Team Bios

John Higginbotham

Chairman and CEO

John HigginbothamJohn Higginbotham brings over three decades of high technology executive leadership to Blue Ridge.  He is the manager of the USVC investment group, the founder and managing Member of SpaceVest investment management group, formerly the senior partner of SpaceVest Capital, a co-founder and former senior executive of International Technology Underwriters (Intec), and was the Product Manager for HP’s first microcomputers.  He has served on the Boards of Directors and as a senior executive of several public and private information technology, aerospace and defense, space industry, and other high technology growth companies.  He has actively supported several prominent professional and community service organizations throughout his career.

Higginbotham holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Michael Fumai

President, COO and Director

Michael FumaiAs President, COO and Director of Blue Ridge Networks, Mike Fumai draws on more than 25 years of experience with Fortune 2000 corporations in the communications and technology industry to set the company’s strategic direction and drive revenue growth. Prior to being appointed President and COO, Fumai spearheaded Blue Ridge Networks direct sales efforts and directed the expansion of the company’s channel program as Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Before joining Blue Ridge Networks, he was Senior Vice President, Global Sales, for Cyveillance, a provider of online risk monitoring and management solutions. Prior to Cyveillance, Fumai served as Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales and Channels at Commerce One/Appnet, (now Perfect Commerce) and he spent 14 years at MCI in various positions including Executive Director, Strategic Services.

Fumai holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Finance from Mount Saint Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Tom Gilbert


Tom GilbertTom Gilbert has supported the sale of security and VPN products and services for more than 10 years. His extensive security experience and technical background have been strong assets in bringing Blue Ridge Networks products and services to market quickly and successfully. Like many members of the Blue Ridge team, Gilbert has seen his share of “firsts” in the technology industry. He was on the first team to provide commercial delivery of high-speed multimedia over satellite while working at Satellite Business Systems, a one billion dollar company. He was also on the team that developed and launched the first V-LAN during his tenure at Network Systems Corporation, where he served as director of business development, marketing director, technical sales consultant, and a national account sales manager, leading the IBM and AT&T accounts.

Gilbert also managed the worldwide development and support of programming tools at IBM. He received a Bachelor of Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

Steve Robling

Chief Financial Officer

Steve Robling Steve Robling has more than three decades of experience in corporate finance, including a background in private equity, investment banking and international markets. In addition to Blue Ridge Networks,  He served as the chief financial officer of four telecommunications or information technology businesses, including Datagardens, Inc. and Novo Networks. He has also served on the boards of Berliner Communications, Novo Networks, DataGardens, and eVentures Latin America.

Steve served as a managing director at the LIATI Group an investment banking boutique that focused on private equity investments . Prior to joining the LIATI Group, Steve was a senior managing director and member of the investment committee at Hamilton Lane Advisors, a private equity investment consultant, and served as Vice President in the International and mergers and acquisition departments at Lazard Freres & Co.  He began his career at in the international department at Chemical Bank, (now J P Morgan Chase).  He   has previously served on the advisory boards of the Carlyle Fund and William Blair Mezzanine.

Mr. Robling received an MBA from the University of Chicago and a BA from Georgetown University, where he graduated with distinction in economics.

Fatih Comlekoglu

Chief Software Architect

Fatih Comlekoglu As a visionary, with a wealth of enterprise service and IT operational experience, Fatih Comlekoglu has architected and led the implementation of Blue Ridge’s key product lines in new generation antimalware defense, secure enterprise access over untrusted networks, and virtualized workspace. He served as a lead system architect at MCI Communications, as a lead software architect at StorageTek, and a senior consultant at the World Bank Enterprise Computing group.

Dr Comlekoglu holds two US patents for antimalware defense and applied cryptography in distributed systems both of which are utilized in current product lines. He received a BS in Computer Science, and holds a MS in Computer Engineering and a PhD in Computer Science from George Washington University.

Ken Hardwick

Chief Scientist

Ken HardwickCombining the education of an astrophysicist, experience at research and development, and expertise at assembling and managing knowledge teams, Ken Hardwick has earned his place as a leader and visionary in the technology industry. Hardwick independently envisioned and was the first person to market several key technology services, including a VPN product using cryptographic tunneling, Virtual LAN (VLAN) technology for segregation of customer networks, multiprocessor architectures for Internet routing, and packet filtering. He has also developed network-based cryptosystems that remain the technique of choice in major federal intelligence agencies.

In 2005, Hardwick was one of only five individuals named as “Ones to Watch in 2006” in InfoWorld magazine’s Innovators Awards. “By abandoning business as usual, these honorees are striking new paths to efficiency and reliability across the board,” InfoWorld stated. “We are pleased to honor those who are leading the way with their ingenuity.”

Prior to Blue Ridge Networks, Hardwick was a fellow and director of advanced software development at Network Systems Corporation where he led the development of the comprehensive cryptography and packet filtering system that is used today in Blue Ridge Networks VPN products and services. Among other patents, Hardwick holds a software patent for virtual routing. He received a Bachelor of Science in astrophysics and Bachelor of Arts in applied math from the University of Rochester.

Maureen Gray

VP, Operations

Maureen GrayMs. Gray created the Managed Services division within Blue Ridge Networks over ten years ago to provide secure outsourced remote access and site to site network services to government agencies and commercial customers, especially within the healthcare and financial industries. She designed and established multiple SAS-70 certified secure Colocation facilities to house both managed services customer equipment and Blue Ridge management equipment. She led the initiative to create and implement corporate information security policies, and has been responsible for creating and providing training to agencies and other customers. In addition, Ms. Gray was the Project Manager for the IMOD acquisitions for Secure Voice installed in over 25 Forts. She also implemented the Blue Ridge VPN system for Secure Remote Access with Single Sign-on to Active Directory, using government-issued Common Access Card (CAC) certificates, within the DOIM communities. This system underwent extensive testing at the JITC and TIC labs at Fort Huachuca, and became approved for the US Army’s use.

Nancy Canty

VP, Product Mgmt

Nancy CantyNancy Canty brings to Blue Ridge more than thirty years of leadership in delivering advanced technology solutions to the Department of Defense and other Federal organizations. From her early days implementing and testing Navy shipboard fire control systems, she has focused on customer requirements and the creation of complete solutions, whether working in small teams or with large system integrators such as Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. This customer focus has been highlighted by assignments such as the Army’s Tactical Intelligence Data Fusion Testbed and the Integrating Applications Project where Ms Canty led on-site tasks at the customer’s facility.

She was attracted to Blue Ridge by the opportunity to create innovative, security-based solutions and is most proud of the RemoteLink, Management Console and EdgeGuard products developed while she was the Director of Engineering.

Ms Canty is a member of a number of professional organizations including the IEEE and ACM. She received a Bachelor of Science in Math and Physics from Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Barbara Cline

VP, Engineering

Barbara ClineAs Vice President of Engineering for Blue Ridge Networks, Barbara Cline draws on more than 15 years of product development management experience with the proven ability to build engineering teams to deliver products to meet both schedule and revenue goals. Prior to becoming Vice President, Ms Cline was Director of Engineering at Blue Ridge where she led the development of the award-winning end-point security AppGuard product as well as the Blue Ridge VPN Client. In addition, she established Agile Programming Development Practices for the Blue Ridge Engineering team.

Before joining Blue Ridge Networks, Ms Cline worked as a Project Engineer at Simtec, working on submarine and flight trainers. She started her engineering career at IBM as a software engineer where she won multiple bonuses for her technical contributions.

Ms Cline holds a BS in Mathematics from University of Maryland in College Park, Md.

Danille Wilson


Danille Wilson Danille Wilson is the Controller for Blue Ridge Networks, having worked her way up the corporate ladder from Staff Accountant to Senior Staff Accountant to Controller. She has worked in the financial industry for over 14 years dealing with a wide range of economic, technical, regulatory, policy, legislative and business issues affecting both small and medium sized organizations. Ms. Wilson’s experience includes extensive work on pricing methodologies, rate design, revenue requirements, billing, inventory management, payroll and general accounting. Ms. Wilson has significant experience in the area of sales training and staff development, having worked on issues pertaining to automation, the use of new technologies, and customer satisfaction.

Ms Wilson graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Mary Washington College.


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