The Good Steward

By Ann Longmore-Etheridge

Michael R. Cummings, CPP, ASIS International’s 2009 president, sees himself as a caretaker. “When I look at the office of president, I see it as a year of stewardship of the organization,” he says. “I think that a one-year presidency is good for our organization. It’s not going be about—and it should never be about—the person. It’s about that person being a good steward of ASIS’s ongoing growth and the continuance of its strategic direction. In the last several years, I’ve been impressed with the single-mindedness of the Management Committee [formerly the Executive Committee] in moving the agenda forward, not based on any one person, but on what is best for the Society.”

Cummings reached ASIS’s top position without striking out for it. Although he’d been an avid volunteer leader, he’d never aimed for any national-level office. In fact, Cummings was appointed by ASIS President Raymond F. Humphrey, CPP, to the Board of Directors in 1999 to fill the last year of a term vacated by Board Member Robert Watson, CPP, who had unexpectedly resigned. Following this brief substitution, Cummings ran for an elected board position—and lost. “That was the first time I’d ever run for anything,” he recalls with chagrin.

But Cummings wasn’t off the ASIS Board of Directors for long. When Barbara A. Felker, CPP, resigned in 2001, he replaced her for the remainder of her term at the behest of then-President Bonnie S. Michaelman, CPP. At the conclusion of that term, Cummings ran again, and won. “I guess I’d developed some name recognition by then,” he jokes.

Cummings has never been self-aggrandizing. Indeed, he seems to follow what might be described as a Zen path—letting his intuitions dictate his actions. It was in this way that he found his calling in security, a profession he has excelled in for 35 years.



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