In 2022, the security profession and ASIS members everywhere suffered a seismic loss with the passing security legend, icon and leader, Don W. Walker, CPP. Some had the pleasure of knowing Don personally. Others may know him from his namesake award. This second installment in a leadership series paying homage to Don’s impact and legacy within the security profession features five security thoughts and insights on his lasting legacy. We should all aspire to support one another as Don did.
“Don was a giant in the industry who I had the great fortune to call a friend and a mentor. No matter what event or venue we found ourselves at, Don would always greet you with that big smile and warm reception, which demonstrated his passion for this industry and his love of helping people. Don was one of the best and he taught me that being kind to everyone and being passionate about this career was a great thing – you don’t need to be a ‘bad’ boss to be successful - lead with passion, take care of the people that are on your team, the people that make up your circle and most importantly, never forget where you came from and what got you to this place. Don reinforced in me those principles that sometimes I questioned while moving through my career as a CSO…he lived his life that way and his family is a true image of that…Don was a giant in the industry, but most importantly a friend to so many. I miss my friend dearly and I will do my best to carry on his legacy by living those principles!”
Richard M. Kelly, CPP
Senior VP, Global Safety, Security & Business Continuity Management, and Member, ASIS Global Board of Directors
“I was honored to receive the Don Walker Award a few years back and to have Don on stage with me as I received the award is something I will never forget.
But what I remember most about Don was his generosity. I remember him reaching out to me when I was a rookie CSO at Microsoft at ISMA meetings and giving me the benefit of his wisdom about team building, organizational development and getting C Suite buy in for security programs. He was always willing to give of his time to provide advice and mentorship.
But what brings a smile to my face are the two times he and Mary were gracious enough to invite us to Securitas events at ASIS where we were able to see fantastic entertainment, including going backstage to see a country singer who was performing for an event at ATT Stadium in Dallas. He never had to do this, but he did it out of the goodness of his heart. I will miss sharing martinis with him and enjoying hearing him laugh. His true legacy rests in the people he touched, the careers he helped to propel, the sage wisdom he lent freely and the love he exhibited for his country, his profession, his wife, his children and his friends/colleagues.
He touched my life as he touched the lives of countless others. Rest in Peace dear friend.”
Howard Consulting Services, LLC
“Don Walker was a special friend and professional. He had that warmth, always interested in who you were just to know you. He was like immediately absorbed and engaged in who you were. Don always had time to talk or walk over to greet me and ask how things were going. Don loved the security profession, all it stood for, and wanted it to flourish and mature in a good and proper manner. While hosting a Pinkerton sponsored evening at the Annual Seminar and Exhibits, I thanked him for inviting me even though I wasn’t a current client, he laughed and said, “that it didn’t matter, as it was to honor all professional security folks”. I will always remember him for wanting to give back and expecting the best. As a leader, he perfected all the traits of being a fair one and one of the best. He led by example, was easily approachable and displayed a real concern for what you had to say. Don obtained many exhalated positions within the profession yet never forgot the individuals he met along the way. Don will be dearly missed.”
Ken Fauth, Lifetime CPP
“I had the opportunity and the pleasure of working side by side with Don Walker for virtually twenty years. We faced a lot of opportunity, upheaval, adversity, success, and satisfaction in those times together. I learned many things from Don, but two things stand out. First, Don was one of the calmest people I have ever known. Amid confusion, deadlines upheaval and adversity, Don always was composed, unruffled and he never wavered in the pursuit of our goals. Second, he was the most objective person I’ve ever known. He was not naïve, but he took everyone and every situation at face value and proceeded to accomplish the tasks at hand sorting out the information presented to him. He was able to discern truth and discard fiction, all while maintaining assurance and respect for those he worked with. Don Walker was a soft-spoken gentleman and a truly inspirational leader.”
Executive Vice President, Securitas USA
“I met Don early on after transitioning to the private sector and recall being apprehensive given his executive level stature and epic reputation in the security industry. Yet I found talking to Don was like meeting a long time family friend. Don truly saw everyone, regardless of their position in life or what they may have accomplished. Don forever reframed for me how one can lead with true humility.”
Karen Frank, CPP
Head of Security Services, Pratt & Whitney, and Member, ASIS Global Board of Directors