March 6, 2018

CARTERVILLE — Jarrod Echols — a 2008 graduate of John A. Logan College — has been chosen as the College’s 2018 Alumnus of the Year.

He will speak at graduation in May.

Echols, a Murphysboro native, gained considerable attention more than a year ago when he was named to the White House Information Technology Team where he identified and combated threats to the Executive Office of the President network.

Then, Echols pointed to instructors at John A. Logan College for his professional success. Echols, in fact, marveled at the instruction he received at John A. Logan College, praising JALC Professor Mark Rogers for his passion in the classroom.

“Mark Rogers stood out the most, especially since his focus was on network security,” Echols said. “He always went into amazing detail on how to secure the network based on his own experiences outside the classroom. The classes included a lab, which allowed me to practice hands-on with the equipment and software.”

Echols recently left the White House after being offered a job with one of the world’s largest private cybersecurity companies. He is now traveling many parts of the world helping large corporations and other entities with securing their networks.

“The success in my career is a reflection of the dedicated instructors and staff at John A. Logan College,” Echols said. “They have a strong desire to make sure students succeed.”

Echols said he especially enjoyed spending time on classroom projects that included building wireless network designs and learning how operating systems interacted with computer hardware.

Echols’ love for information technology and his interest in law enforcement — fostered by his father, Paul Echols, a decorated Carbondale police officer — combined together to lead him into the field of information security, he explained.

After JALC, Jarrod transferred to Southern Illinois University where he completed a Bachelors in Information Systems Technology and a Masters of Public Administration.

During Echols' Master’s program, he was invited to an internship with the US Senate Sergeant At Arms Information Security program. This internship led to Echols becoming a full-time employee for a defense contractor supporting the US Senate Cyber Security Operations Center and eventually a government employee leading the Cyber Threat Intelligence Branch. After helping build the Cyber Threat Intelligence program for the US Senate, Echols accepted a position with the White House Threat Intelligence Team at the Executive Office of the President for a year, and is now working for the private threat intelligence company “Flashpoint.”