I think the first senior-level security manager I met in this industry was Bob Gauvreau of the City of Ottawa. When I started on this magazine the cover story for the June 2004 issue had already been assigned and was in production. Gauvreau was on the cover and after the issue came out, it was through him that I first leaned about the role of security manager.
Gauvreau has been a member of the editorial advisory board of Canadian Security’s sister publication, SP&T News, for two years. He has brought the voice of the end-user to discussions about analogue versus digital, the importance of “true” integration and the challenges of CCTV and privacy issues.
Effective Sept. 1, he retired as manager of corporate security at the City of Ottawa after 40 years in the industry. When I talked to him about what he sees as being better about the profession today, he said, “the industry has become more respected, the boardroom has started to listen to security people and that’s a big thing.”
He says he is also proud to see the development of his security team at the City. His advice to those entering the industry is simple: “You’ve got to start at the bottom — there’s no embarrassment in starting as a security guard.”
Gauvreau’s recently named replacement, Greg Dack, started in the business at the ground level. Dack, who has been with the City since 2001, is the City’s new manager, corporate security. He has been responsible for policy development, various security programs including the Alarm Response Program, the Intrusion Alarm Program, the Museum Security Program, and many other aspects of physical security within the City, like Parks Protection Initiatives. Dack recently completed his Certified Protection Professional (CPP) designation through the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) and is pursuing a Master’s Degree with a focus on government structure, organization and leadership.
This year’s Security Director of the Year, Dwaine Nichol, is also someone who wasn’t deterred by the frontline work of a security guard. Nichol came up through the ranks in some challenging times. He continues to face adversity in his current position as Manager of Security and Life Safety for the City of Toronto, handling politically sensitive issues many security directors would never encounter.
And while the nomination put forward for Nichol was based on work done this past year around the city’s surveillance policy and a massive undertaking at Union Station, he could well have been recognized for helping to bring the city’s security system together when amalgamation took place in the late 90’s.
Last year’s Security Director of the Year was Dave Tyson, formerly of the City of Vancouver, who has since moved on to a bigger role at eBay in California. Perhaps municipal government is the ultimate training ground for security professionals, given they must answer to many masters on a limited budget.
When talking to people in the industry about who is qualified to take on top corporate jobs, the answer is often ex-law enforcement, specifically from the RCMP.
The debate will go on forever about which is the better choice but it’s interesting to see that municipal government seems to favour growing and promoting security managers who are dedicated to growing their own careers as well as mentoring others.