In September, more than 21,000 people filled the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta to attend the ASIS International 54th Annual Seminar and Exhibits. Keynote speakers enlightened attendees with spirited presentations on politics and the media. More than 170 educational sessions offered insight into a variety of topics. Following are some of the highlights from the seminar and exhibits. (For in-depth coverage of all seminar events including products on display in the more than 2,700 booths, see the November/December issue of ASIS Dynamics.)
President's Reception: A Whale of a Good Time
ASIS International members and their significant others ate, drank, danced, mingled, and networked at Monday evening’s President’s Reception, sponsored by AlliedBarton. The festivities stretched from the World of Coca-Cola across an expansive lawn to the Georgia Aquarium. Wolfgang Puck’s catering division prepared the menu for the event.
The evening got underway as ASIS President Timothy L. Williams, CPP, director of global security for Caterpillar, rolled into the World of Coca-Cola on a golf cart flanked by two mascots: the Coca-Cola polar bear and Georgia’s Aquarium whale shark.
Guests strode around the World of Coca-Cola—a tribute to the classic beverage—and gazed at the oversized Coca-Cola bottles that celebrated world cultures, old and new. The bottles lined the walls leading down to the reception’s main area. Others sipped Coca-Cola products at futuristic soda fountains from five continents as bright balls of vivid lights speckled the floor.
Among the more exotic soft drinks were “Inca” from Peru and “Vegitabeta” from Japan. One choice, “Beverly,” a soft drink from Italy, “has a tonic taste to it,” noted Alexander C. Sparaco, CPP.
Sparaco, president of Baker St. Associates and chair of the Connecticut Chapter, said his involvement with ASIS is based on a simple maxim: “If you sit on the sidelines, then you can’t complain about what happens.”
James Sanders, director of public safety for Advanced Systems Technology, ducked into the Coca-Cola Theater where classic commercials from around the world played on loop. Though not a member, Sanders said he attended the Seminar and Exhibits to expose his company to the security industry and also meet customers in person.
Steve Bucklin, president and CEO of Glenbrook Security Services Inc., expressed his amazement at how large ASIS has become. “I’ve been coming since 1982, and it’s amazing how much the industry has grown,” he said. “It’s neat to see.”
Curtis Baker of Cornell University’s IT Department said he came to the Seminar and Exhibits “to find new technology to integrate into our systems.” He didn’t anticipate, however, that he would receive such personal attention from vendors. He was particularly impressed with the customer service staffs of Lenel Systems and Stanley Security Systems.
“You can’t get that in Ithaca,” said his coworker Ray Price, a crime prevention officer.
The party continued across the lawn between the two buildings and into the Georgia Aquarium. Guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres as whale sharks and beluga whales swam inside their massive tanks in the background. Aquarium staff members were also on hand to help guests understand the denizens of the deep.
In a special VIP area, at the President’s Reception, members of ASIS’s new CSO Roundtable gathered to talk shop, sip drinks, and persuade other senior level security executives to join their program. The Roundtable now includes 111 chief security officers representing many of the world’s most significant companies. The group provides its members with a secure Web site to discuss matters critical to corporate security.
Thomas Tidiks, CPP, group chief security officer for Zurich Insurance Company, called the Roundtable “a tremendous opportunity for networking and for sharing high-level thoughts.” Tidiks, like all CSOs, wrestles with how corporate security executives explain security’s business value to their CEO. The Roundtable gives him the opportunity to talk to other CSOs and learn new strategies to talk about security as a “business enabler.”
The CSO Roundtable is making an impact in the high-stakes world of corporate security. One advocate enjoying the delicacies and camaraderie at the Aquarium was David Stackleather, manager of corporate security for Circuit City and member of the CSO Standards working group. “We’re laying the foundation for how corporations create their security environment,” he said, “everything from IT to managing risk.”
Foundation Turns Fun into Funding
This year at the ASIS International 54th Annual Seminar and Exhibits the ASIS Foundation, Inc., sponsored two fantastic events—the 12th Annual Golf Classic and the 26th Annual Foundation Dinner—that benefited the Foundation’s continuing work funding and managing endowments for a wide range of academic, strategic, and professional development activities.
Tournament Tees Off
On the morning of September 14, ASIS members toted their golf bags across the rolling terrain of the Smoke Rise Golf and Country Club for the Foundation’s Annual Golf Classic.
The picturesque course offered gorgeous views of Stone Mountain as well as thick stands of hardwood and pine trees surrounding creeks that make the course as beautiful as it is challenging. The par-72 golf course boasted the intimidating par-5 13th hole, measuring in at 625 yards from the back tee and 441 yards from the front. Teeing off on 13, many golfers fell prey to the ravine that swallowed up shots meant for the fairway.
Tournament golfers competed in teams of four with AlliedBarton Security Services’ Michael Ricketts, Bret Almassy, Matt Sorrell, and Thom Burress taking first. Second place was won by General Information Services’ Albert Bueno, Dick Coons, Rodney Metzer, and Paul Thomas. Rounding out the top three teams were Ron King, Jon Guzman, A.J. Oletti, and Geoff Oletti of Securitas Security Services.
Other winners included Dick Coons and Mark Lowers in the closest to the pin contest. Bret Almassy and Staci Ballou won the men’s and women’s longest drive contests for their booming blasts on holes seven and 13, respectively.
The Golf Classic received generous support from four sponsors: AlliedBarton was the event’s platinum sponsor for its $20,000 donation, which included a hole sponsorship; Securitas gave golfers a special gift bag for their play, while ARATA Expositions supplied special golf balls to players. Finally, parched golfers enjoyed refreshments from the beverage cart sponsored by iView Systems/Guard Tour Systems.
More than 250 attendees filled the Imperial Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis for Wednesday night’s Annual Foundation Dinner.
The featured act was the Del Baroni Orchestra, which has been in demand on the local social scene for years, performing to rave reviews. From Frank Sinatra, to Nat King Cole, to Jimmy Dorsey, to Bruce Springsteen, this 17-piece orchestra satisfied every musical taste.
Del Baroni is a graduate of the University of Miami where he majored in jazz and vocal music. While in Florida, he taught music at the college level while performing as a vocalist and bassist. He moved his family to Georgia 20 years ago and has been busy entertaining at Atlanta’s premier events ever since.
The elegant evening kicked off with a reception of drinks and light hors d’oeuvres. Once seated in the festively decorated ballroom, attendees enjoyed a four-course dinner and a night of musical fun.
Also on hand was theatrical pickpocket Bob Arno, who mingled with the crowd after dinner. While Arno frequently entertains, he also serves as a resource to law enforcement and consults with authors and screenwriters. Deft at the craft of surprising unsuspecting marks, Arno’s expertise has widened to include credit card fraud, identity theft, laptop theft, and Internet scams.
As he moved through the crowd, Arno managed to collect several watches, cell phones, glasses, and wallets. Eventually, he managed to remove one attendee’s tie and another’s belt. As he returned his bounty to its rightful owners, Arno described how pickpockets and con artists choose their marks and accomplish their trade by reading and using body language.
Proceeds from the Foundation Dinner support such signature endeavors as chapter matching student scholarships, Security Journal, the Academic Practitioners Symposium, and the National Retail Security Survey. This year, the Foundation added the Roy Bordes Award for Physical Security to its roster of outreach programs.