Michael Soppelsa has been providing executive protection and specialized security services since 1990. He has been protecting political figures, NGOs, VIPs, celebrities and high net-worth individuals in the USA, Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. His international experience in dynamic, unpredictable and high threat environments has been instrumental in instructing and training local security teams overseas. During President Clinton’s administration Mr. Soppelsa was selected as a team member for the protection detail of President Aristide upon his return to Haiti and was actively involved in training the new Haitian Secret Service.
Post 9/11 Mr. Soppelsa was selected and trained at Blackwater Inc. as a team member of the high-risk protection detail for Ambassador Bremer with extensive travels throughout Baghdad and within Iraq in support of the rebuilding of a new sovereign Iraqi government. Later, he then served as embedded mentor and trainer to the new Afghan Secret Service in charge of the security of President Karzai with travels in Kabul and within Afghanistan.
After his Middle East assignments, he served for 10 years as Director of Security for a prominent family.
Educated in private schools in Switzerland and as an exchange student in Venezuela he joined the French Foreign Legion and qualified for the parachute regiment (2.REP) stationed in Calvi, Corsica with a tour in Djibouti (East Africa) before joining the Swiss Armey and passing selection for the Swiss Special Forces in the elite Grenadier Regiment, specializing in unconventional warfare and small unit tactics.
Mr. Soppelsa holds the ASIS Certified Protection Professional board certification (CPP) and has attended and graduated from the top rated tactical firearms academies and driving schools over the last three decades.
He is a FAA certified aircraft and helicopter pilot with instrument and seaplane ratings. Mr. Soppelsa is fluent in German, English, French, Spanish and is currently studying Arabic. He carries both US and Swiss passport for international travels.
In his spare time he is a dedicated triathlete and endurance sports athlete and has competed and finished 14 Ironman races.
March 2018 to present:
Team Leader PSD for US government contract in Iraq; responsible for day to day security and protection missions for US personnel. Working closely with local security forces and training Iraqi PSD elements.
January 2008 to December 2017:
Director of Security for private family: responsible for implementing and maintaining an executive protection program for the extended family; duties included close protection in the US and overseas, maritime security, aviation security, residential security as well as security related team training.
Responsible for corporate security for a successful family owned healthcare business with over 2000 employees working in 8 locations. Implemented and maintained CCTV, biometric access control, guard force, intel, investigations.
August 1992 to December 2007:
Provided executive protection and consulting to clients from the diplomatic, business, political, entertainment and private sector within the USA, Central/South America, Asia, Europe, Caribbean, the Middle East and Africa. Highlights:
- Selected by US State Department to be a member on the protective detail for President Aristide upon his return to Haiti under the Clinton administration; responsible for the Presidential security as well as actively involved in training the new Haitian Secret Service.
- Team Leader on extended protection details for numerous A-list Hollywood stars both stateside and overseas for 12 years . Responsible for the security of actors/actresses on several large movie productions overseas with elevated threat levels and on international scouting trips.
- After 9/11 qualified, selected and trained by Blackwater for Ambassador Bremer’s high risk protection detail in Baghdad with extensive travels throughout Iraq during the initial rebuilding phase and implementation of a new sovereign Iraqi government until the successful completion.
- Selected as embedded mentor and trainer for the new Afghan Secret Service tasked with the security for President Karzai with travels in Kabul and Afghanistan.
Executive Protection Training:
- ASIS CPP (Certified Protection Professional) Board Certification (2015)
- Pilot License No. 3223439 (1997), Instrument Rating (1998), Seaplane Rating (2002),Helicopter Rating (2007)
- Languages: Fluent in Spanish, English, German, French, enrolled in Arabic studies.
- Executive Protection Institute: Certified Protection Specialist (1994), Advanced Yacht and Maritime VIP Protection Course (1994)
- BSR Driving School: Executive Security Driving Course (2001), Tactical Vehicle Intercept Course (2001)
- Scotty School of Defensive Driving: Firearms Deployment During Vehicle Operations Course with H&K Intl. Training Division (2001)
- Team O’Neill Rally School: 5-day advanced Rally Driving Course (2016)
- Countermeasures Tactical Institute: Tactical Firearms Urban Combat Course (1999), Hostage Rescue/Tactical Team Commander Course (1995)
- H&K International Training Division: Tactical Firearms for the Protective Specialist, Pistol, MP5, Shotgun (1996)
- Gunsite/American Pistol Institute: Tactical Handgun (1992), Pistol 350 (2006), Advanced Pistol 499 (2007), Armed Vehicle Operations (2006)
- Tactical Training with Department of State, DoD, Kyle Lamb/Viking Tactics, Louis Awerbuck, Steve Tarani, Bill Jeans, Frank Garcia, Greg Hamilton, Grey Group, Blackwater, Gunsite (2004 -2015)
- Qualified by DoD and Department of State with handgun, rifle, shotgun, MP5, Uzi (1994, 2004)
Educated in Switzerland including 6 years in private boarding schools with emphasis in languages and one year as exchange student in Venezuela, graduating from Colegio Calasanz and gaining fluency in Spanish. Currently in the process of enrolling in a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice with emphasis on Homeland Security.
French Foreign Legion: selected after basic training to Elite 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (2nd REP) based in Corsica with tour in Djibouti for border patrol and desert warfare training (1985 – 1987)
Swiss Army: Qualified and selected for Swiss Special Forces Grenadier regiment, training in unconventional warfare, infiltration and sabotage in urban and mountain environment (1988)
Hobbies and Interest:
13-time Ironman triathlete with World Athlete status. Endurance racing, languages and literature, aviation, ongoing tactical training, motorcycles, international travel and cultures.