Retiree goes from the FBI to First Tee of Southern Nevada

Kevin Favreau, 51, retired as the Special Agent in Charge of the Las Vegas FBI on Jan. 4. Three days later, he was hired as executive director of a local youth golf organization, The First Tee of Southern Nevada.

Brian Hurlburt, board member for The First Tee and a golf writer, said he and his fellow members looked at about 70 possible candidates, all of them well-qualified. But Favreau stood out.

“He exudes an overall confidence and vision about how to get things done that is amazing,” Hurlburt said. “… The pool of candidates was terrific, but Kevin just shined above. … He has that vision, that passion that is tough to teach.”

First Tee was created after merging the Southern Nevada Junior Golf Association and the Southern Nevada Inner City Youth Golf Association in 2002. The program is an “Ace” designee by the national office of The First Tee and has been ranked in the top five nationally of the more than 200 such members. Programs include the Danny Gans Junior Golf Academy, the SNJGA Tour, the Driving the Dream Scholarship fund and others. Three local golf courses are involved –– Wildhorse Golf Club, Las Vegas Municipal Golf Club and Aliante Golf Club –– according to its website, tftsn.org.

Favreau was raised in Clinton, Mass. Was he glued to the TV set, watching cop shows? Not exactly.

“Growing up, there were shows like ‘The FBI’ on, with Efrem Zimbalist Jr., but … I think a lot of it had to do with just the fact that it’s a noble profession. I didn’t like the bad guys … I wanted to side with the good guys,” he said.

He joined the FBI at 21 after earning his degree in criminal justice and political science at Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I. He underwent four months of intensive training at the FBI Academy –– defensive tactics, how to protect yourself and others, and the use of firearms.

“They pretty much prepare you for everything you need,” he said. “While you’re there, you (come to comprehend) that someday you may have to use those (skills).”

At first, he carried a .357 Magnum revolver, best known from Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry” movies. Later, it was 9mm, then 40mm automatics. But much of his work took place in an office.

He entered the FBI in 1983 as a support employee in the Boston Division and later served as an intelligence information system analyst. By August 1988, he was a special agent and worked primarily in counterespionage, counterintelligence and counterterrorism matters as a case agent. Among other key roles, from August 2005 until June 2006, he served as chief of the newly created Counterintelligence Strategy and Domain Section at FBI headquarters. For a time, Favreau was stationed in the Northwest.

“When I was in Portland, Ore., in the 1999-2000 time period, I was a supervisor of the joint terrorism task force up there,” he said. “It sounds kind of contrite, but the notorious animal liberation and earth liberation fronts were running around in the Northwest, burning down logging companies and animal testing labs in the name of environment. … So they were causing a lot of problems for the industries up there.

“We thought it was only a matter of time before somebody got killed or hurt. … They’re very hard to find, to penetrate, because they would do these arsons in the middle of the night, like 2 or 3 in the morning. They would wear dark clothing, ski masks, and they basically would use these crude (methods) and devices made out of, like, milk cartons and gasoline, and nobody would ever see them do it. There really wasn’t any evidence” to point to who they were.

But Favreau and his fellow agents developed some sources that led to the perpetrators being arrested.

At one point, Favreau served as deputy assistant director for Operations Support in the Counterintelligence Division at FBI Headquarters. He was later appointed to assistant director of the Directorate of Intelligence.

After ringleader Mohamed Atta and his fellow terrorists wrestled control of airliners on 9/11 and killed Americans, the FBI underwent major changes.

It was criticized for being more of a reactive organization than a proactive one, and Favreau said he thought that was a fair assessment.

“For the 90 years up to that point, a crime would be committed, and we would go out and arrest the bad guys and put them in jail,” he said. “But 9/11 showed us that you can’t always wait for a crime to be committed for you to go into action. Basically, what we really did then was turn the organization on its head. It became more of an intelligence (gathering) agency that would prevent things from happening.”

After 9/11, the FBI hired thousands more analysts “to look into our files, to make connections between individuals and groups (than) we ever did before,” he said. “It allowed us to, I think, become better at analyzing threats and prioritizing those threats and then putting resources toward those threats to prevent things from happening.”

Now, Favreau concentrates more on getting a hole in one.

For hobbies, Favreau enjoys spectator sports and loves the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. Golf is his and his wife, Cyndi’s, passion. Cyndi is a retired elementary school teacher. They do not have children.

Favreau said he’s looking forward to working with The First Tee.

“It’s a life skills and a core values type of program for young people, ages 6 to 17, that uses golf as the way to teach those lessons,” he said. “And a lot of things (bolstered by) golf –– confidence, honesty, integrity and respect –– all of those things can be taught through the game very easily. The core values of integrity and respect and responsibility are the same core values as the FBI. So, for me, it was a perfect fit.”

Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at jhogan@viewnews.com or 702-387-2949.

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