Secure and Sound
Lonnie Price ’87 reflects on a stellar security career through support to U.S. embassies.
Lonnie Price ’87 has a passion for Florida Tech that still runs deep. His voice perks with pride at the mention of his time as a Panther and graduating as an electrical engineering major. He still even remembers his school ID number, rattling off the five digits with ease.
That time as a Panther not only provided great memories but a strong foundation as he would embark on a career that concluded earlier this year when he left his role as deputy assistant secretary and assistant director of cyber and technology security directorate in March.
Price started working for NASA as an engineer, but the 1986 Challenger explosion changed his thoughts on the feasibly of a career in space at that time. The State Department seemed like an appealing option, and in 1987, Price began working as a security engineer, making use of camera and alarm systems to protect embassies across the world.
The changes of the world altered Price’s career a few more times. Following embassy attacks in Tanzania and Nairobi in 1998, his job focus shifted from counterespionage to counterterrorism. Eventually, the counterterrorism focus would shift to his passion, cybersecurity. As the senior leader of cyber and technology, he and his team worked to protect centrally managed systems, such as cars, buildings and other technology.
Price began serving as assistant director of the Cyber and Technology Security Directorate for the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security on May 30, 2017. Price was then appointed the director’s deputy assistant secretary in a new position Aug. 30, 2018.
As assistant director, Price oversaw planning, policy development, coordination and implementation of the State Department’s technology innovation and cybersecurity programs. Price directed the offices of cyber monitoring and operations, cyber threat and investigations, and technology innovation and engineering, managing multiple efforts to enhance the organization’s cybersecurity, technical countermeasures, counterintelligence technology, counterterrorism technology, threat analysis, cyber investigations/forensics and Internet of Things.
He has provided security support to U.S. embassies in more than 100 countries. He served 17 years abroad, including assignments in Frankfurt, Germany; Moscow, Russia; Canberra, Australia (supported the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade); Pretoria, South Africa; Cairo, Egypt; and Bangkok, Thailand. Working in a diverse environment, Price understood the importance of inclusion and embracing cultural backgrounds as a team leader.
“The reason that person can contribute what they’ve done to this is because they came from a completely different background than I know about,” Price says. “They were raised differently, which has different experiences, so they’ve shone a light on this problem that blew my mind. So, it’s an appreciation of what diverse elements can bring to your table.”
During his time at Florida Tech, Price learned time management, organization and interpersonal skills, working with team members in various projects.
“Assessing the talents of the various team members and how they can contribute, even if they don’t know it themselves—all of that is super, super important and served me for the rest of my life,” Price says.
Current City: Springfield, Virginia
Family: Wife, Barbara, also Florida Tech class of 1987; Children, Aaron, 29, Thayne, 26, Bailey, 22, Lance, 18
Hobbies: Kayaking, photography and raising koi
Favorite Florida Tech Memory: Intro to Poetry taught by Dr. Stoekel, many fun Tau Beta Pi parties and their activities, like interhouse football
This piece was featured in the fall 2021 edition of Florida Tech Magazine.