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What We Do

Empower AI uses innovative technologies and their specialized platform to support federal missions and empower agency personnel to solve unique government challenges​.


Robert Shook - Army Counterintelligence and Technical Security Specialist

From Army counterintelligence to technical security specialist, Robert Shook has made service his...

Katrina Whitenack - Army Combat Medic and Medical Reviewer

After 5 years in the Army, Katrina Whitenack turned her experience as a Combat Medic into a succe...

Judith Buford - Naval Reservist and Medical Reviewer

Judith Buford uses her experience in organization and time management from her time as a Naval Re...






Nursing & Healthcare

Celebrating Culture



Robert Shook - Army Counterintelligence and Technical Security Specialist

What inspired you to join the military?

I was raised in a patriotic family by God-fearing parents who encouraged us to live a life of service. Our family was large, and my father, a career firefighter, brought in enough money for our daily needs but not enough to put us through college. I worked full-time while attending college, and after five years of schooling with credits for three academic years, some Vietnam vets at my summer job convinced me to consider the military. The recruiters discussed options based on my testing, and in July of 1979, I joined the Army, attended basic in SC, and then went to the Intelligence School at Ft Huachuca, AZ.

What was your role during your time of service?

I was an Army Counterintelligence Special Agent my whole career (25 years) with specialized training in security technologies. CI Agents were trained and appointed to conduct CI investigations and operations supporting the Army, the DoD, and, in my case, NATO and other allies. The authority and jurisdiction for Army CI Special Agents includes investigating national security crimes using special investigative procedures, conducting counterintelligence operations, conducting both surveillance and counter-surveillance activities, and supporting counter-terrorism operations as authorized by Executive Order 12333 and applicable regulations.

What are some key achievements from your time in the service?

I was selected for and attended Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM) training before my third year in the Army was finished, which set the path of my career. In 1995, I was assigned to the Land Information Warfare Activity (LIWA) at Ft Belvoir. LIWA was a newly created unit with a mission to develop intelligence support to the emerging information warfare and cyber threats across the DoD; LIWA is now the 1st Information Operations Command (Land), with an ever-expanding cyber and information operations mission.

My next assignment sent me back to Belgium for my third tour supporting the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). In August 2001, I was deployed to Skopje, Macedonia, to conduct CI liaison with the Macedonian military and the UN mission in support of the reconstruction of Kosovo. While in Skopje, the 9/11 attacks occurred, and our liaison efforts produced valuable counter-terrorism support to the NATO forces and the US embassy. My final assignment was as the Army TSCM PM, providing oversight and managerial support to all Army TSCM assets worldwide.

Why is it important that we celebrate Veterans Day as a nation?

In the US, Veterans Day is a time to remember and honor the service and sacrifices veterans have made throughout history to protect the United States, particularly in times of war. To quote President Ronald Reagan (1983), “Veterans know better than anyone else the price of freedom, for they’ve suffered the scars of war. We can offer them no better tribute than to protect what they have won for us.”

How do you recognize Veterans Day and Military Family Appreciation Month?

My wife, also a veteran, and I will often meet with friends from our many assignments to share time and comradery with them. This year, however, we are focused on my wife’s family, who have served in an active duty position or as a federal employee in the DoD.

What is your role at Empower AI?

Our team supports the US Capitol Police Special Security Bureau. Specifically, I am on the team providing technical security, technical countermeasures, and counterintelligence expertise to the mission of the USCP.

How do you use the skills you learned in the military today?

The foundation of all my security, technologies, and investigations expertise is based on my Army career.

Charles Duke - U.S. Army Veteran and Operations Director

What inspired you to get involved in the military?

After 20 years of active-duty service and retiring from the U.S. Army, I had the drive and passion to pursue a new career, allowing me to transition my military skills, experience, and education. I’ve always enjoyed interacting with people to develop and execute processes, creating new endeavors. My ideology and commitment to servant leadership, the optimistic motivation that anything can be accomplished and creating enjoyable workplace cultures are part of my makeup and led me to becoming a Professional Project Manager. Fortunately for me, my introduction, and journey into the information technology (IT) and artificial intelligence (AI) kicked off with Empower AI.

In your role at Empower AI, how do you use the skills you learned as a military leader?

As an Operations Director for Empower AI, the Army instilled in me valuable skills that play a critical role in my day-to-day efforts. Within the seven Army Values are two that stand out (Integrity and Personal Courage). One of my responsibilities is communicating with customers,

senior managers, and team members. Everyone enjoys good news, but as a Project Manager, bad news comes with the job and doesn’t get better with time. Having the integrity and personal courage to communicate with clarity and honesty is essential. Parallel to the Army, it builds trust and demonstrates to those impacted by your decision-making that your moral compass is always steady.

As we all know, IT and AI are vast, fast paced and continuously growing. As a Project Manager in this industry, we encounter new projects and challenges that can truly test a person’s comfort zone. Having the personal courage to leap into the unknown, learn new skills and have an immediate impact is something that we - as soldiers - experience often. After multiple deployments and supporting missions around the globe, the Army ensured that having the intangible skill of personal courage what not be an issue!

During your career, what are some specific challenges or obstacles you have faced along the way, and how did you overcome them?

My most difficult challenge was being new to the technology used on our projects and bridging the conceptual knowledge gap required to manage them. I was able to quickly overcome this challenge by working hands-on with my Project Team to support the Home Station Mission Command project for the Fort Bragg 18th Airborne Corps HQ IT Infrastructure Upgrades. Collaborating with the subject matter experts at the execution level prepared me for the greater responsibility that I hold today as an Operations Director and Program Manager supporting the National Capital Region - Engineering Division (NCRED) National Defense University.

Based on your training what are some of the key achievements or milestones in your career that you are proud of?

My most notable achievement is completing my MBA while serving in the military. Following the military, being certified by the Project Management Institute (PMI) as a Project Management Professional (PMP) and Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP).

With a goal of achievement, I aim to be certified by PMI as a Professional Business Analyst (PMI-PBA) this summer.

From your experience in the military, why is responsible AI important to the future of the military and the nation?

Responsible AI is important to warfighters and senior decision-makers of all branches to the Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Sailors on the front line. Time is an asset and incorporating AI into daily operations doesn’t replace people, it improves us! Leveraging AI to process data allows for faster and more accurate decision-making leaving more time to respond and win in any situation.

What motivates you to continue pushing boundaries and striving for excellence in your work?

My motivations are family, co-workers, and the members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., where we value achievement in every field of human endeavor.

In your view, why is it important that we celebrate Military Appreciation Week?

Showing appreciation to current and previous military service members is a phenomenal gesture of humility. It’s important to use a platform such as this because it highlights how military service members are not only supporting our nation in uniform. We’re key team members in positions of great responsibility supporting the success of companies like Empower AI. The appreciation shines a light on the entire military community, acknowledging that our service to country and mission success never truly ends!

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