In the last issue of Summit Report, we reported on Summit’s receiving an Inc.com Hire Power Award for placing among the top 100 job creators of 2013, based on a recent survey conducted by the on-line magazine. On November 12, Linda Piacentini, Vice President of Human Resources (center of photo), accepted the award on behalf of Summit. Companies from over 25 industry categories were represented in the survey. Summit ranked it second among security industry firms that participated; third among participants from the state of New York; and 22nd among all survey participants in jobs created. Summit was featured “Meet the Job Creators” story from Inc. Magazine article, “Meet the Job Creators http://www.inc.com/hire-power/list, which introduced the 2013 Hire Power Awards honorees.
December 4, 2013 Summit Ranked Number One Long Island Security Services Firm for Third Straight Year
For the third straight year, the Long Island Business News (LIBN) ranked Summitthe Number One Guard and Patrol Services Firm on Long Island. The 2013 award was based on a comparison of the employee counts of 22 Long Island security companies. Summit topped the list with over 1,400 Long Island security professionals.
The award follows Summit’s upward trajectory as a premier security and investigative services firm, nationwide. According to U.S. security industry studies for the past three years, large companies were very active in mergers and acquisitions. However, this transactional activity diluted—rather than enhanced—service delivery for customers. “Instead of joining in the acquisition culture,” says Summit Vice President Nicholas M. Auletta, “we have opted for a strategy of measured, organic growth, supported by strong partnerships, client responsiveness, and high-quality services. It works for us, and most important, for our clients.” With revenues having grown by 33 percent in three years, Summit now ranks number 15 among all contract security companies and among the top 10 privately owned security companies in the United States.
Results of the LIBN rankings are published in the 2013 LIBN Book of Lists, a staple publication of the Long Island business community. LIBN has been the area’s premier source news about Long Island’s 120,000-plus businesses for over 50 years.
On Veterans Day 2013, the Summit headquarters team proudly participated in the United Way of Long Island’s Operation LIVE UNITED by wearing T-shirts in honor of Long Island’s military veterans and their loved ones. Those who participated contributed to the organization’s goal of raising $100,000 on Veterans Day for the United Way’s Military Family Assistance Project to help provide emergency financial assistance, employment/job training, and case management to returning military personnel. For more information, visit http://www.unitedwayli.org/liveunited or contact Mike Cooney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christopher J. Byrne serves as a Director of Sales and Marketing at Summit Security Services, Inc., among the top 10 largest privately owned security and investigative companies in the United States, with over 500 clients and 3,300 employees. At Summit, Chris is directly responsible for the company’s business development and marketing efforts, which have helped lead to Summit’s successful growth despite a difficult economic climate. He is actively involved in developing customized security and investigative services programs for a wide range of public and private sector clients.
Chris earned his Bachelor of Science in Leadership and Management from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2003. He served for seven years as an officer in the United States Army, five in active-duty and two with the National Guard. As an active-duty Lieutenant, Chris served as Firing Platoon Leader at Ft. Sill, tasked with leading a Homeland Security Quick Reaction Force team that covered the continental United States. From August 2005 to October 2006, Chris deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) IV, where he was promoted to Captain and served a dual role as Gun-Truck Platoon Leader and Battery Executive Officer for a 272-man battery. He performed combat security/patrol missions across some of the most dangerous areas of OIF operations, including Baghdad, Tikrit, Fallujah, Ramadi, and Mosul.
Returning from deployment, Chris served as a Detachment Commander at Ft. Hood. In this role, he evaluated and trained over 4,000 Reservists/National Guardsmen prior to deployment in support of OIF. In May 2008, Chris transitioned from active duty to the National Guard, serving with the storied 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment out of New York City. As Battalion Fire Support Officer, Chris prepared newly commissioned field artillery fire support officers for deployment to Afghanistan. In September 2009, he volunteered for a three-week, joint training exercise in Kyoto, Japan where he served with members of the 6th Regiment, Japanese Defense Forces in support of “Operation Orient Shield.” Chris was awarded a Bronze Star Medal; Combat Action Badge; and numerous Army Meritorious, Commendation, and Achievement medals for his military service.
Upon re-entering civilian life, Chris served as territory management and sales specialist for a leading cancer diagnostics and molecular testing firm. He was twice nominated to serve on the company’s national Sales Advisory Council, and he served on the company’s field marketing team, focusing on new product rollouts. Chris joined Summit as a Director in 2011. He is a member of ASIS International and the Kennedy Airport Airlines Management Council (KAAMCO).
Chris is a strong advocate for military veterans’ issues and holds memberships with several military associations, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars (lifetime member); Team RWB; United States Field Artillery Association; and the 69th Infantry Veterans Corps. In 2012, he provided testimony to the Veterans, Homeland Security, and Military Committee of the New York State Legislature in support of S2423, proposed legislation that would give service-disabled veterans preference on state contracts. Chris recently participated in the Islip Arts Council’s Salute to the Armed Forces of the USA event as a guest speaker, where he discussed the difficulties facing veterans as they transition to civilian life.
Summit Report asked Chris a few questions about his perspective on Summit and the security industry.
Q: What attracted you to Summit?
A: Coming from a goal-oriented and group-based environment, I was attracted by the opportunity to interact with directors of security who hailed from local law enforcement, federal agencies, and military backgrounds. I was also attracted to the opportunity to utilize best practices from private and public sector management in developing security and investigative solutions that make a difference in real ways. Third, having known the Auletta family [Summit ownership/management] for 10 years made my decision to join Summit easy—I have great personal and professional respect for them.
Q: How did your military service prepare you for responsibilities at Summit?
A: I think my military experience helped me to understand what it really means to be a leader, regardless of your title. As a leader, I continually work toward understanding and supporting my organization to reach our common goals most efficiently and effectively. Leaders put a premium on communicating a concise and clear message to make sure everyone is on the same page within the team. My experience has shown me that to effectively communicate, you first need to be a good listener; you can’t improve a situation until you fully understand it.
Q: During your time with Summit, of what accomplishments are you most proud?
A: I’m very proud to be a part of developing and supporting Summit’s veterans initiatives, be it through interacting with veterans at job conferences, helping establish Summit’s “Hero Campaign: From Deployment to Employment,” or providing legislative testimony in support state-level veterans initiatives. I am also very proud of helping Summit to expand its overall service footprint and bring its best practices approach to new vertical markets. Summit had a great service product and a great reputation long before I came to it, but I’ve gotten a lot of fulfillment in refining our message about our experience and client responsiveness and why decision makers in the security and investigative services industries should look to us as their strategic partner.
Q: What is the single most important thing you want clients and prospective clients to remember about Summit?
A: I would like them to remember that Summit’s comprehensive security and investigative capabilities are delivered through separate operating divisions, each with its unique experience in providing services to some of the most recognized organizations in the world. I would like them to remember that both our security and investigative divisions have separate and responsive management teams supporting our clients.
Q: Would you give us a little-known personal fact?
A: I hold dual citizenship in the United States (I was born in Mineola, New York) and the Republic of Ireland.
The security industry—including proprietary security teams and contract security firms—continues to advance high-tech solutions and innovative partnerships to meet the increasing security demands in the post-9/11 era. State-of-the-art command centers; participation in multiagency fusion centers; industry sector alliances; and information sharing networks have increased our capabilities in response to crime, terrorism, and natural events. Together, they represent a broad and holistic approach to known challenges and those yet to come.
Global, All-Hazards Private Security Command Centers
Security command centers have been existence for decades. However, private-sector businesses continue to evolve the concept using technology advancements so that private-sector security managers can protect their businesses over regional or global geographic areas. The command center has evolved from a security agent monitoring a simple, local CCTV surveillance system to an all-hazards, digital response center that can control complex security, safety, and emergency functions literally half a world away.
The CA Technologies Central Monitoring System is case in point. CA is a Fortune 500 company and one of the largest independent software companies in the world, with annual revenues of over $4.4 billion. The company consistently is recognized for its innovation and leadership, including having been named to the Forbes “100 Most Innovative Companies” list. Headquartered in Islandia, Long Island, the firm maintains over 100 offices in 45 countries, worldwide.
The Central Monitoring System gathers security intelligence from global CA facilities, aggregating, correlating, and prioritizing data from security devices and assets across the organization. It then converts this large volume of data into actionable information, received and managed by contract security personnel, under the direction of CA security management, at the firm’s headquarters. The base system, using the latest physical security information management technology, is married to unique, proprietary software developed by CA Technologies.
The system that integrates a 1,500-camera, high-resolution monitoring system and the technology required for access control, including biometric and proximity card technology; intrusion detection and alarm point monitoring; tenant credentialing and visitor management; fire alarms; emergency response notifications; and other specific applications. Event protocols encompass virtually every conceivable incident, from criminal actions to terrorism, extreme weather, and health crises.
Implementing this system allowed CA Technologies to reduce its security overhead by half, worldwide. Most importantly, the technology allows for proactive planning, enhanced intelligence, real-time decision making, and greater management control of incidents—with greater safety, better loss prevention, and minimized business interruptions as the end results.
Local/Urban Fusion Centers
Numerous city law enforcement agencies have benefited from an anti-terrorism strategy that, in part, combines a multi-stakeholder fusion/command center with the latest security technologies. For example, the NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau’s Lower Manhattan Security Initiative (LMSI) is a public-private partnership that utilizes a $150 million, 24/7 Security Coordination Center (SCC) as the central intake facility for video data obtained through a networked surveillance system of private and public surveillance cameras, license readers, and environmental monitors throughout the Financial District, including Wall Street, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the World Trade Center, as well as and surrounding areas.
Both private and public stakeholders, including security directors of key institutions, hold seats in the SCC’s Operations Center, creating an information-sharing network that enhances threat detection and NYPD’s ability to develop responses based on real-time intelligence. The system includes video analytic software that alerts the SCC to suspicious activities such as a car circling a block numerous times, movement in restricted areas, prolonged loitering, or unattended parcels left in public areas.
National Network of Fusion Centers
In July 2013, the United States House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security published its Majority Staff Report on the National Network of Fusion Centers. In testimony leading toward the report, Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said, with respect to terrorist threats, “The truth of the matter is, nobody bats a thousand, and I think as a nation we need to come to terms with it and do everything we can to prevent it, but also recognize that fusion centers and intelligence analysis… are part of our future.”
The United States Department of Justice, in a report entitled Fusion Center Guidelines: Developing and Sharing Information in a New Era, defines a fusion center as a “collaborative effort of two or more agencies that provide resources, expertise, and information to the center with the goal of maximizing their ability to detect, prevent, investigate, and respond to criminal and terrorist activity…. The fusion process turns information and intelligence into actionable knowledge.” Currently, there are over 75 regional, state, and urban fusion centers around the country.
In 2003, the Department of Homeland Security initiated efforts to create a National Network of Fusion Centers (National Network) to organize, support, and establish baseline capabilities standards for fusion centers. Baseline capabilities address areas of planning, information collection and processing, intelligence analysis and dissemination, management, information privacy, personnel and training, technology, and funding. The National Network allows the federal government, state, local, and private sector partners to participate as full contributors to the homeland security enterprise.
The DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis has deployed a considerable force if intelligence specialists and regional directors to the field in support of these fusions centers across the U.S. The agency also deployed the Homeland Secure Data Network (HSDN) at over 60 fusion centers, providing state and local agencies Secret-level connectivity and the ability to receive federally classified threat information.
The Department of Justice emphasizes the importance of so-called “nontraditional collectors of intelligence”—among which include public safety entities and private sector organizations—to the homeland security threat-response effort; likewise, the Committee on Homeland Security definitively calls for these efforts to be “inclusive of the American people themselves.” Therefore, while led and managed by law enforcement, public safety, and government agencies, fusion centers, by design, reflect the importance of establishing a broad public – private stakeholder base.
By the very nature of its business, the private security industry—including contract security and proprietary commercial and public agency security forces, working the “front lines” of security—are a natural fit as a stakeholder within the fusion center framework. As stated on the DHS website, “[F]usion centers are uniquely situated to empower front-line law enforcement, public safety, fire service, emergency response, public health, critical infrastructure protection, and private sector security personnel [italics added] to understand local implications of national intelligence, thus enabling local officials to better protect their communities.”
Information Sharing and Analysis Centers
In the years following September 11, 2001, private industries and public organizations—“critical infrastructure key resource owners and operators”—developed Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs) to address natural disasters and security/terrorist threats through industry-specific risk mitigation and incident response tools, as well as the collection and dissemination of actionable information about threats or potential threats. The National Council of ISACs was a natural extension of the concept, formed in 2003. The Council now includes:
- Communications ISAC
- Electric Sector ISAC
- Emergency Services Sector ISAC
- Financial Services ISAC
- National Health ISAC
- Information Technology ISAC
- Maritime Security ISAC
- Nuclear ISAC
- Public Transit ISAC
- Real Estate ISAC
- Research and Education ISAC
- Supply Chain ISAC
- Surface Transportation ISAC
- Water ISAC
The Council hosts a private sector liaison at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Infrastructure Coordinating Center (NICC) during incidents of national significance, emergency classified briefings, and real-time sector threat level reporting. The group also sponsors an annual Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Congress to bring together the critical infrastructure community for networking, learning and addressing issues of concern to stakeholders.
Contract Security Firms as Homeland Security Partners
Since September 11, 2001, the contract security industry, overall, has experienced a growth trend of five to 10 percent annually, driven by the proliferation of global terrorism, financial downturns, and natural disasters. With so much at stake, private firms and government agencies have demanded contract security partners with an expanded knowledge base in anti-terrorism and emergency response capabilities.
Given the complex nature of asymmetrical terrorist threat and other threat potentials, contract security firms cannot hold to old concepts if they are to meet the required demands of the 21st century paradigm. Rather, they must take progressive steps toward becoming a full-fledged partner in the homeland security effort. This requires enhanced capabilities in the areas of technology applications, comprehensive security planning, and staffing to the needs of clients within the context of domestic and global homeland security. It requires an increased commitment to expanding the knowledge base through traditional and non-traditional information exchanges. And it requires that contract security firms become an active partner in the national dialogue on homeland security initiatives.
Summit has extensive experience collaboratively working as a partner with clients to operate and coordinate complex security command centers. To find out more information about how Summit can assist your organization, please call Christopher Byrne at 516-240-2426.
December 4, 2013 Summit Security Officer Joseph Lasala Named ASIS International Security Officer of the Year
The New York City Chapter of ASIS International has named Joseph Lasala of Summit Security Services, Inc. as the winner of its 2013 Security Officer of the Year Award for his response and heroism at a serious security incident at the NBC Universal Today Show studios on June 6 of this year.
The incident occurred within the street-side audience viewing area of the Today Show studios. The viewing area is enclosed with metal barriers and, on that day, approximately 50 spectators had gathered in the area to the view the show.
Without warning, an emotionally disturbed man among the crowd of spectators began screaming incoherently and throwing refuse. He then drew a knife and began slashing his own forearms, causing severe bleeding. NYPD officers on the scene drew their firearms on the subject.
Security Officer Joseph Lasala, assigned to Summit’s NBC Universal security detail, was approximately 20 to 30 feet from the enclosed viewing area when he observed the commotion. He immediately ran to the location, jumped over a metal barricade, and assumed a protective position between the knife-wielding subject and frightened audience members who were hemmed in the enclosure.
Using great calm, command, and skill, Lasala waited for his opportunity, then moved in quickly and tackled the disturbed and bleeding man to the ground, singlehandedly bringing him under control, without injury to himself or others. NYPD then moved in, restrained the subject, and placed him under arrest.
The knife-wielding man posed a grave and immediate risk to the public. However, through his decisive, skillful, and selfless actions, Lasala singlehandedly eliminated both the public threat and mitigated the need for NYPD to deploy their weapons. By assuming this great personal risk and employing his self-defense and protective skills, he averted what might have become a tragic incident.
The ASIS New York Chapter Security Officer of the Year Award recognizes an act of professional bravery, courage, competence and selflessness of a security officer who went beyond the call of duty to protect life and property. Selections are made by an independent panel of security experts. Lasala will receive his well-deserved award at the ASIS Christmas luncheon on December 20. He will receive a monetary award of $1,500.
Lasala, a former NYPD police officer, has served on the Summit security team since 2003.
Summit Security Services, Inc. sponsored the 2nd Annual Brick 26 Challenge, a Long Island event to raise funds for local veterans of U.S. armed forces, which took place on October 19 at Cedar Creek Park in Wantagh, New York.
Companies and individuals donating through two local veterans service organizations, Boots on the Ground NY and Semper4Veterans, received inscribed bricks reserved for a monument being created at Eisenhower Park’s Veterans Plaza. Event participants strapped on backpacks, each holding up to five bricks, over a four-mile obstacle course and 5K run to honor local veterans for their sacrifice to our country. Participating veterans suited up and served as drill sergeants at each of the “boot camp” stations along the obstacle course—including the wall climb, tunnel crawl, and hill sprints.
Brick 26 generates awareness and funds for all returned and returning service members to help address their financial, emotion, and physical needs, in part through the Brick 26 challenge and social networking campaigns. Brick 26 places an equal emphasis on the great needs of all veterans and aims to distribute equitably funds so that all service members in need have access to increased support. The Brick 26 Executive Board consists of 12 civilian and military leaders; the military board component represents veterans of the Vietnam War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The Board works collaboratively with partnering non-profit organizations, local government and parks, and volunteers to offer top-market event fund-raising. 100 percent of all fund-raising is dedicated to veterans causes.