About Us

Leadership Team


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AMTIS, Inc. has talented and experienced personnel to serve you.

Leadership and Management Team

Donald B. Jones

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

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As Founder of BlackFish Federal and CEO, Mr. Jones fosters a corporate commitment to excellence bound by integrity. Under his leadership, BlackFish Federal has achieved performance superiority and strong financial growth. Mr. Jones has over 20 years of management, operations, and business development leadership experience in the management consulting and information technology fields serving the federal government.

Born in Washington DC, Mr. Jones attended Norfolk State University graduating with a B.S. in Business Management and Marketing. Prior to founding BlackFish, Mr. Jones held executive leadership positions at PwC, IBM, SRA, and KPMG. Mr. Jones brings a perspective that combines innovation, vision, and strong leadership to creatively exceed customer expectations.

Mr. Jones resides in Arlington, VA and enjoys traveling, cooking, sports of all kinds, and music. However, his real hobby is entrepreneurship in its various forms, and he enjoys learning, thinking of new ideas, and (most of all) mentoring future entrepreneurs.

John Folino

Chief Operating Officer

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Mr. Folino is the BlackFish Federal, Inc. COO. Prior to joining BlackFish, Mr. Folino was the Veterans Enterprise Technology Solutions (VETS), Inc. Senior Vice President of Operations. Mr. Folino played an important role in VETS’ phenomenal annual revenue growth from less than $15 Million in 2010 to more than $70 Million. Mr. Folino provided leadership and support for numerous VA contracts and directly managed VETS FAA acquisition support contract. Prior to joining VETS, Mr. Folino was Vice President of Operations at Jorge Scientific Corporation. At Jorge, Mr. Folino was responsible for oversight of corporate operations and business development. During his tenure at Jorge, the company grew from 2005 revenue of $32 Million to more than $170 Million in 2010. Mr. Folino holds master’s degrees in Economics and Systems Engineering from Binghamton University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics from St. John Fisher College.

Melvern (Mel) Rushing

Senior Vice President of Professional Services

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Mel completed his Navy career in 1993. A Vietnam combat veteran, he enjoyed assignments in international programs, naval operations, supply systems, and major weapons acquisition. In the private sector, he established and expanded business in the international, government, and defense markets, and served as the Executive Vice President of AgustaWestland, Inc., President & CEO of ETI Engineering, Inc., and General Manager of BAE Systems Detica GCS (Global Communications Solutions), Inc. Mel holds an MBA from the George Mason University School of Management and a B.S. in Public Administration from the University of Southern California School of Public Policy. He is a certified Weapon Systems Acquisition Manager with an additional sub-specialty in Integrated Logistics Support.

Jerry Chase

Vice President of Training & Professional Services

Jerry served in the U.S. Navy for 23 years prior to transitioning to federal government contracting. He served on various ships and submarines and finished his service supporting PEO SHIPS as an Assistant Program Manager. Over the past 15 years, he has supported numerous federal government agencies. In 2013, Jerry joined the AMTIS team and has served as Vice President for Training and Professional Services, a Program Manager, Business Developer, Proposal Developer, and Quality Assurance Specialist. He has been instrumental in BlackFish Federal achieving and maintaining ISO 9001:2015 certification and CMMI SL2 maturity level. He has a BS in Sociology, a Program Management Professional (PMP) certification, and a Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification.

Cydney Grandinetti

Director of Accounting & Finance

Cydney Grandinetti, Director of Accounting & Finance

Cydney joined the AMTIS team in May of 2013 as a corporate intern and holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Florida. Cydney has experience managing all aspects of the Accounting department, including A/R, A/P, General Leger, and Payroll. She has experience maintaining compliance with Federal Travel Regulations and Federal Acquisition Regulations.

Suzanne Carolan

Director of Human Resources

Suzanne joined the AMTIS team in 2020 and brought with her over 14 years of Human Resources experience in the Federal government contracting sector. Suzanne has experience leading all aspects of Human Resources including recruitment, benefits, compensation management, employee relations, and government compliance. She and the HR team are dedicated to the mission of providing outstanding customer service to all of our employees.

Sarah Gillis

Director of Information Technology & Quality Assurance

Sarah has over 15 years of combined experience in the health care and federal government contracting industries. Since joining the AMTIS team in February 2014, Sarah’s dedication to providing high quality support has led to the establishment of our internal IT processes, quality assurance initiatives, purchasing and vendor relations, facilities support, and leadership of ISO 9001:2015 and CMMI for Services related efforts.

Tareka Wheeler

Director of Strategic Communications

Tareka joined the Office of Minority Health Resource Center (OMHRC) Project Team in September of 2017 as the Communications Manager. With more than 15 years of experience in project and program management, operations, and strategic communications in both the public and private sector, Tareka quickly advanced and became the Project Director for the OMHRC project in 2020. Tareka is a proven problem solver and leader with extensive experience in designing and managing communications campaigns that positively impact an organization’s visibility and strategic direction. As Project Director, Tareka provides oversight of the Resource Center, and serves as a trusted partner and advisor for leadership and staff within the HHS Office of Minority Health. Tareka is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree (Organizational Communication) from St. Edwards University.

Prior to joining AMTIS and the OMHRC Project, Tareka was the Director of Programs for Safe Kids Worldwide, a subsidiary of Children’s National Health System and a global non-profit focused on childhood injury prevention. Tareka provided oversight of program development, complex projects, and was intricately involved in the development of health communications campaigns funded by 400 and 500 companies. She worked collaboratively with various teams and leadership to ensure the organization was developing impactful programs and resources for a global network of more than 400 U.S. based coalitions and nearly 25 partners around the world. Tareka has also worked within healthcare as she led community-based programs focused on childhood injury prevention and patient safety at Dell Children’s Medical Center, a Level I pediatric trauma center serving 46 counties in Central Texas. She served at Dell Children’s for nearly 10 years, and was known for being a mission-driven professional that focused on improving access to and quality of services, designing patient-centered campaigns and initiatives, and developing evidence-based, creative solutions.

Candice Ahwah-Gonzalez

Director of Professional Services

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Candice joined AMTIS as the Office of Minority Health Resource Center (OMHRC) Project Director in April 2017. As Project Director, Candice provides oversight for the Resource Center and interfaces with the Director and Senior Staff at the Office of Minority Health. A Certified Program Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), she has earned a Master of Public Health degree (Behavioral Sciences and Health Education) from Emory University and Bachelor of Science degree (Community Health) from the University of Maryland-College Park.

Prior to joining the AMTIS and the OMHRC, Candice served as the Director of Benefits, Retirement, and Employee Health & Wellness for the District of Columbia Government, where she developed strategic performance plans, created and implemented District-wide policy, and provided oversight for more than $500 million of contracts related to employee health, benefits, and wellness. Prior to her service with the DC Government, Candice was a Program Manager for Safe Kids Worldwide – a global nonprofit focused on the prevention of unintentional childhood injuries, the leading cause of death for children in the United States. Candice has previously held public health program and leadership positions at the University of Delaware, Nova Southeastern University, the State of Florida, and the NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, where she has used her expertise in project management, evaluation, health communications, partnership engagement, and leadership to elevate each organizations’ mission and achieve evidence-based outcomes.

Michael Kruszewski

Director of Professional Services

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Michael joined AMTIS in 2015. He has worked in the government contracting environment at Fort Eustis since 1985, after receiving his A.A.S. in the field of Electronics Technology. Michael brings over 30 years’ experience working on the Army watercraft, first as a Senior Electronic Technician then as an Electronic Surveyor. In 2016, he was promoted to Project Manager of the Watercraft Inspection Branch contract, and in 2017, he helped AMTIS secure a new five-year contract supporting the 7th Transportation Brigade with maintenance of the Army vessels stationed at Fort Eustis. Recently, Michael was promoted to Director of Professional Services now working with BlackFish Federal, Inc.