Frederic M. Piry
Dr. Scott Nichol
Richard W. Marianos
Rick Vasquez is a national and internationally recognized firearms expert with 40 years of Federal government experience who began his career as a United States Marine in 1974. Over his 21 year career in the Marines, Rick received training as a basic armorer and as an advanced gunsmith at the precision weapons shop in Quantico, VA, where Rick subsequently served as the chief instructor of the facility. During his tenure at the Marine Corps, he was the representative that ensured the introduction of the M16A2 into the hands of the 6 Marine Regiment, coordinated the implementation and development of the Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifle and deployed to Colombia and developed armorer training for the Colombian Marines. Additionally, Rick served as a Marine recruiter, Marine Barracks (Security) duty in Naples, Italy, Marine Security Guard duty as Detachment Commander at the American Embassies in Kingston, Jamaica, and Moscow, Russia.
After leaving the Marine Corps Rick joined the U.S. Department of State, as a gunsmith and firearms instructor before joining the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), as a Firearms Enforcement Officer in the Firearms Technology Branch (FTB). Rick’s tenure at ATF has included travel to Bosnia where he worked with NATO forces to gather evidence for the war crimes tribunals, assisting the governments of Colombia, Mexico, Interpol, Canada, Jamaica, Curacao, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Australia with firearms regulations, statutes and prosecutions for the U.S. Government. While at ATF Firearms Technology Branch where he served as both a specialist, Assistant Branch Chief and Branch Chief he wrote the first Standard Operating Procedures for all disciplines of the FTB, wrote firearms rulings, preparing firearm briefs for Congress and developed firearms identification courses and reviewed and approved all ATF firearms ruling produced by FTB. Rick was also instrumental in reviewing the National Firearms Act Trade and Collectors Association (NFATCA) for accuracy and trained Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on the intricacies of importation guidelines and the recognition of unlawful imports.
Rick has received a public service award from the United States Attorney in the 4 district, ATF’s Distinguished Service Medal, and numerous letters of appreciation from ATF, FBI, and foreign law enforcement, noncommissioned officer in charge of the year for the Marine Corps, and was presented with a commendation from the Director of Diplomatic Security.
Frederic M. Piry, MPA, (known by his callsign “Razor”) has over four decades of wide-ranging experience from the foxhole to the boardroom in the fields of law enforcement, security, and training. He is a known expert, providing testimony to the Congressional Oversight Committee on Counter-Terrorism & Security Issues, contributing to Fox News on terrorism and tactics, serving as guest speaker on various national security issues, and featured in the 2002 book “Relentless Pursuit: The DSS and the Manhunt for the Al-Qaeda Terrorists”.
As a U.S. Marine, he served as a corporal at the prestigious 8th & I Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C. After tours at the White House and United Nations, he began a career in foreign service where he served over 20 years with the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) as a Counter Terrorism Special Agent. During his assignments, he served in the elite Mobile Security Deployment (MSD) as a Team Leader responding to high threats situations around the world including Operation Desert Storm. He served in over 120 countries as well as at the American Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon as the Regional Security Officer. He was also responsible for the development and implementation for numerous two-week Protective Security Operations training programs for U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group (SEAL TEAM 6) and U.S. Army Special Forces Operations Detachment-Delta personnel.
He served in numerous high-visibility roles. He was the Agent in Charge of the protective detail for former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, as well as responsible for the protection of the former Presidents Aristide and Préval of Haiti and former President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan. He was the lead Diplomatic Security investigator in the investigation of many high-profile international terrorist incidents including the World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef, the East African Embassy bombing, OPM/SANG bombing in Saudi Arabia, the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia, the killing of U.S. Consulate employees in Pakistan, the hostage taking at the Japanese Ambassador’s residence in Peru and the killing of U.S. Embassy employees in Haiti, among many others. He was responsible for the capture of College Francois who killed the embassy employees in Haiti. After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, he spent many years in Afghanistan and Iraq setting up security at the embassies and the Presidential compound in Afghanistan for the protection of former President Karzai. He was responsible for setting up the High Threat Protection Division and was responsible for the Worldwide Protective Security Contract valued at $3 billion and overseeing thousands of contractors providing security at High Threat Embassies.
Upon entering the private sector, Mr. Piry held several senior leadership positions with organizations that provided security and training programs for the U.S. government and a Classified Agency. This included running the Global Anti-Terrorism Assistance Training and Overseas Building Operations programs.
He has been recognized with the highest civilian award, the Medal of Valor, by former Secretary of State James Baker III. He has received many other Superior Honor Awards to include a Letter of Appreciation from former FBI Director Louis Freeh for assisting in the capture and investigation of Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, an FBI Top Ten Fugitive.
Mr. Piry has a bachelor’s degree in Administration of Justice from Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from West Chester University. Mr. Piry is a graduate of the Executive Development Program at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School. He is also a certified trainer for weapons/tactics, surveillance detection, hostage survival, and personal protective measures having trained thousands of U.S. government and military personnel.
Commander Clowers enlisted in the Navy Reserve in 1988 and progressed to the rank of IS2. In 1993 he was selected for commissioning as an intelligence officer.
CDR Clowers’ tours include FIRSTEURLANT 0108, SOCOM 0208, HS-75, JAC EUCOM 0167, DIA 0466, NCIS 0166 and SOCOM 0108. CDR Clowers was mobilized in support of NCIS in early 2014 through 2016 in support of the Military Commissions prosecuting the five defendants from September 11, 2001. Prior to that he was mobilized in mid-2006 and deployed to CJTF-HOA as the J2X Operations Officer with a follow-on deployment to Iraq as the MNF-I Chief/Interrogation Operations. As Chief/Interrogation Operations, CDR Clowers was responsible for development, implementation and monitoring of interrogation policy for the theater and for the intelligence screening of over 26,000 detainees.
CDR Clowers has been on long term orders with Joint Intelligence Operations Center Europe, Joint Reserve Intelligence Support Element (JRISE) Detroit since November 2012. CDR Clowers is the Chief/Joint Operations for approximately 200 joint intelligence reservists distributed between Selfridge Air National Guard Base and Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
His personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, and Navy Commendation Medal.
A Tennessee native, CDR Clowers retired after 24 years of service as a special agent with the United States Department of Justice. He served in a variety of positions throughout the United States and South America, retiring in 2012 as the Attaché for South American Operations. He has also spent significant time since retirement working as an instructor throughout Africa in support of Department of Defense and Department of State initiatives.
Mr. Penate retired as the ATF Regional Attaché, representing the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Mr. Penate and has served in various capacities as a Special Agent. Prior to retiring and serving as the ATF Regional Attaché for Central and South America, Mr. Penate served as the RAC of a general law enforcement group in Syracuse, New York., the field office that was responsible for thirteen counties in Central New York. S/A Penate served as the ATF Assistant Country Attaché to the U.S. Consulate General in Monterrey, Mexico from June 2007 thru June 2010. From 1997 to 2007 Mr. Penate served as a street agent at the Los Angeles Field Division, San Diego Field office. From 1994 to 1997, S/A Penate served as a street agent in NYC, New York Field Division. From 1991 to 1993 S/A Penate served as an ATF IOI in NYC, NY.
Mr. Penate is certified as an ATF Firearms Interstate Nexus Expert and has prior experience as an ATF Special Response Team operator and a (EUP) Enhance undercover program member. He is a graduate of New Jersey City University with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Fire Science. He currently lives in San Salvador, El Salvador.
Throughout his ATF career, Mr. Penate has worked on numerous Federal firearms, explosive and arson investigations as a case agent and undercover agent.
Thomas Vaughan is a career Information Security Specialist with 35 years of experience providing security for the Department of Defense and associated defense contractors. Tom retired from the Air Force in 2002 with specialties in Physical and Personnel Security.
He entered the Civil Service and has held positions with the Air Force, Army, Defense Security Service and the Defense Contract Audit Agency. He has earned several DoD security certifications and became a multidisciplinary Subject Matter Expert in matters of Information, Physical, and Industrial Security. Mr. Vaughan regularly trains Facility Security Officers to ensure personnel can operate in a classified environment and maintain facility clearances and personal security clearances as related to NISPOM compliance. As a Security Officer, he acts as an advisor to board members, senior management and investigators regarding domestic and international security matters. He has over 10 years of experience in conducting security assessments at cleared contractor facilities and within DoD agencies and military units.
Dr. Scott Nichol CAS CHPP CEM started his career as a U.S. Navy Intelligence Officer and later transitioned to the Department of Homeland Security. He developed an expertise for combating terrorism through intelligence preparation, coordination, and planning. He has a deep knowledge of international threat issues, including terrorism, instability, and political violence. He has a comprehensive knowledge of special military operations tactics, techniques, and procedures required to develop, coordinate, and implement plans related to special operations forces and interagency operations.
With this knowledge, Dr. Nichol has served as a Fox News radio correspondent in addition to teaching as an Adjunct Professor at the University of North Texas’s College of Health and Public Service in the Criminal Justice Department and serving as the Director of Academia at the Emergency Operations Proving Grounds. Recently, Dr. Nichol as served as a Staff Advisor to the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS at the United States Department of State. Dr. Nichol is a member of the board for the National Defense Industrial Association, Emergency Operations Proving Grounds, as well as many other public and private companies.
Dr. Scott Nichol CAS CHPP CEM received his Bachelors of Science from Carroll University and his Masters in National Security Studies from the American Military University. He went on to the Sciences Po in Paris, France to complete his Doctorate in Political Science for International Relations. He has also received a Certificate of Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Dr. Nichol is a Certified Homeland Protection Professional (CHPP) with the Global Society of Homeland Security Professionals, a Certified Anti-Terrorism Specialist (CAS) with the Anti-Terrorism Accreditation Board, a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) with the International Association of Emergency Managers and a Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Certified Instructor .
Casey Pfortmiller has over 21 years of diverse leadership experience in extensive operational and management positions serving with both large and small conventional and unconventional units. Mr. Pfortmiller started his career with the Marine Corps where he served in various capacities including reconnaissance, instruction, and Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC). He has assisted in developing curriculum for various levels of training, including special operations, mobile training teams, police training teams, and reconnaissance teams.
Since leaving military service, Mr. Pfortmiller spent considerable time in Afghanistan where he’s continued to develop programs and act as both program manager and lead instructor for various special operations and tasks force stationed throughout Afghanistan. He is responsible for training the Afghan Border Police, Afghan Commandos, and Afghan National Army, in addition to serving as a liaison for the Department of Defense and U.S. Special Operations forces deployed in Afghanistan.
Mr. Pfortmiller has training in Criminal Justice from Central Texas College. He also has specialized training in Tactical Evolutions Self Defense, Handgun and Tactical Rifle Course, Duane Dieter Level 1 Close Quarters Defense Course (Personnel Protection/Room clearing), Moorefield Training Center 2 Day On/Off road driving course, Special Forces Military Free Fall Parachute Course, High Risk Personnel Shooting Course, Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC), Staff Non-Commissioned Officer Course, Instructor Management Course, Marine Combatant Diver, Marine Security Guard School, U.S. Army Ranger Course, Helicopter Rope Suspension Training Master, Combat Squad Leaders Course, Non-Commissioned Officers Course, Basic Reconnaissance Course, Army Airborne Course, and United States Marine Corps School of Infantry.
Gary Sheppard has over 30 years of domestic and international security and law enforcement experience with an emphasis on executive protection, risk assessment, physical security and training.
Working as a security consultant at GXS Worldwide LLC, Gary participated in executive protection and conducted extensive security assessments. He started his security career as a Special Agent with the U.S. Department of State’s elite Bureau of Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) in New York in 1987 and quickly expanded his experience as a Regional Security Officer at the American Embassy in Bogota, Colombia. As a Supervisory Special Agent, he served on the Secretary of State’s Protective Security Detail, as well as at various overseas posts, including the embassies in Estonia, Panama, and Afghanistan.
He has provided leadership in numerous field offices domestically and has filled assignments to include: investigations of passport and visa criminal cases, protection of Secretaries of State and visiting dignitaries both domestically and abroad, training and embassy security augmentation with the Mobile Security Division, investigations of protective intelligence cases, liaison with the Intelligence Community at the Central Intelligence Agency and he has served as an instructor at the DS Training facility teaching executive protection to newly hired Special Agents. During the latter part of his employment with the Department of State, he served as Chief of investigations at the Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, worked at the Department’s Counterintelligence Office in Virginia, and acted as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge at the Washington Field Office.
Gary has received advanced training in all aspects of first aid and communications and has taught various defensive tactics, high risk driving, and dignitary protection techniques. Mr. Sheppard has a Master’s Degree in Safety and Security Leadership from George Washington University. He also maintains a U.S. Government Top-Secret security clearance with a counterintelligence polygraph rating.
Mr. Febbroriello is a Texas and Massachusetts licensed attorney with experience representing prime and subcontracting defense companies assisting them with regulations promulgated by the State Department (DDTC), Department of Defense (DFARS), the Commerce Department (BIS) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). He regularly works with firearms and munitions companies on a variety of matters ranging from the ITAR and export compliance to general corporate matters and litigation risk management. Mr. Febbroriello has worked extensively with microcap and small cap growth companies on various United States stock exchanges and quotation systems including the NYSE, NASDAQ and OTC Markets and he has successfully closed PIPE-financed RTOs and registered offerings for companies valued up to $500,000,000. Mr. Febbroriello also represents leading investment banking institutions, placement agents and FINRA/SIPC registered broker dealers and he is a registered FINRA Arbitrator.
Mr. Febbroriello is a graduate of Hong Kong University, Suffolk University Law School, and Gettysburg College. He holds an LL.M. in Corporate Finance, a Juris Doctor, a B.A. in Psychology and he speaks and writes Mandarin Chinese. While attending law school Mr. Febbroriello clerked for the Rhode Island Business Court under the Honorable Michael J. Silverstein and studied European Union Law at Lund Universitet in Sweden.
Richard Marianos is a senior law enforcement consultant, having served more than 27 years at the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives fighting violent crime. He most recently served as Assistant Director in the Office of Public and Governmental Affairs, and as Special Agent in Charge ATF's Washington Field Division.
Marianos began his career with ATF in September 1987 in the Chicago Field Division where he worked on complex-gang investigations. and was recognized as a national expert using the continuing criminal enterprise and RICO statues to dismantle some of the most dangerous street gangs in America.
In 1997 Marianos was promoted to resident agent in charge of the Colorado Springs Field Office, Phoenix Field Division where he oversaw large-scale investigations into violent crime, to include outlaw motorcycle gangs, ethnic street gangs, and firearms trafficking organizations. In 1998 he was named Incident Commander and led ATF in the shooting investigation at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. During this tour Marianos received two Distinguished Service medals and was ATF employee of the year.
In 2005, Marianos was promoted to deputy chief of the Public Affairs Division at national headquarters, and in 2008 became deputy chief of the Special Operations Division, overseeing five special response teams and operations throughout the country.
Marianos was born in Chicago, Ill., and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Northern Illinois University and a Masters in Police Executive Leadership in 2003 from University of Colorado. He is currently on staff at Georgetown University, where he teaches several advance Masters level courses for law enforcement executives worldwide.
Prior to working with ACC, Neil served as an enlisted personnel within the Navy Seal Teams for eleven years where he supported counter-terrorism and counter-narcotic operations in Africa, Europe and South America. In Colombia Neil was in charge of a clandestine SEAL element operating out of the Buena Ventura Port in support of counter-narcotic operations that played a major role in the seizure of over 6 tons of cocaine and the arrests of multiple Cali Cartel leaders. He was also responsible for training the Mexican special forces unit who captured Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, who is considered to be the most powerful drug trafficker in the world. While deployed in Somalia, Neil was the primary Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) and the Reconnaissance team leader for multiple counter-terrorism operations against Al-Shabaab throughout the Galkayo and Dhuusamareeb regions. Neil was also deployed in Europe, Bosnia and Herzegovina where he worked with SIPA to enhance security control measures for the US Embassy. Neil has provided tactical training to hundreds of civilians and SOF soldiers throughout the United States, South America, Africa and Europe.
Neil is a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) and an NSW trained Sniper with proficiencies in ballistics, cameras, lasers, minutes of angle, shooter/spotter dialogue, range estimation, observation camouflage, sniper weapon systems and long range target engagement. His additional proficiencies include, Special Operations Mission Planning, Close Quarters Combat, Small Unit Tactics, Underwater Demolition, Diving, Cold Weather Maritime tactics, Tactical Ground Mobility, Parachute Free Fall and Helicopter Rope Suspension Techniques. As a JTAC operator, Neil has significant experience with Military Communications and Close Air Support tactics.
Neil also demonstrates a high acumen for product development and business savvy. At the outset of COVID-19, Neil worked tirelessly to resolve vulnerabilities in the domestic medical equipment supply chain. He immediately recognized the lack of N95 masks and melt blown materials manufacturers in the U.S. In response, Neil became a founding member of Never Again Industries (NAI), a U.S. melt blown material manufacturing company that was responsible for producing over 40 tons of meltblown filtration material. This material was used in the production of over 30 million masks during the Covid-19 pandemic. He was told by many industry experts that this type of operation was impossible to do without considerable experience in the meltblown filtration manufacturing industry, and it would take at least 18 months to get operational. Not only did he accomplish the task of starting a meltblown manufacturing facility in the United States from scratch with no prior expertise in the industry, but he did it in 4 months while on a deployment in Europe. Prior to establishing Never Again Industries, Neil also founded McLean Corp USA, a U.S. manufacturer and wholesaler of firearms accessories. Neil designed a proprietary snap hook for the rapid transition of rifle slings used by SOF operators, and McLean Corp USA was awarded a utility patent for his innovative design work. The Dynamic Retention Sling (DRS) has received overwhelming market support from both civilian and military end users by providing a tactical advantage through increased accuracy, speed and rifle retention. Never Again Industries and McLean Corp USA continue to deliver high quality products and shareholder value to this day as a direct result of Neil’s leadership and contributions.
Pat has 30 plus years in law enforcement, international security, and military training. He began his career as a U.S. Capitol Police Officer and Detective and spent the next 23 years as diplomat/federal agent in the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service. Throughout his career, Pat was permanently stationed to embassies in Muscat, Beirut, Kuwait, Doha, Seoul and Iraq, the last three as senior advisors to the ambassadors. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Pat served as the Team Leader of a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Anbar, where he was embedded with Marine Corps Regimental Combat Team-1. The embedded PRTs were a component of the Surge and were tasked developing local governments, and overseeing civil society and governmental development projects. His position was at the civilian level equivalent to a One Star General. Pat has also worked civil wars and non-combatant evacuation orders around the globe to include missions in Iraq, Lebanon, Panama, Liberia and Kuwait. Shortly after retiring, Pat was asked to return to the State Department to serve as the Senior Security Advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen during that nation’s civil strife. While there, Pat supervised a Marine Fleet Anti-Terrorism Support Team and oversaw the departure of U.S. citizens and the drawdown of the embassy
Domestically, Pat served in the State Department’s Office of Counter Terrorism and two tours as the Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office. In that assignment, he supervised over 120 special agents and 100s of contractors who protected foreign dignitaries and conducted criminal visa and passport investigations covering five states covering eleven federal prosecutorial justifications.
In 2015, Pat was recalled to the State Department and was sent to Iraq as part of the State Department’s Inspector General’s review of Operation Inherent Resolve (the President’s anti-ISIL operation). And for his service he received the Inspector General’s Award.
Pat is the recipient of eight Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards. They include his work on the investigation of Ramzi Yusef, then the world’s most wanted terrorist, for his service protecting Nelson Mandela during his historic visit the United States in 1989, and for his work on the evacuation of Lower Manhattan after the 9/11 attacks. In addition, he earned an Award for Heroism for his service in Iraq during the Easter 2008 Rocket and Missile Barrage in the Green Zone where “during continuous rocket and missile attacks.....and without regard for his own safety, he came to the aid of colleagues.”
Since 2011, Pat trained the military on non-combatant evacuations, counter-insurgency, interagency operations and diplomatic engagements. He also provides security consulting to private corporations and oversees security surveys and hardware installation.
Pat was born and raised in New Jersey and graduated from Drew University with a double major in Sociology and Political Science. He attended the University of Maryland for post graduate studies. He has consulted for authors on international terrorism and has done press interviews to include the Los Angeles Times and National Public Radio. He is also an assistant wrestling coach at Point Pleasant Beach High School. While there, the team that has won multiple team state championships.