Aloysius Zeroth was a lynchpin of the United States' military industrial complex. He accumulated a vast fortune by designing and selling weapons to his government during the Cold War, along with sundry other technological innovations. However, profit was never his prime motivation. Zeroth was a patriot, a firm believer in American supremacy and the need to triumph over the Soviet Union.
It was in the name of ensuring American military dominance that he started building Zeus -- a satellite weapon capable of dropping titanium rods from orbit and annihilating a targeted area. But while working on Zeus he learned of an even greater threat than communism...
His sensors were being manipulated. Something was interfering with them, altering their readings as though to conceal an area of space from their electronic eyes. The interference was too perfect, too specific to be a coincidence. So Zeroth drew upon his Emergent ability to communicate with machines, the secret which had made him so successful as a military-industrialist, and searched for the source of the disturbance.
That's how he learned of an impending alien attack on Earth. That's what promoted him to gather other powerful Emergents and form the Genesis Squadron. This team defended the planet from the extraterrestrial threat, and then went on to create the Phaeton Project -- where they help to nurture the next generation of costumed heroes.