Meet the Team
Michael Matos (Founder)
Michael Matos was born and raised in New York City and founded Personal Protective Concepts. Before our founding, Michael worked as an Executive Protection Agent, ensuring the safety and security of various celebrities, corporate leaders, and public officials.
Michael served ten years in the United States Coast Guard, specializing in anti-terrorism and search & rescue. Michael conducted numerous domestic and international national security and force protection operations during this time.
Trained in martial arts since childhood, Michael continuously studied various disciplines over the years, blending both modern and traditional concepts to develop the curriculum he now teaches today. Michael's philosophy of "Social Stewardship" became the driving force of his teachings, as he looked to empower those at higher risk of experiencing violence with the knowledge and self-confidence to defend themselves, should they ever need to.
Alex Pieken is a deeply motivated and dynamic professional with 7 years of Coast Guard and DoD operational experience in VIP protection, search and rescue, and intelligence, procuring effective cohesiveness and outstanding mentorship in small-team environments. He continues to lead in a variety of fashions outside his service, including heading a veteran outreach and advocacy initiative at West Virginia University and operating in volunteer search and rescue operations throughout Northern West Virginia.
His dedication to humanity through his work in rope rescue operations and man tracking for search and rescue operations, as well as veteran mentorship, displays his continued service ethic.
He also volunteers where he can to protect nature and wildlife, and mountaineers in his free time to maintain extended mental and physical readiness required to lead a fulfilling life.
Ariel Kurtz (Freelance Website Manager)
Ariel Kurtz (She/Hers/Her) is so excited to be a part of the Personal Protective Concepts Team as their Freelance Website Administrator! She loves helping businesses grow and maintain their online presence. She previously worked as the Social Media Manager/Website Manager at the National Disability Theatre and as a Freelance Social Media Manager for the past 6 years. She is honored to work with the wonderful veteran community. When she isn't working, you can find her singing or eating some ice cream all year round.
Bushra Sarker (Marketing)
Bushra Sarker is a Denver-based graphic designer born and raised in New York City. She obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Design from Parsons School of Design. Bushra is passionate about using her skills and resources to help create a better world. She is glad she can contribute valuable work at Personal Protective Concepts.
Caitlin Jones (Client Relations Manager)
Caitlin is our dedicated Client Relations Manager with a passion for creating exceptional customer experiences. With a background of 10+ years in customer service, Caitlin has a keen understanding of client needs that helps us foster long term relationships in our communities.
A born and bred New Yorker, Caitlin understands the importance of situational awareness. Ensuring individuals are heard, supported, and empowered is her specialty.
When it comes to self-defense, I practiced & in my later years, taught taekwondo and Hapkido at a Dojong—starting from the age of seven to the year 2016(20 years old).
I acquired the rank of Third Degree Black Belt. So most of my hard experience comes from a "striking" not a "grappling" background. I am not unfamiliar with grappling, however, with my small amount Hapkido training.
My military experience was in the Army for three years of active duty, where recreationally I did jujutsu and combatives but was never 'belted' or officially certified.
As for my small personal note, I am originally from southern California
I am 27 years old; I have two bachelor's degrees and an associate's degree. Directly after my undergrad, I spent three years and seven months in the Active Duty Army, where I completed my service with an Honorable Discharge. My entire active duty service was in the European Theater in Germany, where I earned the Rank of Sergeant.
Leaving the Service in June 2022, I have just completed my first year back in the United States and my first year of Graduate School. Currently, I am 'employed' at the John Jay Veterans Association at John Jay College of Criminal Justice; where I can aid fellow Veterans with questions about the aspects of academia.
I am current goal is to finish my Masters by the end of 2024 and to be employed in Private Security here in NYC, with the possible submission to the FBI as a special agent or to climb the ranks of a Private Security company in NYC.
Mike Gomez (Instructor)
Michael Gomez is a 4 year United States Marines Corps veteran, and now a dedicated instructor at Personal Protective Concepts, a leading personal safety education company run by Michael Matos. Throughout his military career Michael Gomez deployed to Spain in 2018 and served as translator, bridging gaps and facilitating communication between Spanish locals and American forces. He was committed to ensuring Clear understanding and effective collaboration. Michael seamlessly transitioned into the private sector,
channeling his experience into the realm of security and personal safety. Michael now brings a wealth of knowledge and a passion for empowering others to confidently navigate potentially dangerous situations.
I'm a recent graduate from John Jay College of Criminal Justice having received a bachelors in Forensic Psychology and Masters in Human Rights. I’m passionate about mental and physical health. I enjoy motivating and uplifting others through life challenges and experiences. I not only see what I can bring to the table but I’m also open to learn and receive knowledge and wisdom from others in this organization.