Aaron Gamewell, 51, chairman and CEO of SBS CyberSecurity of Little Rock, died Wednesday following a battle with cancer.
Gamewell, who had more than 20 years of experience and banking and business operations before he joined the company in December 2015 as president and COO, led SBS as it doubled revenue and expanded its reach nationally. In a statement, the company called him a "successful and well-respected business leader" who served as a mentor "to countless employees."
"When Aaron started at SBS, he asked us to trust him," Chad Knutson, SBS' president and chief information security officer of SBS, said in a news release. "At the time, he meant as a business leader, but over the years our trust of Aaron has gone so much farther.
"Aaron was a beloved friend and mentor to so many. We got to see him as an excellent father, confidant, advisor and role model. Although we hoped to have him with us for much longer, we are so incredibly lucky to have known him for as long as we did."
Honey Shelton was named incoming CEO of SBS last fall. She said she was proud of where Gamewell's leadership had taken the company.
"We will continue to honor Aaron's legacy by leaning on the core values of passion, compassion, and desire that he personally lived by and incorporated as the foundation of the company," she said.
Before joining SBS, Gamewell worked in Arkansas for multiple banks. In 2008, when he began a consulting practice for startups and venture capital groups. In 2012, he became executive vice president and COO of the Arkansas Bankers Association, a position he held until joining SBS.
Outside of the office, Gamewell encouraged others to enter the world of cybersecurity. In 2018, SBS and the Gamewell family created an endowed scholarship for Dakota State University cybersecurity majors through the CybHER program to encourage diversity in the field.
SBS said Gamewell touched the lives of many in and out of the cybersecurity industry and will be remembered as a beloved leader, mobilizer and visionary.
Gamewell, who led a company with offices in Little Rock and Madison, South Dakota, talked about his squamous cell carcinoma diagnosis in an October story for Little Rock Soirée magazine. Gamewell and his wife René were co-chairs of the Tux 'n' Trees fundraising event for CARTI, where he had received treatment since 2017.
"I was fortunate enough to have the ability to go anywhere for treatment," Gamewell told the magazine. "My insurance benefits allowed me to choose a primary care center, as well as the chance to get a second opinion. After walking into CARTI for the first time, I didn't need a second opinion."
Gamewell died in his hometown of Little Rock. In lieu of flowers, his family has asked for donations to be made to the CARTI Foundation or to the SBS and Gamewell Family Scholarship.