Exploring Identity with John Ciulla
by Rebeka Wellmon
October 16, 2020
John is the CEO, President, & Chairman of Regatta Solutions Group with a 30-year track record of building and leading successful companies. Most recently, at Xerox, John was instrumental in Xerox’s hardware to services transformation, creating, acquiring, and leading several multi-billion dollar lines of business.
Prior to Xerox, John was the CEO at Neogent. John built Neogent into a leading IT Security and Identity Management solutions company. He directed sales and client growth while reconstructing the company for its sale to Sun Microsystems. John has also held leadership roles at Vignette, IBM/Tivoli Systems, Entex, EDS and Perot Systems.
John majored in Business Management and minored in Economics as well as Computer Science. Learn more about John in this Exploring Identity article, including how he ran a General Motors Data Center at just 25 years old and how he started Regatta Solutions Group from his garage (literally!).
How did you get involved with Regatta?
I decided to found Regatta Solution Group back in late 2014. The SailPoint leadership team was looking for another very solid Identity partner to help resell and implement their software with Fortune 500 companies. This was the same team that I worked with back in the early 2000’s when they ran Waveset, and I ran Neogent. We both sold our companies to Sun Microsystems.
What is the most interesting job you’ve ever had? Do you have a story to share from this job?
Running a General Motors Data Center at just 25 years old was my most interesting job. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I got the opportunity to do this with the GM/EDS merger in 1984. I love leadership and have never looked back.
What does Regatta mean to you? How would you describe our company?
It’s a complete “garage” start-up. We wanted to have the best people in the Identity industry doing the best work for our customers. We work very hard and move aggressively, which is missing from the larger players in the space. Regatta, and the team members at Regatta, mean everything to me.
What do you find the most interesting thing about IAM (Identity & Access Management)?
It’s the true center of the Cyber Security world. It all starts and ends with user access.
What one new thing have you learned since COVID-19?
You can be just as productive working remotely as you can going into an office and flying around the world. The tools today are amazing. We affirmed that the social and technical tools are great, and the team is very motivated to work from home.
Have you picked up any new hobbies / explored new interests during COVID-19?
Eating more… LOL
What lasting lesson have you learned from working with Regatta or in relation to Regatta’s mission?
It’s very hard to start a company out of a garage with internal funding. It takes much longer to ramp up and grow organically.
What childhood dream of yours has come true?
What is your personal philosophy on developing your workforce/team?
Attitude is everything.
What kind of manager are you?
I’m a hands-off kind of manager. I like to draw out the strategy and then let the team fly.
How do you handle difficult situations within your team?
People are so different. You have to treat and handle them and each situation differently. Know your people!
Knowing what you know now, would you hire yourself for your job?
LOL – for sure.
What events/classes/development do you leverage for your team?
Not much for a small team in the start-up world. Most of the team has been through a good bit of training in their past and hit the ground running. I’m currently looking at more Agile, PM, and Identity training moving forward.
How do you suggest someone find a job in IAM?
Take Java classes. The technical folks, developer and architects, are the most sought after. The trick is getting on 2-3 engagements under your belt and then you are off to the races.
Who do you look up to the most and why?
Only one person in the sky.
What are you most proud of?
My ability to help others in their careers.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
What do you like to do in your spare time outside of work?
Golf, travel, & enjoy family activities.
Do you watch any traditional sports? If so, who is your favorite team?
Golf and football (Go Bills!)
If you could instantly become an expert at something, what would it be?
I like being a Renaissance man (well rounded). I don’t like just one thing.
What is the most interesting thing you have done in the past year?
I bought a home in Denver. Planning to spend much more time there.
What is Regatta doing right now that excites you the most? What should potential new customers be looking forward to regarding Regatta?
We are growing quickly! We’re bringing in the best new team members! Regatta recently announced our FastTrack offering that helps fortune 500 compaines quickly achieve the Identity ROI they’ve been seeking.