The Close Protection Conference

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Panel Bios

Armed Protection Panel

Chris Story - Moderator

Chris is a security professional with over 25 years’ experience managing and conducting Protective security and intelligence operations. He is a protection operations leader in standard and non-standard protective security operations in permissive, semi-permissive and high-risk environments with an extensive operational background in domestic/international arenas. He has evaluated corporate and government security programs for increased security and effectiveness and has developed corporate and government protective operations programs using intelligence-based security operations protection techniques and technology.

Chris has helped develop and deliver basic and advanced training programs for executive protection, surveillance detection and high-risk protection courses for US government agencies, US military, foreign military, law enforcement and civilians. He has instructed executive protection, surveillance detection, high-risk protection, firearms, tactics, driving (on and off road) and motorcycle riding for some of the top schools in the nation.

Chris earned a BA in Security Management from American Military University, an MA in Management and Leadership from Liberty University and an MBA from Keller School of Management and proudly served for 14 years in the US Army as a Ranger, Counterintelligence Agent, and Infantryman.

Mary Gates

Mary Gates is the Vice-President of Security for GMR 410, LLC a security solutions consulting firm. Her experience includes 35 years in corporate security management including 24 years with JPMorgan Chase & Co., a leading global financial institution. Her background includes leading investigations, physical security and project management, serving as a nationwide security manager, development, implementation and oversight of security training programs for security department personnel, and managing internal security risks and control programs, to name just a few. In her current role, Mary consults on security policies, procedures and standards, and develops and implements enterprise risk management solutions.

Mary is a recognized international guest speaker, presenting on topics including Active Shooter, Security Management, Disaster Recovery and Financial Security Innovation during conference sessions at ASIS, ABA Risk Management and the Ligue Internationale des Societes de Surveillance. She previously served on the American Bankers Association Security Committee and the Briefing Advisory Board and currently serves as an Advisory Member on the ASIS Banking and Financial Services Counsel. Mary is a Certified Financial Services Security Professional (CFSSP) and a Certified Homeland Protection Associate (CHPA-III). She also currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for Take 2 Ranch, Inc. and is a member of the International Public Safety Association, Institute for Defense and Government Advancement, Global Society of Homeland and National Security Professionals, National Sheriffs Association, ASIS and ATMIA.

Al Davis

Al Davis has over 24 years in security, law enforcement and intelligence experience in both the corporate and military sectors. Al is the Director of Executive Protection and Intelligence Capital One, where he has worked for over 15 years. Prior to Capital One, Al served with both the United States Marine Corps and the United States Army. Al has a Bachelor's degree from Henley-Putnam in Intelligence Management.

Mark Aysta

Mark Aysta serves as the Managing Director of Enterprise Protective Service for Duke Energy Corporation, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mark has responsibility for the physical security, emergency management, business continuity, Intelligence, Insider Threat, and Executive Protection programs. Prior to his employment at Duke Energy, Mark spent 22 years as an FBI Special Agent and 5 years as a Police Officer for the San Diego, California Police Department. Mark has been been married for 25 years and has two children.

Sarah Santos

Sarah Anna Santos is the Senior Cousel for the Duke Energy Corporation. Sarah was born and raised in Charlottesville, Virginia, and attended the University of Virginia for undergrad and law school. She is now in-house counsel for Duke Energy in Charlotte, North Carolina. The bulk of her practice focuses on environmental and health & safety compliance, but she also advises on firearm issues within the company. Although her concealed carry permit expired a few years ago, she is still a pretty good shot (for a lawyer).

Ben Berkowitz

Benjamin (Ben) Berkowitz received his BA in Economics from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota. Ben entered the world of public safety as a paramedic with Allina Health and a Paramedic Instructor with Inver Hills Community College. From 2010 - 2015, Ben served as a Minnesota State Trooper, assigned to the Executive Protection Unit of the Governor's detail. In 2015, Ben joined Target Corporation as a member of its Executive Services team, which is responsible for the security of the Target Leadership and Board of Directors. Additionally, Ben is a part-time Officer with the Annandale Police Department in Minnesota. In his free time, Ben enjoys reading, traveling, scuba diving, and most of all, spending time with his daughter.