Steve Carrigan, who is currently the general manager of Eid Passport Inc. in Minot, has travelled a long and winding road during his life, and he couldn't be happier that it led him back to the Magic City.
With his father in the Air Force, Carrigan was born in France and stayed there until he was 3 or 4. From there he went to New York, and then to Indiana. His formative years were spent in Charlotte, N.C., and he ended up joining the Air Force like his father. After getting a degree in computer science from the University of Maryland, Carrigan began an Air Force career that would be both very rewarding and incredibly exciting.
"After college I became a special agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations," Carrigan said.
Submitted Photo • Steve Carrigan, general manager of Eid Passport Inc. in Minot, sits in his office at the company’s building downtown. Memorabilia from Carrigan’s past jobs with the Air Force and Department of Defense decorate the walls.
He provided investigative services to Air Force commanders, basically identifying, investigating and neutralizing criminal, terrorist and espionage threats to personnel and resources of the Air Force and Department of Defense.
"Basically we were the FBI and CIA of the Air Force," Carrigan said.
He did that for over 20 years, investigating a variety of cases. One in particular Carrigan remembers resulted in him receiving a medal for successfully investigating a case in Virginia in which a young airman from New York who was working a second job was carjacked by two assailants late at night after work.
Prairie Profile is a weekly feature profiling interesting people in our region. We welcome suggestions from our readers. Call Regional Editor Eloise Ogden at 857-1944 or Managing Editor Kent Olson at 857-1939. Either can be reached at 1-800-735-3229. You also can send e-mail suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"He was working another job to make money so he could get married," Carrigan said.
Carrigan said the two assailants were high on crack, carjacked him at gunpoint, forced him to withdraw money from an ATM, then shot him right there in the car.
"They shot him and he was bleeding, and then they drove around town for 15, 20 minutes, deciding what they were going to do with him next while he was in the seat bleeding," Carrigan said. "They drove him out to an isolated spot in the county and shot him seven more times and left him there to die."
Both suspects were caught and confessed to the crime. One was sentenced to death by lethal injection and the other received life in prison with no chance of parole.
"That's a typical type of investigation in OSI," Carrigan said.
From OSI he did computer forensics before broadening his horizons and becoming a counterintelligence agent, then a counterterrorism agent. At one point he was the chief of the Joint Drug Enforcement Team at Langley Air Force Base.
"Then I became superintendent of operations at several locations, and then I finally wound up coming to Minot Air Force Base in the '90s, where I became very aware of the Minot community," Carrigan said. "At that point it was late in my career, and I elected to retire at that time, in 2000."
His retirement was short lived, however, as circumstances dictated that he come back to work for the government as a special agent for the Department of Defense. This necessitated a move to Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. He stayed with the DoD until 2005, after which he worked for the South Dakota National Guard, eventually becoming the Guard's public affairs director for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, in addition to being an ombudsman and committee member there.
At that point a good friend of Carrigan's who worked at the Minot Area Development Corp. told him about Eid Passport coming to Minot. The friend said Carrigan would be a perfect fit because he still had many friends in Minot, knew the community, had a background in computer science and federal law enforcement, and had a lifetime of leadership experience.
"So I flew out to Portland, interviewed for a day, and several weeks later I was offered the position of general manager," Carrigan said. "Which brought me back to the Minot area, and the toughest thing for me was finding a place to live."
Carrigan actually lived with a friend in Garrison for 2 1/2 months before he was finally able to find a place in Minot. Luckily, he moved in right before the flood which exacerbated the housing problem in town.
It didn't take Carrigan long to deeply involve himself in the community. He's a member of Kiwanis, on the board of directors for the Domestic Violence Crisis Center, a member of the North Dakota National Guard Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, and an ombudsman with them also.
"I'm also a member of the Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Business and Professional Association," Carrigan said. "So I think it's important to be a part of the community, as a member of the business community here. I think it's important being involved with what happens in the community on a day-to-day or even weekly basis. It's just important to me to be a member of this community."
"I'm that Air Force guy that lived here, fell in love with the community and came back," he added.
Computer science started out as Carrigan's passion when he was young, and he still enjoys it to this day, noting he even helps out Eid Passport's information technology person with problems from time to time. Later on, however, his passion really became having a job that made a difference in people's lives.
"As a federal agent, that's what we did," Carrigan said. "That's kind of my mission in life, and I feel the same way with this job here because it's still the same thing."
"This is my philosophy - every job that I've ever had, I've left that job better off than it was when I first started working. That's my philosophy," he added. "And I think that's a good philosophy for in your personal life and everything."
Carrigan also noted he received the President's Volunteer Service Award from President Barack Obama last year for his work with the South Dakota National Guard.
As if Carrigan isn't busy enough, in his "downtime" he's training with the Mile One Running Shop Race Team in Minot to run in the Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon that takes place in June 3 in South Dakota. Carrigan said he's also really into hiking and biking, even recently purchasing a new bike from Val's Cyclery.
"I try to stay in shape, and that probably goes back because I had the type of job where I had to be in shape all the time," Carrigan said.
Although Carrigan enjoys his life in Minot, he does admit to missing the action of his old job from time to time.
Although he didn't receive his volunteer award personally from Obama, Carrigan has rubbed elbows with other high-ranking officials in the past, including President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and President George W. Bush, on a much more official level. As the old joke goes, he could tell you about it, but then he'd have to kill you.
"I used to provide personal security protection for the President of the United States, the same thing as the Secret Service when you go overseas," Carrigan said. "I just had a very interesting and diversified life as a federal agent."