He admits that he got into the security field by mistake. Thirty-five years ago,
Darin Dillon, CPP, replied to a classified ad in his local newspaper and landed a job as an installation and service specialist with Rollins Protective Services. That position became the basis of his employment master plan. "I have found security to be the coolest and greatest industry on the planet," he says.
For the past ten years,
José Carlos Degiorgis, CPP, has been the senior regional manager, Corporate Security South America, with the pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb. While his office is in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he reports to the company’s continental director in New York City.
William J. Powers, III, CPP, is director of facilities at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The Clark’s 140-acre campus includes five buildings that house museum galleries, an art history library, an auditorium, research facilities, a sophisticated physical plant, and offices.
In her role as president of Allied Universal Security Services’ Northeast Region, Caress Kennedy, CPP, keeps her focus and her team’s concentration on “perfect service and keeping our clients for life,” she says. The goal is to understand client needs and problems “so we can provide solutions that raise the level of service delivery and satisfaction.”
Aside from six years in the U.S. Navy and a short stint working for a marine electronics company, "I've been self-employed my whole life," says
Felix Giannini, CPP, president of Lexco Security Systems in Fairfield, Connecticut. Intrigued by electronics as a teenager, he repaired audiovisual equipment and maintained a state-of-the-art video broadcast system while attending high school in Mamaroneck, New York.
Throughout his 30-plus years in the industry,
Jay (Chuck) McCormick, PSP, has pursued many facets of security integration and assumed many roles in security management. He says continuous learning, certification, and a great mentor were important factors in his upward career trajectory.
Several years ago,
Malcolm Reid, CPP, completed a national critical infrastructure assessment for Trinidad and Tobago, which helped to inform the strategy for protecting the critical infrastructure of that country. At the end, he delivered a symposium for the major public and private stakeholders. "Just the knowledge that I made a difference in so many people's lives gave me immense satisfaction," he recalls.
Anjali Sniadowski, CPP, PSP, admits that a security career may not be for everyone. She can list some downsides: irregular hours and hard work. But in her mind, the pluses outweigh any negatives.
"If you are someone who likes to help people, be part of a mission greater than yourself, and don't mind unique challenges, it's definitely the right path for you," she says.
Nicholas G. Breiner, CPP, PCI, PSP, got a taste of the security field shortly after high school when he worked for two corporate security departments. But his true passion lay in law enforcement, so in 1995 he joined the Belleville Police Department in New Jersey.
In 2016, Timothy McCreight, CPP, made two important changes to his résumé. In March, he joined Above Security, A Hitachi Group Company, as director of advisory services. In September, he was elected to the ASIS Board of Directors.
While in high school,
Bobby Dominguez, CPP, wrote a management and accounting program for a property management company, which whetted his appetite for a career in technology. Since then, "I have functioned in almost every IT role, from database and network architecture to program management and leading security teams," he says.
Francine Staple, PSP, joined APM Terminals (Jamaica), Ltd., now Kingston Container Terminal Services, Ltd. (KCTSL), as security coordinator, which was an entry-level position in the firm’s proprietary security department. She had entered the profession seven years previously, when she was hired as an administrative assistant for Jamaica’s state-run Ports Security Corporation.
William H. Nesbitt, CPP, began his security career most unexpectedly. Educated and trained as a psychologist, Nesbitt first went to work for the Job Corps program in Omaha, Nebraska, and later Baltimore, Maryland. When the program that employed him was defunded, Nesbitt moved on to the men's penitentiary in Baltimore, where he screened inmates and matched them with appropriate vocational training programs.
In his early career,
Johnnie L. Mock, PSP, earned his stripes in the U. S. Army, serving with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam, as a member of the Army Pistol Team, and as an instructor in Korea and Germany. He used his GI Bill benefits to earn an associate's degree in industrial and retail security. Contract security employment opportunities took him to Kosovo, where he guarded military bases, and to Kabul, Afghanistan, where he was a contract security supervisor attached to the U.S. Embassy. The idea of certification first entered his thoughts while in Kabul. "I decided to pursue the ASIS Physical Security Professional (PSP) certification because it is more technical and would enhance my overall skills," he remembers.
David Feeney, CPP, joined ASIS in 2004 just three years after the events of September 11, 2001, brought him back into the security industry. From 2000 to 2002, Feeney held a nonsecurity related position with Thomson Financial. “I was commuting a couple hundred yards from the Pentagon when the plane hit it on September 11. After witnessing the event firsthand, I consciously decided to re-engage in security management and to dedicate myself to preventing similar consequences in the future.”
Russell K. Mallette, Jr., CPP, says that his shift in career began with a newspaper advertisement he happened to glimpse: “National Security Services Firm Seeks Qualified Account Manager in the Los Angeles Area.”
When Mallette responded to this Los Angeles Times ad in 2005, the door was just opening on his transition from loss prevention officer into security management. “I had no idea exactly what to expect,” Mallette says of those times. But the die was cast. After “two interviews, a full background check, a polygraph exam, and a security clearance…I was an account manager with a national security provider,” he states.
Before entering a career in private security,
Scott T. Fischer, PSP,
was deeply entrenched in his military career in the Air Force, which he joined in 2007.
As an airman, Fischer took advantage of the military’s education benefit and training opportunities to develop his professional knowledge and skills. While on active duty, he earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice and then a bachelor’s degree in security management. He later earned an MBA in global business management as well as ASIS International’s Physical Security Professional® (PSP) designation.
Debora Rocha is International SOS Travel Management Security Service as regional security manager for Brazil, based in the company’s São Paulo office. Rocha is primarily responsible for developing evacuation and communication strategies and training programs in support of client operations in Brazil and Latin America. Prior, Rocha spent 13 years with American Airlines in Brazil working in their aviation security group.
Karen Dickey, CPP, wants all schools to receive an A+ in one subject:
school security. As a school security consultant in South Carolina, Dickey evaluates and creates emergency operations plans, performs security site assessments, and trains the school’s staff in conducting emergency response with exercises such as tabletop drills.
For 22 years, Dickey served as director of operations at a large independent school in South Carolina where she was responsible for security, facilities, health, technology, transportation, and food services.
From special security officer chief of her U.S. Marine Corps unit’s Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility to signals intelligence analyst to security manager for Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), Erin Parks, CPP, has achieved much in her career as a security professional. “When I was in the military, I didn’t realize that I was doing security management work,” she observed. “It wasn’t until I became a civilian that I realized my experience and potential in this field.”
Shaun Fynes, CPP, PCI, PSP, is self-admittedly drawn to the dynamic environment of security management. His career began in law enforcement
with the Metropolitan Toronto Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and grew to encompass investigations and loss prevention.
The field of security management presents persistent challenges for the veteran professional. “Every day is different. I look to recognize new risks across the enterprise and then to seek appropriate mitigation strategies,” states Fynes.
From the military to law enforcement to private security, this ASIS board-
certified member and volunteer leader boasts a career that has spanned 30 years in security management.
Jim McGuffey, CPP, PCI, PSP, is the sole proprietor of A.C.E. Security Consultants, LLC, a position he has held for the past five years. McGuffey recently founded a new ASIS chapter in his area. “We now have 33 members and my plan is to exceed 100 by the middle of 2014.” A secondary goal for McGuffey is to establish a program through which members can provide, at no cost, risk assessments to local houses of worship. “This is good for the chapter and most of all for the community in which we live, work, and worship.”
“Communication is one of the fundamental elements of security
Jere Peltonen, CPP, PCI, PSP, diplomatic security advisor for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. He previously served in the military and earned his bachelor’s degree in security management in 2005. “I have a natural ability to quickly identify potential problems or challenges in any given operation or context, and likely ways to solve these,” says Peltonen. “A career in security management is in direct alignment with my abilities and instincts.”
Tom Robertson, CPP, is the associate vice president, governance and
strategy, for the global security and investigations (GSI) segment of TD Bank Group’s corporate security department. Robertson began his career in the Canadian Forces, attending the Royal Military College of Canada and then serving nine years in the regular force, including overseas deployments in the Balkans and Afghanistan. Following his military service, Tom cofounded a risk management venture, Echo4 Inc., that focused on pre employment security screening of local hires in high-threat environments.
Sarah Bynum, CPP, is director of security at Siemens Energy, Inc.,
where she is responsible for physical and information security, business continuity, and the security of Siemens projects and personnel in the Americas and beyond. Bynum joined Siemens in 1998 after moving to the United States from the United Kingdom where she was a police inspector in Hampshire Constabulary.
Q: You began in the United Kingdom’s public law enforcement and then transitioned into a corporate role. What, if anything, has surprised you about the private sector? Are there differences in how security is approached in the two countries?