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Founder, President & CEO
Geoff Burkart is the Founder and CEO of Guardian Centers and Guardian Centers of Georgia.
Geoff’s interest in emergency management and disaster response was shaped in 2001 as a Director with BellSouth’s aviation operations during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. Four years later, he witnessed the devastating damage from hurricanes Katrina and Rita as he coordinated emergency airlift operations and logistics through BellSouth’s response efforts. These experiences identified a gap in joint training and disaster preparedness now filled by the privately funded Guardian Centers of Georgia under Geoff’s leadership. Geoff retired from AT&T after a 30-year career leading aviation maintenance, security and operations. He was responsible for developing CONUS / OCONUS departmental security programs and training to prepare for man-made or natural disasters.
He has since served on numerous advisory boards and associations including Raytheon Aerospace, Fairchild – Dornier, Cessna Aircraft, Honeywell Aerospace and the National Business Aircraft Association Technical Committee. Additionally, he served on the Federal TSA “gateway” airport access security steering committee and the Georgia Governor’s aviation task force.
Geoff completed the Executive Management Program at Darden Business School at the University of Virginia and is a graduate of Alabama Aviation and Technical College.
Chief Financial Officer
Steve began his professional accounting career with Arthur Andersen & Co. in Atlanta after receiving his BBA in Accounting from the University of Georgia. He is a Certified Public Accountant in Georgia and has over 30 years of experience in accounting and finance. Prior to Guardian Centers, Steve was most recently Chief Financial Officer of QSI Facilities, now Cushman & Wakefield Facilities Solutions, in Wichita, Kansas.
He has also held financial leadership roles in ABM, Silent Gliss, National Linen & Uniform Service and Holox (Linde Gas). A native of East Dublin, Georgia, Steve was happy to return home to the middle Georgia area to promote the mission of Guardian Centers.Contact Steven
EVP of Business Development
Over the past fifteen years, Chuck has helped lead small and large companies in achieving and sustaining market-leading growth, by developing strategies, mapping processes, coaching executives, account leaders, BD/sales and capture personnel on the leading practices and habits that consistently win. He and his trams have been recognized developing trusted relationships, understanding the unique needs of each clients, and developing innovative and differential solutions for Defense and National Security organizations and Private businesses.
Chuck graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and commissioned in the U.S. Navy where he was trained as an operational intelligence officer, mission planner, and targeteer. Operationally, he deployed in support of Combat and Security Operations in Lebanon, Libya, Liberia, Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq (Desert Storm) and Enduring Freedom (Middle East/North Africa). Additional operational tours included intelligence operations, analysis, security, combating terrorism and counter-intelligence positions at Fleet, Combatant Command and Joint/Combined force commands.
He served as the Deputy and Acting Director for Intelligence (J2), US European Command responsible for Intelligence operations, planning, programs and personnel; included over 1,500 personnel, 43 facilities/commands and organizations, and budgetary responsibilities for intelligence activities in Europe and Africa. Led DoD intelligence, security and counter-terrorism support activities in response to 9/11 across both continents. He also held leadership positions on the Navy Staff, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and White House/NSC staffs.
Chuck received his M.S. in Strategic Intelligence from the Defense Intelligence College and served as a National Security Fellow at Harvard University, J.F. Kennedy School of Government. Chuck and his wife Gaye live in Virginia and have two children, Ashley and Patrick (PJ).Contact Charles
EVP of Operations and Training
Tim brings 10 years of active duty experience with the United States Marine Corps specializing in the planning, training, exercises, and response operations. He started his career in the Marine Corps as a Logistic Officer, serving three tours in Iraq. His last tour was with the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force (CBIRF), Indian Head, MD.
As a company commander, Tim was responsible for the worldwide deploy-able Initial Response Force. Tim supported, planned or participated in exercises from local level to National, Special Security Events such as the Vancouver Winter Olympics, National Boy Scout Jamboree, State of the Union address, Nuclear Security Summits, and G8 Summits.
In 2010 Tim served on the planning team and was responsible for overseeing the deployment of a complete Initial Response Force to support Operation Tomodachi, in the wake of the devastating tsunami in Japan.Contact Timothy
VP of Business Development
D. J. Hathaway was assigned as Section Chief/Commander-Hostage Rescue Team in December 2014. He previously served as the Criminal and Crisis Management Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) of the FBI’s Richmond Division. Mr. Hathaway has worked in law enforcement for the past 34 years, which includes working at the corporate, local, state and federal levels. He entered on duty with the FBI in 1996.
He was assigned to the Washington Field Office (WFO), where he worked on the Joint Terrorism Task Force and then was a founding member of the National Capital Response Squad (NCRS). He served as the Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinator, established the office’s first Hazardous Materials Response Team, and was an active member of the SWAT and the Evidence Response Teams.Contact DJ
VP of Business Development
Doug brings over 33 years of experience in the Fire and Emergency Service, Emergency Management and CBRNE response fields. He retired from active duty as a Chief Master Sergeant after serving 31 years in the United States Air Force and the Florida Air National Guard. He has multiple deployments in support of wartime and peacetime contingencies CONUS/OCONUS. Prior to joining Guardian Centers, he served as the Air National Guard’s Region 4 Emergency Management Chief responsible for supporting Air National Guard bases throughout the southeast from Kentucky to Puerto Rico and served as an analytical and technical advisor to federal, state and local senior leadership during natural disasters, major accidents, and CBRN related events. He is a proven project leader and program manager with a record of excellence in generating small to large-scale exercises for military and civilian responders. Highly skilled in team and exercise development; interpreting training specifications and shaping and transforming force development.
In addition to his military service, he worked as a State of Florida Assistant Fire Chief of Operations & Training at the 125th Fighter Wing, Jacksonville, Florida; a firefighter/EMT and Hazardous Materials Technician for Cobb County Fire Department, Marietta, GA; and as a firefighter/EMT for Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, Jacksonville, Florida. Doug earned his Bachelors of Science Degree in Emergency and Disaster Services from Thomas Edison State University.Contact Doug
VP of Business Development
Rob brings more than 29 years of comprehensive defense industry expertise where he has served in a variety of operational and managerial capacities with increasing levels of skill and responsibility. Specifically, prior to joining Guardian Centers, he served for more than 13.5 years as a Senior Executive of a defense contractor who specializes in US government security training for a myriad of customers. This included managing two tactical training facilities, safely conducting high risk security training for thousands of students and for growing market share in multiple sectors. Prior to his defense contracting experience Rob served over 16 years as a federal first responder within the Department of Defense (Explosive Ordnance Disposal "EOD" Technician), U.S. Department of State and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Rob is a veteran of the Cold War, Gulf War and is also a Service Disabled Veteran. In addition to his military EOD and ATF federal law enforcement experience Rob also supported the United States Secret Service (USSS) while providing protection for multiple Presidents’ of the United States and other US and Foreign Diplomats.Contact Robert
VP of Business Development
Prior to joining Guardian Centers, Mr. Kirkland served as Vice President of Business Development at DMI for National Security and civilian accounts that include; Department of Homeland Security, Department of State and the Department of Justice.
Mr. Kirkland is a resourceful and knowledgeable senior executive with a combined 19 years of Law Enforcement and Business Development experience. Throughout his career, Mr. Kirkland successfully built and led strong interdisciplinary teams delivering unparalleled customer support. He brings a unique mission centric approach to achieve quantifiable customer focused results. Mr. Kirkland has held similar positions with Lockheed Martin, SAIC and ManTech and is recognized as a subject matter expert in law enforcement and Border security.
Early in his career, Mr. Kirkland was an investigator with the State of Georgia. He progressed to the position of Special Agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Tri-Circuit Drug Task Force, worked as a police officer with the Valdosta Police Department in Georgia, and became an instructor at Georgia Southern University teaching classes on Criminal Investigations, Criminal Behavior and Policing.
In 2007, Mr. Kirkland joined the Screven County Sheriff’s Department as an investigator, and remained in the position until 2009. During that time he also held the position of Senior Operations Analyst with the Border Security Operations Center for the Texas Department of Public Safety in Austin, TX. Mr. Kirkland is a former SWAT and Counter Terrorism team member for the State of Georgia and continues to serve as a Reserve officer with the Screven County Sheriff’s Department.
Mr. Kirkland holds a J.D. degree from John Marshall Law School and a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Georgia Southern University. He is an active member of AFCEA, the Homeland Security Defense Business Council, Washington Homeland Security Roundtable and the Border Patrol Foundation.Contact Tarry
Director, DOS Programs
Vann is a project management professional (PMP®) with almost ten years of industry experience in planning and execution of academic programs as well as training events from table tops to National Level Exercises. Vann holds multiple FEMA certifications, including the Homeland Security Exercise & Evaluation Program, and is responsible for planning, procedures and management of events, training and exercises while assisting in directing support staff during these events.
Vann is also responsible for managing all US Department of State training activity at Guardian Centers to include the Worldwide Protective Services (WPS) program.
With degrees in Psychology and Education, Vann began his career in the education field. After almost three years he left education to pursue project management and joined Guardian Centers as a startup company. While being involved in the project very early, and as one of the first employees, he was instrumental in helping to stand Guardian Centers up as a company.Contact Vann
Director, GC Programs
Mr. Lavender brings over twenty years of faithful service in the United States Marine Corps. He is a motivated, highly-capable professional with experience in the complex environment of Consequence Management Operations. Extensive experience leading planning teams and supervising the execution of operations for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and High-Yield Explosive (CBRNE) related training and real-world events. Exceptional analytical ability in implementing and managing plans, policies, and procedures during Humanitarian Assistance / Disaster Relief incidents. He is an experienced platform instructor in CBRN Defense, Anti-Terrorism/ Force Protection, and Combat Marksmanship.Contact Lee