James Thomas Named Comtech’s First Government Affairs Leader

Vice President of Government Affairs is Opening New Doors for Comtech

When James Thomas was named Comtech’s Vice President of Government Affairs earlier this month, it marked “an exciting opportunity to help Comtech shape important policies that positively impact our customers and the world,” James explained.

Hiring James Thomas represents an important milestone for Comtech in the company’s growth trajectory. With Thomas now onboard, Comtech adds an experienced “voice in the room” at an important time, as the company’s breakthrough technologies are playing an increasingly pivotal role in connectivity solutions that are changing, saving, and improving lives across the globe.

“Navigating today’s political and policy environment is both challenging and fulfilling,” said James, who has worked most of his nearly 20-year career educating lawmakers and advocating for a wide range of policies in Washington, DC ranging from international trade issues to space and emerging satellite communications and sensor technologies that will be of particular benefit to Comtech as the company presses forward with core campaigns to transform technology, national security, and connectivity landscapes across the globe.

His vast expertise has been honed by a mix of experience in Congress, the Executive Branch during two Presidential administrations, the Department of Defense, and most recently in the private sector. Prior to joining Comtech, Thomas was the director of government affairs for national security programs at Leidos, fulfilling what he calls his trifecta of expertise in two branches of government and the corporate world.

“I’ve gained invaluable experience in the legislative and executive branches of government, as well as the private sector. I’m privileged to be in this role at Comtech, to be able to share with key decision makers in Washington the incredible breakthroughs and innovative work being done by our team,” James noted. “Technology trajectories today are creating an increasingly complex environment that call for equally sophisticated terrestrial and satellite-based solutions to make life safer for our communities, our warfighters, and the world.”

“With nearly two decades navigating the political and policy intricacies of Washington, James brings a vast array of experience to the Comtech team,” said John Ratigan, Interim CEO of Comtech. “We’re excited to welcome this Marine Corps veteran to share Comtech’s vision and secured communications capabilities with policymakers and government customers.”

Always Been About Service and Giving Back

James went to the University of Dayton in 2000 with the goal of becoming an attorney. His life’s gameplan changed in an instant on September 11, 2001, his sophomore year in college.

“I had an immediate calling to serve, so I put school on hold and joined the Marine Corps Reserves,” James recalls. “I was called up in 2003 and deployed to Iraq. When I returned to finish up my courses, it was a big election year, and a professor helped line me up with an internship with the Presidential campaign in Ohio, a major battleground state at the time.”

It was a taste of things to come suddenly put on hold, as Thomas was deployed to Iraq again in 2005. Shortly after his return home, James got a call from the White House with an offer for a job as a junior staffer. “It was an amazing experience,” James said. “But it wasn’t long before I joined the Commerce Department and started learning about the political process and understanding the impact legislators and committees have on the economy, business, and trade agreements. I was fascinated by it.”

In 2009, James joined the team supporting Congressman Duncan Hunter, a freshman legislator at the time and a fellow Marine and Iraq War veteran. Six years later, he jumped into the private sector with the National Defense Industrial Association, a trade group that counts Comtech as a member, where he was the chief representative before members of Congress and staff on policy matters impacting the defense industry.

His next stop was the Pentagon, where he served in several positions in the Department of Defense, most notably as a Senior Advisor to the Secretary and Undersecretary of the Air Force, and later as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Senate Affairs. In this capacity, James was a senior advisor to the Secretary of Defense and Deputy Secretary of Defense, responsible for advocating the Department’s policies, strategies, and annual budget to the United States Congress as well as managing the Senate confirmation process for senior Department leadership positions to include the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense.

James has countless career highlights but includes his work to help get the Senate onboard to pass legislation that would ultimately create the Space Force among his top accomplishments. “That was such a unique experience, having a small part in the creation of a military service branch. And now the Space Force is a beneficiary of our comprehensive satellite ground station technologies.”

Hitting the Ground Running

Fresh off a four-year stint with Leidos, where he managed government affairs through a company reorganization and leadership change, James is already hard at work in the nation’s capital generating awareness around Comtech’s accomplishments and future roadmaps.

“Over the next 90 days, the focus will be on thoroughly understanding the core competencies and capabilities of the company and deploying best practices for re-invigorating a Comtech political action committee (PAC) and government affairs function,” James outlined. “We will ensure that the key lawmakers know the capabilities that Comtech brings to important commercial and government markets – from bridging the digital divide to empowering emergency services and warfighters with unprecedented connectivity.”

James points to Comtech’s groundbreaking connectivity solutions and technologies as one of several key factors in his decision to join the company. “For me, it’s always been about service and giving back, and I’m looking forward thinking out of the box with the Comtech team and solving the problems and challenges out there – for communities and our armed forces.”

He sees it as an obligation to ensure there’s adequate funding to enable warfighters to do their job effectively and as safely as possible. “The battlefield is constantly adapting and changing, and Comtech is consistently demonstrating the ability to provide new innovations that deliver an edge to U.S. and allied forces,” James explained. “A top priority will be showcasing our success stories and evolving requirements with legislators and policymakers who are considering bills and appropriations at a time when there’s a lot of pressure on the defense budget.”

James Thomas lives in Northern Virginia, a short drive from the Washington, DC corridor that has had such an impact on his life and career. “Washington has afforded me some incredible opportunities, and I’m looking forward to my best one yet at Comtech. I’ll be gleaning important insights from teams across Comtech and representing our people and breakthroughs on the Hill, where ultimately the rubber meets the road when it comes to gaining visibility and funding for our customers, partners, and game-changing solutions.”

Zukunftsgerichtete Aussagen

Certain information in this blog post contains statements that are forward-looking in nature and involve certain significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results and performance could differ materially from such forward-looking information. The Company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings identify many such risks and uncertainties. Any forward-looking information in this blog article is qualified in its entirety by the risks and uncertainties described in such Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

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