Aric Mutchnick, 48, is the president and CEO of Experior Group, a company that provides high-level security and strategies to prepare for violent threats faced by any business or organization.
Mutchnick, a married father of two, is a resident of Fairfax and a member of the security committee of Temple Rodef Shalom.
He developed the “Red Ball Drill,” which is approved by the Department of Homeland Security as an anti-terrorism training against active shooters and other workplace crises.
Mutchnick says that Red Ball Drills offer a more productive and less traumatic form of all-hazards training than the “run, hide, fight” method that can involve fake weaponry and gunfire. The former Israel Defense Forces paratrooper has conducted the training at synagogues and the Hillel house at Rutgers University.
The Red Ball Drill, which involves an actual red ball, is a moving tabletop exercise to decrease the response time in performing appropriate action, such as confirmation of a threat and moving toward safety. Temple Rodef Shalom implemented his training.
What motivates you to work hard?
The Red Ball Drills were designed on the idea that I didn’t want to provide awesome training. I wanted to provide training with awesome outcomes. I also like putting people to work. We hire many contractors and train them. So, to me, the hard work leads to all of these things, but I’d say the end result is positive outcomes.
What was the big surprise along your career path?
There was a point when I hit probably 38 years old where I could stop looking toward mentors for answers and realized I actually know what I’m talking about. I didn’t need to bring an older person in the field to help bolster my experience.
When was the last time you felt very Jewish?
Every time I look in the mirror. I’m also culturally ambiguous. If I drop in anywhere, people just assume I’m from the country I’m visiting. So Italy, Greece, I just have that Mediterranean look.
What is your favorite Jewish childhood memory?
I grew up in Ann Arbor, Mich., and my parents were divorced. I spent my early Passover days with my father who was more Conservadox. So we did the full-on Ashkenazi until 2 o’clock in the morning. Every male stood up for Kiddush, and that alone took at least 45 minutes to get through everybody. We turned the songs into [University of] Michigan and Notre Dame fight songs. That kind of thing.
What is a surprising thing that people meeting you for the first time wouldn’t know?
My mother owned a restaurant in Ann Arbor when I was growing up, and I actually moved back to Michigan for three years to help her write a cookbook. During that time, I also started my company. My brother and I collected these recipes, which amounted to 150. As we were cooking them, she would remember stories from Baghdad where she was born and stories from Israel growing up. I would write stories that went behind the recipes. They’re delicious. The book is called “Fusion by Nadia: A Quilting of Flavors from Iraq, Israel and America.”
What is the best book you ever read?
A series of fantasy books called “The Chronicles of Prydain” that I read a long time ago. It actually taught me dynamics about life. Aside from being awesome stories, I remember truly connecting to characters in a book and feeling emotions.
What famous person would you invite to dinner and why?
Malala. I think her story is dynamic. Just the amount of strength it took for her and everything she has been through, to be able to take trauma and turn it into useful messaging and guidance to those who deal with the same thing. It’s astounding to me.