Logan alumnus takes technical skills to the White House
Jarrod Echols knows how to protect someone important.
When he was 10, he saved his younger sister after she fell through ice on a frozen pond, becoming something of a media darling in the process. Today, he has taken that protective instinct to the highest level of government, keeping cyber threats away from the office of President Donald Trump. A former Carterville resident and alumnus of John A. Logan College, Echols has accepted a top-secret position working for the White House Information Technology Team.
Echols has known about technology for a long time as well. His parents bought him a home computer 20 years ago, but worrying that he would goof around on it rather than do his homework, they made it password-protected. He quickly got around that.
“It was the beginning of an amazing evolution of computer technologies, and I was in the middle of it,” Echols said. “I was completely hooked.”
He got more involved in high school when he took credit courses at Logan College.
“I began my college education to learn more about computers,” he said. “I had amazing instructors who came from the career field with real world experiences. This made their lectures much more intriguing.”
He said one instructor had the most impact.
“Mark Rogers stood out the most, especially since his focus was 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 went on to earn a bachelor’s in information systems technologies and a master’s in public administration from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. The graduate degree required an internship in government or a nonprofit agency, and in 2012 he accepted an internship with the U.S. Senate’s Cyber Security Department. Afterward, he was offered a job with a contractor, which allowed him to remain with the Senate, working in its Cyber Security Operations Center.
He moved from there to a federal government position, and was offered the chance to lead the Senate Cyber Threat Intelligence Team. This year, got his new job supporting the Executive Office of the President.
From Murphysboro, lllinois to Washington, D.C. might seem like a long journey, but Echols’ has always been on a protective path.
“There’s no question what he did that day saved our daughter’s life,” Paul Echols, Jarrod’s father, said.
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