Marco Ayala

Director | Industrial Cybersecurity

About Marco

As a director of industrial cybersecurity at 1898 & Co., Marco works with maritime clients and the oil, gas and chemical industries to identify on- and off-shore risks. His deep understanding of the industries, coupled with his extensive technical knowledge, allows him to uncover vulnerabilities that may otherwise go unnoticed.

In fact, Marco’s experience runs so deep, he literally helped write the book on cybersecurity for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). As a co-author of the DHS Chemical Security Roadmap, Marco drew on his years in the field on the owner/operator side to comprehensively address cyber risks within the chemical industry.

How Marco helps his clients 
When Marco works with clients, he brings a legacy of experience to the table. He may be leading a team now, but Marco still likes to wear a hard hat and fire-retardant clothing to get out in the field, walking through a client’s assets. He knows that hands-on perspective — examining the process area and control rooms — is critical to uncovering vulnerabilities. Because he’s worked in all aspects of the field, from design to deployment, he knows stepping away from the desk is sometimes the best way to tackle a tough challenge.

What motivates Marco
At heart, Marco loves to find things other people have missed. He’s worked with numerous clients who’ve called on 1898 & Co. after an unsatisfactory experience elsewhere. He knows his multi-faceted background will inevitably lead to uncovering a threat or vulnerability that others missed. He loves that “aha” moment that comes from getting to the root of a problem. He also relishes the opportunity to work with such smart people. Showing up every day and working with intelligent, bold teammates? That’s the dream for Marco.

A little bit about Marco
When Marco’s not knee-deep in a cybersecurity issue, he spends time traveling with his family. With his children now grown, Marco and his wife recently adopted a goldendoodle — and he’s finding out how much time a puppy takes up. Marco, who works from the Houston offices, also spends a significant amount of time volunteering for professional organizations. He’s an IEEE member and an ISA senior member. He’s a maritime sector chief for InfraGard. In 2022, he was nominated as vice president of the automation and technology side of the International Society of Automation, a global group of engineers, technicians and businesspeople who are interested in automation. He also sits as cybersecurity chair for the Area Maritime Security Committee (AMSC) Houston, and the co-chair of Threat Intelligence and Cybersecurity for the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf. 


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