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Second Creek Technologies

2nd Creek Technologies

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Location: Cabell County
Electronic communication leaves electronic evidence. Capturing that data is one of the services performed by Second Creek Technologies.

Founded in 2005, the Barboursville-based company specializes in Web and IT services, forensic accounting and the emerging fields of computer forensics and electronic discovery.

Second Creek capabilities have been called on to resurrect data lost through mishaps such as fire or deliberately deleted. The company also assists in locating, sifting through, preserving and aiding presentation of digital evidence in court. In addition to offering its services commercially, Second Creek conducts continuing education credits for legal professionals on electronic discovery and computer forensics.

"The world has embraced digital technologies such as e-mail, cell phones and iPods," said CEO John Sammons. "The laws are beginning to catch up with technology. The old rules for paper discovery do not suffice in the digital age. Today, the 'smoking gun' in a case may not be in the file cabinet, but in a maze of digital data."

A Certified Electronic Discovery Specialist, Sammons is also a former Huntington police officer. His partners include David Irvin, chief financial officer, senior engineer and chief computer forensic analyst; Art Hand, chief technical officer, senior engineer and director of information technologies; and Julie Shepard, corporate counsel.

"Our legal and technical backgrounds produced a 'perfect storm,' an ideal convergence of skills for computer forensics and electronic discovery," said Sammons.

Although the partners could have launched their high technology operations anywhere, they chose West Virginia. One attraction was Marshall University. The company partners with Marshall University's Computer Forensic Section of the Forensic Science Center. The university's program is one of only three to be accredited by the Forensic Science Education Program Accreditation Commission.

"We serve as adjunct faculty, share staff and pool resources," said Sammons. "This cooperative agreement allows us to stay on the cutting edge of computer forensic technology and is a great example of how private-public partnerships can work."

Another attraction was the state itself, said Sammons. "We consider ourselves West Virginians and are committed to this state. We have been able to keep talent here in the state, and provide opportunities for other skilled West Virginians to return home."

One such West Virginian was Todd Nessel, now a technician with Second Creek. He graduated from Barboursville high school and attended Marshall University before getting an itch to travel. He moved to California where he developed an interest in information technology. A few years later, he moved to Detroit where he earned his bachelor's degree.

"By this time, I had lived in other places and was ready to come back home to West Virginia," Nessel said. He joined Second Creek and enrolled in Marshall's master's program.

Until recently, information technology and networking generated the lion's share of Second Creek's business, said Sammons. "Now IT and electronic discovery are pretty close. We expect the demand for e-discovery to rise sharply. Computer forensics is a new field. The technology and legal mandates will continue to grow."
"We serve as adjunct faculty, share staff and pool resources. This cooperative agreement allows us to stay on the cutting edge of computer forensic technology and is a great example of how private-public partnerships can work."

John Sammons,