William J. Powers, III, CPP, is director of facilities at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The Clark’s 140-acre campus includes five buildings that house museum galleries, an art history library, an auditorium, research facilities, a sophisticated physical plant, and offices. The campus also has an expansive landscape, including a reflecting pool, woodland meadows, and walking trails. The Clark’s permanent collection includes American and European art amassed during the first half of the 20th century by Francine and Sterling Clark.
To secure this eclectic campus, Powers oversees 12 full-time employees and a 60-person contract security staff. In his 22 years at the Clark, Powers has seen much growth in the institute’s programs and facilities, including a recent $170 million expansion and renovation. “I worked very closely with the security consultant on product selection,” says Powers. “I am proud to say that the installation and implementation of the choices were seamless.” The result, he adds, is a system that is a model for other institutions.
Powers’ biggest challenge is responding to HVAC alarms. “The museum requires very stable climate control 365 days a year,” he says. “I have found that if you follow acknowledged best practices you can have peace of mind.” He credits his affiliation with ASIS International for giving him access to the latest best practices, as well as subject matter experts.
Two achievements helped Powers reach his current status. The first was completing his master’s degree. At the time, Powers was supporting two children in college, and attaining that degree seemed impossible. But he applied for and was selected as a recipient of an ASIS/University of Phoenix scholarship. The second was when Powers received his Certified Protection Professional (CPP®) certification. “These two events really lifted my confidence and proved that I was a true professional,” he says.
Powers was an ASIS volunteer leader for many years before pursuing the CPP, and knew peers who had their CPPs. As past chair of the ASIS Cultural Properties Council and current member of the Awards Committee, “I wanted to be recognized that I am in those positions for a reason.” Studying for the CPP also pushed Powers to review guidelines and best practices that he otherwise might have overlooked. In his position, he must understand all facets of security—physical, electronic, and cyber. By earning his CPP, he says, “I confirmed my competence in all aspects of security management,” he adds.
Powers never expected to be in his current position. A trained auto mechanic, his first job was in the facilities department of a museum. He eventually became director of facilities at that institution, which included oversight of security.
Today, Powers mentors young professionals coming into the field, reminding them that private security can provide a career path that is personally and financially rewarding if they work towards professional certifications. To that end, Powers advises taking a CPP review course and investing time in studying for the test. The payoff, for Powers, is obvious: “I am now a more effective, well-rounded security professional.”