Torch Technologies leader adds parent company president to title

John Watson will serve as president of Starfish Holdings, and Brad Walker will serve as president of Torch

Starfish Holdings Inc., parent company of Torch Technologies, is putting part of its growth and succession plan into effect.

John Watson, current president and CEO of Torch Technologies Inc., has been promoted to president of Starfish Holdings Inc. Watson also will continue to serve as CEO of Torch.

John Watson.

“Over the years, we have diligently planned and laid out the paths for the company to grow to include long-term succession planning. I am thankful to have John’s experience, leadership and support as we work towards continued growth as a successful 100% employee-owned Evergreen ESOP company,” said Bill Roark, cofounder and CEO of Starfish Holdings.

In 2022, Torch was certified Evergreen, a designation that means the company is committed to finding ways of making 100% employee ownership sustainable.

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Watson has served as Torch president since 2013 and was appointed CEO in 2018. He has nearly 40 years of experience in the defense industry, spanning numerous roles in project engineering support, line and program management, and corporate management. Prior to joining Torch, he worked for Dynetics Inc., where he led corporate business development efforts in hardware development. He has a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and a master’s in electrical engineering from the University of Florida.

As part of this plan, Brad Walker will move to president of Torch Technologies and more full-time involvement with Starfish Holdings and its subsidiaries, including Freedom Real Estate & Capital.

Brad Walker.

“The board of directors has always incentivized growth from within and its important to maintaining what makes us so special, our culture,” said Watson. “Over the years, Brad has been a long-term employee-owner who has embraced and promoted the Torch culture and our core values.”

Walker has more than 35 years of experience providing services support and solutions development for Department of Defense programs. He has expertise in Ballistic Missile Defense programs, the development of advanced instrumentation for warhead testing and development of advanced algorithms for sensor and command and control applications. He most recently served as vice president of the Advanced Concept Engineering Group at Torch. Prior to joining Torch, Walker held leadership positions at Computer Sciences Corp. and Nichols Research Corp. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a master’s in management from the Florida Institute of Technology.

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