The voice is as vibrant as ever as Joan Myers, who calls herself “Joanie” as do her friends, answers the phone. The former president of the North Carolina Technology Association who left to pursue a fascination in technology – especially in defense, fighting terrorism and intelligence – is talking about her new career. But she wants to make one plant from the beginning.

“I’ve always been an entrepreneur,” she says.

Having run her own consulting business for several years after leaving NCTA and other jobs, Myers does have a full-time entrepreneurial gig now as co-partner with Randall Williams in a recently launched venture called Strategic Link Partners. During her days at NCTA, Myers brought significant attention to defense matters and put on conferences were intelligence, security as well as the latest hardware were big topics. She later helped launch a defense business incubator in Fayetteville also worked for defense contractor Applied research Associates.

Myers and Williams, a veteran who recently left U.S. Special Operations Command, are targeting technology needs for the U.S. defense and intelligence establishment. On Thursday they announced their first acquisition: Raleigh-based DigaForce, a social media intelligence firm. Are they scared in launching a new business? Not hardly.

Are you excited, WRALTechWire asked. Scared?

“We both tackle every assignment with vigor and are always excited about our work,” Myers responded via email.

“Those that know us would say we are extremely professional, dedicated and we complete the mission.


“We work in areas that involve some weighty threat vectors – counter terrorism, insurgency or stability operations, organized criminality, Active Shooters… the only thing I’m scarred of is complacency… when we lean back too far and think that we have done enough or are not fully equipping our men and women appropriately.

“That scares me to death. The bad guys have not had budget cuts to my knowledge…

“My partner,” she adds,  ”doesn’t get scared.” 

The Inside Story

In an exclusive Q&A with WRALTechWire, Myers talked about her new venture and the deal for DigaForce.

But, just to give you a head’s up, Myers doesn’t answer every question given the business the firm is in and the fact it is privately held.

In other words, she speaks on a “need to know” basis.

  • Why did you decide to launch your own business?

My partner and I both had our own businesses prior and we teamed on things. We then founded Strategic Link Partners together.

  • How did you and your partner come to know each other?

We knew each other through relationships in the Special Operation Forces world.

Randy retired out of the Joint Special Operations Command about 18 months ago after a career in Special Operations Forces.

  • How is the firm financed? How many employees? When did you launch?

It’s a privately held company and we do not disclose details.

  • Are you seeking financing at this time? No
  • What is the business purpose of Strategic Link?

Strategic Link Partners has three lines of business.

The first is in the area of technology bridging. We work with Commands or Agencies on their requirements and find the technology or skill sets to fill the gaps. In most cases we are looking at highly specialized or very challenging requirements…

The second area is our Training Offerings. We provide services in tactical training, Active Shooter, Counterintelligence, Cyber and a host of other capabilities.

We also provide counsel to private equity investors whom are making investments in companies that operate across the national security enterprise.

  • How do you set your firm apart from rivals?

Our key differentiators are our experience and our relationships.

We have operated on all seven continents, under austere circumstances or in Board rooms… We understand and have worked with different cultures and across different constituencies.

We also believe in and live a “bottom up” or “end user” approach”. That is to say, a requirement begins and really ends with a user – in our case usually someone whom is in harm’s way or making critical assessments so understanding every nuance of that need… walking in their shoes, so to speak is critical. And then we bring the best, most creative solutions to the table.

The same goes for our training. It makes a difference when you have been in a closed quarter battle situation multiple times or experienced intellectual property being stolen through cyber channels. Our training techniques are honed through real life, real world experiences that put into play best practices that reduce lethality or mitigate loss.

The other differentiator is both of us are very mission oriented and care deeply about those who defend our country and communities. We are passionately engaged in our work.

  • How are you making money?

We are very successfully executing our business plan.

  • Why make the DigaForce acquisition?

The DigaForce acquisition deepened our bench strength in an important and growing area – the social enterprise. We both believe, however, that good acquisitions are most about people and talent and Anthony Pompliano’s creative problem solving, leadership in the social media space and his commitment to serving his country were keen in our decision making.

  • Why are defense and government your points of emphasis as a business?

The core of our business is security. We work across the national security enterprise to include Defense, Intelligence, Homeland Security and Law Enforcement. We also work with companies and NGO’s.

  • Are you hiring? if so in what areas?

We do not discuss client or personnel matters.

  • How have your experiences at NCTA prepared you to be an entrepreneur?

Both of us have been entrepreneurs from the earliest years. We both had paths of experience along the way.

Randy with a career in the Special Operations Forces and Special Mission Units and me with serving as Assistant Secretary of NC DOT, running NCTA, starting the defense incubator, working at SAS and other companies.

We are the sum of our experiences which directly translates into better understanding for our clients, good listening ears and some mileage that helps steady the course and return exceptional value to our customers.