J. Van Gurley

Chief Operating Officer

Mr. Gurley is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Metron, Inc., a scientific consulting and research & development firm specializing in defense and national security technology.  As COO, Mr. Gurley manages day-to-day business operations and corporate support activities across the company’s five business units. 

Mr. Gurley joined Metron as a Senior Manager in 2013, was named Senior Vice President in 2016, and elevated to Chief Operating Officer in 2017.  In addition to his corporate duties, he actively leads a number of research and development efforts and rapid technology innovation projects in predictive analytics, data fusion, and automated mission planning for the U.S. Navy and the Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

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. 

During his navy career, Mr. Gurley led several strategy and innovation efforts that transitioned new technologies into fleet operations.  These 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. While serving as the Military Deputy/Executive Assistant for the Oceanographer of the Navy in the Pentagon, he served on the leadership team that developed of the U.S. Navy’s first strategy and policy for climate change.

Mr. Gurley has degrees in physics, engineering, and management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and University of Florida.  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.  In addition, he was the U.S. Navy’s 2003 Federal Executive Fellow with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Security Studies program.


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