Our Team

Vern Abila

Mr. Abila is a 24 year veteran in the security, investigative and training industries. For the past twelve years Vern has been the President and CEO of Abila Security & Investigations. Inc. (ASI) and has led ASI from a microbusiness operating from his home to a successful multi-million dollar worldwide organization, earning the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Small Business person of the year for 2012 for the state of Colorado. ASI’s client list includes a virtual “Who’s Who” of A-list celebrities, Fortune 100 corporations, various agencies and departments of the U.S. government and foreign governments. ASI’s core services are in, Executive and Dignitary Protection, Threat and Vulnerability Assessments, Investigations and Training. ASI also provides Logistics Support services ranging from military and law enforcement equipment sales to the provision of food stuffs and medical supplies, fixed wing and rotor aircraft around the globe to NGO’s and corporations for disaster and humanitarian relief operations.

Mr. Abila served on a US Department of State contract, to serve as team leader for the protective service detail to Ambassador Robert Frowick, Special Envoy for the Dayton Peace Accord & Head of Mission for the Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Bosnia-Herzegovina. In his capacity he was part of the team responsible for the planning, coordinating and implementing of a security package that encompassed the personal security of the Ambassador his headquarters and residence. Mr. Abila received several letters of commendation from Ambassador Frowick and other entities involved for his role in stopping an attack on the motorcade carrying Ambassador Frowick, President Zubak and President Izetbegovic.

Mr. Abila has also served in the Republic of Haiti, performing duties as a member of the US Department of State’s, Presidential Security Advisory Unit (PSAU). He served as Assistant Detail Leader for the protection team assigned to guard Haitian President Rene Garcia Preval and former President Jean Betrand Aristide. He was also tasked with providing formal and on the job training for the Haitian Secret Service in areas such as close quarter combat skills, principles of protection, hand to hand combat, attack on vehicle and principle drills and physical training. In addition, Mr. Abila was selected to be part of a three-man team assigned to develop and train an elite Counter Ambush Team (CAT) for the Haitian Secret Service motorcade.

Mr. Abila has also served in Bogotá, Colombia as an Instructor for the US Department of States Presidential Security Program. He served as a training officer tasked with formal training in Protective Services for the Colombian Minister of Defenses Team. Subjects were; Principles of Protection, Explosive sweeps, Advances, Defensive Tactics, Terrorist Operations, Walking Formations, Motorcade Operations, Counter-Terrorist Driving, Surveillance Detection, and was the range master of the firearms course.

Mr. Abila has been awarded Diplomate status with The American Board for Certification in Homeland Security (ABCHS) and is certified in Homeland Security at Level III, from the organization. Mr. Abila currently sits on the ABCHS Board for Certification in Executive and Dignitary Protection, a newly formed national organization established to create professional certification within the profession.

Mike Chaney - Vice President, Special Projects

Abila Security



Mr. Chaney has provided the US Government and corporate world a broad horizon of experience. He lends his background to all levels of client support both vertically and horizontally. He has conducted border security surveys, emergency evacuation planning, training of security forces, and the protection of cargo and executives worldwide. He has conducted these programs in support of the United States Government and corporate clients in the United States and overseas. He is recognized as an expert in the government and civilian security arena.

Mr. Chaney was a member of the security team for the 1984 Olympics. He was responsible for conducting an extensive security survey, which involved the creation of highly detailed plans for buildings and residential areas as preparation of a crisis situation. Using the lessons learned he conducted training with the Koreans in preparation for the 1988 Olympic Games. During the 1996 Olympics Mr. Chaney assisted in the planning and operations of aviation support to the ACOG and selected venue sites. Prior to the 2004 Olympic Games, Mr. Chaney provided a series of classes for the Greek security teams on special event security requirements.

Mr. Chaney has conducted programs with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Center of Disease Control (CDC) to develop, prepare, and supervise the security operations at United States Government vaccine repositories that are our national response to a biological or chemical attack. Mr. Chaney also served for over years as a subject matter expert for the Joint Staff J-34. He conducted ATFP Assessments worldwide and attended several Peace Keeping (Stability) and Force Protection training programs conducted by UK Ministry of Defense (MOD) and the IDF in Israel. Mr. Chaney provided support to USAF Pacific Command for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and provides security red team support for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Mr. Chaney retired from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command in 1991 having served in the 5th Special Forces Group, 7th Special Forces Group, 1st BN 75th Rangers, and a special mission unit. Mr. Chaney has received the Bronze Star (4 clusters w/V Device), Purple Heart (2 clusters), Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (3 clusters), and numerous other awards & decorations.

Ralph Palmieri, Vice President, Global Corporate Development
Abila Security



Mr. Palmieri is responsible for the coordination and synergies of International Clients, business affairs and focusing on strategic relationships on a global scale. Mr. Palmieri recently retired as Staff Vice-President of the Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Services business area. Mr. Palmieri was responsible for the coordination and synergies of International Clients and business affairs across all nine of the operating units of this business area of Lockheed Martin. Previously, from 2004 to 2005, as the Vice President, International, for Lockheed Martin Information Technology, Mr. Palmieri successfully launched that business unit on a pioneering course focused on strategic relationships, mergers, and acquisitions of IT and BPS oriented firms based primarily outside the United States and on virtually every continent. Prior to joining Lockheed Martin Corporation, Mr. Palmieri was an Executive Vice President of the SYTEX Group, Inc. (TSGI), and the Chief Operating Officer of SYTEX, Inc., the flagship company of TSGI’s three operating firms: Sytex, Inc., Mac Aulay Brown, Inc., and INS, Inc. He joined Sytex as a start-up enterprise in 1989, helping to kick off the Washington, DC-based segments of the growing government technical services company. As the COO of Sytex, he was ultimately responsible for all day-to-day operations of the company, including strategic planning, program development, administration, and technical performance. For over 16 years, he helped grow Sytex and TSGI into an internationally-recognized professional services company of over 3000 employees world-wide, supporting Department of Defense, Non-DoD Federal, commercial, and foreign clients in areas of Homeland Security, Counterterrorism; Command and Control, Counternarcoterriorism, and Intelligence Systems; Information Warfare and Information Operations; Systems Engineering and Integration; Program Management and Business Administration; and Global Logistics and Readiness Systems Support. Mr. Palmieri contributes personally to these projects, primarily addressing issues of systems analysis and design, economic evaluations, international business operations, technical system acquisition/fielding/maintenance, program management techniques, and the human side of Corporate management– all areas in which he is considered in the community to be a leading professional.

Prior to joining SYTEX, Mr. Palmieri was with Analytics, Inc. for over six years (1984-1989). He began as a Project Engineer and ended as a Principal Analyst, and was responsible for growing his segment of the company from a staff of zero to over 55 technical personnel providing technical and professional services to the Department of Defense and to the Drug Enforcement Administration. As a “hands-on” manager, he personally participated in numerous technical efforts, making significant contributions in supporting deployed Commands, developing concepts for the fielding and maintenance of Non-Developmental Items (NDI), applying emerging technologies to the solutions of specific law enforcement problems, and formulating tailored system acquisition approaches for both major and non-major programs, both domestically and internationally.

Previously, Mr. Palmieri served as an electronic warfare officer in the US Army (1964-1984), with tours spent at Ft Bragg, NC, Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Europe. He is professionally qualified in German, Persian (Farsi & Dari), and Spanish languages, with lesser competencies in Italian, Arabic, and Vietnamese.

Mr. Palmieri received his BS degree in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Richmond; he completed his graduate MA work in International Relations at the University of Missouri; he is also a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces’ Systems Management Course.

Mr. Palmieri maintains current membership in the following Professional Organizations:
• American Nuclear Society (ANS)
• American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS)
• Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association (AFCEA)
• Institute for Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
• International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
• International Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association (INEOA)