Mark Emery, a Department of Homeland Security tech pioneer and plankholder, Government Technology and Services Coalition strategic advisor and founding member of the FITGov Summit board, died April 3. He was 68 years old.
When DHS was created, Emery served the Transportation Security Administration as deputy chief information officer. He supervised the green field start-up and operation of the Transportation Security Administration network and application infrastructure and the modernization of FAA systems to the new applications services. As deputy CIO, Emery bolstered many accomplishments including the establishment of the $2 billion department infrastructure consolidation at TSA. After his many years of service in that position, Emery continued to support DHS in his retirement through a variety of initiatives.
Prior to his government service he designed and built the first integrated voice-data-messaging mobile service in the United States, Sprint Spectrum, which won the JD Power Quality Award. He also received several patents for inventions related to the convergence of wired and wireless communications services.
He led and shaped a wide variety of technology organizations in both business and government adopting leading-edge technology, organization, and process innovations. After his government service, Emery guided organizations involved with the federal sector as founder of Emery Consulting LLC. From his consulting practice he launched several new businesses, including WNP Communications and PingTone Communications, and managed a $400 million portfolio of DHS contracts for a large systems integrator.
“Mark was an instrumental leader with GTSC – and the Department of Homeland Security,” GTSC CEO and Homeland Security Today Executive Editor Kristina Tanasichuk said. “Throughout his career he stayed passionate and committed to securing our nation and continued to work toward an ecosystem of people committed to the mission. He was an incredibly good soul and is already missed very much!”
Emery was named a founding member of the FITGov Summit board when GTSC’s acquisition of the premier event for IT modernization, capital planning and governance was announced in July 2022.
Emery was awarded the Market Maven award at the 2020 Homeland Security Today Awards, which is presented to an exceptional individual who contributes in a concrete and tangible way to the efficiency, productivity, and effectiveness of the homeland and national security market.
“Emery’s achievements and contributions are only rivaled by the reputation he has built within the community as a stand-up guy who leads fundraising efforts for disabled community members and actively participates in organizations making impacts like TiE DC, which sponsors women in technology events,” his award nomination said. “His passion evolves into action as he contributes in making a tangible difference to the advancement in all areas of IT, human capital and cybersecurity. He makes a difference with every move he makes and is exactly what the DHS mission is all about.”
Emery was the Golf Sports Coordinator for the Special Olympics of Northern Virginia. He coached over 40 athletes of all skill levels and organized golf tournaments, co-chairing with the Down Syndrome Association an annual fundraising golf tournament each June at the Springfield Golf and Country Club.
He was a certified Program Management Professional, and earned a Certificate in Management from the Wharton School of Business in addition to his academic degrees, which included a Bachelor of Science degree from Carnegie-Mellon University and a Master of Science degree from the MIT Sloan Management School of Business. He sat on the PingTone Communications Board of Directors and the Tauqa Systems Technology Advisory Board.
Emery is survived by his wife, Barbara, two sons, one daughter, and three grandchildren. He was laid to rest April 17 in Pittsburgh, his hometown.