Born in 1967, Erik Jetmir is a Candidate for United States Senate for Maryland. He grew up in Harlem New York and the Bronx. As a native New Yorker, he was moved to get involved and serve his country after 9/11.
Erik left a thriving TV Production Company that he and his brother founded, joined the Navy Reserves and is currently a Navy Chief Petty Officer in the Reserves. Most recently on the civilian side, he was a Senior Research Scientist developing UAV and UAS solutions. Before that, he spent the last 6 years on active duty with the United States Navy, most recently as part of the Navy Cyber Warfare Group Six team at NSA. Serving as the Senior Enlisted Leader for NSA’s Counter IED team while simultaneously continuing to support his reserve unit as the Leading Chief Petty officer for the Navy Reserve Navy Cyber Warfare Group Six Defensive Cyber Operations.
During his time at NSA, he was the Middle East Team Lead for Counter IED. Oversaw all aspects of conducting advanced analysis of collection, SIGINT, and open-source data. Counter IED Discovery Team Lead – Lead the development, establishment, and management of the sections first Counter-Terrorism Discovery Team.
Erik was also the NSA Liaison Officer to Joint Improvised-threat Defeat Organization (JIDO), Deputy Chief, NSA JIDA SIGINT Element (JSE). Prior to being PCS’d out to Maryland, Chief Jetmir spent 3 years tirelessly training Marines in 29 Palms on Counter IED systems. Erik developed critical areas of the Electronic Warfare counter IED program, greatly improving its effectiveness.
The program he developed is credited with greatly improving the training of 23,000 Marines and undoubtedly saving lives. He did this all the while simultaneously working as a Senior Enlisted Leader for the Navy Reserve Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command in San Diego.
He earned a master’s degree in military studies / Intelligence Operations from American Military University while on active duty. With the urging of his leadership and mentors while on active duty, he pursued his passion for policy by working on his Ph.D. in Public Policy / Homeland Security at Walden University and is currently a Ph.D. candidate working on his dissertation. Erik has also attended Harvard Extension school while on active duty studying Middle Eastern studies.
Erik Jetmir was born Erik Ball in Harlem New York, July 2nd, 1967 the son of a Korean war veteran who became a Baptist minister in Harlem. His mother was from Albania and met his father while attending college. Growing up in Harlem and the Bronx he developed a sincere love for sports and learning.
As a young man in the Bronx, he found himself constantly striving against the tide of poverty, and the challenges of a crime-ridden neighborhood. His mother was a single mom struggling to help her sons develop their own unique identity. Central to that growth for him, his two brothers and his mom, was the adoption of a new family name, Jetmir. “Jetë” which translates in Albanian as life and “mire” as good. This was an enduring reminder to live a good and upright life in all things and would help guide him throughout his life.
Erik excelled at track and field as a freshman at Fordham Preparatory Highschool. His family moved to California while he was in high school and a part-time job managing a flower store become the full-time means to help his family stay above water. Though a talented student in computer science, he dropped out of high school to help his family make ends meet. He would go on to run many small businesses and eventually make his way back to New York to work as a Systems Integrator on Wallstreet. After many years of success working in the IT space, he returned to California to work with his brother Andre’ as they developed film and TV projects. This would lead to the development of a production company that in 2000 created and produced a TV show that drew attention and offers from numerous networks.
9/11 Changed Everything
After attending a friend’s wedding in NY on September 9th, 2001, Erik flew back to Marina Del Rey California to attend the first meetings for the TV show he and his brother developed. 9/11 was the first day of meeting with major networks to sell their TV show but the attack would change all of that. All meetings were canceled, nothing aired but news, and the event that horrified the nation, bankrupted the thriving production company Andre and Erik spent years building.
Erik would dedicate himself to working in the Intelligence Community by joining the Navy Reserve as a Cryptologic Technician Technical (CTT) and doing everything he could to contribute to the national fight against terrorism.
While going back to school after 9/11 and attending Long Beach City College, Erik started working at Home Depot. In six years he would propel through the ranks of Home Depot, putting a lifetime of home improvement skills and business acumen to great use. He would rise quickly through the ranks working in stores and the corporate office. After being a night crew stocker, store associate, department supervisor, assistant manager, store manager, district safety manager, district pro-sales manager and part of one of the most successful Regional Management Teams in the company, Erik distinguished himself as a retail superstar.