Following Sept. 11, Chad Monnin was called up to serve in his Army Special Forces reserve unit. He was temporarily paralyzed in a parachuting accident and began studying Arab culture and language. When federal contractors working in Iraq began approaching him for his expertise, he joined forces with Scott Humphrys and Greg Miller, a Special Forces reservist fluent in Arabic who was working as a police officer, to found Aegis, Mission Essential Personnel in 2004.
The goal was to establish a business to provide the U.S. government and select corporations with integrated solutions that encompass security, language and training services, with a focus on the Middle Eastern culture and geographic region. The challenge, however, was finding financing.
“Most banks in the Midwest did not realize defense contract work is, in fact, a very secure way of doing business,” says Monnin, CEO of the Columbus-based company.
In just three years, Aegis has grown from six employees to more than 120, with 30 in Columbus and the rest overseas. In 2005, Aegis won a 30-month contract from the State Department to provide linguistic and security services at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.
Aegis employs a worldwide network of linguists and cultural experts with security clearances, which qualifies them to do classified work around the globe. The company’s next goal is to expand into the private sector to assess terrorist vulnerability for companies and to serve as cultural advisers for international businesses.
“If a company in Columbus wanted to expand in to the Middle East, we would like to be the advance team on the ground,” Monnin says.
How to reach: Aegis, Mission Essential Personnel, (614) 416-2345 or www.aegismep.com