Welcome to the first of iON’s new Employee Spotlight! Over the coming months, we’ll put the spotlight on some of the team members who make iON great. We’ll go beyond their job responsibilities and provide a glimpse of who these extraordinary individuals are that work at iON. We’ll start this series with a feature on ace penetration tester, and all-around nice guy, Kurt Pomeroy.
Kurt joined iON in late November of 2018 and is a key member of iON’s Assessment Services team, which has completed over 70 penetration tests over the last three years for a wide range of clients.
In addition to tailoring his approach to clients in many different industries, Kurt has mastered several pen testing areas of specialization and continuously enhanced his skills. In his time at iON, Kurt has diligently conducted external and internal penetration tests, web application/API assessments, wireless, cloud infrastructure, social engineering, and purple team exercises. A certified SANS GIAC GPEN Enterprise Penetration Tester, he is currently developing an online course for the Infosec Institute entitled “Penetration Testing with Metasploit” in-between projects. Kurt is an essential member of iON’s services team, and there can be no doubt that he’s come a long way since embarking on a major shift in his career and personal life that began back in the fall of 2018.
The Big Leap: From IT Generalist to Cybersecurity Specialist
Alberta has long benefited from Newfoundland sending some of its best and brightest to start new careers in Wild Rose Country. In late November 2018, Kurt became a part of that long tradition when he and his wife packed their belongings and headed west to Calgary where Kurt had accepted a new job at iON. Calgary was a new city to them, and this move was a major career transition for Kurt as well, as his previous roles included various forms of general IT support and administration.
Nevertheless, Kurt jumped into his new role with enthusiasm and conviction, and he had the benefit of learning from the best teachers. His first mentor was iON Field CTO Stephen Mathezer, who teaches cybersecurity courses for the University of Calgary and the SANS Institute. His second was Assessment Services Team Lead Chris Timmons, who had developed the penetration testing practice at ATB Financial before joining iON around the same time as Kurt.
Since then, Kurt has not only embraced the iON methodology but also continuously helped to refine and improve upon it resulting in an unparalleled penetration testing practice at iON with a rock-solid solid foundation.
Things Kurt Likes About iON
Some of Kurt’s favorite aspects of working at iON are:
- Company Culture – A core element of iON’s culture is employee recognition. For example, every company town hall meeting concludes with a segment in which employees recognize their colleagues for jobs well done. Receiving positive feedback isn’t just gratifying to Kurt, he finds that it pushes him to improve even more.
- Being Empowered – Kurt likes being empowered to introduce improvements. For example, he overhauled iON’s phishing practice with new tools and tactics that the team now uses. His other contributions to enhancing iON’s penetration testing support infrastructure are too numerous to mention.
- Professional Development – Through iON, Kurt attended the Wild West Hacking Fest in South Dakota, his first-ever cybersecurity conference. It was as fun as it sounds! He also presented at multiple BSides conferences, starting with Bsides Calgary 2020 where he presented “How to transition from IT generalist to Cyber Security Professional.” This was a personal tale about chasing your dreams and how to land your first-ever cybersecurity role, and it was very well received. While he was nervous about presenting to such a large audience, especially virtually, he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
- Performance Bonuses – Kurt highly values organizations that reward quantifiably good work with generous compensation and performance bonuses. “Before iON,” he says, “there was no such thing as a bonus!”
- Work-from-Home Flexibility – Kurt and his wife recently relocated to Red Deer, Alberta but iONs flexible work model allows him to apply his trade as effectively from home as from our Calgary office. Our Edmonton clients are also very pleased to have a top-notch penetration tester located that much closer to their backyard for any job that needs an analyst on site!
Kurt makes it clear: he’s not a big winter guy, so you won’t find him hitting the slopes or the rinks once the snow flies. You’re more likely to find him enjoying a stimulating game of chess or possibly a few hands of Texas Hold ‘em Poker. You might also find him looking to avoid the frosty chill altogether, as Kurt loves a sunny day on the beach, and he isn’t averse to a getaway to warmer climes when winter is hitting Southern Alberta the hardest! That said, he is also a big fan of our chinooks, and he still clearly remembers experiencing a chinook for the first time in Calgary and what “a trip” it was to feel a warm breeze on his face in the middle of February.
At home, Kurt and his wife enjoy their time with their two beloved dogs, Junior, an eleven-year-old lab/pit bull cross, and Roman, a nine-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier. Both are happy-go-lucky pooches and very friendly to one and all.
Soon, Kurt plans to explore more nearby mountain getaways and admits he has only scratched the surface of what Alberta has to offer. Waterton National Park and the Columbia Valley are likely destinations this summer, as Kurt expands his focus from exploring new career objectives to exploring some of the natural beauty near his and his wife’s new home.