Corporate Promotions Announcement

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Starfish Holdings, Inc. (Starfish) is proud to announce the promotion of Mr. John Watson to President, effective January 1, 2023. Mr. Watson will continue to serve as Torch Technologies, Inc. (Torch) CEO while assuming the new role of Starfish President. Mr. Bill Roark, Cofounder, and Starfish CEO, stated, "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 toward continued growth as a successful 100% employee-owned EvergreenTM ESOP company. There is a lot to be excited about, and we all have a part in our success as employee-owners."

Torch Technologies, Inc. (Torch) is proud to announce the promotion of Mr. Brad Walker to President of Torch, effective January 1, 2023. With Mr. Watson moving toward a more full-time involvement with the leadership of Starfish Holdings and its subsidiaries, including Freedom Real Estate & Capital, Inc., Mr. Walker will assume daily executive duties for the company. Mr. Watson stated, "The Board of Directors has always incentivized growth from within and its importance to maintaining what makes us so special, our culture. Over the years, Brad has been a long-term employee-owner who has embraced and promoted the Torch culture and our core values. He is well versed in the technical and business principles that continue to make Torch successful for our customer mission, employee-owners, and communities."


 About John Watson: John Watson has served as the President of Torch Technologies, Inc. (Torch) since 2013, and was appointed President and CEO in 2018. Watson was also appointed to the Board of Directors of Torch in 2014. Prior to being named President, Watson served as Torch’s Vice President of Business Development and Program Manager for the Scalable Simulation Program with the USA AMRDEC. Watson 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, Watson served as the Director for New Product Development for Dynetics, Inc. where he led corporate business development efforts in hardware development, Air Force, and technology programs. Prior to his role in Business Development, Watson led their Florida Division. Before that, Watson was Vice President of the Florida Division for Nichols Research Corporation.  Watson received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Auburn University where he was named Outstanding Graduate from the School of Engineering and a Master's of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida. Watson currently serves on the board for the Huntsville Chamber of Commerce and the Employee-Owned S Corporations of America (ESCA) Association. This past year, Torch proudly announced that we were Certified Evergreen™. A timely achievement for Torch employee-owners as they celebrated Torch's 20th anniversary this past October. Becoming Certified Evergreen™ means that Torch has committed to finding ways to make 100 percent employee ownership sustainable so that Torch will remain a private company forever.



About Brad Walker: Brad Walker has over 35 years of experience providing services support and solutions development for DoD programs. Mr. Walker has expertise in Ballistic Missile Defense programs, the development of advanced instrumentation for warhead testing, and the development of advanced algorithms for sensor and command and control applications.  He recently served as the Vice President of the Advanced Concept Engineering (ACE) Group at Torch Technologies which included four Business Units spanning Combat Systems, Strategic Systems, Space & Joint Operations, and Technology Development.  The ACE Group supports a diverse set of customers and provides a wide range of engineering, scientific, and logistics support throughout the DoD lifecycle in areas such as systems engineering, test and evaluation, requirements, analysis, software, electrical and mechanical system design, metrology, optical sensor instrumentation, virtual trainers, Joint operations, and obsolescence. Prior to joining Torch Technologies, Mr. Walker held leadership positions at Computer Sciences Corporation and Nichols Research Corporation.  Mr. Walker has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Master’s of Science in Management from the Florida Institute of Technology.    


About Starfish Holdings: Starfish Holdings is a parent company that was established to oversee subsidiaries, and currently has three subsidiaries: Torch Technologies, Freedom Real Estate & Capital, Inc., and Asteroidea.

About Torch Technologies: Founded in October 2002, Torch Technologies, Inc. (Torch) is a 100% employee-owned EvergreenTM ESOP company dedicated to quality technical services, competitive costs, and ethical business practices. Torch has received both national and local recognition for its business performance, workplace environment, and ethical business practices. Torch was recognized as the 2021 ESOP Company of the Year by the New South Chapter of The ESOP Association for a second time, with previous recognition in 2018. Additionally, Torch was selected as a recipient of the 2021 James S. Cogswell Outstanding Industrial Security Achievement Award by the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA). Washington Technology also listed Torch in its annual "Top 100" Government Contractors ranking for the seventh consecutive year, and Bloomberg Government listed Torch in its annual “Top 200” ranking for the sixth consecutive year in 2022. Torch was also selected for a Colorado Springs Business Journal “Best in Business” award for the second consecutive year and named one of the “Best Workplaces in Colorado Springs” by The Colorado Springs Gazette for the second consecutive year in 2021. In 2020, Torch became the only four-time recipient of the Better Business Bureau's Torch Award for Business Ethics in the North Alabama region. Great Place to Work named Torch one of the country’s Best Workplaces. For more information, visit the company’s website at 


Contact: Gillian Watkins, Communications Specialist
Telephone Number: 256 319 7521
Email Address: [email protected]
Huntsville, AL (January 3, 2023)