Even presidents want privacy, but when you are the Special Agent in Charge (SAIC) and the president wants to go on a run, allowing him to have privacy is not an option.
“Nicky, can you at least give me the illusion that I’m running by myself,” then-President George W. Bush said to Nick Trotta, then SAIC.
The retired member of the Secret Service remembers the president saying this to him, while he was on a run in Texas during his term.
Trotta was a member of the Secret Service for 31 years, but now after his retirement from the service he wants to give back. His son, economics major at Mason Nick Trotta Jr., had an idea of where to start.
On March 5 Phi Kappa Sigma will host Trotta at an event in the HUB Ballroom at 6 p.m. Trotta will be speaking about his experiences in the Secret Service as well as the importance of leadership in being successful.
“I think it’s very important for me, and I hope others who have had my experience, to give back,” Trotta said. “I think that this is a way to the community to share some of the examples to share the experiences and also to shed some light on what students and what in the future folks need.”
Even though he will be sharing career advice, it will not all be specific to law enforcement. “I’ll be sharing and turning to examples of leadership skills, qualities, the challenges that I was faced with and sharing a story or two relating to that particular leadership trait,” Trotta said. “Or at least what I feel on leadership traits.”
“What I’m bringing is 31 years of law enforcement experience. The unique thing is, whether [students] want to admit it or not, I sat in your seat. You guys are trying to attain the successful careers in future, and there are many of us. I’m just one of a million examples, where you guys are trying to reach.”
Trotta is a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity hosting the event. Trotta Jr. sees his father as his number one role model.
“I always looked up to him because I saw his very honorable but stressful job. I would look at how he handled it, he had his priorities straight. In a field like that, you have to be very motivated,” Trotta Jr. said.
Trotta faced several challenges to gain the career that he has now. In his undergrad years, he attended Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y., which he notes is a much smaller school than Mason.
While in college he had to work through school. In college he explored different career options, but he knew he wanted to work with people. Law enforcement came to him as a career option after watching “The F.B.I.” From then, he became interested in the president and Secret Service.
“I’m very fortunate because it was a dream of mine going back to a young, probably eight or nine-year-old kid with immigrant parents that did not speak a word of English,” Trotta said. “And the next thing you know I’m hired in the Secret Service.”
When Trotta first applied to the secret service, he was still working with children with disabilities and he was being investigated for the job. He was not given high hopes to lead the career that he envisioned.
“One of the things that I’ll never forget, it was a huge turning point for me, was my supervisor made a comment to me. She said ‘You’ll never be in the Secret Service, you don’t know anyone.’ That was devastating for a college student as I was to be told that by a supervisor a person in authority who you work for,” Trotta said.
He adds with a laugh, “I’d like to find her now.”
Trotta graduated from Iona College in June 1981 and was hired by the Secret Service in July 1981.
“I was very fortunate because something that I wanted, I got,“ Trotta said.
Trotta hopes that the lessons that he learned and the challenges he faced will serve the students who come to the event and have them think about the importance of leadership in building a career.
“If anything, I hope I just give students a 30-minute break from their everyday life and whether they hear a quick old story and they get a chuckle out of it,” Trotta said.