This will not be your typical tradeshow recap; it will be rife with transparency. As it was my first time attending this conference and not knowing what to expect, I learned quickly that a day and a half was simply not enough time to take in everything at the ASIS Global Security Exchange (GSX) 2022 Conference in Atlanta. With ASIS International being the world’s largest membership organization for security management professionals, perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that this was a massive show with a jumbo-sized Expo Hall and 227 educational sessions.
Being new in this role at LPM, my priority was making it to as many of the magazine’s supporters in the Expo Hall as I could, and then trying to attend sessions that would be of interest to the LPM audience. It was a good call wearing sneakers, as I made laps around the Georgia World Congress Center.
On Monday afternoon, I narrowed it down to these sessions: “Control the Narrative in Your Career,” “Protecting the Mental Health and Well-Being of Your Security Team,” “Virtual Reality Training,” “Recruiting Security Management Personnel,” and “Employee Vigilance Through the Power of Hello.” I chose the last session, as it was led by Daniel Avondoglio, MASM, HSS, portfolio manager, active assailant security with the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
Avondoglio has an extremely impressive resume (20-plus years in the Navy and active assailant expertise, among many others) and his topic is timely for our retail audience. He provided excellent resources to help with de-escalation and identify active threats. If you decide to sign up for these products, you’ll also receive updates as they are made. Another great resource I wasn’t aware of was offered by CISA is the Protective Service Advisor. These professionals can come to your location and provide vulnerability assessments for your corporate offices or other high priority locations. You can contact CISA to learn the contact that supports your geographic area.
On the morning of day two, I once again had to pick from a wide array of sessions. The ability to add the sessions to my planner on the GSX app was a game changer. The sessions that made the final cut included: “Adapting Workplace Violence Strategies to Accommodate a Modern Flexible Workforce,” “Discovering and Mitigating Unknown Supply Chain, Cyber, and Human Operational Risks,” “Making Moves Mid-Career,” and “Mass Casualty Awareness.” I chose the session on adapting violence strategies.
I was once again very impressed by the qualifications of the speakers and the level of detail they shared regarding what has worked for them when managing the challenges of a remote workforce. What really intrigued me—and you will see a follow-up article on this soon—was how OSHA is applying “Duty of Care” standards to remote workers. The audience reaction confirmed that this is a new concept for many of us, and the potential ramifications could be concerning. How can an employer ensure that a remote employee is working in a safe environment? There was also an animated discussion focused on efforts to secure confidential information in a remote work environment, along with another hot topic centered on emergency preparedness in corporate or DC environments. Who’s the floor captain in an emergency if everyone is working from home?
The afternoon presentation was a no-brainer. I attended the session presented by members of the ASIS Retail Asset Protection Steering Committee, which included Tony D’Onofrio, CEO and managing director of global retail business with Prosegur; Peter Chie, CFI, operating vice president of asset protection and risk management at Bloomingdale’s; Dr. Read Hayes, research scientist with the University of Florida and the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC); and Hedgie Bartol, LPQ, LPC, senior director of retail business development at Auror. They presented a topic near and dear to my heart by discussing, “Soft on Crime: Who Really Pays the Price When Everyone is at Risk?” This was the first time in many years that the ASIS Retail Community had a session at GSX, so we were excited to see this made the agenda.
The panel shared data reflecting that the hangover from COVID-19 has continued to feed the increase in organized retail crime (ORC) and doesn’t appear to be slowing. The crowd had great questions and the consensus among the panel was that the scourge of ORC and resulting violence will only be solved by working together across company lines and with our law enforcement partners. Changes to how we hold these groups accountable are a must, along with efforts to accelerate the development of technology to prevent these thefts. This continues to be a complicated issue which will need a multi-pronged approach.
Special thanks to Salient for feeding me a great steak Monday night. I highly recommend Little Alley Steak if you are ever in Buckhead!
Hopefully we’ll see you next year when GSX 2023 will be held on September 11-13 from the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas!