In this monthly column, Defense Daily highlights individuals from across the government, industry and academia whose efforts contribute daily to national defense, from the program managers to the human resource leaders, to the engineers and logistics officers, to defense entrepreneurs.

David Theriault, 53, founded Midland, Ga.-based 4K Solutions, LLC. in 2006 and is its president. After serving as a Tech Sergeant at Air Force Special Operations Command as a Radio Communications Systems Craftsman from 1986 to 2000, Theriault entered the Army Reserve as a Signal Systems Support Technician and served in the 75th Ranger Regiment. A veteran of three combat tours in Afghanistan after 9/11 and four in Iraq until departing the Army as a Chief Warrant Officer 2 in 2007, he is a recipient of the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star and other commendations. 4K Solutions employs a number of retired military personnel to implement communications solutions to help military forces on the move connect and stay connected.

How did you get involved in the defense industry or community, and how has your military experience influenced your career and your decision making?

I am a retired U.S. Army Signal Warrant Officer and former U.S. Air Force Communications NCO with service primarily in the 75th Ranger Regiment, Joint Communications Unit (JCU), Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and three assignments in Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) Communications units. During all of these assignments and during combat and operations other than war operations I was always keen on improving our communications capabilities.  Creating deployable communications packages and kits which enabled my Communications and Information Technology (IT) teams to quickly deploy and immediately setup networks and communications capabilities in very remote areas. I started 4K Solutions prior to retirement and did “white shirt” IT break/fix Services from Columbus, Ga. and Atlanta to remote areas in Alabama. After retirement I was hired and worked for a large DoD defense contractor as a senior network engineer and then I moved to a federal/DoD IT reseller.  I went all in with 4K Solutions® in 2009 as my primary business, doing business development consulting, then reselling IT products and services. I went back to designing complete IT Solutions and Packages for our customers. We then graduated to designing and kitting solutions and “Rapid Fielding.” Our specialty has been kitting Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) technologies.

How do you work to be a mentor to younger counterparts?

The key to mentoring is explaining the value that person brings and how they fit into the organization or the company. I personally have invested the time to “educate” those below and around me with what I know…“passing along the knowledge.” They then believe in you, they trust you and know that you are not in it for yourself.

What does it mean to be successful in your career field?

When customers pass along your information to their peers and say call 4K…they will square you away!

What are some of the under-appreciated positions in the defense field, the unsung heroes or essential cogs in the machine that help the job get done with less recognition?

People grinding it out every day. In our business it is the Inside Sales Reps, the Pre-Sales Engineers, the Provisioning Techs who activate our cellular and satellite services for our customers. It is our downstream suppliers who are up late doing a rapid design, a supplier getting the bits and parts out the door as fast as they can. I (we) truly cannot do what we do without our suppliers and OEM Partners!

How can the industry improve in promoting these individuals and building them up?

Treat people the way you want to be treated! Be Nice to People! I truly believe in Karma!

How has the culture changed around diversity within your career?

I have seen my Signal Warrant Officer peers become entrepreneurs like I did and they are very successful. I have seen my Air Force communications peers do the same. This is across the board for females and minorities. Everyone should get a fair shake and have the opportunity to work towards the American dream. This isn’t easy and everyone has to hustle!

What is your advice for new entrants to the defense/military community?

Understanding the federal or DoD customers you are targeting, what they do and how would they use your product or solution. Example. If your software is geared for a large corporation of 10,000 people and you want a meeting to pitch it to a battalion or squadron of 200-800 people it most likely won’t go over well.

What do you see as the future of your sector in national defense?

The federal and DoD sectors are looking for the best capabilities for the best value and at the best price and are pushing industry to deliver. We at 4K Solutions are continuing to look for the technologies that we can offer to our customers as well as designing solutions that our customers want.

Who are the Force Multipliers in your community? Let us know at [email protected].