- AST Trainers -

Nick Minzghor

Nick Minzghor - Nick is the manager and owner of AST. Nick retired after nearly 29 years as a Master Police Officer for the King County Sheriff's Office and he is a Marine veteran. He had numerous assignments in his career, including 6 years on the tactical team as a sniper and member of the Tactical Training Unit. He developed or co-developed and taught every major firearms program in use on his department today. Nick is a pistol, rifle, shotgun, sub-gun, instructor among many other instructor certifications. He has nearly 5,000 hours of specialized firearms and tactical training in the past 20 years. Nick has over 5,000 hours teaching firearms and tactics to Washington State police officers. This includes helping to develop and teach the current WA state Basic Sniper course. Nick served as a tactical team member and as a less lethal expert during the WTO riots in Seattle. Nick holds a Shodan ranking in Yang Ki Yin Jiu-Jitsu and continues to study martial arts. Nick is an active competitive shooter, ranked as a Master in Limited Division with USPSA. Nick's shooting videos on YouTube.


- Adjunct Instructors -

Other AST instructors are hand picked for their leadership abilities, their ability to teach and their communication skills. All instructors are active police officers and certified active shooter instructors. They are well versed in weapons and tactics and have attended numerous core classes before becoming instructors for AST.

Ideally the instructors travel in rotation with Nick to provide a full complement of experience and abilities for your class. However specific instructors may be available upon request of the hosting agency.


Don Ellis

Don Ellis - Sergeant Don Ellis is a 31 year public safety veteran. For the last 24 years he has been with the King County Sheriff's Office. Don is a member of the sheriff's office handgun and patrol rifle instructor cadre. As a deputy, Don spent 9 years on the department's SWAT team as a sniper. During that time he helped develop and implement the current Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission Basic Sniper School. Don then spent 7 years as a SWAT sergeant during which time he was instrumental in developing the current WSCJTC Advanced Sniper School as well as the Scoped Rifle for Patrol class. Don is still active an instructor in all three classes. Don has served on the Washington State Tactical Officer's Association as the state sniper representative for several years. Don is currently assigned to patrol as a shift supervisor.

Rod Jackson

Rod Jackson - Rod is a twelve year veteran of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and is currently assigned as a full time firearms Instructor for the Office. He has been a firearms instructor for seven years and holds instructor certificates in basic firearms, tactical driving and defensive tactics. Rod was a SWAT Team member for four years with the balance of his career being spent between patrol, SWAT and the Sheriff's Office training division.

Steve McDonald

Steve McDonald - 21 yr veteran of a large WA State Sheriff's Office. 14 years on SWAT. Spent time on both entry and sniper side. Retired as team leader. Former DT instructor, firearms instructor, and active shooter instructor.

Currently a Lieutenant assigned as the East Precinct Commander and contract Chief of Police of Sultan PD.

Clay Vannoy

Clay Vannoy - Clay Vannoy is a 24 year veteran of the Benton County Sheriff's Office where he is currently assigned as the Law Enforcement Bureau Captain. Clay spent 15 years on a Regional SWAT Team as a operator, Team Leader and Team Commander. Clay spent 16 years as a Department firearms, patrol tactics and defensive tactics instructor and spent seven years as a instructor for the WSTOA basic SWAT course. Prior to working for the Sheriff's Office, Clay spent seven years with the Department of Energy Nuclear security force at Hanford where he was a firearms, defensive tactics and Special Response Team instructor.

Brent Naylor

Brent Naylor - Brent is a 17 year veteran of the King County Sheriff's Office. Brent has been assigned to the SWAT team as a sniper since 1999. He has participated in several hundred high risk callouts and warrants. Brent's prior assignments include Field Training Officer, Master Police Officer and member of the Tactical Training Unit. He is also a handgun and rifle instructor. Brent is an assistant instructor for the WA State Basic Sniper Course.

Bruce Matthews

Bruce Matthews - Bruce is a 31 year police veteran and former soldier. Bruce has been with the King County Sheriff's Office for the last 16 years. Bruce is a pistol, rifle, shotgun, TASER, Simunitions and breaching instructor. He has experience in patrol, plain clothes and narcotics assignments as well as metro transit police. Bruce is an active shooter assistant instructor and team leader. He is currently assigned to department Range as the chief firearms instructor.

Bryan “Wilkie” Wilkinson

Bryan "Wilkie" Wilkinson - Bryan is a 18 year veteran of a North Texas Sheriff's Office. Bryan has worked in Detention, Patrol, Special Crimes/Narcotics, and the Fugitive Warrants Unit where he is currently assigned as a Liuetenant . Bryan has been on his agencies SWAT team since 2005 and has been a team leader of both the Entry Section and Sniper Section and currently serves as the Tactical Commander. Bryan has received and instructed thousands of hours of tactical training. Bryan also spent 6 years in the United States Marine Corps where he achieved the rank of sergeant and ended his enlistment as a Marine Scout Sniper Instructor at 1st Marine Division.

Tracy Owen

Tracy Owen - Tracy is a 14 year veteran full time sheriff's deputy. He is a Master Police Officer and a Field Training Officer. Tracy has attended over 300 hours of Active Shooter training. He has been a member of his department's Active Shooter Response Team for the last 5 years where he is a team leader and a training assistant. Tracy also attended the University of Washington where he graduated with a degree in economics.

Erik Soderstrom

Erik Soderstrom - Erik is a 12 year veteran full time sheriff's deputy. Erik holds instructor certifications in handgun, shotgun, rifle and Taser weapon systems and has a Bachelors degree in Law and Justice. Erik is a Field Training Officer with over 300 hours of Active Shooter training, has been a team leader for the last 6 years, and is an assistant instructor in the Active Shooter Response Team.

Steve Perry

Steve Perry - Steve has ten years of service with the King County Sheriff's Office. He is currently assigned as a crime prevention officer for a contract city in King County. In addition, Steve is a member of King County Sheriff’s Office TAC-30 (SWAT) in the entry element. He holds certifications as a handgun and patrol rifle instructor, and he acts as a firearms instructor and less lethal instructor for TAC-30. He is a graduate of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington with bachelor degrees in Criminal Justice and Sociology.



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