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Who We Are

bladestack.io is a team of the most absurdly technical cloud experts.

Our team of Cyber Samurais have decades of experience designing, deploying and continuously securing global infrastructure. Our cyber-samurais cybersecurity engineering and compliance expertise spans US and international cloud security standards. Equally as comfortable in the boardroom as out on the data center floor, our cyber-samurai’s are elite cloud security experts trusted by the world’s most demanding organizations.


Our cyber-samurais are equipped and credentialed with the top industry recognized certifications. We are prepared to cut, slice and dice through the cyber fog of war to ensure you come out on top. 

What We Do

Since the inception of cloud computing we have helped organizations around the world take secure, compliant advantage of the cloud to power modern business.

Powered by our absurdly technical cyber-samurais, we help complex organizations engineer creative, compliant solutions to cloud security challenges. We design sensible security approaches that help your organization open new markets, serve new stakeholders and stay resilient in a challenging world.

Why choose bladestack.io as your Aibō (Partner)?

Experienced cybersecurity experts are hard to find. Cloud security experts, even harder. Cloud security experts with a wealth of experience solving modern business and compliance challenges? They don’t exist.

Except at bladestack.io

We are the premier cloud security advisory firm, trusted by cloud-centric organizations in the US and internationally. Our cyber-samurais are masters of their field. They have experience with every hyperscale provider, support dozens of industries and have expertise across a diverse range of emerging cloud architectures and technologies.

We provide dedicated battle-tested cyber-samurais to support to our clients, to help you design secure cloud solutions for the modern world. Contact us to get started. You’ll be immediately connected to one of our cyber-samurais to start solving your cloud security and compliance challenges.

Our Trusted Cyber Partners

Meet the Cyber Samurais

AllFounding SamuraisShoguns (Executive Management)Cyber Samurais

Founding Samurais

Chief Executive Samurai & President

Bhanu Jagasia

Chief Technology Samurai

Kris Martel

Chief Security Samurai

Vincent Tham

Chief Operations Rōnin

Bradley Taylor


Matthew Clauss


Keifer Blandon

Enjinia Daimyo
Samurai Supottoraito

Sarah Hensley

G.R.I.D Overseer

Ethan First

Cyber Ninja

Steven Goddard

Cyber Warrior

Saleem Aknine

Cyber Apprentice

Mark Almeida-Cardy


Christopher Rule

Cyber Warrior

Chief Executive Samurai & President

Founding Samurais

Bhanu Jagasia and Kris Martel are the dynamic co-founders of bladestack.io, a cutting-edge technology company that provides unparalleled services and products in the cybersecurity, governance, risk, and compliance industry. With over a decade of experience working together and more than 40 years of combined cybersecurity experience, Bhanu and Kris are visionaries who have established themselves as leaders in the world of technology and cybersecurity.

Bhanu serves as the Chief Executive Samurai and Technologist of bladestack.io , always ready to strike with precision and accuracy in the world of cybersecurity. His expertise in managing large-scale technology projects is akin to the katana, a weapon of unparalleled sharpness and strength. Bhanu’s unwavering commitment to delivering the highest quality products and services to the company’s clients has made him a true samurai of the industry. His dedication to maintaining bladestack.io’s reputation as a leader in the technology industry is akin to a shogun’s strategy, always looking for new and innovative ways to stay ahead of the game. With his deep understanding of the technical landscape and his vision for the future, Bhanu is a true thought leader in the industry, always pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

Kris, as the President of bladestack.io, is an ambitious leader who brings the code of Bushido to the world of technology and business. His expertise in business strategy, combined with his technical background, is reminiscent of a true cyber samurai, a master swordsman who always stays one step ahead of the competition. Kris is passionate about creating a company culture that prioritizes employee satisfaction and growth while becoming the industry leader in cybersecurity advisory services. He understands the importance of cultivating a positive work environment and has instilled a culture of innovation, teamwork, and excellence at bladestack.io , like a wise shogun who inspires loyalty, respect, admiration and devotion in his troops.

Together, Bhanu and Kris often refer to themselves as “brothers from another mother” and who are dedicated to creating a company that values the principles of Bushido. Both Bhanu and Kris have an unwavering commitment to their code of honor and bladestack.io . Their passion for technology and their dedication to their employees and clients make them a formidable duo that is destined to change the face of the cybersecurity world.

At bladestack.io, the employees are like the shinsengumi, a group of samurai who work together to protect their customers, partners and companies interests. The company’s culture is one of innovation, teamwork, and excellence, where the employees are encouraged to sharpen their skills like a battle-worn katana and become true cyber samurai warriors of the industry.

In conclusion, Bhanu and Kris are true cybersecurity samurais who have established themselves as leaders in the cybersecurity world of technology and business. Their vision, expertise, and commitment to their code of honor have made bladestack.io a formidable force in the industry. The company’s mission is to become the seii taishogun, the ultimate shogun and commanders of chief of the cybersecurity industry, a leader who is respected and respected by its competitors.

Chief Technology Samurai

Bhanu Jagasia

Founding Samurai

Bhanu Jagasia’s obsession and fascination with technology came at an early age when his parents bought him a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Bhanu started picking the game cartridges and console apart, tinkering with the actual internals to the point he broke the system and was able to re-assemble it once his parents got him some soldering tools. This obsession continued in all types of electronics until the obsession hit critical mass when Bhanu was introduced to the computers in general in elementary.

By middle school, in the time and age where technology wasn’t much understood, Bhanu felt as he had the upper hand. Bhanu was making more than his parents by designing websites, selling modded Xboxs, along with unknowingly getting involved into the deeper areas of the dark web by making a small fortune from Diablo 2 Stone of Jordans (SoJs, raise your hand if you remember those days!), World-of-Warcraft gear, server-breaking exploits and a lot of other things which would now be heavily frowned upon. Thankfully Bhanu managed to stay away from anything which would have landed him in jail!

Bhanu continued by managing his own newsgroups, ran early-day “script-kiddie” exploits to until finally getting to more types of exploits which were considered sophisticated during those times. Regardless Bhanu was involved in all thing’s technology, to the point he dry-ice cooled his personal computer and ran the energy bill to the point where his parents almost got evicted. It didn’t matter to Bhanu, because he was able to get the highest 3DMark leaderboard score and overclock his CPU to the point where his classmates made a bet to Bhanu that he would not be able to overclock his CPU to 4GHZ.  Little did his class know he had one of the most overclockable CPU’s during that era, the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 – Bhanu was able to hit 4GHZ on air, no problem. His classmate never ended up paying for losing the bet, and to this day, Bhanu retells this story in a light-hearted manner. However, Bhanu is still waiting for his payment – you know who you are!

Fast forward to age 16 and Bhanu began his “first” job – which lasted approximately 4 hours at Bob Evans. Bhanu promptly told his manager that this was not for him. Bhanu instead ran home, asked to borrow his father’s credit card, and ran his father’s credit-card up by purchasing tons of books and learning materials to earn certifications. In a few months, Bhanu at the age of 17 was more certified than any other individual at his age, or older. The entire certifications market was still coming into shape however once again, Bhanu had a leg-up and was able to land his first job, loaded with certifications, and no experience or college degree at ManTech international.

Bhanu continued his climb from systems engineer, enterprise architect, developer, software engineer, and so on so forth until finally when the advent of cloud computing came into the picture, Bhanu, once again, was unknowingly already years into cloud technology. When cloud computing finally “emerged”, Bhanu realized what he had been doing this entire time has involved some form of cloud-computing, and thus the rest is history. Still, an obsessive tech-geek and Chief Technology Samurai of his own Cybersecurity Cloud Advisory Firm in McLean, VA, Bhanu leads his army of absurdly technical cyber-samurais in all things cyber from complex automated cloud solutions to the most stringent cybersecurity frameworks in the world, such as FedRAMP.

In addition to all thing’s cybersecurity, Bhanu is infatuated about giving back to the community and helping everyone understand technology at level where it’s absolutely absurd. One of Bhanu’s greatest driving forces is to help others understand that technology is a tool to be used and to accelerate and supplement the human factor. From helping his team implement frictionless second-brain process workflows, to being able to reverse-engineer code and develop processes and systems which work in your favor, ultimately at the end of the day – ensuring you’re providing value back to the community and service to your fellow humans. Bhanu currently serves as a Subject Matter Expert and Exam Writer for ISC2 and Amazon Web Services. Bhanu is also a member of the Penn State Technology Council.

Omoshiro jōhō (Fun Facts) about Bhanu:

  1. What do you do when you’re not at bladestack.io?
    1. When I’m not working, my favorite thing to do is race cars and motorcycles. I’m a major gearhead and captivated by all things mechanical. I’ve earned some trophies in the past at the Mid-Atlantic Ducati track days. However, when I’m not being a gearhead, I default back into immersing myself into even more technology, and occasionally gaming. I have a very bad habit from my early years where I have at this point, most likely poured thousands into my computer setup. I’m always pretty proud of my computer, and I like to keep my PC’s specs top-of-the-line at all times. That said, I’m making a deliberate effort to a little more traveling and getting back into photography.
  2. What did you want to do when you were a child?
    1. Truthfully…. A fighter jet pilot. I found that to be one of the most bad-ass things ever. I always wanted a bright-red fighter jet, and yes, I know how illogical that would be, but you’ve got to admit, if you were in a dog fight and you saw a bright red fighter jet headed your way you would be thinking “Wow, what an idiot…” but also, “Wow… this guy has some guts!”.
  3. Do you have a favorite quote?
    1. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit” – Aristotle
  4. If you could use a time machine, would you rather have one that only goes back in time or only goes forward?
    1. Definitely forward. I want to see the andromeda galaxy and milky way galaxy collide, and all the new technology. That’s my biggest FOMO, is the future. Hopefully I can cryogenically freeze myself until those great things happen.
  5. What’s your definition of success?
    1. I’d like to quote my father here… “Success is when you make more than your wife can spend!” [laughs]

Chief Security Samurai

Kris Martel

Co-founding Samurai

Kris Martel didn’t start out with an interest in computers and cybersecurity. In fact, Kris was the typical kid who played every sport and enjoyed spending all his free time outdoors until he was called in for dinner and bedtime. He enjoyed some video games, and his first computer was the vaunted Apple II when it first came out but Kris really remained a standard “user” until he was in college.

While attending Emory University, Kris was focused on what he thought was going to be his future, being pre-med and earning a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Human Biology. It wasn’t until his Senior year that when he took a random computer programming class as an elective just for fun. It was at this point that Kris decided to change his career path, and put the medical field behind him and focus on computers.

After graduating, Kris took some computer networking and administration classes at a local school in Tallahassee and quickly landed his first job as an assistant network administrator. Kris was a quick study and couldn’t get enough of technology while he learned the ins and outs of building custom desktop computers, creating CAT5 patch cables, building servers, configuring and managing firewalls and routers, and becoming a subject matter expert in Microsoft Office applications and dozens of other project management, accounting, and productivity software.

In 1998 Kris earned his first of many certifications, the MCSE 4.0. He leveraged that certification to migrate his first network from Novel Netware 3.2 to Windows 4.0, and later upgrade to Windows 2000! Kris leveraged his technical prowess to assist companies avoid the Y2K crises that threatened to shut down the world and send everyone everywhere back to the stone age (obviously that never happened)! Kris never looked back once the 21st century hit and he racked up dozens of new certifications supporting products like Cisco to eventually focusing in on cybersecurity as his area of specialty.

After realizing that he was never going to be the head coach of Florida State Seminoles Football (or even being any part of the program), Kris decided to sell his first company in 2003. Kris moved to the Washington DC area to better support Government agencies as a consultant and cybersecurity SME. Over 2 decades later and supporting the Intelligence Community, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and dozens of Federal Civilian agencies, Kris started up bladestack.io with his partner and co-founder Bhanu Jagasia.

Omoshiro jōhō (Fun Facts) about Kris:

  1. What do you do when you’re not at bladestack.io?
    1. I am a college football fanatic. Year round I am talking and following college football (Go Seminoles!). However, when I am not talking about or watching football, I like to travel and visit new places that I have on my bucket list.
  2. Who has had the most positive impact on your life?
    1. This may sound cheesy, but my parents have had the most positive impact on my life. They have been the flawless example of respect, kindness, how to love, work ethic, and how to enjoy life.
  3. If you could be any mythical creature, what would you be and why?
    1. Without a doubt, a dragon. Dragons are badass, wise, live forever, and powerful.
  4. What single event or decision do you think most affected the rest of your life? Was there a turning point in your life?
    1. There are many significant events that have happened in my life but the decision that most affected my life was choosing to not attend medical school my senior year of college and get into the computers and technology industry instead. The rest is history as my whole professional life has led me to where I am today!
  5. What is your definition of success?
    1. Success to me isn’t about status, accomplishments, standing in your community or profession, or how much wealth you can accumulate. Success to me is when you have a good balance of loving what you do and enjoying every day of your life. If you love what you do and live the life you want, you are successful.

Chief Operations Rōnin

Vincent Tham

Vinnie’s start in technology is uncommon and not traditional. If you were to ask his closest friends if they ever thought he would have a successful career in cybersecurity, they would absolutely state something along the lines of “Vinnie was the type of person who could not turn on a computer let alone be considered a trusted advisor in a cybersecurity space” and Vinnie 100% agrees. Prior to fully going all in on cybersecurity and compliance, he spent years pursuing completely unrelated aspirations, including becoming a strongman/power lifter, local fish store owner, firefighter, and physical therapist.

Fortunately, those aspirations were never realized. In the wise words of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson: “Sometimes the goal we’ve worked our a** off for years is never achieved. Then years later, we look back and realize, it’s the best thing that never happened.”

This is exactly what happened to Vinnie. He landed a position as an office administrator/local support desk position at a defense contractor instead of becoming a firefighter. This decision blossomed into his obsession of technology and security, stemming from troubleshooting printers, office networking, and company laptops. What was a port or protocol? What is ring zero? How do I tun on a computer? Questions that needed answers!

To learn those answers, Vinnie obtained his first of many cybersecurity certifications, the CompTIA Security+ and started his cybersecurity career as a security analyst! Instead of returning to college for formal cybersecurity education, he chose to learn as much as possible with hands on experience and more obtaining industry certifications. This path enabled Vinnie to join multiple teams and learn multiple security disciplines, ranging from security analyst systems, security engineering, and auditing.

Prior to joining bladetack.io, Vinnie held positions ranging from Senior Security Consulting to Director where he managed multiple successful FedRAMP, FISMA, and NIST Advisory and Assessment client engagements from inception to closure. His experience has successfully enabled his clients on achieving FedRAMP Authorizations while prioritizing mission and business requirements with the lowest acceptable risk.

Outside of his professional career, Vinnie enjoys entertaining loved ones through grilling, seafood boils, researching new home improvement projects to implement, and looking at his garage gym equipment while having a few stiff drinks instead of working out.

Omoshiro jōhō (Fun Facts) about Vinnie:

  1. What do you do when you’re not at bladestack.io?
    1. Entertaining and spending time with loved ones! I love hosting firepit gatherings, seafood boils, and grilling.
  2. Do you have a favorite quote?
    1. I have plenty, but one there are specifically two I enjoy. The first is from one of my favorite shows, Parks & Recreation. Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) says to his trusted friend: “Never half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing” which resonates with me and reminds me to focus on one thing, go all in, and give it your all to succeed! The second quote is from Dwayne Johnson: “Sometimes the goal we’ve worked our ass off for years is never achieved. Then years later, we look back and realize, it’s the best thing that never happened”.
  3. What is your favorite hobby?
    1. Halloween! My wife and I love celebrating Halloween. In fact, our engagement party was a massive Halloween party!
  4. What is one thing you’ve learned that you wish you could tell your younger self?
    1. Time is finite, please spend it wisely. If you do not know how to spend it wisely, learn how to.
  5. What was your first job?
    1. I was the mouse at Chuck E. Cheese and quickly had a new respect for individuals who wear full costumes. They get extremely hot.


Bradley Taylor

Bradley Taylor stands as a key Cyber Hatamoto, blending traditional samurai discipline with modern cybersecurity acumen. Applying his deep knowledge and experience to deliver outstanding outcomes in areas like FedRAMP/CMMC/StateRAMP/DoD SRG. His commitment to continuous learning and excellence enables him to provide adaptable solutions to complex and nuanced problems.

Bradley has always been fascinated with technology, while also having an aptitude for anything technical that he set his mind to. He was building computers, engineering private game servers, and developing computer game mods when he was only a young lad. Bradley found his passion in cybersecurity as he delved into hosting game servers on his family’s home network as a kid; ensuring that his home “datacenter” (and Dogecoin mining farm) was secure. 

As Bradley researched cybersecurity and cybercrime through a year-long research project and presentation on the topic in high school for his honors diploma program, it solidified the dedication of his future career in the field. Throughout his college years working towards graduating Cum Laude with a bachelor’s in Computer Science with an emphasis on Information Security and Assurance and a minor in Political Science; Bradley dedicated himself to the pursuit of learning all he could, as he still does today.

While in college, getting practical, hands-on experience as a Teaching Assistant for cybersecurity courses, serving as the president of the Cyber Defense Club his University Team was 9th in the nation in their inaugural year participating in a national competition, all while interning at an investment management firm in their information security team leading the cloud security engineering push for the firm. He stops short of nothing but excellence, and perfection in whatever he sets his mind to. Challenging the status quo by providing a fresh and unparalleled level of service to clients, while also maintaining the highest degree of quality through delivering superior results.

Bradley’s career has been marked by his ability to rethink conventional cybersecurity practices. He brings a unique perspective to client service, ensuring quality and superior results that resonate in the fast-paced digital age. His contributions have been instrumental in guiding Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) through FedRAMP/StateRAMP and DoD CC SRG Authorizations, adapting to the rigorous demands of high-impact levels across major cloud infrastructures. Leading by example, Bradley works closely with engineers, architects, and analysts, demonstrating a proven ability to meet complex compliance requirements. His track record reflects a blend of strategic thinking and practical action, essential qualities in the cyber dojo of bladestack.io. When not solving the world’s cybersecurity problems, Bradley can be found cherishing time with his wife, son, and their two dogs and participating in a myriad of various hobbies and activities. He also enjoys cooking, playing video games with friends, and delving into learning all he can about everything.

Omoshiro jōhō (Fun Facts) about Bradley:

  1. Do you have a favorite quote?
    • After watching “The Office” in it’s entirety from start to finish about 15 times with my wife, there are so many inspirational and hilarious quotes it’s hard to choose. Though, I feel like this quote from Michael Scott (Steve Carell) epitomizes the way my brain functions, “Oh God, my mind is going a mile an hour.”. I tend to think out loud, and am a visual learner, and often can go down a couple routes at the same time!
  2. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
    • Funnily enough, for my 10th wedding anniversary my wife and I are planning to go to Japan, which is where I’d go anywhere in the world if I could! And it just so happens that bladestack.io derives influences from samurai culture as a part of our company culture, which is a match made in heaven!
  3. What motivates you in your professional life?
    • My family is my motivation in all that I do. I am dedicated to providing the best possible life I can for my family – and will do anything I can to make that happen for them! Giving my toddler son opportunities that I didn’t have, and being a role model to him drives me to ensure I only provide the highest-quality outcomes, all while being the best person I can be.
  4. What job did you want as a kid?
    • As a young child I wanted to be an architect. Though, that quickly shifted to wanting to work for a three-letter agency to help combat cybercrime which continued into my junior year of college when I was convinced, I was going to go into the military. However, I quickly realized that I was in no shape to be in the military after exploring a National Guard program at my university and doing morning PT with them for a couple of days!
  5. What are you proud of, but never have an excuse to talk about?
    • I’m proud to be able to say that I am an Eagle Scout, after being in Boy Scouts from the time I was 5/6 and working my way through the ranks over the years. I think that this had a profound impact on me and who I am today and am so thankful for all of those who helped me along the way to achieve this accomplishment.


Matthew Clauss

Matt has been interested in technology from a very young age. One of his most vivid childhood memories was the day he went to ask his dad if he could help him install a new game on the family PC and his dad responded “I think you know how it works better than me now, why don’t you give it a try?”

Tinkering with computers and other gadgets was in the backdrop of Matt’s life through school and beyond, ultimately leading him to take a job in his university’s IT department while studying digital media communications. After graduation, Matt decided to see if he could combine the knowledge from his studies with his passion and newfound work experience in technology and began pursuing jobs in the IT field instead of the media industry.

After some twists and turns, Matt ended up in Arizona, working on an IT contract for the US Dept. of Energy. It’s here where he decided to take his IT skills to the next level and start pursuing a specialty in cyber security while working in a tech support role. Fast forward a few years of studying for certifications and on the job training later, Matt found himself working on a cloud security architecture team supporting the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs. It’s here where he was able to really hone his skills in the cyber security space and level up his knowledge of FedRAMP, cloud computing, and security architecture. Since then, Matt has continued working closely with many federal agencies and commercial partners as a cloud security architect, auditor, and a trusted advisor.

Like a true computer geek, Matt enjoys spending his time outside of work upgrading his gaming PC’s and home lab, tinkering in AWS, and playing video games. When he gets outdoors, Matt enjoys flexing his mind and body as an avid rock climber, skateboarder, and cyclist!

Omoshiro jōhō (Fun Facts) about Matt:

  1. What do you do when you’re not at bladestack.io?
    1. I spend a lot of my free time doing animal activism. This includes a lot of photography/videography, sign-holding, community outreach, volunteering, and fundraising! I mostly focus on farmed animals, but have participated in actions for pretty much any four-legged friend you can think of!
  2. Do you have a favorite quote?
    1. “Dream big. Start small. Begin now.” – Robin Sharma
  3. What’s your favorite album?
    1. Music Has The Right To Children by Boards of Canada
  4. What season of the year do you identify with?
    1. Autumn because of the weather, the scenery, and the horror movies!
  5. What was your first job?
    1. I was a Bagger/Cashier at a beach-town grocery store! I still enjoy bagging my own groceries and like to think I’m pretty good at it too!

Enjinia Daimyo

Keifer Blandon

Samurai Supottoraito

Keifer was born at a young age to his mother in California. Though fascinated by the emerging technologies around him, his father was certain at the time that “personal computers were a fad” and would amount to little more than blocky heaps in the local landfill. Undeterred, Keifer would find opportunities to scratch that technology itch, eventually leading to owning a small mobile computer service business that served the local town.

Unfortunately, growing up in the dusty small town in the Mojave Desert provided little in the way of career opportunities, so Keifer enlisted in the US Navy as a Nuclear Machinist’s Mate. The Naval Nuclear program, renowned for its exceptionally difficult training program and arduous service, served as a springboard to an adventure of a lifetime. The Frogman’s Ballad starts with, “I’ve been around the world twice, and talked to everyone once” and, while the rest may be impolite, that charisma has served as the cornerstone for Keifer’s positive, yet hard-charging, attitude. After a long and storied career, including proud service aboard the USS Nimitz, port calls, war zones, a whole lot of quality assurance, and, eventually, becoming a master training specialist at the schoolhouse that started it all, Keifer shifted his efforts to IT.

Keifer had planned on a new career in application development, achieving his bachelor’s in software engineering and graduating Summa Cum Laude from Southern New Hampshire University. However, he quickly discovered a deep interest and aptitude for cloud engineering and decided to shift his focus to cloud architecture and cybersecurity. Since then, Keifer has become an industry heavyweight with his focus on architecting and building compliance-based cloud solutions which focus on accelerating FedRAMP authorizations.

Outside of work, you can typically find Keifer, well, outside. His boundless love of the Pacific Northwest provides him with no shortage of activities from hiking to biking, floating a river, or running a trail. If the weather won’t cooperate, then you might see him in the woodshop, or as he calls it “The Empire of Dust,” or taking a break and playing a video game.

Omoshiro jōhō (Fun Facts) about Keifer:

  1. Do you have a favorite quote?
    1. “If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.” -James Cameron
  2. If seasons never changed, which would you most like to live in eternally?
    1. The early fall in the Pacific Northwest. It’s crisp and cool in the evening, and warm and sunny during the day, with occasional rainy days. The perfect weather.
  3. Do you have a personal mantra? If so, what is it?
    1. If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.
  4. What do you think “success” means? How do you define it in your own life?
    1. This is one of my favorite questions. Success to me means not having to do anything I don’t want to do.  It is tangible. You can point at something unpleasant you once had to do and happily say “I don’t have to do that anymore.”
  5. What job would you choose to have if money were no object?
    1. Radio/talk show/podcast host. I grew up on radio and have always loved the general vibe of audio-based entertainment.

G.R.I.D Overseer

Sarah Hensley

Heading up bladestack’s Global Resource Integration Directive (G.R.I.D) Division, Sarah Hensley, MS-SLP is a unique brand of Cyber Samurai. Applying her scientific knowledge and experience as a cognitive scientist (medical SLP) and years as an IT UX architect to the complex, results-centric needs facing the cybersecurity and compliance industries – Sarah aligns technology solutions with meaningful business outcomes for customers – elevating Customer Experience (CX) all the way. She is forever committed to “doing IT better.”

With a career launched as a medical speech and language pathologist and passion for serving people by identifying and fixing what may be broken – and creatively compensating for what cannot be fixed – Sarah is a pragmatic CX-centric problem solver at heart. When her family started to grow, the idea of driving all around southern Colorado to manage therapy teams and perform language and swallowing assessments and treatments became a lot less appealing, leading to her transition into the world of IT. Taking a “temporary” job as an analyst and technical writer that didn’t include travel (with a side of Speech Pathology in the evenings after work) quickly turned into a permanent future as an IT professional.

Soon after being tasked with writing a user manual for a less-than-well-designed product, she dove head-first into her own UX architecture and solutioning approach, largely unaware of the UX Architecture work happening at Apple around the same time. This was a sweet spot where she could leverage her written and visual communication skills and knowledge of human cognition, language and learning constructs to elevate solutions in the IT world to better serve the humans they were built to serve. It was also during this period that her passion for cybersecurity was ignited. After documenting the results of multiple PEN testing efforts and tagging along on social engineering and ethical hacking efforts with a savvy young cybersecurity engineer (who went on to do great things including becoming the CISO for JP Morgan Chase and CapitalOne) – she was hooked and hasn’t looked back.

Pulling this crazy background of unique experience areas together (managing people + cognitive science diagnostics and treatment + UX Architecture + Cybersecurity Solutioning) along with some graphics-centric language skills and operational management experience – she evolved into a unique contributor who could connect with people where they are, help analyze and diagnose IT and cybersecurity shortcomings, translate complex solutioning concepts into easily-digestible formats, turn abstract concepts into actionable programs, and lead teams toward IT and cybersecurity solutions that solve the real-life issues keeping people up at night.

Sarah is well known for her highly communicative, visual-centric customer journey maps (that have been seen hanging everywhere from commercial software tech buildings to the Pentagon), has overseen large dev/sec/ops service delivery organizations, was the lead UX Architect who re-designed the claims processing application for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and most recently worked to build a JAB-authorized FedRAMP (and StateRAMP) acceleration compliance service offering that helps CSPs meet the rigorous technical, management, and operational requirements of these programs. She takes great satisfaction in helping CSPs turn hundreds of complex NIST requirements into actionable, achievable tasks, configurations, and program elements – ultimately putting more cybersecurity-compliant cloud offerings into the hands of our federal, state, local, and critical infrastructure organizations.

When not building journey maps, infographics, checklists, and compliance programs – Sarah can be found building more physical things like a she-shed and large play house or spending time with her large close-knit family!

Omoshiro jōhō (Fun Facts) about Sarah:

  1. Are there any smells that bring back memories for you? What are they, and what memories do they elicit?
    1. Definitely. The smell of saw dust is one of my favorite smells, followed closely by the smell of the mountains after a cold afternoon rain. Both remind me of my dad and brothers building things – a passion that I’ve also developed. My parents designed and built a cabin in the Rocky Mountains – which is where we spent every summer. Those summers were filled with the buzz of a circular saw (about the only electric saw my dad had), the sound of hammers pounding, and the smell of saw dust. So much saw dust! That’s until the half hour each afternoon that their work was punctuated with a short thunderstorm – adding the scent of post-rain mountains to the sawdust for a flood of memories that are priceless!
  2. What is a childhood habit or preference that you’ll never outgrow?
    1. Growing up, nothing made me happier than finding a toad or a box turtle in my back yard, unless it was finding tadpoles and heaven forbid a full size bullfrog in our neighbor’s small pond. To this day, I lose my mind if I see frogs, toads or turtles in the wild! My two youngest kids sent me pictures recently from a trip of them holding both a tiny turtle and a huge bullfrog – lol. And the fact that my 2 year old grandson is obsessed with turtles is icing on the cake for me. No idea why – but those childhood loves are still going strong!
  3. What motivates you in your professional life?
    1. If I had to sum it up on a single thing, I’d say making other people’s lives better is my main motivation in everything I do professionally. Look – most of us have to work so we can pay the bills and support our families, but there’s no reason not to invest in every task and every challenge from a position of improving something that is a trouble spot for our customers, co-workers, or professional peers alike – for today and into the future. In doing that, it gives purpose to even the most mundane tasks while allowing us to take care of our families and loved ones. It makes work a win win!
  4. What job did you want as a kid?
    1. Growing up in a university town I just assumed I’d be a college professor and follow in my dad’s footsteps. I come from a family of educators (my mom is also a teacher) and lived in a world where seeking to understand and help others do the same with the goal of improving tomorrow by better understanding yesterday was woven into all of our life experiences. So it was either that or be a musician/rock star. Let’s just say I landed much closer to the former than the latter! You’re welcome!
  5. What is the smallest thing for which you are grateful?
    1. I try to approach my entire life from the perspective of gratitude, so it’s tough to identify a single thing – even a small one – as a unique source gratitude. Whether it’s a smile from a stranger, the tiny sprout from the pumpkin seeds we plant each year, a little tug on the bait-end of my fishing line, my husband’s hand holding mine, a warm cup of hot chocolate on a snowy day, or any moment spent with one of my two small grandsons – it’s really all about finding meaning and gratitude in every little thing, isn’t it!

Cyber Ninja

Ethan First

Ethan’s technological journey started at the young age of ten, when he got his first laptop. It was a little dell computer, and had no special features, but that started a spiral of curiosity that never ended. Whether it was learning how to edit the Minecraft directory to be able to install mods or getting yelled at for messing with the router when trying to port-forward, he couldn’t help but learn more about the computer when it was to achieve the goals he had in mind.

These goals were silly and seemingly useless, but the years of messing around with computers to try to get them to do what he wanted, with no shortage of viruses and other mishaps along the way, brought him to a point where he realized how far ahead of his peers he was. At some point he learned that googling was a skill, and a skill he was very good at.

In middle school and high-school Ethan participated in his school’s engineering program, learning various AutoCADs and dabbling in programming. He found that his classmates would often find themselves stuck on something, needing to go to the teacher, when he had already searched the problem up and found the solution that laid somewhere in the vast sea of information known as the internet.

During his initial year attending college, Ethan fully intended on becoming an engineer. He was going to graduate in Computer Engineering and work with 3-D modeling or something like that (he never researched what the industry actually would be like) until he applied for an internship at the Veteran Affairs. He applied for some random role that he figured he would be good at (data analyst) and much to his surprise, he was accepted!

At the VA he quickly realized that he was less than enthused about data analysis, and that’s when a new department caught his eye. Web Security. There was only a few people in it and Ethan was determined to be one of them. He spoke with his boss and with the Department Head of Web Security, and after a small interview, Ethan was officially a Web Security Intern; one of the greatest turning points of his life.

The ensuing year he spent with his team was one of many lessons. Being a part of the development of this new department meant there was a lot to do, and a lot to learn. Yet, all that hard work paid off, and eventually he found himself in the position his boss was in, managing and hiring other interns as the Department Head. From the initial team of 8 people they had started with, the department was now facing such a huge influx of hires that it was siphoning from the hiring pool of other teams. He couldn’t have been prouder to have seen this growth from the start.

Yet, like all good things, he had to move on. After leaving the department in the hands of an intern who he had noticed was particularly exceptional in both technical and managerial skills, Ethan began his journey as a programmer at Florida State University. He knew it was going to be a challenge, and that many of his peers had programmed long before him, who had only dabbled in if and else statements in a high-school class, but he was determined to learn.

Now that he knew what he wanted to do, Ethan wanted to be able to do it all. Cybersecurity is a huge industry, and Ethan wanted to be able to jump into it with as many options as possible. He continues this philosophy with his pursuit of certifications and problem-solving mentality when facing a challenge.

Omoshiro jōhō (Fun Facts) about Ethan:

  1. What do you do when you’re not at bladestack.io?
    1. Cooking is one of my favorite hobbies. I love the taste of good food, so at some point I decided I wanted to be the one who made it. The rest is history.
  2. Do you have a favorite quote?
    1. My favorite quote is one from Mike Tyson. He said that “Discipline is doing what you hate to do, but doing it like you love it.” A funny story that my colleagues might not realize, is I said this quote during my interview with bladestack.io when they asked me about my motivations. Motivation is fickle, and sometimes you won’t have it, but discipline never changes.
  3. What is your favorite holiday?
    1. Maybe it’s just my obsession with good food but Thanksgiving. There’s something special about sharing a feast with the ones you love and eating till you can barely move.
  4. What is one thing you’ve learned that you wish you could tell your younger self?
    1. Do something the second you say you are going to do it. There’s no need to wait if you truly want it.
  5. What was your first job?
    1. This one! I am very lucky to say that bladestack.io is the first job I have ever had.

Cyber Warrior

Steven Goddard

Steven’s early life was not heavily influenced by technology. Except for casual gaming and internet browsing, most of Steven’s time was spent playing soccer with his friends, building with Legos, and getting lost exploring the woods around his home. He expressed more interest in getting his knees scraped up from bike rides and soccer games than trying to take apart and reconstruct the Nintendo 64 his parents gave him when he was young. Regardless, Steven always had a curious mind about whatever he was involved in and spent a lot of time researching how to do things more effectively and efficiently.

While he was in college, his passive curiosity led him to enroll in an entry level programming class that taught him how to build a rudimentary website equipped with graphical animations and hyperlinks which he found fascinating. Although this did not take him down the path of majoring in a tech-related field, it provided him with a better understanding and a deeper level of respect for those who could fluently interact with different coding languages. His post-college odd jobs consisted of serving and bartending in restaurants and managing warehouse operations at FedEx. Although these jobs were not directly related to the tech field, it seemed like he spent more time trying to show his bosses how to work through an Excel spreadsheet than he did slinging drinks and hauling boxes.

After some introspection and feeling a bit dead-ended, he decided to explore the possibility of entering the ever-evolving field of cybersecurity and cloud computing. He quit his job and fully committed himself to understanding the ins and outs of the cyber space and achieved his AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner and Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge certifications. A daunting task – yes – but his curiosity and thirst for critical thinking pointed him in the right direction.

When Steven isn’t taking time to research the newest and greatest PC hardware upgrades that he could put into his system to get an extra 2-3FPS in video games, he enjoys spending time outdoors playing golf, rock climbing, hiking, and wakeboarding. His interaction with nature and the outdoors reminds him of the fact that in a world dominated by the internet and AI technology, he is simply still a humble human who loves and appreciates the world around him.

Omoshiro jōhō (Fun Facts) about Steven:

  1. What’s your favorite hobby?
    1. Glassblowing. When I was in college, I took a couple glassblowing courses and fell in love. To be able to take a 2000-degree blob of molten glass on the end of a steel pipe and turn it into an intricate vase is like magic to me.
  2. What was your first job?
    1. I spent several months doing construction and building playgrounds. Hard, thankless work.
  3. What’s your favorite quote?
    1. I’m sure many people have said it before, but I heard it first from my father: “Every day’s a school day.” I used to hate this saying because I never cared for school, but as I grew up I came to understand that there’s always something to be learned throughout the day, big or small. We’re all constantly evolving – every day – and I remind myself of this quote quite often while working and studying for my next certifications. There’s always more to be learned.
  4. What is your favorite album?
    1. Either Similar Skin by Umphrey’s McGee or Wisdom by Stick Figure.
  5. What is one thing you’ve learned that you wish you could tell your younger self?
    1. Family over everything. They are the most important thing you have in this life.!

Cyber Apprentice

Saleem Aknine

Saleem’s profound fascination with technology took root in his early years when he first encountered an Xbox. The initial return of the gaming console due to fleeting interest marked a turning point when his father, generously gifted with a second Xbox by a coworker, brought it home. This unexpected gesture sparked a genuine curiosity that would lay the foundation for a transformative technological journey.

Throughout his academic pursuits, Saleem was the student who constantly pondered the possibilities of video games and technology. Beyond the classroom, upon returning home from school, he quickly completed his homework, dedicating the remainder of his evenings to exploring technology’s offerings. He became adept at utilizing various software to enhance his experiences and sought to maximize the potential of his time with technology.

This newfound world became an integral part of Saleem’s life, reshaping his free time to encompass sports, academic commitments, and continuous experimentation with technology. Progressing through his academic endeavors, Saleem naturally gravitated towards classes focused on technology, steadily building a foundation rooted in the fundamentals of the field.

Approaching the transition from high school to university, Saleem encountered the challenge of narrowing down his focus within the broad spectrum of technology. Encouraged to explore the expansive field of cybersecurity, he discovered a profound fascination that deepened with each revelation. The intricacies beneath the seemingly straightforward surface of cybersecurity presented a compelling puzzle that Saleem eagerly sought to unravel.

Beginning on his university journey, Saleem seized an opportunity that seamlessly blended his passion for technology with a commitment to making a positive impact. Engaging in a program dedicated to assisting neurodiverse children, Saleem and his team not only shared knowledge but also empowered these young minds to express themselves through technology. Specializing in teaching visual coding and software usage, he and his team empowered these children to create their own games and design sprites for their digital projects.

As Saleem explored various aspects of cybersecurity, he came across the engaging field of advisory. Recognizing it as the field where he could wholeheartedly invest his skills and passion, Saleem found purpose and direction in contributing to this dynamic sector. This realization marked a pivotal moment in Saleem’s journey, solidifying his commitment to making a meaningful impact in the advisory field and propelling him towards a future where technology and purpose combine seamlessly.

During his free time, Saleem enjoys researching about technology and learning about the different trends. He optimizes every aspect of video games, engages in volleyball, and expresses his creativity through drawing.

Omoshiro jōhō (Fun Facts) about Saleem:

  1. Do you have a favorite quote?
    1. A quote I grew up hearing was “Assumption is the mother of all failures.” My father always says this no matter the occasion and grew up adapting to it.
  2. What’s your favorite album?
    1. Hope World by j-hope!
  3. What season would you want to stay in forever?
    1. Fall, easily. The weather is perfect, colors are beautiful, and pecan pie is everywhere.
  4. If you could teleport to one place right now, where would you go?
    1. South Korea. Their culture, food, and architecture are something I want to experience firsthand.
  5. What was your first job?
    1. I volunteered as a head coach for my sisters’ basketball/volleyball team. It was very chaotic as everyone was running around, but I had lots of fun doing so!


Mark Almeida-Cardy

From the age of 7,  Mark’s father encouraged curiosity in technology, from rigging Scalextric to a battery charger (with a boost button!); dismantling programmable self-driving toy cars (Bigtrack) and  programming games  on the Oric-1 in the late 80s.  Long live snake!   This “need to be curious” has been foundational to Mark’s approach to life (after all, you can only be held back by your own mind).   With hindsight these skills may not have always been used in the most effective manner.  But, how do you learn how a firework functions? You dismantle it and then build a bigger and better one,  right?   Hair grows back…. it’s all good!

In the mid 90s, Mark found himself being thrown into the deep end of Intel’s first Datacenter in the UK. He managed to convince a project manager who he had met in a bar, that he was capable of leading a network cabling crew as well as pulling CAT5e and fiber optical infrastructures into place and meeting the high standards expected.   Mark observed engineers installing the next phase of hardware installation. With his curious nature, Mark would ask questions, learn, research and ultimately, level up.  This meant he progressed from moving into network configuration, server management and solution architecture. This cycle has set a course of learning that is still present today.  Mark has achieved expert level status in many fields and continues to validate his knowledge with industry recognised certifications.  He has fulfilled roles such as Team Project Lead, Chief Solutions Architect and Chief Technology Officer.  At present, Mark has turned his attention to levelling up in the cyber security advisory space.

Omoshiro jōhō (Fun Facts) about Mark:

  1. What do you do when you’re not at bladestack.io?
    1. Striking a work life balance is important as is introducing my kids to the more extreme side of sports because taking yourself out of your comfort zone is hugely important.

      Skiing, traction Kiting,  adventure motorcycling, mountain climbing, kayaking and wild swimming in Scottish lochs are all things you’ll find me and my clan doing.

      Take climbing, as an example. When you are mid climb, you have put your trust in others (your life). You are strong and in control; problem solving by finding the route ahead and most importantly, able to fight back the voices of doubt.  “You can do this, you are doing this!” Every move up the wall is one you haven’t made before. You may fall but your teammate has your back. With sustained effort, you reach the top! Overcoming personal challenges requires team work.
  2. How do you influence others?
    1. Long lasting influence can only come from within one’s self.  I prefer to create an environment where there’s reflection through dialogue. You can steer anyone you work with to see a path forward in their own mind.  Like it was their idea…because it was.
  3. What’s your favorite quote?
    1. Taken from a T-shirt I was given many years ago. “Smile. Life is good.”  Smiles are contagious, and should be shared.
  4. What type of music do you enjoy?
    1. Anything by Daft Punk!
  5. What season of the year do you identify with?
    1. Spring and its association with new growth. It brings with it a feeling of optimism for the future.

Cyber Warrior

Christopher Rule

Employee Hire #1

Chris’s first experience with computers started at the age of 3 on Windows 99. He enjoyed playing terrible early 2000’s CD-ROM games and browsing the wild west of the internet in his free time. Inspired by his brother, he started coding in Scratch from an early age, creating basic video games for his family to enjoy. Unfortunately, instead of helpful feedback, he spent more time trying to get his parents to understand how to use the arrow keys to move forward!

As Chris started to understand more about the evolving technology around him, he started to experiment with jailbreaking iPhones and 3DS’s, creating mods in Minecraft and Team Fortress 2, and diving into more serious coding languages like Python and Java. His love for anything related to technology allowed him to excel in classes like robotics and entry-level computer science. His parents once joked “we knew if Chris had computer science homework, because he would come home and do it straight away! If only he did that with his other classes!”

In high school, Chris wanted to explore his other interests, primarily music. He played his main instrument, the Clarinet, along with guitar and trumpet. If you ask him about Benny Goodman, he could still list all his solos off the top of his head! Chris traveled to Italy, Indianapolis, and the New York Lincoln Center for some of his concerts. However, the call to dive back into technology was too tempting for him to ignore.

Inspired by his grandfather who was a diplomat for the U.S. during the Cold War, Chris moved to Washington D.C. for college to pursue work in the government. He enrolled in a semester of economics and political science classes before he realized that he wanted to have a happy life. Searching for alternatives, he pushed to enroll in an experimental graduate class called “Cybersecurity Analytics”, who was taught by his first mentor, Dr. Zhang. He instantly fell in love with detecting anomalies and generating insights from audit logs. Unfortunately, his college did not offer a Cybersecurity Major, so he was forced into Data Science!

Prior to joining bladestack.io, he enrolled in his college’s ROTC program to learn time management and leadership skills. His dream was to serve in the National Guard’s cyber branch around the DC Metro area. After many years of early morning runs, sitting in wet fields in Quantico, and a lot of paperwork, Chris grew dissatisfied as the program had not actually taught him anything about cybersecurity. Disillusioned, he secured an internship at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs as a Security Analyst for their Digital Media Engagement team.

Outside of being a Samurai Warrior, Chris enjoys trying every new activity under the sun, including bowling, skateboarding, chess, and golf. He also is an avid reader, enjoying books such as Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa and Stoner by John Williams.

Omoshiro jōhō (Fun Facts) about Chris:

  1. What do you do when you’re not at bladestack.io?
    1. I enjoy practicing guitar or exploring new cuisines around Washington D.C!
  2. Do you have a favorite quote?
    1. “It’s funny how day by day nothing changes. But when you look back, everything is different.” C.S. Lewis
  3. What did you want to do when you were a child?
    1. I wanted to be an architect, and then musician before I decided on my current career path. My parents were happy I stopped wanting to be a musician, because as my father said “Not enough money in that field!”
  4. What is one thing you’ve learned that you wish you could tell your younger self?
    1. I would say “Stop trying to rush into being an adult, enjoy your time now.”
  5. What was your first job?
    1. I was the janitor for a local temple while saving up for my first car. I now ensure to keep every public place as clean as possible!

Careers - Join the Samurai Clan

Early stage epic – looking to build something new?  Begin your saibā musha shugyō (cyber warrior training!) with bladestack.io!

bladestack.io is looking for the best in the cyber technical tradecraft. Entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well – we are looking for builders to take us to the next level.

bladestack.io is a primarily a remote company – but we do currently have two main dojos (headquarters). We strongly support professional autonomy and outcome based results. We have a tight knit culture, high quality standards and trust our employees to get the job done.

Explore career openings with bladestack.io, currently managed by LinkedIn.

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    Contacting bladestack.io puts you in direct contact with our Lead Samurais to discuss your cybersecurity requirements. After an initial introductory call, we offer additional unbilled consulting time until you are comfortable to proceed to the next steps. Feel free to bring your engineering and security teams and let’s start solving your security and compliance challenges.