Lets Shake On It

Partnerships and networking key components of ASIS 2013

Hardly a day goes by without hearing someone extol the virtue of partnerships. In a global environment, partnerships often provide the resources to start the wheels of a project turning and keep it rolling to the finish line.

Wikipedia defines a partnership as “an arrangement where parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests.” Because human beings are social animals, partnerships between individuals, businesses, organizations and governments have been around for centuries.

When ASIS International hosts its 59th Annual Seminar and Exhibits in Chicago in September, the leading organization for security professionals will offer attendees a four-day opportunity for 24/7 education, innovation and inspiration in the security field. Partnerships with sponsors help make the yearly security extravaganza possible, which contributes to ASIS’ role in strengthening a relationship with which anyone inside or outside the security industry can identify— the partnership between law enforcement and private security companies.

“ASIS has done a phenomenal job of fostering the relationship between public and private partnerships post 9/11,” said Keith Kambic, CPP, a volunteer leader and host committee chair for ASIS 2013. Kambic is director of Security and Life Safety for U.S. Equities Asset Management, which oversees management and leasing of Chicago’s Willis Tower (also known as the Sears Tower), the western hemisphere’s tallest building.

“Previous to 9/11, law enforcement was on one side and private security was on the other,” Kambric said. “After 9/11, we quickly realized we have a lot more eyes and ears on the street. Through a lot of different organizations and facilitations, we were able to get those two groups together and double, triple, and even quadruple the amount of information that flows back and forth.”

Three Elements

ASIS will encourage that partnership, which was praised repeatedly after the Boston Marathon bombing, through three distinct elements at the convention. First, from Sept. 24–27 in McCormick Place, the nation’s largest convention center, almost 200 educational sessions will address a wide range of timely topics, critical issues and security management best practices by top security practitioners and academic experts.

Second, the ASIS exhibit hall will offer hundreds of new products, cutting-edge innovations and realworld security solutions from more than 700 companies that specialize in risk mitigation. Exhibitors may enter the 2013 ASIS Accolades–Security’s Best, an awards competition that recognizes the industry’s most innovative new products, solutions and services.

Third, the seminar will feature three guest speakers who are authorities on partnerships in business, government and athletics. Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer with Steve Jobs, will address attendees as the keynote speaker on Sept. 25. The next day, the Honorable John Winston Howard, Australia’s 25th and second longest-serving prime minister, will present the keynote address. NFL legend/anaylist and former Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka will conclude the convention by speaking at the closing luncheon on Sept. 27.

What differentiates ASIS 2013 from previous ASIS conventions? In one word—Chicago—Kambic said. “ASIS hasn’t been back to Chicago for 28 years, so obviously several generations of practitioners haven’t seen or experienced our city. In the last decade or so, Chicago has become a world-class destination, and I believe our participants will see that when they come here in September.”

Last year, the eyes of the world were on the city as it hosted the NATO Summit, the first time the international event was held in a U.S. city other than Washington, D.C. The high-profile meeting provided an opportunity for private and public security groups to work together to ensure the safety of more than 50 world leaders.

“It was a unique experience that offered an opportunity for the public and private sector to work together to make something that had the potential to go very ugly go very, very well,” said John Kellers, CPP, CIPM, another volunteer leader and ASIS 2013 Host Committee chair. Kellers serves as a sergeant in the Protective Services Division at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

An estimated 20,000 attendees at ASIS 2013 will be able to take advantage of the experience of security professionals who worked the NATO Summit. “Several participants of those sectors will present at the seminar to explain how those public/private partnerships worked out and what the folks did to make them so good,” he said.

Networking is Huge

Many partnerships are founded on relationships that have been cultivated by networking. Because ASIS is a worldwide organization that encompasses a diverse group of security professionals, it has more than 30 different specialty councils on the national level, explained Mike Crane, who joined Kambic and Sellers as a volunteer leader and local Host Committee chair. Crane is executive vice president and general counsel of IPC International Corp.

“There are all different kinds of councils for people in the gaming industry, military and law enforcement liaison council, etc.—which focus on the special interests of security managers,” Crane said. “Then you have local city and state chapters of the specialty councils, so there’s something for everybody.” The diversity of professionals in ASIS’s international membership of more than 38,000 facilitates partnerships within the broad security field.

“At the national convention, it’s not unusual to find yourself sitting next to a facilities guy next to a defense guy next to a police officer next to a retail guy,” Kambic said. “ASIS tends to gather all the specialty organizations under its umbrella.”

Networking is one of the most important elements ASIS provides its members, Kambic, Crane, and Sellers all said. “I still talk with people I first met 20-plus years ago at the first ASIS International seminar and exhibits I attended,” said Sellers. “Networking is huge.”

“My company is in 46 states, and when some problem happens, the first thing you do is look in the ASIS directory to find someone you can relate to,” Crane added. “Networking is so important because you don’t want to re-invent the wheel if you don’t have to.”

Networking also offers a big assist to benchmarking, Kambic explained. “If Mike is running a security company in the Midwest and he wants to know what they’re doing on the West Coast, he can easily pick up the phone because of the relationships he’s made over the years and say, ‘What are you doing? How are you addressing this, or how is it working for you?’”

Without networking, it’s impossible to create partnerships that pool collective resources and knowledge. And without partnerships to keep the economic wheel turning, you can be back to square one.

This article originally appeared in the July 2013 issue of Security Today.

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