Our Team

Brad Garland

CEO, Owner

Brad is responsible for defining vision, culture, business execution and development for Vala Secure. Brad built this business on the premise that information security is foundational to every organization’s well being and helps to demystify and guide our clients through the rough cybersecurity waters. He brings 20 years of experience on security and compliance across multiple industries. He graduated from The University of North Texas with a B.A. in Communications and a minor in Computer Science. Brad is married with three daughters and loves soccer, golf and travel experiences.


Virtual Compliance Division Director

Heath has been with Vala Secure since 2006 helping clients with cybersecurity, IT audits, vendor management, business continuity planning, end user training and risk assessments. Heath graduated Cum Laude from Texas Tech University with a Bachelors of Finance. He serves on the Vala Secure leadership team to strategically deliver solutions and services to clients. Heath is well-versed in and passionate about identifying exactly what clients need and creating secure environments -- not just compliant ones.

Dan Irvin

Chief Operating Officer

For over a decade Dan Irvin has brought proven excellence, experience, and commitment to Director and leadership roles within nationally positioned organizations. Through his dynamic emphasis on sustainable enterprise growth through strategic placement and development of people, services, and processes while maintaining disciplined focus on financial management, budgeting, and business forecasting, Dan has created award-winning results in sales revenue, team growth, employee retention, and internal and external customer relations. At Vala Secure Management Group, he serves in pivotal capacities in business plan execution and revenue expense management; leading and managing accountability; and supporting enterprise departments. He is a frequent speaker at conferences, professional development, business community, and nonprofit events.

Laura Varner, CRCM, CRP, CAMS

Director of Compliance

Laura serves as a Virtual Compliance Officer (VCO) for our clients, supervises and performs regulatory compliance audits for many of our clients and serves as exam liaison. Laura has 20+ years in bank compliance including compliance management, regulatory compliance auditing, training, board reporting and working with regulatory examiners. She is considered a subject matter expert in all areas of regulatory compliance and shares her knowledge at conferences and webinars. Laura graduated from East Texas State University (now Texas A & M Commerce) with a BA in Political Science. Laura received her CRCM certification in 1997, her CRP (charter member) certification in 2003, and her CAMS certification in 2015.

Dan Nerada

Director of Operations

Dan is responsible for managing all Operations for Vala Secure including scheduling, reporting, logistics, accounting and HR. He has a degree in Bank Management and numerous AIB and BAI certifications along with over 25 years of commercial banking experience. He also serves on the Vala Secure leadership team helping develop strategies to deliver outstanding results to clients and prospects.

Austin Bynum

Director of Cybersecurity and Compliance

Austin has been working in the network and security space for 19 years. After 14 years managing Information Technology and Security in banking, Austin left the financial industry and joined Vala Secure. He decided to bring his years of banking and security experience into the audit and testing realm. He now heads the Cybersecurity and Compliance department of Vala Secure where he works daily with clients to help them better position themselves against the ever increasing threats in the cybersecurity landscape -- and stay compliant.

Kristin Johnstone

Operations Specialist

Kristin is responsible for handling many of the behind the scenes details at Vala Secure. She generates and provides completed reports to our many clients. Kristin also assists with accounting and bookkeeping. In addition, she acts as a liaison between our consultants and clients in scheduling audits and ensuring that our clients have adequate time to collect the documents necessary for the performance of the audit. Kristin attended Oklahoma State University and received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

Johnita Akin

Compliance Advisor

Johnita performs regulatory compliance audits for our clients and brings 20+ years of community bank experience as Branch Manager, Vice President and Loan Officer. She has experience in all areas of consumer compliance regulation and is currently working on her CRCM. Johnita brings a vast amount of banking knowledge to the table to assist our clients in understanding how their internal processes can be adjusted to meet regulatory requirements.

Brandon Gettert, C|ISO, ITIL v3, C|EH, CSIS

Cybersecurity Strategist

Brandon has been with Vala Secure since 2018 providing VISO services for our clients to help harden their information security program. Key areas of that program include governance, policy, awareness training, project management, audit, risk assessments, incident response, business continuity and disaster recovery. Prior to joining Vala Secure Brandon has 20 years of IT experience which includes Information Security, OnPrem/Off Prem infrastructure, Linux administration, Windows administration, database administration and software development. Outside of the office, Brandon is an active member in the information security community including HackFW, InfraGard and ISSA.

Have you been told you look like someone famous?

"Yes, a few times, Ben Affleck. My wife doesn't see it."

Chad Musgrove

Security Analyst

Chad has been with Vala Secure since 2018. His responsibilities include social engineering testing and other security work. He resides in Brownwood, TX.

Karl Wood, CISA

Cybersecurity Advisor

Karl is a Security Advisor for Vala Secure delighting our customers and helping them with IT audit and security testing. He currently holds the CISA and Sec+.


Cybersecurity Advisor

Steven has been a Cybersecurity Advisor with Vala Secure since 2017 and is very concerned about his privacy and all things cybersecurity. We respect his decision so that's all we're going to say. Well, except that his spirit animal is the buffalo.

Join Our Team

Do you think you got what it takes to become apart of our amazing team? See our career portal and click the job title to apply:

career portal