FBI Charlotte
Public Affairs Specialist Shelley Lynch
March 6, 2018

North Carolina Cybersecurity Business Owner Wins FBI Award

John A. Strong, special agent in charge of the Charlotte Division of the FBI has chosen Theresa Payton as the 2018 Director’s Community Leadership Award (DCLA) recipient for North Carolina. Ms. Payton is the owner of Fortalice Solutions, a Charlotte-based cybersecurity company.

Ms. Payton recognizes the need for private industry and the FBI to share information to protect our country’s intellectual property. Ms. Payton encourages her customers to notify and work with the FBI if they suspect a cyber intrusion or economic espionage. Her influence and partnership recently assisted the FBI in a case involving a Chinese citizen who stole millions of dollars of trade secrets from a North Carolina company. He is serving 60 months in prison.

She has been a board member of the Charlotte Chapter of the InfraGard for more than five years. She travels around the country promoting the work of InfraGard and the information sharing efforts of the FBI to private industry. She helped spearhead a new Charlotte InfraGard cyber camp which engages local high school students to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and cybersecurity.

Ms. Payton also volunteers her time and company resources to help fight human trafficking through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Ms. Payton is the former White House CIO. She is a regular TV/Radio contributor who focuses her message on the importance of information sharing between public and private entities and the significance of protecting companies and individuals from online predators and cyber-attacks.

Since 1990, through the DCLA, the FBI has publicly recognized the achievements of individuals and organizations who have gone above and beyond the call to service by making extraordinary contributions to their communities in the areas of terrorism, cyber, drug, gang, or violence prevention and education.

FBI Director Christopher Wray will formally recognize Theresa Payton as North Carolina’s DCLA recipient during the Director’s Community Leadership Award ceremony at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., on April 20, 2018.