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In the movies, U.S. Secret Service agents wear black suits and earpieces, never break a smile, and are ready to jump into action to protect the President of the United States. That was the image Brian Gant, ’03, had in mind when he joined the federal agency in 2009.
In the five years since, however, Gant has learned there is much more to the agency. In addition to protection, the U.S. Secret Service also handles investigations.
“We investigate anything financially related to the United States—counterfeit money, fraud,” says Gant. “My focus is cybercrime, and with the high-profile intrusions we’re having lately, it’s a hotbed.”
Criminal justice was not originally on Gant’s career radar. When he graduated from Maryville with a bachelor’s in computer information systems, he expected to become a computer programmer. He began his career at the help desk of Edward Jones, a position he earned following his Maryville internship there. At the same time, he earned a master’s degree in management.
Nudged by a friend who worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Gant applied to that agency and accepted a position as an analyst. Using his computer skills, he deciphered information to support agents. After five years, however, he itched to get into the field and moved to the Secret Service.
“I’m more of an extrovert and thought I would excel out into the field,” Gant says. “Going on the search warrant, looking at evidence, and doing the physical training all appealed to me.”
In a few years, Gant will move to a protection detail with the U.S. Secret Service, an assignment that typically lasts about five years, and then finish out his career back in field investigations.
“I like being able to help people,” Gant says. “It could just be getting a virus off a computer at a mom-and-pop shop or protecting a very important person. It all gives you a sense of pride.”
This story was originally published in the Fall 2014 edition of Maryville Magazine.