James Trainor ’93 MA, FBI special agent-in-charge, New York Field Office Intelligence Division, will be the guest speaker at the Alumni Weekend reception and dinner on June 1.
Trainor’s interest in law enforcement was sparked when he served in the U.S. Army as a military intelligence officer stationed in Germany from 1987 to 1991. As a second lieutenant, he and a fellow officer discussed working for the FBI. “I thought the FBI would have more action at the time,” says Trainor. “I was tired of living overseas, and I was excited about the prospect of doing public service. The FBI is a hybrid of law enforcement and intelligence.”
Trainor earned his master’s degree in public administration from UConn and his bachelor’s degree in political science from Assumption College in Mass. He oversees 400 agents, intelligence analysts, and linguists in his division, or as he calls it, “the central nerve center.” He’s been with the FBI for 16 years and enjoys the diversity of the mission. “The cases that I work on range from white-collar crime to counter intelligence,” he says. “My job has taken me all over the world, and I find my work very rewarding.”
Trainor’s career highlights include investigating the attempted car bombing of Times Square in May 2010 and the arrest of Andrew B. Huang of Cromwell, Conn., in May 2006 for brokering the sale of telecommunications equipment from China to Iraq.
Each year, the FBI receives 75,000 applicants, of whom only 600 are accepted as special agents. There are 35,000 employees worldwide (2,500 in New York), and Trainor says the organization has changed since 9/11. “It’s become proactive versus a reactive agency,” he says, “and to remain competitive in the organization you need an advanced degree as well as foreign language and technical skills.”
Trainor recently received UConn’s Department of Public Policy’s Distinguished Alumni Award and he credits the University for helping him be where he is today.
Alumni weekend will be held on June 1 and 2. For complete details, visit UConnAlumni.com/AlumniWeekend.