- Master-at-Arms, U.S. Navy
- Nuclear Security at U.S. Department of Energy
Since I was a kid I dreamed of becoming a federal agent, so after high school I started my journey and enlisted in the U.S. Navy and became a Master at Arms (Navy law enforcement). Following nine years in the military, I was ready to fulfill my dream and applied for a multitude of state and federal agencies. As I waited on my federal applications, I took an opportunity with GDBA in 2006 — yet that itch to become a state and federal law enforcement officer never went away. Six months later I left GDBA and accepted an offer from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a security wing of the Department of Energy, and became part of an elite federal law enforcement team protecting America’s nuclear arsenal. I thought the grass was greener on the federal side, so I opted for the badge, the mission, and that government pension.
Protecting nuclear war heads is an important mission and I was excited to start my new career. I soon discovered, however, that when it comes to job satisfaction, an organization’s culture matters even more than their mission. An organization’s culture defines who they are, while its mission defines what they are. To succeed, I needed a culture that welcomed my ideas, my innovations, and my ambitions. All the federal government seemed to welcome was inertia and stagnation. I feared I was losing control of my career and surrendering it to a large bureaucracy. More than once, a senior manager told me and other top performing agents “to wait our turn” regarding future opportunities and promotions. Why should I wait, I thought, if I’m already outperforming those ahead of me? No matter how hard I worked as a federal law enforcement agent, merit always took a back seat to seniority. It was time to reconsider GDBA.
At Gavin de Becker & Associates, no one “waits their turn” or “pays their dues.” Our merit-based culture recognizes only one thing: Performance. Overachievers are never scolded as show-offs; instead, they’re appreciated as force multipliers. Like any winning football coach, GDBA wants the very best players on the field. Consequently, like any star athlete, when an agent excels it’s great for both he and the team. This mutually beneficial relationship between each GDBA associate and the firm at large serves both parties and fuels everyone’s success.
When I first joined GDBA in 2006, the firm was a quarter the size it is today. Back then we were in LA, San Francisco, New York, and Seattle; now we’re in seventeen cities including London. GDBA associates come from a variety of backgrounds, including military, law enforcement, private security, EMTs, paramedics, competitive athletics, and many more. When we decide who to promote, we never look at what they were before GDBA, we always look at who they are today. Again, it’s all about performance.
In 2008, I finally rejoined GDBA and it felt like home. Within a few months of my return, I was promoted to Opportunity Manager, and even that title, with my favorite word – opportunity – told me I had finally stopped “waiting my turn” and decided to finally take my turn. Some months later, I was promoted again, this time to Detail Leader and assigned to one of our most prominent and at-risk clients. Now, after six years with GDBA, you will not find me choking on paperwork; instead, you will find me protecting clients at their homes, on the street, and overseas. At these places, and countless others (wherever our clients might go), you will find me moving fast, thinking fast, and growing fast.