Brian Haynes graduated from Ball State University in 1996 with a degree in criminal justice and police science. He credits the strong foundation Ball State gave him for his successful career at the FBI and in his current position as the Vice President of Security for the Atlanta Braves.
“Ball State holds a special place in my heart. It was a launching pad for everything I wanted to accomplish in my future.”
Learning the Basics
Brian grew up a little way down the road from Ball State in Kokomo, Indiana. Knowing that he wanted to get out of his small town, Brian decided to make the ultimate decision and enlist in the army where he served for three years. During his service, he defended our nation during the first Gulf War and Desert Storm. When he returned from his military service, he knew that he wanted to eventually join the FBI but lacked the education and experience he needed to pursue that career. After doing some research about where he could get a quality education in criminal justice, Brian settled on Ball State University. He entered the university in August of 1992 with the hopes of completing a degree in criminal justice with a counseling minor.
For him, Ball State taught the fundamentals of not only the criminal justice field, but also the fundamentals of the professional world. He stated that through his classes in the Teachers College, he learned crucial writing and analytical skills. During his time in the FBI, it was expected of him to possess excellent writing, interviewing, and communication skills. Brian stated that during his 20 years in the FBI, he relied on some of these basic lessons each day.
Brian also said that the professors and guidance counselors within the criminal justice system were compassionate and welcoming as he adjusted to college life. They helped him succeed in the classroom while showing him what it means to be a part of the Ball State family and community.
Overall, Ball State was a wonderful time in Brian’s life. He loved campus life and getting to grow close to the guys in his fraternity. He also had the opportunity to walk onto the track team his freshman year. His heart for sports continues to shine through today in his work with the Atlanta Braves. The classes and teachers were instrumental in helping him learn everything he needed to know for each step of his career from police officer to FBI agent to his current position.
“I never felt like I had to get up and go to classes. It was never a chore. I always saw it as the amazing opportunity it was.”
Protect & Serve
After graduation, Brian still needed to build up his resume before applying to the FBI so he took a job as a police officer in Sarasota, Florida. He was there for five years and described the experience as a stepping stone on his journey to becoming an FBI agent. He learned a lot during these five years as he got a chance to put his freshly earned degree to the test.
After feeling as though he had gained enough experience, Brian joined the FBI as a Special Agent. “I was fortunate enough to work in several different programs including counterintelligence, intelligence, and counterterrorism.” He loved the variety each day brought and felt as though he was serving his country to the best of his ability through this role. During the twenty years he stayed with the bureau, he was proud to represent the Midwest and what graduates of Ball State could do.
However, when his daughter started school, he decided to settle down and find a job that would keep him closer to home while still allowing him to work for a top-tier organization. That was when the Vice President position for the Atlanta Braves Security Team opened up. He realized as he read the job description that he had experience in many areas that the Braves wanted a candidate to have. This included crisis communication and event response. The Atlanta Braves saw the potential in Brian and hired him to their team. Brian stated that he has loved working this role for the Braves.
“I love the organization and the challenge of figuring out how to secure our ballpark each day. It is so much more than people think and I am grateful to be a part of it.”
Advice for Students
“As much as you can, set your sights on something and stick with it. Follow your heart and follow your passion and be flexible to where that passion might lead you.”
Brian stated that hard work, humility, and staying true to yourself are the biggest keys to success. He stated that any job, especially in the criminal justice field, will bring about hard times so knowing why you continue to push through is incredibly important. Brian loved that Ball State University had some of these pillars of success in mind as he received his education. He encourages all students to explore who they are and what they want out of life.
“Finding the values that grounded me has allowed me to stay rooted in who I am and has allowed me to not get lost in a career, rather the career fits around what I value.”
Brian is proud to be a BSU graduate and is excited to see what the next generation of students will do in the future.