Sunday night’s receptions for young professionals, new members, and other attendees provided a great way for attendees to greet old friends and make new ones prior to the official start of the ASIS International 57th Annual Seminar and Exhibits in Orlando.
It was standing-room only at the Young Professionals Reception, where tweets mentioning the ASIS Young Professionals Group (@ASIS_YP) were projected onto the wall during the event. ASIS President-Elect Eduard Emde, CPP, told attendees that he “started out as a student member and that’s why I’m so eager to be here and get you engaged.”
Brielle Pastore, a student at Cape Fear Community College who is enrolled at Florida State University, received a scholarship to attend the seminar through ASIS. Pastore is looking forward to getting more involved with the organization as she studies criminal justice and prepares for a security career. “Young Professionals allows us to ask questions of our mentors and [provides] people to help guide us.”
Ahmed Famuditimi is part of a large contingent of young professionals sent to the event by Johnson Controls Inc. He’s looking forward to seeing the products on the exhibit hall floor and wants to “meet as many people as I can meet, and learn from them.”
New members of ASIS International and first-time seminar attendees greeted each other over refreshments at a reception welcoming them to the seminar.
ASIS President Raymond T. O’Hara, CPP, welcomed attendees and set down one ground rule: “If you work at the same company, you can’t sit at the same table.” O’Hara and Emde emphasized the importance of networking and taking advantage of the ASIS community. Jose Comacho, owner of Jose A. Comacho Investigative Agency in Florida, has been in the security business for more than 30 years and is a new member of ASIS. He’s looking forward to attending sessions and making new contacts and friends at the seminar. “There’s a plethora of people to meet, experiences to exchange, contacts to make, and business to cultivate.”
Rachel Hayes, a security specialist for Axcess Financial out of Cincinnati, Ohio, has been planning to attend this seminar for some time and is here to network and learn more about the industry. “It blows my mind to see how much opportunity there is,” Hayes said. She’s looking forward to hearing Vicente Fox’s Keynote about security in Mexico.
Hundreds of attendees then headed to the Welcome Reception to start the seminar off right. Members sampled refreshments and snacks while mingling among the Caribbean sounds of the steel drum band, Tropical Steel.
Sally Smoczynski, managing partner of Radian Compliance in Chicago, said her company has assisted in some of the ASIS standards efforts, and seminar “is a good time to be more involved.” She’s looking forward to getting the “pulse” of the security industry and will be attending sessions on risk management. “We have a lot of that with our client base, so I’m interested to hear best practices.”
Alvin Thompson, owner of Applied Communications and Technology in Maryland, has been an ASIS member for more than 30 years and he’s been to several seminars in that time. He keeps coming back because it’s an opportunity to meet people. He said seminar has always been a great place to discuss products with vendors. “In some cases, it’s really helped us come to some agreement as to what changes needed to be made.”
Anthony Hamilton, director of safety and security for Saint Andrew’s School in Boca Raton, Florida, is planning to attend all of the keynote addresses, as well as several sessions on school security. This is his third time attending seminar. “It’s probably the premier exposition and seminar in the world, as far as I’m concerned.”