Our Team

Meet the Asservo Team

Together, our staff represents decades of combined experience in law enforcement, military service,  advocacy, and research. We are all dedicated to the same mission and collaborate to compliment each other’s skills, combating human trafficking.

Joseph Sweeney

Joseph Sweeney


Joseph Sweeney serves as the Founder/CEO of The Asservo Project. For over 25 years, Mr. Sweeney has devoted himself to serving his country and community as a former SWAT Operator, Bomb Squad Commander, and U.S government Explosive Security Specialist.  While serving overseas for Anti-Terrorism programs, he had conversations with colleagues about child kidnapping and human trafficking.  Once aware of the size and scope of this epidemic and the lack of effort to combat it, he felt he had to do something to help these people and, consequently, The Asservo Project was formed. We provide resources to assist Law Enforcement, conduct awareness seminars, and build relationships with global organizations.

Mr. Sweeney is also the former International Director of the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators (IABTI) and currently serves on its Board of Trustees. He is also a member in good standing with the National Tactical Officers Association

Frederick Woodard

Frederick Woodard

Director of Investigations

Frederick Woodard is a retired, highly-decorated detective with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and current Licensed Private Investigator.

A United States Marine veteran, Fred retired from the Pittsburgh Police in 2013 after twenty years of service. During his time as a narcotics detective and a Task Force Officer with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Fred was involved in and directed many complex state and federal investigations involving high-level criminal organizations operating on local, state, national and international levels. Fred was honored as a five-time recipient of the Pittsburgh Police Officer of the Month award. In 2002, he was named Pittsburgh Police Officer of the Year for his role in the investigation and successful prosecution of what was described by then U.S Attorney General John Ashcroft as the largest drug trafficking organization in the history of Western Pennsylvania. Throughout the course of his career, Fred received many awards and commendations from local, state and federal agencies including the DEA, FBI, IRS and others.

Upon Fred’s retirement from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, he became a licensed private investigator, working a wide variety of investigations utilizing the extensive training, experience, knowledge and network acquired over his career. He brings all of those attributes to the Asservo Project in the fight against human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

John D.

John D.

Intelligence Analyst/Linguist

John is a ten-year U.S. Navy veteran who learned Arabic and Somali at the Defense Language Institute. He did extensive counterinsurgency and cryptologic linguist work during his Navy career, to include three deployments to combat zones. He also spent time working for the National Security Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency. He’s currently pursuing a graduate degree in Linguistics while seeking defense contractor work in the D.C. area. His research interests in Linguistics include Natural Language Processing and Second Language Acquisition.
Lew Knopp

Lew Knopp

Director of Operations

Lew Knopp is a crisis and risk management specialist with over 29 years of service and active participation in the field.  Knopp has served in the elite U.S. Navy SEAL Teams, Control Threat Reduction Team, and maritime asset security team (MAST). He also has worked as a private contractor and CEO of a global risk management firm.  While in the military, Knopp was deployed multiple times to the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Central and South America. As a private contractor, he has worked in the same regions with the addition of Southeast Asia. Knopp has specialized in security architecture, contingency operations, business continuity, crisis management, executive protection and kidnap, ransom and extortion.  He is a lifetime member of the UDT-SEAL Association, UDT-SEAL Museum, NRA, OSS society, and NTOA as well as a U.S. government contractor, licensed in security and private investigations.

Rachael Syska

Rachael Syska

Outreach Coordinator

Rachael, as one of the Outreach Coordinators for The Asservo Project, had her first exposure to human trafficking at a young age through a documentary film. She later learned just how large the scope and the horrible reality of this epidemic truly was.

Rachael attended one of The Asservo Project’s events and learned that her home state of Ohio was fourth in the nation for human trafficking occurrences. She felt compelled to get involved and become a part of the solution to this fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. Rachael’s passion is educating others about the realities of human trafficking and child exploitation in hopes to aid in preventing more people being added to the outrageous number of victims. Along with her passion to help educate, Rachael utilizes her network of colleagues and friends to raise awareness and coordinate events for The Asservo Project. Rachael holds an Associates Degree in Specialized Science and is currently finalizing her certification in court reporting.

Caitlin Colesar

Caitlin Colesar

Fundraising Coordinator

Caitlin had her first exposure to human trafficking at college in a book studies course. Once she learned of the issue she became passionate and driven to learn more about the epidemic of human trafficking and child exploitation. She has always had a desire to be a part of the solution and to be involved with an organization that combats human trafficking and child exploitation.

‍Caitlin had this passion reignited while hearing another organization
present at a conference she attended. Caitlin had felt a nudging to organize an event that she just couldn’t shake. Through a conversation with a friend, Caitlin had learned about The Asservo Project and was excited that there was a local nonprofit combating this issue that she could be a part of. Through meeting Joe, Sue and Rachael, and hearing the story of how The Asservo Project started and what they hoped to do, Caitlin knew this was something she wanted to be a part of, more than just a singular event. Caitlin’s passion is to educate and empower others about the realities of human trafficking and child exploitation in hopes to aid in preventing more people being added to the outrageous number of victims and to recognize potential warning signs. Along with her passion to help educate, Caitlin utilizes her strengths of organizing to raise awareness through coordinating events for The Asservo Project. Caitlin holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology.

Meister Eckhart once said, “The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of making a mistake.” I make mistakes, but one thing I know will never be a mistake is being involved in finding freedom for those that are enslaved. My hope is that my small contribution to shed a light on the epidemic of human trafficking and child exploitation, through awareness and helping to raise support for The Asservo Project is enough to change at least one life.

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You can join the fight against human trafficking with your time and talent.