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Ted Hresko: Alum Works Toward Safety in the Sky

The nation’s security risk had just been elevated to “orange” status when Ted Hresko ’73 took time for a phone call a couple of weeks ago. As special agent in charge of the federal air marshal service in the Pittsburgh, Penn., area, Hresko oversees air safety in one of the nation’s busiest airports.

More than most, Hresko is acutely aware of the heightened risk of terrorist threat. Part of his role, he says, is calming the fears of air travelers.

“I’ve never talked to anybody who wouldn’t feel more comfortable knowing there was a federal air marshal on their flight,” he says. “Federal air marshals are more than armed special agents on flights. They are in a surveillance mode from the time they leave home until the time they get back home, and have special responsibilities in terms of briefing the crew, cabin checks before people get on, and participation in other task forces.”

So Hresko was coordinating the rescheduling of days off and increasing the number of flights with air marshals onboard.

His new job is a second career for the Moundbuilder, one that uses many of the skills he learned as a 28-year member of the Secret Service. In nearly three decades he played a variety of roles: as an officer in the uniformed division of the Secret Service assigned to the White House detail, as a physical training and arrest instructor in the Office of Training, as a special agent in the Washington field office (where he was involved with counterfeit investigations and personal protection), then as a member of the presidential protective division for three years. Hresko spent more than a decade in Hawaii investigating criminal case, supervising protective assignments and coordinating intelligence activities throughout Asia. Upon returning to Washington, D.C., he was responsible for the physical security of the U.S. Treasury Building and for the personal security of three secretaries of the Treasury. He finished his Secret Service career with nearly a year as the assistant special agent in charge of the Honolulu field office.

Now Hresko is using his skills and special expertise learned in this wide experience as he works through the process of making air travel as safe as possible. As the special agent in charge of the federal air marshal service, he sees air safety out of Pittsburgh as his personal responsibility.

“We have almost 78,000 applications pending for qualified people who would like to become air marshals,” he adds. “9/11 affected us all profoundly—if it were up to the general public, I believe we’d have an air marshal on every flight.”

Exchange Semester Broadens Student Experience

When Andrea Annika Billings came to Southwestern as a freshman, she knew she would be a minority as an African American student. But her SC experience has broadened to include time at a college where she was part of a definite majority.

After two years at SC, Billings participated in an exchange program that allowed her to be part of a different student body, one that was 98 percent African American. During the spring of 2002, Billings studied music at Philander-Smith College in Little Rock, Ark.

In addition to taking voice and piano lessons, Billings was involved in the college’s new musical theatre program, and was the lead mezzo-soprano in “The Stoned Guest Opera,” a classical spoof of Mozart’s works by P.D.Q. Bach.

“I learned a lot about myself when I was taken out of my comfort zone, and for that long,” Billings says. “I think students would benefit from seeing a more diverse faculty and student body.”

Her exchange was facilitated by SC academic dean David Nichols, who handled the academic component of the transfer, and dean of students Dawn Pleas-Bailey, who encouraged Billings to experience a semester at a predominantly black school.

30-Plus Years in Women's Athletics

Linda (Adams) Hargrove ’75 was recognized for her 30 plus years of work in women’s athletics on Jan. 22, 2003, at the Builder basketball games. Inducted into the athletic hall of fame in 1992, Hargrove has coached at all levels, including working with USA Basketball as an assistant coach in the World Championships, Goodwill Games and the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain where her team received a bronze medal. For the past three seasons she served as head coach and general manager of the Portland Fire in the Women’s National Basketball Association.