Sean B. Dennis

Bomb Squad CDR, Ret.

President & CEO / Co-Founder

Board Member

Email:sdennis@usbta.us

Sean Dennis is a Hazardous Devices School (HDS) graduate and was a former Bomb Squad Commander/Special Operations Sergeant. He spent 13 years on the SWAT Team and was fortunate to simultaneously be on two specialized units. Other then supervising the Bomb Squad and HAZ-MAT Teams Sean was the Assistant Emergency Manager for one of the largest counties in Colorado and a state certified HAZ-MAT Technician.

He has been involved in the Bomb Technician/Explosive community for over 20 years (26 Years Law Enforcement) and has been involved in many critical incidents which has formed his belief system and support for Military and Public Safety Bomb Technicians. Sean feels strongly in supporting this great community and has reached out to those with in the military and public safety ranks to listen and learn on what they are hoping to see in an organization like the USBTA. Sean has spent much of his time helping other organizations who have supported other Bomb Technicians who were in need of help and supported training events between Military and Public Safety Bomb Technicians. He has formed great partnerships with many from the military and public safety communities and hopes to bring these two groups together in a strong viable partnership.

SGT. Brian Knudsen

Active Bomb Technician

Board Member

Senior Vice President

Email:bknudsen@usbta.us

Brian is a 18-year Colorado County Sheriff’s Office veteran and a graduate of the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School. He has spent nearly 13 years on the Bomb Squad where he has been involved in high-profile incidents. It is these experiences and the tight knit community of Bomb Technicians that inspire him to want to provide support and training to Bomb Squads around the country. Brian recognizes the many obstacles Bomb Squads across the nation

encounter such as costly training and constrained department budgets. His goal is to raise awareness to private entities about these obstacles in order to build financial partnerships which support USBTA’s training mission and contribute to the safety of their communities.

LT. Chris Hall

Bomb Squad Commander

Board Member

Public Safety Liaison

Email: chall@usbta.us

A 18 year veteran with the Orange County Sheriff's Office FL and graduated of the FBI’s Hazardous Device’s School. He has spent 9 years on the bomb squad and is currently the commander of the team. Along with his commander duties he is a certified tactical breacher along with underwater post blast investigator and underwater renders safe techniques. Archilochos once said “We don’t rise to our level of expectations; we fall to the level of

our training.” Chris believes that training is one of the most important things that a team can do to perform at a high level in any situation. Chris and his team were involved in the Pulse Night Club terror attack and it was because of his team’s high level of training that they performed so well that night. When an event like this occurs you may need the assistance of other members of the EOD community. That is why he believes that it is important to bring members of the EOD community together to train and learn from each other’s experiences, both military and public safety.

CSM Scott Weimer

US Army, Ret.

Board Member

Military Liaison

Email: sweimer@usbta.us

CSM Scott Weimer served in the US Army for 25 years; initially as an Airborne Infantryman, then volunteering for EOD. For the last 21 years, he has served in every leadership position from Team Leader to Command Sergeant Major including Joint Staff positions, Special Operations, and direct support to Other Government Agencies. Scott has multiple combat deployments to both Iraq (2) and Afghanistan (2), as well as numerous operational

deployments to Egypt, Nigeria, Tunisia, and Qatar.

During his more than 21 years of EOD experience, Scott has worked closely with our Local, State, and Federal LEOs in matters ranging from routine off-post recovery of military ordnance, Counter-IED, Counter-WMD, Education, Counter-Narcotics, and VIP Protection. He hopes to bring these experiences to the table and strengthen the bonds between Public Safety Bomb Technicians and Military EOD while working to raise awareness of our community; its complexity, its hazards, and the sacrifices that are made in service to our communities, at every opportunity.

He is currently a full time Nursing student at the University of Colorado/Colorado Springs working towards his MSN to become a Nurse Practitioner. He is married to his wife of 25 years, Luann who is an executive account for a home school education.

Edward J. Durica, III, CFA

Chief Financial Officer CFO

Email: edurica@usbta.us

Ed Durica is the Chief Investment Officer and Portfolio Manager of Johnston & Associates, Inc., a Denver-based wealth management firm. Ed leads the investment management team, spearheading portfolio strategy, security selection and trading. He also engages with client relationship management, including providing consulting services for ultra-high net worth clients, and oversees reporting and compliance. Ed is a CFA Charter holder. The

Chartered Financial Analyst designation is considered the most difficult accreditation to achieve in the financial industry and includes adhering to the highest ethical standards in the industry. Ed has volunteered for many years with the CFA Society of Colorado, including holding the office of President, and currently serving as Vice President. Ed graduated from the University of Denver with an M.B.A. with a specialization in Finance.

Robert VonLoewenfeldt

Active Bomb Technician

Executive Vice President

Board Member

Email:rvonloe@usbta.us

Rob started his law enforcement career as a US Army Military Police Officer in 1993; after 5 years of active duty he moved on to civilian law enforcement. In 2002 he joined the Chatham County Police Bomb Squad, which later became the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Bomb Squad. He took command of the squad in 2006 and shortly after became the Southern Technician representative to NBSCAB. Rob left SCMPD in 2013 for a job with the

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) Bomb Squad. His duties with SLED include functioning as a SWAT operator, a K-9 handler, and a diver for the Maritime Response Unit. In addition to over 14 years as a FBI certified bomb technician, Rob is also a lead instructor for the FBI’s Maritime Bomb Technician Program, a member of the DHS’s First Responder Response Group, the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office’s IDD/EOD-LIC subgroup, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s ASTM Robotics group. He has published several FBI Special Technician bulletins and, developed the national testing standards for underwater robots.

Rob is passionate about bomb squad integration with tactical teams, public safety dive teams, and US Military partners. Rob also consistently works with industry to develop innovated tools, tactics and techniques to assist in closing operational gaps in bomb squad capabilities.

Colonel Gerardo Meneses

U.S Army, Ret.

Senior Vice President

Email:jmeneses@usbta.us


Gerardo V. Meneses, Colonel US Army (retired), hails from Miami, FL and graduated in May 1992 from the United States Military Academy (USMA). He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Ordnance Corps and branch-detailed to Armor branch. He graduated from West Point with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering Psychology and later completed Masters of Education Degree at Long Island University. His military education

includes Armor Officer’s Basic Course, the Combined Logistics Officer Advanced Course, the Basic Explosive Ordnance Disposal Course, the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) and the Joint Forces Staff College. COL Meneses most recently completed a Senior Service College Fellowship at the University of Denver’s Korbel School of International Studies.

Colonel Meneses’ assignments include the 1-66 Armor Battalion, Fort Hood, TX serving as a tank platoon leader, tank company executive officer and BN assistant operations officer during their deployment to Operation Sea Signal at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. At Fort Hood he also served as the Brigade Maintenance Officer in the 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. He then served as a Company Commander of the 18th Ordnance Company (EOD), Fort Bragg, NC. Following that assignment, he returned to West Point to complete his master’s degree and serve as a Tactical Officer overseeing cadet company E-1 at the USMA. Following graduation from the CGSC, he was assigned as the Executive officer of the 184th Ordnance Battalion (EOD) and deployed with them in support of Operation OIF III. To leverage his combat experience and technical expertise he was assigned to the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization in Washington, DC to oversee the rapid development, procurement and fielding of CREW (Counter Radio-controlled IED Electronic Warfare) and Force-Protection equipment. He was then assigned to Fort Carson, Colorado where he served as the operations officer and then Commander of the 71st Ordnance Group (EOD) (PROV), prior to assuming command of the 242d Ordnance Battalion (EOD). During command he established a model training program with local, state & federal public safety bomb squads and TSA. He later deployed the BN to Afghanistan from July 2013 to July 2014 ISO OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, where he commanded JTF Paladin and all joint-service EOD units supporting conventional forces in Afghanistan. He was most recently assigned as the Director of the Asia Pacific C-IED Fusion Center, Fort Shafter, HI.

1SG David A. Grotkin

US Army (Ret)

Board Member

Industry Liaison

Email:dgrotkin@usbta.us

A career Explosive Ordnance Disposal Non-Commissioned Officer, he served in many EOD assignments throughout his 20 year career. He conducted multiple combat operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq while supporting both conventional and special operation’s counter IED missions. While not deployed, David supported state and local public safety on numerous EOD incidents throughout the United States.

David’s goal is to bring both public safety and military bomb technicians together to learn from each other. He feels strongly about training and equipment and, understands that his community can only benefit from excellent training and great equipment. He believes that the joint experience from these two communities can only make them stronger and lead to a lasting partnership.


Peter Nagel, P.C.

Chief Counsel

Email:peter@pbnpc.com

Peter Nagel is a lawyer whose practice, located in Denver, Colorado, has included assisting nonprofit organizations with a wide variety of tax, corporate, and commercial law matters, including board and officer governance responsibilities, mergers and corporate restructurings, participation in tax-exempt financings, unrelated business taxable income issues, and the implementation of endowments and planned giving programs.

His diverse client base includes –

  • community foundations, supporting organizations, and corporate and private foundations
  • organizations that own and operate affordable housing nationwide
  • state, national, and international trade associations
  • religious organizations of all denominations
  • organizations engaged in political and legislative advocacy, and
  • a wide variety of charities engaged in education at all levels, the prevention, treatment, and cure of diseases, arts and culture, amateur sports, environmental protection, scientific research, and services to the elderly, the needy, and the underprivileged

SGT. Jon Vaala

Active Bomb Technician

Chairman of the Board / Co-Founder

Email: jvaala@usbta.us

Jon is a 21 year Colorado County Sheriff’s Office veteran and graduate of the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School. He has spent nearly 18 years on the Bomb Squad and is currently a Team Leader. In addition to being the Senior Technician, a “Tactical Bomb Technician” and a SWAT Breacher, Jon is passionate about supporting the EOD and his Public Safety Bomb Technician community. Being involved in multiple high-profile incidents and events over his 18 years has motivated Jon in his mission to promote cooperation and collaboration amongst the bomb technician community. His goal is to facilitate SWAT EOD integration, as well as the professional cooperation between EOD, the Public Safety communities, and equipment manufactures through the assistance of the USBTA. 


 


Eric J. Gahagan

Senior Vice President

Email: egahagan@usbta.us

Eric Gahagan was a trooper with the Massachusetts State Police for 23 years, a bomb technician for 18 years and an Explosive Detection K9 Handler for 17 years before retiring in March 2016. Eric has a vast amount of experience relative to explosive detection canine training and operations, homemade explosives, SWAT interoperability, and counter IED response with more than 3,000 calls to service as a bomb technician. Eric has lectured hundreds of times to both public and private sector and shared the operational lessons learned responding to the Boston Marathon Attack while providing training relative to a progressive dismounted approach to counter IED operations, Homemade Explosives, Robot Operations and Explosive Breaching.

In 2015, Eric formed the OPS15 LLC, which connects some of the most experienced and progressive operators internationally for the purposes of training, consulting and preparing others and serves as consulting partner and advisor to many technology partners in the areas of explosives detection and mitigation, robotics, diagnostics, and dismounted operations.

In January 2016, OPS15 Field Operations Group began providing security to clients in need of a progressive solution to emerging hazardous threats providing innovative techniques to our clients to ensure a safe environment for large venues exceeding 60,000 people as well as small high-level meetings and personal protection of executives.

Eric became a founding partner at 6 WATCH Inc. in August of 2017 and brought his public safety expertise to develop a first of its kind lidar assisted 360 threat detection and alert system for public safety vehicles. In 2019, Eric took a position as Senior Direct of Business Development with EPE North America focusing on putting cutting edge technology into the hands of first responders with the customer service and support that the market deserves and desires.





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Christopher A. Rogers

Bomb Squad Commander (Ret.)

Board Member

RTP Program Manager

Email:crogers@usbta.us

Christopher A. Rogers is currently working as a contract instructor for the United States Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security Antiterrorism Assistance Program. In four years, he has authored seven training programs for partner nation bomb squads and delivered over twenty-four workshops, consultations and mentorships in eight different nations. He is also an advisor/mentor to the Indonesian National Police Bomb Squad, Philippine EOD-K9 Bureau and Royal Thai Police Bomb Squad.

 Prior to these he served as the Pima County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad Commander for the Pima Regional Bomb Squad in Tucson, Arizona. As a 25-year police veteran and 15-year bomb technician with extensive experience in operations including: counter IED, homemade explosives (HME), US-Mexico border, dismounted bomb squad tactics, tactical integration of bomb technicians, and patrol tactics. Chris’ first supervisory assignment was as a patrol sergeant for a squad responsible for law enforcement operations in remote regions along the border. He was one of the first bomb technicians in the United States to become a nationally certified Tactical Bomb Technician by the FBI.  Chris was involved in curriculum development and delivery of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Homemade Explosives, Identify, Process and Disposal Course for five years.

 Chris has instructed nationally and internationally. He has been a senior lead instructor for both federal, local and private sector entities for twenty years and received six weeks of advanced training from the Israeli National Police, which included a two-week imbed in Tel Aviv, providing a firsthand look into Israeli tactics and techniques. He has testified as an expert witness in improvised explosive device (IED) and explosives cases in state and federal court and has received numerous awards and commendations for his work as a peace officer and bomb technician.

 


 

 


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