October 4, 2022 – Tampa, Fla. – The Florida Center for Cybersecurity at the University of South Florida (USF), also known as Cyber Florida, is delighted to announce that Ernest “Ernie” Ferraresso has been selected to serve as Cyber Florida’s new Director, overseeing the center’s day-to-day operations under Executive Director General (Ret.) Frank McKenzie.

Ferraresso previously served as Cyber Florida’s Associate Director of Programs and Partnerships, leading numerous essential projects and initiatives and helping the center grow from a regional entity to a statewide organization. Among his achievements, Ferraresso built strategic public and private partnerships across Florida to forge a strong cyber workforce and worked to implement programs focusing on education, research, and engagement to advance Florida’s cyber resilience

Before joining Cyber Florida in 2017, Ferraresso was Director of Operations for a small technology design and integration firm, overseeing the design and implementation of cybersecurity and emergency operations center technology solutions in the U.S. and Latin America. He is a retired U.S. Marine Intelligence Officer whose work included assignments with U.S. Special Operations Forces, the Intelligence Community, the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, and U.S. Cyber Command.

“Ernie is a highly respected member of the Cyber Florida team,” said General (Ret.) Frank McKenzie. “His expertise, prior exemplary service at Cyber Florida, collaborative leadership style, and ongoing commitment to the mission made him the standout candidate for this role. I am entirely confident that, under his leadership, Cyber Florida will continue to flourish and secure its rightful place as the nation’s preeminent center for cybersecurity.”

Ferraresso describes his vision for Cyber Florida’s future as being the mechanism at the heart of Florida’s efforts to stand as the national model for a statewide culture of cyber resiliency and collaboration. “Florida has made significant investments in advancing public sector cybersecurity as well as building a robust cyber industry and workforce across the state,” noted Ferraresso. He continued, “There are many entities, both public and private, working toward the same goals across the state, and I see Cyber Florida as the nexus of these efforts, connecting, enabling, and facilitating the initiatives and resources needed for Florida to realize its goal of being the national leader in cybersecurity.”



The Florida Center for Cybersecurity, also known as Cyber Florida, was established by the Florida Legislature in 2014 to help position Florida as a national leader in cybersecurity through education, research, and outreach. Hosted by the University of South Florida, Cyber Florida leads a spectrum of initiatives to inspire and educate future and current professionals, support industry-advancing research, and help people and organizations better understand cyber threats and what they can do to stay safer in cyberspace.