CLAWSON -- Patriot Services Corp. has begun cashing in on
homeland security dollars in southeast Michigan and 2005 could bring
more for the Clawson-based startup.
Started last March by two Army Rangers and an ex-Oakland County
undersheriff, the company consults local governments for their homeland
The company specializes in "CBRNE" (pronounced see-burn), which
stands for chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive
threats. Since September 11 and the subsequent creation of the
Department of Homeland Security, the need for experts in identifying and
working with CBRNE programs has grown.
"We recognized an opportunity. There is a huge need for people with
experience in CBRNE," said Scott Hiipakka, vice president, co-owner of
Patriot and an ex-Army Ranger.
The three owners, are all experienced in the military or in law
enforcement and all work out of homes offices. The president of the
company, Steve Potter, also is a former Army Ranger who currently serves
in the Michigan National Guard. Prior to forming Patriot, he worked as a
security consultant with the accounting company Plante & Moran.
Thomas Quisenberry, vice president and the third owner of Patriot, is a
former undersheriff for Oakland County.
Since September 11, federal CBRNE funding has increased at the local
level, allowing many more private security consulting firms to exist
than previously, said Michael Sturm, administrator for emergency
response and preparedness for Oakland County.
"There are dozens and dozens just within the Metro area," he said.
"There's been an increase in the number of security firms post September
11. There's for the first time in a long time funding from the federal
Following open bidding, Oakland County last fall chose two security
firms, Patriot Services and Spalding DeDecker Associates Inc. in
Detroit, to perform 71 assessments throughout the county. The
assessments were to identify any security weaknesses, particularly
CBRNE, among county and municipal properties.
While government bidding processes take many factors into account
when making grants, part of the reason Oakland County went with Patriot
is the county liked the experience of Patrtiot's owners. Potter went to
Haiti in the 1994 peacekeeping mission that restored Jean-Bertrand
Aristide to power; Quisenberry is intimately familiar with Oakland
County; and Hiipakka spent time on military missions in the Baltic
republics to help develop emergency plans.
Gary Anglebrandt is a Metro Detroit freelance