FBI’s George Venizelos Speaks to BC Hellenic Alumni Network in New York

NEW YORK – The Boston College Hellenic Alumni Network, in cooperation with the school’s Law Enforcement Alumni Network hosted a reception featuring George Venizelos, the FBI’s  Assistant Director in Charge – New York Field Office, last week at the Trattoria Il Mulino restaurant in Manhattan.

Drake Behrakis, who is an alumni and trustee of Boston College and spearheaded the creation of the Network, welcomed the guests, thanked the school and introduced Venizelos.

Venizelos, whose family has deep roots in Fordham University, good-naturedly invoked the rivalry between the great Jesuit schools, but he noted that his son is graduating this month from BC’s business school and expressed his thanks for the invitation.

He then spoke about his family, his upbringing in the New York area and his mother’s roots in Lowell, MA, and the path that took him to the FBI and his current position.

Venizelos emphasized both the sacrifices and the rewards – they are not financial however – working for the agency entails.

He touched upon the dramatic changes after 9/11 and newer challenges like cybercrime. Venizelos praised the high level of cooperation that now exists between and within levels of government, especially the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) –  where the aim is not to investigate but to stop things before they happen.

Fighting political and commercial corruption and organized crime remain priorities, so he was pleased to announce the FBI is increasing its hiring.

Asked about what motivated him to create the network, Behrakis told TNH “There are a million organizations out there, different ways you can engage Greek-Americans, but I am fortunate enough through being a trustee,”  to facilitate the process of getting Greek-American alumni together, “in a non-traditional way.”

Guests agreed that whether or not the traditional community organization reinvent themselves to attract more young professionals, groups like HAN have a bright future.

Bob Sherwood, a special advisor to its alumni association, spoke to the guests and enjoyed the gathering. He told TNH that such affinity groups are also a new trend within alumni associations.

Joseph Coutlis, class of 2009, who organized the event, told TNH he enjoyed working with FBI special agents to make it happen, and said “It is great that we have George Venizelos, an American Hellene, who is a great American and is proud of his Hellenic roots.”