When Brian Kaveney, '94, was a senior at Priory working on his senior thesis, Mr. John Mohrmann was his adviser, and they would meet at the Brentwood Steak ‘n Shake to discuss his project as the process went along. “How many teachers would go out of their way to meet you at a Steak ‘n Shake at night to discuss revisions to a paper? The dedication of the Priory faculty was exceptional,” he says, making the point that experiences like that one at Priory have laid a foundation for his career helping others in a variety of different ways.
At Priory, Brian played football and baseball and wrote for The Record. Like many alumni, he says writing is an important skill Priory imparted on him. “You have to be meticulous. The vocabulary you use has meaning,” he says. “Priory teaches you to have the discipline to plow through projects.”
After graduating, he attended The College of the Holy Cross and earned a degree in history, with honors, earned membership in the National Jesuit Honor Society, and had a full scholarship in the Marine Corps ROTC program. “I knew going in that I wanted to be a U.S. Marine infantry officer,” he says. As an infantry officer, he received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal. Additionally during his Marine Corps service, he worked as an aide to the Secretary of the Navy in the Pentagon, specifically an action officer, writer, and researcher for the Secretary of the Navy’s White House Liaison and Protocol Office.
“Working in the Pentagon gave me a broad perspective of military operations, and helped me identify the unique opportunity in the legal space that my work occupies now.”
|Brian's senior photo
in the 1994 yearbook
That space is in security clearances, legal compliance and confidential information protection for all kinds of organizations, including defense contractors and companies that are highly regulated. After his time in the Marine Corps, he attended law school at St. Louis University (where he met his wife, Becky Sauer), then joined Armstrong Teasdale, a law firm with offices across the U.S. and in China, where he founded the firm’s Industrial Security Practice.
His team at Armstrong Teasdale is the only one of its kind outside of Washington, D.C., and has a full-service mission that involves a mix of attorneys and other subject matter experts like retired law enforcement agents. His task-based organizational structure is a model he learned in the Marine Corps.
“We work in investigations, acquisitions, citizenship matters, research labs…anything that involves sensitive, protected information,” he says. “It’s fast-paced work. You have to be proactive and forward-thinking. Every situation is different, so there’s not a lot of repetitiveness.”
In addition to his work at the firm, Brian volunteers for several non-profit veterans organizations and helps with pro bono legal work on PTSD and combat injury cases. “A lot of times when you’re working with charities, the compliance rules can pose a significant number of problems,” he says. “Working with these organizations is very rewarding.”
In his spare time, Brian is a triathlete and competes in an adventure race with a team of Army Rangers. The adventure races are 18-hour-long skill competitions that are contested in teams of four, often in the Mark Twain National Forest in southern Missouri. “They can be challenging, but it’s rewarding to be able to still use some of those skills from the military such as land navigation with a compass,” he says.
He and Becky have three children: Sean, 8, Grace, 6, and Kit, 5.
“I have to credit Priory, particularly the monks and faculty, so much for both the academic and spiritual life preparation I had there,” he says. “You really come out of Priory with a solid compass for making the right choices, and the faith aspect of the school helps you with any challenges you face. The monks emphasize treating others with respect and living a simple life.”