases involving Iraq, Iran, Libya and North Korea), advancing the fight against nuclear terrorism, enhancing the safety and security of nuclear power reactors and other fuel cycle facilities worldwide, and promoting peaceful uses of nuclear technology. Previously Mr. Waller served at the White House as a legal counsel to President Ronald Reagan (1981 – 86), and in 1986 was nominated by the President, and confirmed by the Senate, as Assistant Secretary of Energy for International Affairs, US Department of Energy (DOE) – a position he held until 1989. In that role, he served as the Secretary of Energy’s chief advisor and spokesperson on international energy policy and emergency preparedness programs. He represented the United States at various multinational agencies and was responsible for the formulation and implementation of bilateral energy relations and programs with foreign governments. Mr. Waller began his professional career as a lawyer in the Attorney General’s Honor Program at the U.S. Department of Justice. Thereafter, and immediately prior to his service as White House counsel, he was in private practice at Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lowell). Mr. Waller was the representative of the IAEA’s management at the ceremony in Oslo awarding it the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. In 2003 he received, on behalf of the Agency, the Albert Schweitzer Gold Medal for Science and Peace. And, in 2011 the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) awarded him its Gold Medal in recognition of his contribution to the reduction of the threat of nuclear weapons. Earlier, while at DOE, he received The Secretary’s Award — the highest honor given by the Secretary of Energy — for outstanding leadership, and the Superior Achievement Award, in special recognition of his achievements in the international arena. Mr. Waller is a graduate of Denison University (B.A., cum laude). Following undergraduate school and duty in the Army Reserves, he graduated first in his class from the University of Tulsa, College of Law (J.D., cum laude). He delivered the commencement address at Denison in 2005 at which time he was awarded a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

John Shephard

John Shephard is Vice President for strategy, business development, international sales and congressional relations at ITT Defense, one of the top ten defense contractors in the United States. Prior to joining ITT, he was CEO of Pallas-Athena Group, and provided strategic consulting services for businesses ranging from start-ups to Global Fortune 500 corporations. He has been President of Newport News Industrial Company and Senior Vice President of Operations for Northrop Grumman-Newport News, producer of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines for the U. S. Navy. Prior to this he held senior executive positions at Newport News Shipbuilding Inc., Tenneco and NASA. A 1977 distinguished graduate of West Point, he served more than twenty years of active and reserve service in the U.S. Army, held progressive command and staff positions from platoon to division level, and is a Gulf War veteran. Mr. Shephard holds an M.S. degree in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a White House Fellow. The American Society of Engineering Management honored Mr. Shephard as “Engineering Manager of the Year” at its national convention in 1999, citing his innovations at Newport News Shipbuilding. He serves as a board member and advisor for several companies and non-profit organizations. He and his family reside in Williamsburg, Virginia.

RADM (RET) Jeffrey Hathaway

Jeff combines thirty three years of military and federal law enforcement accomplishments serving the nation as a U.S. Coast Guard officer, with prior private sector experience as corporate vice president of L-1 Identity Solutions, a successful identity management technology company, and his current position as vice president of Flatter & Associates, a rapidly growing veteran owned service disabled firm, offering management and engineering professional services to federal government clients. Jeff has a unique depth of professional experience across the Executive (DHS, DOD, DOJ, DOS, DOT) and Legislative branches of the federal government. During his military career, rear admiral Hathaway most recently led the Nation’s premier international counter-narcotics effort as Director of Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West, FL. Coordinating the efforts of Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice resources, as well as over a dozen international partner nations, he more than doubled the annual amount of cocaine seized while enroute to U.S. and international markets. While assigned as Director of Anti-Terrorism and Force Protection on the Navy Pentagon staff, as well as Assistant Director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, from 2001-2003, Hathaway was a central figure in enhancing the Navy’s force protection posture around the world in the wake of the USS Cole bombing and the attacks of 9/11. While serving as Director of Coast Guard Operations Policy from 2003-2004, Hathaway managed a broad array of missions, including maritime law enforcement, homeland security and defense operations, search and rescue and national boating safety. He also spearheaded efforts to integrate Coast Guard operations into the Department of Homeland Security. Admiral Hathaway has extensive seagoing operational experience, including command of three major cutters, performing search and rescue, defense operations and maritime law enforcement missions from the Bering Sea to the southern Caribbean Sea. Duties included serving as maritime task force commander during two mass Haitian migration episodes. He also headed the Coast Guard’s Congressional and Legislative Affairs Staff and served as executive director of the U.S. Interdiction Coordinator staff during his military career. Hathaway received a BS in economics from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and also holds an MBA from the University of California at Irvine Paul Merge School of Business, as well as a MS in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

Lawrence E. “Rocky” Holliday

Mr. Holliday is President of Holliday & Associates Inc., a management consulting company that provides international business development support services to a variety of corporations around the globe. Such services include strategic planning, marketing program development, the creation of strategic alliances and the management of customer relationships. Prior to forming Holliday & Associates, Rocky was the Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB), a publically traded company that he co-founded in the United Arab Emirates. ADSB is currently the largest and most modern shipbuilder in the Middle East and is the only shipyard in the region with the ability to build, repair and upgrade complex naval warships. In 2004, ADSB was named by the US Defense News as the fastest growing defense company in the world. At his retirement in 2005, ADSB had accumulated a contract backlog valued at nearly $1 billion. Rocky established ADSB in 1996 and, in that same year, completed a very successful public stock offering in the UAE that raised capital sufficient to fund the company’s growth over the next ten years. ADSB’s IPO was the first such private offering in the fledgling Emirates equities market and became the model by which other UAE stock offerings were conducted over the following decade. In 2004, Mr. Holliday co-founded a second company in the UAE through a joint venture between ADSB and Selex Sistemi Integrati S.p.A, a major company within the Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica. This new company, Abu Dhabi Systems Integration (ADSI), was the first in the region to provide software and hardware integration for complex military electronic systems, including combat management systems, weapons and fire control systems, naval and airborne radars and sensors, as well as military communication systems. Within the first year, ADSI captured a major contract as combat systems integrator for a series of new naval corvettes being built for the UAE Navy. During the twenty years prior to establishing Abu Dhabi Ship Building, Rocky held a variety of senior management positions within the US energy and defense sectors with such companies as Babcock & Wilcox and Newport News Shipbuilding (later Northrop Grumman). His positions within these firms covered a very broad range of business functions including Finance, Operations, Marketing, Quality Assurance, Facilities Management, Engineering and General Management. Rocky graduated from Clemson University with a BS in Industrial Management. He received a Masters in Business Administration from the College of William & Mary’s Executive MBA Program. Rocky is a graduate of numerous academic programs including the prestigious Executive Program (TEP) at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He currently serves on Advisory Boards for several private and publically traded companies.

MG (RET) James A. “Spider” Marks

Spider Marks is CEO of InVisM, a Denver-based company which creates cutting edge, interactive products for the Knowledge, Learning, Education and Training (KLET) market. MG Marks served over 34 years in the US Army and his business experience spans defense intelligence, national security, and interagency. Currently a Managing Partner with ERGO, a leading, global primary research and consulting firm specializing in emerging and frontier markets, General Marks was previously President and Chief Executive Officer, Global Linguist Solutions (GLS), where he helped create a new joint venture of over 9000 employees deployed between Iraq and the United States with total annual revenue of $715 million. Prior to GLS, General Marks was senior VP, McNeil Technologies, a defense and intelligence-related enterprise backed by Veritas Capital. He is a former Commanding General, US Army Intelligence Center, Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, and served as Chief, Intelligence, C-2, for the Coalition Forces Land Component Command in Operation Iraqi Freedom. General Marks also served as Assistant Chief of Staff for U.S. Forces Korea. During his military career, Marks served from the tactical to the strategic levels, commanded at the battalion, brigade, and two-star levels, and was a senior intelligence officer in multiple theaters of war. He is an Honor Graduate of the U.S. Army’s Ranger School, a Master Parachutist, and has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and multiple expeditionary and service ribbons. He is a 1975 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, and holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the University of Virginia. Marks was a military and intelligence analyst for CNN from 2004-2007.

Scott Yaphe

Scott is a General Partner of ABS Ventures, a Boston-based venture capital firm. Scott focuses on software, business services and media investment opportunities. Before joining ABS Ventures, he was Director of Corporate Development at Saraide, a wireless software provider acquired by Infospace. Prior to that, Scott was a management consultant with A.T. Kearney where he focused on the technology and communications sectors. Scott serves or has served on the board of directors of Synchronoss Technologies (NASDAQ:SNCR), Workbrain (TSX:WB, acquired by Infor), IQ Financial (acquired by Misys), ScaleMP, Vesta GMS, and Adeptra. He received his Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University and MBA from Harvard Business School.