J. Van Gurley

Chief Operating Officer

Mr. Gurley joined Metron as a Senior Manager in 2013.  He was named Senior Vice President in 2016 and Chief Operating Officer in 2017.  In addition to his corporate duties, he actively leads a number of research and development efforts in predictive analytics, data fusion, and mission planning for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Office of Naval Research, and Federal Aviation Administration.  He also serves as a company media spokesman and has provided numerous live interviews to national and international media outlets such as PBS Newshour, ABC, CNN, BBC, Fox News, MSNBC, CCTV, CBC, Voice of America, and Agence France-Presse.  

Prior to joining Metron, Mr. Gurley completed a distinguished 26-year career in the United States Navy rising to the rank of Captain while serving as a submarine warfare officer and naval oceanography specialist.  His leadership tours included command of small and large units culminating in command of the Naval Oceanography Operations Command composed of 1000 personnel assigned to 7 major field offices and 84 deploying support teams operating around the world.  Operational tours included deployments on submarines and aircraft carriers; staff positions with Cruiser-Destroyer Group TWO and Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; and significant experience as an ASW planner in the Atlantic and Mediterranean theaters.  Major staff and other shore assignments included Military Deputy/Executive Assistant for the Oceanographer of the Navy; Special Assistant and Director of the Commander’s Action Group for Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command; and Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations for Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command.

During his navy career, Mr. Gurley led several efforts to identify and transition new ocean science capabilities into Fleet operations.  This included development and execution of a complete restructuring of the naval oceanography community’s undersea warfare support programs coupled with accelerated fielding of major new technologies in unmanned ocean sensing, ocean and acoustic modeling, and mission planning.

Mr. Gurley earned Master of Science and Engineer’s degrees in ocean engineering awarded jointly by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.  His research work was honored with the Ruth and Paul Fye award for excellence by the Wood Hole Oceanographic Institute Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering Department.  He also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the University of Florida and was the Navy’s 2003 Federal Executive Fellow with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Security Studies program.  He recently completed the MIT Sloan School Executive MBA program.


  • Master of Business Administration, MIT Sloan School of Management, 2018
  • Bachelor of Science, Physics, University of Florida, 1986 
  • Master of Science, Ocean Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology & Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, 1992
  • Ocean Engineer’s Degree, Massachusetts Institute of Technology & Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, 1992