In 2006, Francine Staple, PSP, joined APM Terminals (Jamaica), Ltd., now Kingston Container Terminal Services, Ltd. (KCTSL), as security coordinator, which was an entry-level position in the firm's proprietary security department. She had entered the profession seven years previously, when she was hired as an administrative assistant for Jamaica's state-run Ports Security Corporation. Later, she was promoted to internal affairs officer and port commander at the local airport in Kingston.
Staple says that while working for the Ports Security Corporation she began investigating security incidents and uncovered many loopholes. "I found that my recommendations could make a difference," she remembers. "It gave me added joy when my recommendations were implemented."
Once Staple moved to employer KCTSL, her security career blossomed. In 2010, Staple was promoted to security manager/port facility security officer; the safety portfolio was added to her duties two years later. Today, she leads a staff of 21 proprietary security and safety personnel and reports to the deputy general manger of the port facility.
In this role, Staple's duties are diverse. For example, she conducts weekly meetings with submanagers to review safety matters and discuss security threats and countermeasures. She also maintains the port facility's security and natural disaster plan, examines nonsecurity operational procedures to identify and mitigate risks, and conducts refresher training for all port users. In addition, she oversees all facility audits, drills, and exercises while interacting daily with law enforcement agencies.
An ASIS International member since 2009, Staple decided to pursue the Physical Security Professional® (PSP) certification "to improve my knowledge of such an exciting field," she says. It also enabled her to qualify for a master's program in security and risk management from an international university—a degree she achieved recently.
Adding the PSP to her credentials gives her "a level of authority on the subject matter of security," Staple states. "It allows you to sit among the best-in-business professionals, and they listen [to you]." She also finds that it gives her satisfaction, drive, and passion that would have been otherwise lost.
Throughout her career, Staple has championed both ASIS and board certification. She revised security job descriptions at KCTSL to include ASIS certifications as a requirement. She currently conducts PSP review classes for security professionals, and, thus far, 27 of her students have gone on to be successful candidates.
To achieve the goal of earning one of the three ASIS board-certified designations, Staple advocates a four-pronged approach: attend review classes, study hard, read and master the certification materials, and maintain focus.
"Security management gives you a sense of responsibility and ownership of decisions on complex issues and investigations, especially when those decisions force change," she notes.
Staple recalls that when she received her first KCTSL paycheck, she vowed to accomplish both her personal and professional goals within the next 10 years. "I have achieved those goals and am very happy about that," she says proudly.
Profile by Mary Alice Davidson, Principal, Davidson Communications