Computer cop

Sometimes good ideas come from strange places. In the case of Don Heestand, CEO and co-founder of e-Merging Technology Group (ETG), a good idea was inspired in part by a very horrible event.

“We were in Washington on 9-11,” Heestand says.

He and his co-founders Ann Katigbak and Jeremy Samide could see smoke rising from the Pentagon. Witnessing the tragedy sparked a high-tech response.

“Sending reports out about staying off bridges is the government’s way of dealing with it, but what we want to do is more specific,” says Heestand. “We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about cyber security and the ability of people like Osama bin Laden to hide data.

ETG wants to lend its expertise to assist in securing our domestic cyber space.

“We’ve been feeling very red, white and blue lately,” says Heestand.

The idea is to use students to monitor cyber space and warn companies when new computer viruses and other threats are developed and sent out. That would require getting a technical fingerprint or the “cyber DNA” of each company to create a database.

Heestand wants to use students from a local college and Cleveland as a test site.

“Wouldn’t it be great to do something like this and be first in the country?” he says.

In a world in which the United States is relying more and more on foreign computer programming, hardware and telecommunications, Heestand wants to focus his staff on creating a domestic high-tech infrastructure and wants a good part of that happen in Cleveland.

Implementing the idea may take a huge amount of work, but Heestand says cyber security is as important as any other security.

“Getting hit by a (computer) worm is more likely than getting hit by a tornado,” he says. How to reach: e-Merging Technologies, (216) 433-9668 or