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Founded in 2003, Alakai Defense Systems, Inc. is a small, veteran-owned, high-tech company specializing in laser and electro-optical standoff threat detection sensors for defense & security applications.

Our pioneering sensors use ultraviolet lasers for Raman spectroscopy, a distinctly different and safer approach than competing solutions. Our products overcome common detection issues and can be used in daylight without interference, in rugged outdoor conditions where threats exist, and without the risk of accidental ignition. Alakai products can detect and identify substances, and return results fast with enhanced signal intensity for trace quantities at long range or covering large areas in real-time.

Closeup shot of technician working on SAFR product

Alakai has leveraged our DUV technology to create some of the most innovative standoff detection systems in the world. The company was awarded the SPIE Prism Awards for PRIED and recognized as 'best in show' at SOFIC in 2017, in addition to being named:

  • Inc. 500

  • Governor's Business Diversification Award

  • Florida Company to Watch

  • Florida Fast 100

  • Tampa Bay Business Journal Fast 50

Alakai experts lead the detection industry. Collectively they hold several patents and patents pending for multiple generations of standoff spectroscopic sensor systems. Recognizing the emerging need for the detection and identification of drugs, Alakai added additional capabilities for detecting narcotics, opioids, and fentanyl.


Ed Dottery, President, CEO

Ed Dottery is the founder and CEO of Alakai Defense Systems, Inc. He lead the company through rapid growth and the development of unique, leading-edge technologies to detect threats such as explosives, chemicals, WMD, narcotics, and hazardous materials at long standoff ranges.

Alakai is a second career for Mr. Dottery. During his time in the Army, he commanded in the Infantry and Special Forces and served on the physics faculty at West Point. He was instrumental in the oversight of defense programs in both the Army Acquisitions Corps as well as for the Lockheed Martin Corporation. Mr. Dottery is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Stanford University. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board for the Florida Defense Contractors Association (FDCA).

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Leo Hergenroeder,
Chief Growth Officer

Leo Hergenroeder brings more than 25 years of experience in the defense industry to his work at Alakai. He is well versed in international business and developing and managing BD teams and served for 16 years in the U.S. Army. Mr. Hergenroeder holds a Six Sigma Black Belt and is a graduate of U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Rob Waterbury,
Chief Technology Officer

Rob Waterbury leads technology development, leveraging more than 30 years of experience in the innovative use of lasers, optics, and sensors. He has held the roles of Product Development Manager and OEM Sales Manager and his work has been recognized with multiple awards and patents.

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Robert Babnick,
Director of Manufacturing

Robert Babnick leads our manufacturing, bringing more than 20 years of engineering and technical project management experience working for Department of Defense contractors. He has expertise in electronics, optics, and systems engineering.

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Steve McGrory,
Chief Financial Officer

As CFO, Steve McGrory leverages over 25 years of combined leadership experience in the U.S. Air Force, corporate banking, and senior management at a leading Army Contractor. He founded Project Champion and has been recognized by the Nashville Business Journal as a Veteran making a difference. Steve is a U.S. Air Force ROTC graduate of Rutgers University and holds an MBA from New York University.

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Our Customers

Alakai has proudly served public and private sector customers for more than 20 years.

United States Special Operations Command Insignia
DTRA United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency
DHS US Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Army HQDA G-38
U.S. Army - Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate
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