Locatis returns to entrepreneurial roots; partners with Grayling

Since leaving the Department of Homeland Security in January, Michael Locatis has returned to the private sector as an entrepreneur.

Locatis, former assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications at DHS, started Nexusist, a business development-focused consulting company, which announced Thursday a partnership with Grayling to launch the firm’s cybersecurity consulting and advisory services practice.

For Locatis, it takes him back almost a decade when he worked at four venture-backed startups, which all reached successful liquidity events, before starting his career as a civil servant.

“I always brought that entrepreneurial and transformative approach to government that helped me break through the bureaucracy, and now I’m going to bring that experience to Grayling,” said Locatis, who served as CIO at the Energy Department before joining DHS, in an interview with FedScoop. “I loved being a public servant, and I see this as helping the public but just from the private sector side.”


The new practice aims to leverage Locatis’ expertise to aid companies prepare for, respond to, and recover from data-breach events. The companies will also get help complying with federal and state regulations to enact a cyber-crisis communications plan.

“Sophisticated cyber-attacks have become a threat to international business and global economic stability,” said Pete Pedersen, Grayling CEO, in a released statement. “In virtually all sectors, companies that collect, store, transmit or use consumer data need to understand the relationship between corporate reputation and security. Managing these issues effectively requires a holistic approach.”

Locatis has a long history in the cybersecurity space. At DOE, he led the development of the department’s Joint Cybersecurity Coordination Center, which applies a proactive approach to risk management and improves situational awareness, incident management and cross-agency collaboration.

Locatis served on the federal CIO Council as a member of the Executive Committee and as co-chair of the Management Best Practices Committee. He also was a member of both the President’s Domestic Policy Council’s “Strong Cities, Strong Communities” initiative and the President’s Management Advisory Board IT subcommittee.

In addition, Locatis previously served as deputy CIO for the state of California, CIO for the state of Colorado, and CIO for the city and county of Denver.

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