The first members of ASIS International found their way into the security business through various routes. James Davis joined General Electric after performing risk assessments for the company on behalf of the FBI. Eric Barr, Jr., found himself as security director at Electric Boat after leading submarine crews in World War II. And Wayne Hall started as a security guard at Ford Motor Company before rising to the rank of security director. What all of these members had in common was a need to share information about the brand new field of security. ASIS membership provided that industry with a voice.
This month’s edition of “60 Years, 60 Milestones” addresses the ways in which ASIS members have advanced this mission. Founders realized early on that local chapters would be essential. Members, they theorized, had to be given a way to participate at the local level and to interact with their peers. In 1955, the Southern California Chapter was the first to be formally recognized. The number of chapters increased to 58 by the end of 1962 and currently stands at 232 globally.
These new chapter members had an affiliation to a specific field as well as to a location. Currently, 31 councils help members explore specific security challenges. As new issues arise in the industry, members establish ad hoc councils. Recently, the Young Professionals and Women in Security groups moved from ad hoc status to full-fledged councils. This year, three ad hoc councils were added: Executive Protection, Transitions, and Security Applied Sciences.
As Society members gained education and experience, they knew that it was critical to recognize this professionalism. This need led to development of the ASIS certifications.
The Certified Protection Professional (CPP) designation was approved by the ASIS board in 1977. The first certification examination was held the next year with 47 candidates sitting for the test. Since then, ASIS has added international exams, computer-based testing, and an exam given in Spanish. In 2003, the Society unveiled two new certifications, the Professional Certified Investigator (PCI) and the Physical Security Professional (PSP).
Providing members with value through educational programs was an early goal of the Society. In 1972, volunteer leaders set up a five-day educational curriculum, which attracted 142 practitioners. This event was the first Asset Protection Course, an educational program that is still held annually—along with numerous other programs on specific security topics.
In 1982, the board of the ASIS Foundation funded a project to catalog the books amassed at ASIS headquarters. When ASIS moved to its new headquarters in 1998, these books and other materials provided the seed for the O.P. Norton Information Resources Center (IRC). In its permanent home, the IRC now helps fulfill the ultimate vision of the founding members. It facilitates the sharing of security information and provides access to the now robust voices of the industry.