Meet Our Speakers

Luke Bencie
Managing Director

Luke Bencie is the Managing Director for Security Management International, LLC.

In this capacity, Mr. Bencie has been a consultant to the US Department of State, US Department of Defense, Fortune 500 companies, as well as foreign governments. He specializes in conducting strategic and security management assessments, performing counterintelligence and due-diligence investigations, and also provides specialized intelligence advisory services. He is the author of “Among Enemies: Counter-Espionage for the Business Traveler” and “Global Security Consulting: How to Build a Thriving International Practice.”

Mr. Bencie has worked in over 100 countries and has trained thousands of domestic and international students from police, military, and intelligence services on topics such as economic and industrial espionage, border security, intellectual property protection, counterfeiting/piracy, and recognizing/discouraging terrorist travel movement. Prior to establishing SMI, Mr. Bencie was a Senior Security Consultant for Raytheon Company in the Intelligence and Information Systems Division, and assigned to the emerging markets of Brazil, India and Lebanon.

Mr. Bencie previously served on the US Department of State’s Foreign Emergency Support Team. In this capacity, he was responsible for responding to terrorist attacks carried out against US targets overseas. As a result, he performed numerous trips to Iraq, Afghanistan, and other “hot spots” throughout the world.

Mr. Bencie holds graduate degrees in “National Security Studies” from The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and The American Military University, as well as an MBA from the University of Sarasota. He received his BA from Michigan State University and completed further course work from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Training Academy, and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.

Chuck Brooks, General Dynamics

Chuck’s thought leadership writings on cybersecurity have helped shape the public policy debate as he is respected in industry, in the Federal Government, academia, and on Capitol Hill. He has been a force in discussing, advocating, promoting cybersecurity issues across digital media, at events, in professional forums, and with a variety of public policy organizations.

Chuck has authored numerous articles focusing on cybersecurity, homeland security and technology innovation for such publications including Forbes, Huffington Post, The Hill, Alien Vault, InformationWeek, MIT Sloan Blog, Computerworld, Federal Times, NextGov,IT Security Planet, CIO Watercooler, Bizcatalyst360, Gov Tech, The CyberWire, and Government Security News

Chuck brings experience from service in the public sector, academia, and with corporations. He serves on a variety of boards, many of them philanthropic. He brings a substantive knowledge on a broad range of cyber issues and a special expertise of cybersecurity in government that have benefited both the not-for-profit, public, and commercial sectors.

Dr. Jennifer Hesterman

Jenni retired as a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. Her last assignment was Vice Commander at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, where she led installation security, force support, and the 1st Helicopter Squadron. She regularly escorted the U.S. president and other heads of state on the ramp. 

After retiring in 2007, she started work as a private contractor in Washington, DC, studying international and domestic terrorist organizations, transnational threats, organized crime and the terrorist and criminal exploitation of the Internet. She is senior fellow at the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University, a member of the Board of Directors for the International Foundation for Protection Officers, and advises the Homeland Security Training Institute at the College of DuPage in Chicago. 

She holds a doctoral degree from Benedictine University, Master of Science degrees from Johns Hopkins University and Air University, and a Bachelor of Science from Penn State University. In 2003, she was a National Defense Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. where she studied the terror-crime nexus. She is a 2006 alumnus of the Harvard Senior Executive Fellows program. 

An award-winning writer, her book Soft Target Hardening: Protecting People from Attack was the ASIS Security Book of the Year for 2015. She also authored Soft Target Crisis Management (2016) and The Terrorist-Criminal Nexus (2013). Jenni is dynamic and sought-after public speaker for ASIS, FBI, DHS, ASIS, DoD, state and local law enforcement agencies, Major League Baseball and others.

Leo Labaj

Director of Critical Infrastructure Protection

With over 40 years of government and commercial experience, Mr. Labaj is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, the Air National Guard and the Central Intelligence Agency. He has managed research and development programs and applied science projects for the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Intelligence Community, and federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

While at the CIA, Mr. Labaj developed and implemented the Defense Against Terrorism Survey, a vulnerability assessment methodology used to assess security at borders, high threat residences and facilities and over 100 international airports. Mr. Labaj also served on the Federal Aviation Administration’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Airport Security and Vulnerability Assessment, and implemented and managed the FAA’s National Safe Skies Team Security Screening Test Bed.

He has also served as a member of the Nuclear Emergency Search Team (NEST) Access Working Group and participated in a number of professional and technical organizations, including the Defense Department’s Technical Support Working Group, the American Defense Preparedness Association, the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators, and the Joint Service Small Arms Program.

Major General Edward Leacock

Edward Leacock served in the U.S. Army for more than 41 years as an intelligence professional in the Active Duty, Army Reserve and National Guard components. He served both in the enlisted and officer ranks and retired as a Major General. 

His final assignment was the Mobilization Assistant to the Director, Defense Intelligence Agency. He also served as the Deputy J2, U.S Africa Command; Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Intelligence Center and Fort Huachuca, Arizona; Assistant Adjutant General for the Maryland Army National Guard and Senior Intelligence Officer for the U.S. Army National Guard. 

Coinciding with his distinguished military career, General Leacock joined TASC, Inc. where he was responsible for business development and achieving growth goals associated with the Intelligence Community. He has his Project Management Professional certification from the Project Management Institute, an Advance Master’s Certificate in Project Management from the George Washington University School of Business and an Information Technology Infrastructure Library v3 Foundation certification. Mr. Leacock earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from University of New York and a Master’s Degree in General Administration/Information Technology from University of Maryland.

James Maxwell

James BW

Jim Maxwell’s career with the FBI spans over 30 years, 15 of which were with the FBI Regional SWAT Team. Mr. Maxwell worked Foreign Counter-Intelligence, Organized Crime, Drugs, Violent Crime and Terrorism investigations during his career. He is also a certified Police Instructor as well as a Bomb Technician and an expert on the subject Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). His last assignment with the FBI was with the Combined Explosive Exploitation Cell, Camp Victory, Baghdad, Iraq in which he investigated bombing incidents. He has participated in high–profile operations his career such as the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens Greece, the arrest of the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing suspects, and a first responder during 911 and the “Amerithrax” investigation.

After retiring, Mr. Maxwell became Vice-President of Safety and Security for Credit Suisse in New York City. Part of his responsibility was the review and drafting of that company’s Threat Assessment Evaluations and Emergency Action Plans for their facilities in North and South America. As part of his responsibilities he conducted security operations for bank facilities and personnel in New York, Guatemala, London and Beirut. He was responsible for liaison with local, state and federal law enforcement regarding staff and visiting dignitaries. At the New York headquarters for the bank he was responsible for Security as well as the maintenance of Health and Safety standards for 10,000 employees. These duties also included the security and maintenance of a multi-million dollar art and antiquities collection.

Mr. Maxwell currently serves as a consultant and instructor for several government contractors providing instruction on several subjects to law enforcement and first responders. He also is an associate of Buckley Petersen Global and provides security assessments and training on the subject of “Active Shooter.” He is a licensed private investigator in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Maxwell has appeared regularly on CNN as a Subject Matter Expert providing commentary on Terrorism, Bombing matters and “Active Shooter” incidents and training.

Jerry Savnik

Jerry Savnik has 30 years law enforcement experience and 12 years with The Walt Disney Company as part of its Global Security team.  During his 22-year FBI career, Jerry investigated White Collar Crime, Violent Crime, Organized Crime and Terrorism cases. He managed a FBI-NYPD task force where he led numerous high profile investigations. He was a technical advisor for the movie Ransom.  

After the 2001 World Trade Center attacks, he assisted in coordinating almost two thousand leads being pursued by several hundred multi-agency investigators. He initiated a crisis management squad for the NY Office where he managed its critical response teams (Rapid Deployment, SWAT, Hostage Negotiators, Evidence Response), designed its state of the art command post and developed plans for critical incidents and special events.

After retiring from the FBI, Jerry managed Disney’s crisis management program on the east coast. He assisted Disney’s businesses and segments (ABC, ESPN, Marvel, Parks & Resorts, Consumer Products and Theatrical) with their emergency preparedness and planning efforts. He conducted security/threat assessments, developed emergency response plans, created crisis teams (executive and operational), provided training and conducted exercises to validate procedures.  He oversaw several Emergency Operation Centers and coordinated responses to emergency situations ranging from hurricanes and blizzards to imminent threat – which included notifications and communications to thousands of personnel. As Sr. Manager, Operations, he led Disney’s Family Assistance initiative in planning for a mass casualty incident.

Prior to his FBI career, Jerry was a local police officer in Ohio where he received his JD degree.

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