Early life and education
Born and raised in California, Maher grew up in Tulare. His family has a multigenerational history of military service on both his mother’s and father’s side. His parents met and married when they were in the US Air Force and later settled in Tulare where his father is a pastor. Maher graduated in 2001 from Tulare Union High School and later that year enlisted in the US Navy.
He is a graduate of the US Naval Academy’s Preparatory School and Fresno Pacific University. He attended Oxford University where he rowed crew for The Queen’s College First VIII. He studied at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, completing the Senior Executive Fellows program, is a graduate of the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia and the U.S. Navy’s Nuclear Power School.
After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, Maher went to the military recruiting office in Visalia, California and on November 16, 2001 he Enlisted in the US Navy. Although his family’s military service had predominantly been with the Air Force and Army, his decision to enlist in the Navy was inspired when he met Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Chief of Naval Operations retired, a graduate of Tulare Union High School and the U.S. Naval Academy.
Eighteen years old, he shipped off to NTC Great Lakes and graduated as the Honor Recruit of Division 928. He received orders to the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in South Carolina, where he completed Nuclear Power School. Maher competed S8G Prototype at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in Ballston Spa, New York and volunteered for the Silent Service. He received orders and served aboard the USS SALT LAKE CITY SSN-716, a Los Angeles Class Fast Attack Submarine, stationed at the U.S. Navy Submarine Base Point Loma, California.
He was accepted into the US Navy’s Officer training pipeline and received orders to the U.S. Naval Academy’s Preparatory School (NAPS) in Newport, Rhode Island. Shortly before transferring to NAPS he was injured aboard the submarine. He graduated from the preparatory school and received orders to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. While in Annapolis he was prohibited from joining his class, on medical grounds stemming from his active duty service, and received orders back to Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island. In Newport, Maher became actively involved with the Naval War College Foundation, in which he is a life member. Despite Maher’s appeal he was medically retired from the Navy in December of 2005.
Maher is married and has two children. His wife Anne comes from a multigenerational farming family in California’s central valley. She attended San Joaquin Memorial and graduated from Immanuel High School. Anne majored in Business graduating from Fresno Pacific University and works in her family’s business.
Maher served in the U.S. Department of Justice as a Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation working in the National Security Division. Graduating in the top of his class, he was selected and sent straight to a team responsible for a major case and multiple enterprise investigation involving top tier threats. This work was critical to National Security and was often included in the President’s Daily Brief.
As a case agent Maher was responsible for numerous investigations and involved in many covert human and technical operations. Additionally, Maher was the Counterproliferation Coordinator for the Los Angeles Field Office which included responsibility in supervision of Chemical Weapons Inspections from OPCW.
Additionally, Maher supported his fellow agent investigations in the criminal division, serving search and arrest warrants, participating in undercover drug and weapons buys, and multi-agency take downs involving gangs and organized crime. Maher enjoyed the time and training working with local Police, Sheriff, Fire and Hazmat teams.
Maher worked temporarily with the Fresno FBI resident agency, during the birth of his second child, and participated in a multi-agency gang sweep through Fresno. The gang was charged with trafficking, stealing firearms, and selling drugs. This gang was responsible for 30 shootings including several murders, robberies, kidnappings, and human trafficking. This sweep was conducted by the FBI, ATFE, California DOJ, Fresno Police, Fresno County Sheriff’s Office and Clovis Police department and resulted in 36 arrests with warrants served on 23 locations in the Fresno metro area.
Maher received multiple awards for his investigative work. He was a recipient of the ODNI Award presented by the Director of National Intelligence, in Virginia. In recognition of his work, he was called to FBI Headquarters to meet with FBI Leadership, where the Director personally congratulated and thanked him for his service.
Construction and Aviation
Maher worked for over five years in the construction industry managing the construction, services, and administrative divisions within Central and Southern California, for industrial electrical contractors and systems integrators. He oversaw the work on numerous water and wastewater treatment plants throughout the Central Valley. This included Tulare, Reedley, Fresno, Clovis, Orange Cove, Hanford, Visalia, and the Selma-Kingsburg-Fowler county sanitation district. Maher oversaw the construction and service of municipal wells, dairy effluent and digesters, industrial plants, packing houses, PG&E compressor stations, municipal dumps, and military bases. This in nearly every city in the Central Valley from Bakersfield to Modesto and Santa Nella to Shaver Lake. Maher was also responsible for the panel shop producing motor control centers and service teams providing SCADA and telemetry services, and for regulatory matters which included working with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollutions control district.
Maher is an experienced executive in aviation. He was hired by the board of an international luxury air charter company to lead it through numerous multinational legal, business, and regulatory issues. As the President and CEO, he faced the challenge and was successful in navigating the reorganization of the company, supporting a financing plan, and transferring control to new leadership. From this role Maher consulted with aviation finance and private equity firms, and established his own aviation company. He also served as an Executive Vice President with one of the largest business aviation management companies in the world, through their acquisition and public offer through an aviation lifestyle company. Maher continues to lead his aviation company, partnering with a Fresno based charter company, focusing on business aviation, emergency medical flights and technology.
One major goal of Maher’s is increasing the utilization of Fresno’s airports and bringing more high paying aviation jobs to the central valley. Maher is passionate about responsible environmental sustainability and is currently involved in this issue, specifically in the advancement of electric powered flight, sustainable jet fuels produced by the valley’s dairies, and hydrogen powered electric airplanes, semi-trucks, and vehicles powered by wood waste from our farmers and foresters. He believes the future of these advancements lay in California’s central valley.
Maher was previously a board member of a Fresno based nonprofit focused on providing services for victims of Human Trafficking and was a board member for an organization working to highlight conservative leaders and provide education on the founding principles of the United States, limited government, liberty, individual rights, and civil responsibilities. He is a member of the Naval War College Foundation, The Pacific Council on International Policy, Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI, Overseas Security Advisory Council and is an associate life member of the United States Naval Academy Alumni Association and Foundation.