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By then, Gentile, well-known for his ability to turn big-name informants in organized-crime cases, was into his second high-profile post-FBI job, as an executive of
“I saw it as the final chapter of my professional career,” Gentile said, “that I was going to be able to leave behind a legacy.”
The investors told him (and he agreed) that he had the investigatory chops (many racketeering cases), the law enforcement network (he selected which police officials could be trained at the
So Gentile decided to quit his day job and become, for the first time, an entrepreneur instead of an employee — founder and chief executive officer of
Then he fired his investors.
“I said I believed that a parting of the ways would be mutually beneficial,” said Gentile, 63, ever-tactful.
Their initial plans included a full-scale operation with uniformed armed guards and a range of services including executive protection.
That would have cost
Better, he thought, to build his own business himself, putting in
His business officially opened
As he adds clients who need insurance, criminal, and civil investigations, employee background checks, litigation support, and consulting in areas of risk management, labor, regulation compliance, and security training, he will bring on his former FBI and law enforcement colleagues as contractors.
“These are people that I trust,” he said. “I know we share a common set of values that are important to me.”
Gentile said he had a handful of clients so far and more in the pipeline. Meanwhile, he is coping with the everyday challenges of starting a business.
“I’ve been humbled more than once,” he said. “I’ve had to call on some computer wizards. It taught me that I had to be self-reliant, whereas before I could draw on a whole host of resources in an office — a secretary, someone handling all the peripherals of a business.”
“I’m not a salesman, and now I have to go out and sell myself to the legal community, to the corporate community, to the nonprofit community, to athletic organizations, to law enforcement,” he said.
But he is up to the challenge. “We only go around once,” he said, “so why not surmount the risk factors to do something I am extraordinarily comfortable with — investigations, training, and consulting, my expertise in the security field?”
Even as a youngster in Upstate New York, Gentile wanted to be an FBI agent, but poor eyesight kept him out. His hero, FBI director
Instead, Gentile became a math teacher and school principal (and managed to escort
When Hoover died, the bureau’s eyesight requirements changed, and in 1979, finally, Gentile became an FBI agent.
“Not many of us get to realize our professional dream, and that always was my dream,” he said. He retired in 2003.
Gentile showed an ability to inspire confidence in his law enforcement brethren and in some of the people he investigated, including
That was Gentile as an FBI agent. Being in business is completely different.
“When I was carrying the badge and the gun, it gave a sense of power, whether it was earned or not, simply by the virtue of the badge I carried,” he said. “I could walk into a place when I was an FBI agent and command immediate attention.
“But now,” he said, “I’m relying on my legacy.”
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