Alumni Spotlights feature MHS Alumni who have been nominated by others for the work they are doing or how they impact their community. Warrior Nation's first Alumni Spotlight is for Parham Eftekhari! Warrior Nation asked Parham a few questions about his high school experience and what he has done since.
Parham Eftekhari, Class of 1997
1. What activities, clubs, or organizations were you involved with during high school?
I was heavily involved with Student Council and the Wisconsin Association of Student Councils (WASC) both in junior high school and high school, eventually serving as our school President and class V.P during my senior year. I was also in the National Honor Society and participated in the school's soccer and track programs.
2. What were you best known for in high school?
I’d like to think that I was best known for being the nice guy and not being confined to one ‘clique’ of friends. Although I was fortunate enough to have a very active and positive social life, I did experience some bullying for being Persian. I think this made me sensitive to other students who were deemed 'different' so I tried my best to make everyone feel included.
3. What have you been up to since graduation?
After MHS, I went to the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where I earned a marketing and international business degree from the Grainger School of Business as well as a minor in French. During my time at UW, I spent two years at the Ecole Superiere de Commerce de Paris (ESCP) in Paris, France. After graduation, I joined a small research and consulting firm conducting competitive intelligence research for clients in the technology and telecommunication industries. In 2007 I co-founded an organization that educated Chief Information Officers and other IT leaders in federal agencies on technology trends. As the industry evolved, my attention turned to cyber security and the growing cyber-threats facing our Nation. The more I learned about the adversary and how vulnerable we are to attack, the more I felt compelled to do something to support the civil servants, policy makers and industry leaders who were focused on protecting the U.S. and our allies. In late 2014, l co-founded the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT) where I am currently a Sr. Fellow. ICIT is a next generation cyber security think tank providing objective, non-partisan advising to congress, federal agencies, academia and critical infrastructure sectors like the financial, healthcare, energy, and defense sectors. I also own CamPatch, a company that manufactures and sells webcam covers to protect people from webcam hacking. I currently live in Chicago but travel to Washington D.C. several times each month.
4. In what ways are you impacting your community? Or making an impact in your field of work?
While most of our country is extremely frustrated with politics in America, its important to remember that there are tens of thousands of federal and state employees who have chosen a life of civil service because they want to make a difference in their country. ICIT supports the IT segment of this community by providing education and research on bleeding edge cyber security and technology issues. Currently, the primary benefactors of our research and advising are legislative, federal agency and military leaders, academia, industry and critical infrastructure owner / operators. However, the Institute is expanding its efforts and will soon be directly educating 'everyday' consumers of technology – including our youth – as part of our mission to cultivate a cyber security renaissance.
5. Any additional comments you would like to make to old classmates or the Warrior Nation community:
To all my schoolmates, their families and the amazing faculty and staff at MHS, I would like to say THANK YOU! With so much media these days about how divided we are as a Nation, I remain optimistic in our future because of you. I experienced firsthand how loving, kind and open-minded America can be while growing up in Muskego. My family and I were from Iran, were members of the Baha’i Faith and spoke a different language, all things that made us standout in Muskego. However, I have countless memories of how the community embraced my family and I as one of their own. Sure there were a few ignorant people here and there, but with time they saw that even a kid born in Iran can grow up to be a country music (and Janet!) loving cheese head and we're not really all that different. So thank you for showing me the best humanity has to offer. Regardless of where my life’s adventures take me, Muskego will forever be my home sweet home.
Senior picture from 1997
Parham speaking at the United States Senate.