After graduation, Emde went to study in Rotterdam at Erasmus University. “It’s a hardworking harbor city,” he says of the town, which is the second largest in the Netherlands and one of the biggest ports in the world. “I went there to study one thing and ended up studying two. I did a degree in Dutch law—commercial and penal—and also business administration. I did business administration during the day and law during the evenings. Then I went to the United Kingdom to study at Lancaster University’s business school, and there, I received a master’s degree in organizational analysis and behavior.”
Emde did an internship with a local firm to see how he liked practicing commercial law, but he did not feel that was a good fit.
While Emde was at the university, he—like many students—sought a part-time job to generate additional income. “Someone told me that it might not be good to become a waiter. Instead, they said I should get a job as a security officer because I’d get a more interesting job and possibly better pay. I took the compulsory exams and became a security guard in some of The Hague’s office buildings,” Emde says. “There, my fascination with security grew.”
Emde first heard of ASIS in 1987. “My memory is that I wrote to the local contact person because I saw ASIS mentioned in a magazine. Don’t forget there was no Internet. I had to discover ‘what is this American Society for Industrial Security?’ and then I found out about the European Chapter and the student membership—and it all was through an exchange of letters that took some time. At the end of 1990, I think, I received my student membership certificate.”
While welcomed by the members of the European Chapter, Emde had to pay his dues. Or collect them, rather. “The chapter had a conference in my home country, and a lot of people from all over Europe came, and I was the one who had to collect the bus fee to take them to the resort in the north where it was being held. There was no euro then, so I had to deal with people handing me all these different currencies,” he laughs.
Emde’s decision to get involved with ASIS yielded him two of the Society’s many benefits—contacts and mentors. “I had a number of mentors from various industries including banking, the sector I later worked in,” he remembers. “They taught me about what they did at their companies, which was often totally different from what I did as a security officer. It showed me there was a security profession out there that was different and interesting. That motivated me to keep educating myself and to look for a job in security management.”