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Executive Team

Stuart J. Visnov

Chief Executive Officer

Stuart’s commitment to community service and public safety is well known in the tri-state area. At age 16, Stuart joined the Fort Washington Volunteer Fire Company and was recently honored for his 40th year of volunteer service. As a volunteer fire fighter and later, fire police officer, Stuart has completed numerous specialized fire safety classes, seminars, and training sessions. For over 20 years, Stuart maintained one of the highest fire and emergency response attendance records within his company, routinely answering the call in the middle of the night – motivated by his belief that it’s every person’s obligation to serve his fellow man. This devotion to community service has earned Stuart the respect and admiration of his peers. The fire, emergency, and law enforcement professionals with whom Stuart has served for over four decades are the very foundation of Echelon’s professional and experienced manpower pool. In 2011, Stuart met integrated security solutions expert, Kevin Elsesser of i2 Security Solutions. Together, their vision was to organize their extensive network of security and technology relationships into an innovative new security group that provides the public and private sector with expert protection and surveillance solutions. Stuart attended Upper Dublin High School and graduated from Temple University in 1976. In 1986, Stuart became a Juvenile Probation Officer in Montgomery County, PA., where his responsibilities included: working with young people to ensure compliance with court orders while assisting in their rehabilitation, meeting with their families, and conducting social history and assessment reports. In 1987, Stuart was assigned to Court Unit as an Investigator. Here, he was responsible for pre-sentencing investigations and establishing restitution. Stuart secured his Private Detective license in 2001 and is proud to be a member of the Concordia Masonic Lodge in Jenkintown, PA.

Bruce Williams

Director of Executive Protection

Bruce Williams comes to Echelon with over 27 years of dedicated law enforcement leadership and experience. A recently retired Major of the Pennsylvania State Police, Bruce served as Director of Patrol Operations for the entire State of PA, and Commanding Officer of Troop K Philadelphia, and Troop J, Lancaster, PA. He has commanded several dignitary and presidential visits including members of the Judicial Branch. In 2017, Bruce commanded the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The AICP conference is the world’s largest and most influential annual conference. It brings together law enforcement professionals of all ranks, as well as non-sworn leaders across the criminal justice system, to focus on innovative ideas and best practices to address critical law enforcement issues, essential to public safety and the law enforcement profession. It was attended by 15,806 Delegates, including 753 International guests from 78 Countries.

As Echelon’s Director of Executive Protection, Bruce will lead and manage investigations, executive protection, armed security services and surveillance operations while applying his relationships with high-level government officials, law enforcement groups, commonwealth agencies and legislative representatives. Bruce brings with him an exclusive team of recently retired Pennsylvania State Troopers. Each member of Bruce’s team has worked under his command and have a proven track record of professionalism and thoroughness. Bruce is a graduate of the Northwestern University, School of Police and Staff Command.

Eric Rifkin

Company Accountant

As Echelon’s acting Company Accountant, Eric Rifkin is responsible for financial management, operations and strategy, including the ongoing development and monitoring of control systems to preserve and grow company assets. Eric provides leadership and guidance to Echelon’s executive team on company-wide financial objectives, procedures and practices to assure accounting structure and report accurate financial information. A licensed CPA for more than 30 years, Eric started his own accounting firm in 1988 and has functioned as Echelon’s Company Accountant since 2012. Eric graduated from Temple University in 1975 with a B.A. in accounting.

Don Benn

Training Instructor / Legal Compliance Officer

Don Benn’s 40+ year history in law enforcement, criminal justice, and public safety includes service as a 9-1-1 Dispatcher, Pre-Sentence Investigator, Warrant Officer and Victim Services Officer for the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania; Chairman of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Youth Aid Panel; and Special Deputy United States Marshal (assigned to the Eastern District’s Violent Fugitive Task Force).  He has been a Licensed Private Detective in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania since 2006 specializing in Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking investigations.

He served for five years as the Founding Chairman of the East Norriton Township Human Relations Commission tasked with investigating claims of racial, religious, sexual, gender, disability, and age-related discrimination.  Don’s education includes the Philadelphia Police Academy; the Montgomery County Public Safety Academy; the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Citizens Academy and National Academy; and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Minor Judiciary Education Board. Since 2011 he has been the only Licensed Private Detective in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania trained and Certified to perform the duties of a Magisterial District Judge.

Additionally, he is a NRA Certified Instructor, certified by the Pennsylvania State Police as a Lethal Weapons Training Instructor, an Adjunct Instructor for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, a Licensed Notary Public, and is trained and certified by both the Montgomery County Conflict and Mediation Center and the United States Department of Justice in Crisis/Conflict Mediation and Resolution.

He is a graduate of Temple University where he received a B.A. in Criminology (plus Pennsylvania teaching certification) and completed graduate training the Philadelphia School of Psychoanalysis at Drexel University where he was certified in Forensic Psychoanalytical Psychology. 

David Rubenstein

Senior Sales Consultant

David brings over ten years of direct security industry sales experience to Echelon with a concentration in event security and staffing, corporate security coordination, property management security, loss prevention, and minority vendor contract negotiations. A consummate sales professional, David plans and manages customized security solutions for Echelon’s diverse clients in the public and private sector. As Senior Sales Consultant for Echelon, David services clients in several distinct security segments, including: VIP personal protection, armed/unarmed security and event security & staffing services. In addition, Dave has provided security and staffing consulting and management for hundreds of major events, galas, festivals and concerts. David is well respected in the security industry and has worked as Sales Director for several leading security firms in the tristate area before joining Echelon.

Executive Protection Management Team

Karl L. de la Guerra, PPS CLSS

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Karl de la Guerra, Inc.
Fort Mill, South Carolina 29707

Phone: 704.607.8762

Karl de la Guerra, a forty-three-year veteran of the protective services industry, is Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Karl de la Guerra, Inc., an international security consulting and protective services training company based in the Carolinas. Karl also operates KDI Protective Services of South Carolina, a licensed, state-wide private sector response agency providing specialized support services to security agencies and other organizations in need of high-level protection operations, KDI Protective Services, LLC of Texas and KDI Protective Services, LLC of Arizona. The focus of KDI is Dignitary Protection operations, management and training.

Karl’s experience is a combination of military law enforcement, civilian law enforcement and international corporate security management. Throughout his career, Karl has maintained an emphasis on executive protection, anti/counter terrorism and tactical training. Beginning his career in the United States Air Force in 1979 as a law enforcement specialist, Karl was selected as a protective services officer providing personal bodyguard services to numerous senior ranking military officials and government dignitaries. This selection was a direct result of his certification in police SWAT and completion of a variety of military tactical operations courses.

  • Texas Commission on Law Enforcement
  • The United States Air Force
  • Air Transportation Association
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security / UNLV
  • Monadnock Police Training Council
  • Northwestern University Traffic Institute
  • International Bodyguard & Security Services Association
  • Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training

During the mid 1980’s, Karl was assigned to an active terrorist environment, where he headed a thirteen-member police tactical unit in Southeast Asia for four years. Karl is the recipient of the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal and the 6009th Security Police Training Squadron Commandant’s Award. He also graduated with Honors from the acific Air Forces NCO Leadership School at Clark Air Base, Republic of the Philippines. Karl is a certified Military Technical Training Instructor.

Following a ten-year enlistment in the military, Karl received an Honorable Discharge and entered into civilian law enforcement, serving the citizens of Maricopa County, Arizona, as a community relations officer, tactical team member and criminal street gang specialist. Karl graduated with Honors from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Detention Training Academy and is the recipient of numerous letters of commendation from the Sheriff and other senior department executives. He was awarded the Sheriff’s Top Gun Award and Sheriff’s Unit Citation.

Karl then entered into the private sector working in aviation security management at five airports in the United States, to include Sky Harbor, Denver International, Tucson International, Little Rock National and finally Salt Lake City International during the
run-up of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Karl has also served as a U. S. Government security contractor (contract manager) assigned to the U. S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Protective Service. Since 2004, Karl has been involved in security operations for the pharmaceutical industry, providing full-service safety and security liaison support for large scale meetings and conferences on an international level.

Possessing a strong background in hospitality security, Karl is a Certified Lodging Security Supervisor (CLSS), a certification he obtained while working under Hilton’s Waldorf=Astoria brand and the Starwood brand as a resort security supervisor and resort security director, respectively.

Karl currently instructs police SWAT teams and holds numerous courses on the topic of Active Shooter. He is a graduate of the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response training program and is an instructor for the ALERRT Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) course. Karl is a member of the National Tactical Officers Association. In 2019, Karl was enlisted as an E-8 into the South Carolina State Guard and heads a team in the Critical Infrastructure Protection Unit.

Karl is Chairman of the International Bodyguard & Security Services Association (IBSSA) based in Budapest, Hungary. In 2010, during a ceremony at a royal palace outside of Budapest, Karl received an investiture of Knighthood into the Sovereign Order of Cyprus, a rare recognition for an American that Karl was extremely honored to receive.

Andrell (AJ) Johnson

Director, Operations Bureau East

Karl de la Guerra, Inc.
Fort Mill, South Carolina 29707

Phone: 336.543.8490

AJ joined Team KDI in 2017 as an Executive Protection Specialist. Since that time, he has advanced to the position of Bureau Commander at KDI Protective Services. He also serves as a Special Assistant to the Office of the CEO. KDI is a licensed, state-wide, private sector response agency providing support services to security teams and other organizations in need of specialized services. KDI’s primary focus is Executive Protection operations, training and management. AJ is also a Defensive Tactics Instructor.

He also serves as the lead Close Protection Specialist at Evangel Fellowship Church in Greensboro, NC, a church with over 3,000 members. AJ has an extensive background as an instructor in martial arts and is an accomplished performance shooter. He has received hundreds of hours of training from world-class instructors in the industry ranging from tactical and protective services to competition.

AJ also has an accomplished career in personal strength training and conditioning. He began in this field as a college graduate in 1996 and has owned and operated his own personal training business in Greensboro, NC since 2002. He works with a vast range of clientele including sports-specific athletes, law-enforcement officers, military personnel, and civilians.

He began developing a passion for protective services in 2009 and has since pursued many opportunities for skill development and precision training. Since that time, he has been the recipient of several awards for distinction in this specialized field including:

  • Distinguished Graduate of Front Sight Firearms Training Institute
  • Best Student Award in KDI’s International Executive Protection Course
  • Third-degree black belt in Isshin-Ryu Karate
  • Certified Iron Palm Practitioner
  • Student of Balintawak/ Emperor’s Long Fist Kung-Fu/ Five Family Fist Kung-Fu/ Tai chi

AJ currently deploys nationally with KDI managing state-licensed protective details for a variety of clients within a corporate setting and is a regular instructor for the KDI Dignitary Protection course that is instructed across the U.S.

Robert A. Bonasia

Director, Protective Services Bureau

Karl de la Guerra, Inc.
Fort Mill, South Carolina 29707

Phone: 336.509.8615

Robert “Bob” Bonasia is a retired member of the United States Secret Services with over 20 years of distinguished performance. His assignments included Presidential, Vice Presidential and Foreign Dignitary protection. On numerous occasions, Bob was selected as Team Leader or Assistant Team Leader for various missions.

Prior to his selection for the Secret Service, Bob was actively involved in law enforcement as an officer with the New York City Police Department where he served for six years as a member of the elite NYPD Emergency Services Unit.

Upon retirement from the Secret Services, Bob was selected for a 1-year contract with the Israeli security company GS-3, where he instructed defensive tactics and self defense for personnel from a major airline. Prior to joining KDI, Bob was a state licensed Private Investigator in the State of North Carolina. As a PI, Bob conducted interviews, surveillance and general investigations within the private sector.

Bob has also served for several years as the Director of Security for a Synagogue in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Bob became a Bureau Director with KDI in 2015 where he heads all Executive Protection operations and has since traveled nationally to support a variety of very large Executive Protection management assignments. He is also a regular instructor for the KDI Dignitary Protection course presented across the U.S.

David A. Dufresne, MSL

Director, Investigations Bureau

Karl de la Guerra, Inc.
Fort Mill, South Carolina 29707

Phone: 704.622.0002

David Dufresne is a 28-year veteran law enforcement officer. He is currently serving as the Investigations Bureau Director for KDI Protective Services of South Carolina, a licensed, state-wide private sector response agency providing specialized support services to security agencies and other organizations in need of high-level protection operations.

During David’s career, he has completed executive protection assignments for U.S. politicians, Political Candidates and has led a team protecting professional athletes. David’s law enforcement career-focused in three areas: Criminal Investigations, Tactical Operations, and Management. Professional Highlights include:

  • Division Commander: Patrol Division; Criminal Investigations Division; Admin Division
    17 years as SRT Team Leader and Commander of multi-jurisdictional SRT Team
    Certified Law Enforcement Instructor through the North Carolina Department of Justice with the following certifications/specialties:

    • General Instructor, SWAT Instructor
    • Firearms Instructor, Subject Control and Arrest
      Procedures Instructor (Defensive Tactics)
    • Rapid Deployment for Active Shooter
    • Gracie ju-jitsu Law
    • Enforcement advanced Instructor
    • NRA Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor
  • Graduate of the FBI National Academy Session 251 (2012)
  • Graduate of the KDI Executive Protection Course and the Event Security Management Course
  • David is also an accomplished martial artist with over 38 years of experience. He currently holds many advanced-level ranks. Listed below are some rank recognitions:
    • Torashinden Ryu Kempo (6th Dan)
    • Shorinji Toraken Ryu Kempo (Renshi)
    • Hakkoryu Jujitsu (3rd Dan)
    • Tenshinsho Jigen-ryu (4th Dan)
    • Toboada Balintawak (COA Instructor)
  • Curriculum Adjunct Professor for Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) for Intro to Criminal Justice and Constitutional Law classes
  • In-Service Instructor for CPCC instructing Laws of Arrest Search and Seizure, Crime Scene, and Rapid Deployment for Active Shooter

David has successfully transitioned into the protective services industry, holding licensing through the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to perform executive protection and to conduct private investigations.

Mark E. Oliphant

Karl de la Guerra, Inc.
Charlotte, North Carolina 28277
Phone: 301-385-3376

Mark E. Oliphant is internationally recognized as a law enforcement and security professional, with exceptional expertise in the area of security risk management, based on his 25-years of professional experience with the United States Secret Service.  An additional 10-years of post retirement work in the private sector include extensive Executive Protection (EP), security management and diverse experiences in Quality Assurance and manufacturing operations.

Since 2015, Mr. Oliphant has served as the Commander of the Protective Intelligence Unit for KDI, which is focused on in-depth developing Protectee and event risk profiles, visit threat assessments and risk mitigation plans for KDI EP assignments and conferences.  In addition, Mark teaches these same concepts and strategies to private sector security professionals and sworn Law Enforcement at KDI sponsored EP training courses.

Mark retired as a Supervisory Special Agent from the Secret Service in December 2013; his assignments included supervisory assignments in London, United Kingdom, the Vice-Presidential Protection Division, and strategic assignments to the Criminal Investigative Division, and the Office of Human Resources and Training; James J. Rowley Training Center and Personnel Division.  In addition, he also completed investigative assignments in Charlotte, NC and Chicago, IL.

While managing the USSS London Resident Office, Mr. Oliphant oversaw liaison relationships in the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia; as well as the implementation of the Secret Service’s second international Electronic Crimes Task Force in partnership with the United Kingdom’s leading law enforcement agencies and key private sector stakeholders in an effort to investigate cyber crime in a global arena.

In partnership with the Department of Homeland Security, he led the Secret Service’s implementation of a new performance management system, transitioning the organization from a pass/fail evaluation to a performance goal oriented workforce.  In addition, immediately following the terrorist attack on September 11, Mr. Oliphant was at the forefront of the Secret Service’s participation in Operation Green Quest, a Treasury led initiative to disrupt terrorist financing and the Service’s use of fraud predictability modeling, fraud trend analysis and financial systems data mining to identify in progress, large scale financial fraud that may impact the United States financial infrastructure.

A native of Charlotte, NC, he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in Business Administration and successfully completed the Secret Service’s Management and Development Institute, and is certified as a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

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