In 1994, he joined KPMG, a consultant forensic accounting and integrity services firm in Amsterdam. Emde worked in fraud prevention and security as well as integrity analysis and improvement of business ethics.
“Later on, I expanded my role a bit more into the people side of fraud prevention and security,” he says. “It was a fascinating time and the forensic and integrity unit grew from eight to about 45 people while I was there. I learned a lot from both the projects and my colleagues.”
While working for KPMG, Emde decided to try for ASIS’s Certified Protection Professional (CPP) designation. “There were just one or two CPPs in the Netherlands at the time,” he recalls. He began to study for the exam, but his work schedule proved so arduous that “I missed the exam in London twice. Then, in 1998, I decided to make it more of a priority,” he says.
That year, there was an examination scheduled to be given in Memphis, Tennessee. “I went there with my study materials to a very basic hotel—a dull place without a swimming pool—but it made me study and study. Then I went to the headquarters of Harrah’s where the exam was being given and took it. As a treat to myself, afterwards I went to visit Graceland. So I had to go to the United States to be secluded and detached enough from my daily work to become a CPP,” Emde says. “I was lucky enough to pass the exam on the first go."
In 1999, one of his mentors at ABN AMRO Bank NV, in Amsterdam, asked Emde to join that company as team leader, corporate security risk analysis and auditing. There, Emde worked on policy to combat criminal risks, personal safety issues, crisis management, and business continuity. In 2002, he was promoted to vice president, helping to set corporate security policies and standards and guide groupwide criminal risk and crisis management.
Blasting off. “I left ABN AMRO in September 2004 to join the European Space Agency (ESA), where I became head of safety and security in the research and testing center, known as the ESTEC,” states Emde. The ESA site in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, had a work force of about 2,500 employees drawn from ESA’s many member states, as well as contractors. Emde headed a safety and security team charged with protecting unique aerospace hardware equipment, research laboratories, and sensitive information. He was also tasked with the interim ESA-wide security and health and safety coordination for the ESA Informatics and Facility Management departments.