Our People

Executive Director

Mark DuPont has provided expert consultation, assessments, intelligence, predictive analysis, training, exercises and evaluation for the port security, maritime law enforcement and emergency responder community. With over 35 years of organizational and entrepreneurial leadership, as a maritime law enforcement/military/port security specialist, he provides a unique blend of federal, state, local, private, and non-profit sector perspective and knowledge.


As a Master Training, facilitator, and instructional designer with the motto of "Praeparo Custodis" (Ready the Guardians,) Mark DuPont contributes to the enhancement of the response, prevention and protection capabilities of maritime public safety professionals throughout the world, having developed and implemented a national standard of training and certification recognized by all 50 United States and six US territories, and the United States Coast Guard.


Mark’s positions and achievements as the Chief Intelligence Office for the State of Florida’s FWC (the largest conservation law enforcement agency in the world), and as a Homeland Security and Intelligence Officer for the United States Coast Guard, give him a wealth of experience to share.

Director, International Port Liaison Office

Mr. Kester served in civilian law enforcement as a Deputy Sheriff for the Boulder County Colorado Sheriff’s Office for 28 years retiring in 2008.  In addition to his civilian occupation, he served 23 years in the United States Coast Guard Reserves.  His assignments there include instructor in LORAN station security, drug interdiction task force at NORAD and with Port Security Unit 303B during Desert Storm.

After 9/11 he became part of the original Sea Marshall teams and later worked with several major Northern California ports to ensure they met the requirements of the new Maritime Transportation Security Act.  He continued to work in the Port Safety and Security area ensuring compliance with both safety and security requirements until his retirement from the Coast Guard Reserves as a Marine Science Technician Chief in October 2010.  Mr. Kester also works with the Coast Guard’s volunteer organization, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and is currently assigned as the Director of Training and is responsible for all of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary CORE TRAINING, Basic Qual II Course, Online Learning/Testing, C-School Courses and Leadership Development Program.


Prior to his current assignment, he was the Director of Prevention responsible for developing and implementing the Auxiliary's participation in programs related to the Coast Guard's legacy Marine Safety, Security and Environmental protection programs.

Associate Director, International Port Liaison Office

In order to stay competitive in today’s market and business environment, companies need strong and aggressive business leaders who can meet corporate objectives and exceed goals on an annual basis.  Joe’s background has been built around a business-centric and results-oriented approach that has contributed to the success of many of the companies Joe has developed and/or worked with.

After completing his education in Business Administration at CCD in Denver, Colorado, with an emphasis in Marketing, Joe immediately put that knowledge and training to work.  While in school, he worked two years as a Communications Specialist and 911 Dispatcher for the City of Broomfield.  Afterwards, he worked as a mortgage broker, with over 15 years of experience in the commercial & residential mortgage lending industry.  Joe also holds current State of Colorado life, health & accident, and annuity licenses.  He has a strong background in management organization, logistics and project planning.

During that time, Joe became a Senior Partner and Vice President of Sky Peak Partners, Inc., a real estate planning, development, and investment firm that has been in operation since 1999.  After the economic downturn in the mortgage industry, Joe and a former mortgage partner created a company that worked with a private equity group handling “accredited investors” for investments, trades and the facilitation of major project funding.   He also served as an Account Professional with a Foreign Exchange Investment Firm in Denver, Colorado.


Joe has served on several Boards including 14 years on the Board of Directors for the Longmont Emergency Unit, and two years with the Longmont Small Business Association.  He also served as the Executive Director for the Rocky Mountain Percussion Association, a 501(c)(3) youth-arts organization.  Joe is currently the Team Coordinator for the City of Longmont Office of Emergency Managment's Damage Assessment & Response Team program.

Woodrow F. Clookie

Senior Advisor

A graduate of the FBI National Academy and with his 45-years in local, state, and federal law enforcement, Mr. Clookie offers a unique perspective from both the military as well as the civilian side of law enforcement and counterterrorism.  Retired from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) as an Intelligence Specialist, he served as the NCIS liaison to both the U.S. Department of State and its Office of Foreign Missions and the National Security Agency.  Mr. Clookie served as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Port Security Committee the Pentagon’s Overflight Security Committee.  Prior to NCIS, Mr. Clookie retired from a 25-year service in the U.S. Coast Guard as a Senior Special Agent with the Coast Guard Investigative Service. During his tenure with the Coast Guard, he performed extensive port security duties while assigned to shore and afloat units.  Mr. Clookie is the recipient of two Coast Guard Achievement Medals and two Coast Guard Commendation Medals.

Chief Legal Counsel

Mr. Silversmith's areas of expertise lie in federal contracting, environmental litigation, financial advisory engagements, workouts, dispositions, valuations, and preservation of national historic landmarks. Mr. Silversmith assists the NMLEA in a variety of areas, from consulting on financial matters to contract review. In addition, Mr. Silversmith has afforded the Academy the use of the historic Presidential Yacht, Sequoia, for special events and meetings.

Since 1991, Mr. Silversmith has served as President and owner of P&L Investments, an asset management, investment, and advisory company that has acquired over $100 million in distressed assets.  P&L Investments and its affiliates have served as financial advisors on the sale of loans, for example, in 1999 an affiliate of P&L Investments served with KPMG as the financial advisor to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for the SBA's first sale of loans ($400 million) and again for the SBA's third and fifth sales of loans.  As President and owner of two Brownsfield's investment and remediation companies, Mr. Silversmith recently received significant positive publicity for the successful remediation and rejuvenation of a 22-acre PCB-contaminated Brownsfield site in suburban Philadelphia. The site is reportedly the first Superfund site in the country to receive State and EPA approval for conversion to a residential usage.

Prior to starting the aforementioned entities, Mr. Silversmith served for three years as a Senior Asset Marketing Specialist selling loans and real estate for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC). He holds a BS in Accounting, a JD, and an MLT.

Lead Counsel

Mr. Brian Kim, Director of Consulting Resources at Washington, DC-based iDiscovery Solutions, Inc (“iDS”), brings over 14 years of experience in project and engagement management and business development experience from discovery services providers and law firms. Mr. Kim’s expertise spans all phases of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) life cycle with a broad range of skills in client infrastructure and e-Discovery practices. Mr. Kim’s portfolio includes advice to clients on best practices in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure including legal hold, data collection, data preservation, review, and production. Prior to joining iDiscovery Solutions, Mr. Kim served as a Senior Consultant for Clearwell Systems/Symantec, a Director at FTI Consulting, and an attorney at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel – all located in Washington, D.C. Mr. Kim is admitted to practice law in New Jersey.

Gregory "Cruz" Grutter

Lead Firearms Instructor

Gregory “Cruz” Grutter is a 100% Disabled Veteran, Military Wounded Warrior and Combat Veteran nominated for the Silver Star for Combat Valor, Awarded Bronze Star with Valor and Purple Heart Medal for an operation while assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), along with other prestigious awards.


He is most proud of being a United States Marine Corps Grunt (Infantry), USMC Scout Sniper and Scout Sniper Instructor. Gregory participated in support of Operation Just Cause in Panama, Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and other combat operations.


“Cruz,” as he was called by his Afghan fighters, was instrumental in standing up the first operational security detachment in Afghanistan (DISO-A). This unique unit supported covert and overt intelligence gathering operations for the US Military, NATO and Government Intelligence Agencies. He was the Chief of the Security & Protective Services Detail (PSD) on over 1000 missions in two years, protecting intelligence members, flag ranking military officers, high ranking diplomats, and U.S. and Foreign Government Officials.


A highly experienced competitive shooter, master firearms and tactics teacher and lifelong student of the tactical/shooting arts, “Cruz” was the Chief Firearms Instructor at the prestigious Smith & Wesson Academy. He was also a founding member of the Department of Homeland Security/Federal Air Marshal firearms program (Boston Office) in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. He was medically retired in 2014 from the Federal Air Marshals due to his combat injuries. 


An experienced Law Enforcement Officer, “Cruz” worked in Federal Corrections holding positions such as: Lead Academy Instructor, CERT Team Commander, and High-Risk Transport team member.  He was a Reserve Police Officer in Charlestown, Rhode Island where he served on the Emergency Services Unit (ESU) Team member, and Police Instructor for firearms and tactics training. He also served as the Lead Firearms Instructor at the Rhode Island Municipal Police Academy.


“Cruz” brings a solid knowledge base in fighting combat tactics, weapons, Law Enforcement and military skills. But, his passion, which is second to none, is to continue to learn and pass on his knowledge. 


Whether it is a legally armed civilian, law enforcement, or in a military context, “Cruz” has the ideal combination of skills and experience to instruct combat shooting, from the very basics to the most advanced skills and techniques.

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