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Make Your Home Wildfire Ready and Insurable with FortressFire Inspections

Schedule a ground inspection to help protect your home from wildfire, facilitate insurance purchase, and align with wildfire regulations.


Meet the experienced team behind FortressFire.

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Michael Ashker

Chairman & CEO

Michael has worked in the securities industry since 1984. He founded Lynx Capital Group, a tech-focused hedge fund, in 1994. In 1998, he founded and served as CEO of Provident and Healthaxis Insurance, the first fully digital health insurance company to sell policies directly to consumers online. Since the late 1990s, Michael has founded and served as CEO of multiple businesses, including companies backed by Bain Capital, Intel Ventures, and Newspring Capital. He is also the co-founder and CFO of Fortress Fire Retardant Systems.

John Wall

Founder & CTO

John has more than 25 years of experience leveraging innovative technologies to create business value. As CTO of YourMechanic and Element Fleet Management, he designed and developed marketplace service platforms while leading teams across multiple countries. His experience also includes 15+ years building insurance technology and related infrastructure for Symcor, MedUnite, and Healthaxis. He currently holds seven patents and is committed to driving digital transformation with big data, AI, cloud, and mobile platforms.

Jim Pedersen

Head of Insurance Services

Jim has more than 30 years in Property & Casualty Insurance leadership roles and has been a trusted advisor to the founders of FortressFire from its earliest days. His experience span operations, technology, and customer service including VP at Allstate as well as SVP and Chief Customer Service Officer and COO of Personal Insurance at Fireman’s Fund. He is also the former President of Nationwide’s Private Client Group. Jim received his degree from St. Mary’s College of California.

Daniel Markert

Head of Risk Management & Fire Operations

Daniel is a retired US Army Colonel with more than 30 years of experience leading military operations around the world, including serving as Director of US/NATO Operations for Southern Afghanistan from 2018-2019. As Director of Operations for the California Military Department, he coordinated with civilian agencies to support emergency response operations and homeland security. In addition to serving as senior coordinator to the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services for military support to all state and federal agencies in California, Daniel also deployed the program used for real-time fire perimeter mapping by USFS and CalFire.

Michele Cunningham

Head of Marketing

Michele Cunningham brings over 20 years of strategic marketing expertise, spanning multi-national organizations, start-ups, and scale-ups. Specializing in B2B software/SaaS and managed services companies, Michele excels in driving market expansion through product marketing, brand and content marketing, demand and lead generation, digital and account-based marketing programs, and analyst engagement. Michele has conceptualized and executed both direct and indirect growth programs at companies including AT&T Capital, Element Fleet, and mission-driven technology enterprises. With a background in psychology, biology, and business at the University of Virginia and Darden School of Business, Michele brings a unique perspective to her integrated marketing and team building approach. She is deeply engaged in community efforts, including involvement with the American Heart Association and as a mentor with technology and innovation councils.

Michael O’Dell

Director, Machine Learning

Michael is a physics-trained data scientist and program manager who has helped both small companies and Fortune 500 corporations leverage data to find market insights, customer priorities, process efficiencies, and consumer preferences. His experience with deterministic and probabilistic modeling across a wide spectrum of problem domains along with revenue responsibilities in several operational roles makes him uniquely capable to build mission critical solutions. Michael has worked with large and small data sets in both on-premises or cloud environments using physics-based, natural language processing, deep learning, and Bayesian and frequentist statistical approaches. Prior to FortressFire, he served as a consultant, Chief Data Scientist, Senior Project Manager, and Director of Program Management to multiple California-based companies.

Robert Burnham


Robert is a professional natural resource specialist with over 38 years of experience in natural resource planning, wildfire risk analysis, fire management, and utility right of way protection. He served as the Chief Deputy Director of Fire and Aviation Management for the USDI Bureau of Land Management before moving to the private sector as CEO of ERT Inc., which provided a range of professional services and construction/vegetation management services for major California utilities. Robert is also the co-founder and CEO of Fortress Fire Retardant Systems.

Michael Lozano

Acting Head of Fire Management Services

Michael has spent nearly 30 years with the California Fire Service. In addition to serving as an Executive Officer with CFS for nine years, he has experience with every aspect of emergency wildfire response, from working with ground-based “hotshot” crews to aerial firefighting operations and everything in-between. He is dedicated to putting more accurate information into the hands of emergency response services in a wildfire situation and improving the assessment and mitigation services that can make properties safe from harm.

Get in Touch

Talk to one of our wildfire specialists to learn how FortressFire’s AMP Platform can help protect your properties from the growing threat of wildfire.