John Watson named CEO of Starfish Holdings

Bill Roark has assumed the role of chairman of the board

Torch Technologies is a subsidiary of Starfish Holdings.
John Watson, CEO of Starfish Holdings.

John Watson has been promoted to chief executive officer of Starfish Holdings, the parent company of Torch Technologies, Freedom Real Estate & Capital LLC and SIMVANA. Co-founder and CEO Bill Roark has assumed the role of chairman of the board.

Roark’s move to chairman will allow him to dedicate more time to Freedom Real Estate & Capital, which has been experiencing rapid growth with the recent announcement of two new development projects in Huntsville.

“Long-term succession planning is critical for companies to maintain their growth trajectory,” said Roark. “Growth from within is critical to maintaining the special culture we have created across our portfolio of companies. John has done an exceptional job of leading Torch while serving as president of both Starfish and SIMVANA. He is the perfect choice for CEO and will continue the success of Starfish and our portfolio of companies moving forward.”

Bill Roark takes on role as chairman of Starfish Holdings.

Watson will provide strategic leadership and assume day-to-day operations of Starfish, as well as continuing to serve as president of SIMVANA.

Watson was named president of Starfish in 2023. He also has served as both president and CEO of Torch Technologies since 2018. Prior to this appointment, he served in several senior leadership roles with the Scalable Simulation Program of the USA AMRDEC. His bachelor’s in electrical engineering degree is from Auburn University, with his master’s from the University of Florida.

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“I am excited to assume the role of CEO for Starfish Holdings,” said Watson.

Brad Walker will remain in his current role as president of Torch Technologies.

Starfish Holdings also announced that Joe Pierce has been named chief information officer and Tammie Dodson director of communications.

Pierce has approximately 35 years of experience supporting Department of Defense programs. He joined Starfish from Teledyne Technologies, where he most recently served as senior director of strategic realization.

Dodson brings more than 30 years of experience to Starfish. She most recently served as senior manager of corporate communications with Adtran.

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