Certification Profile: Shawn Reilly, CPP, PSP
Print Issue: March 2017
Shawn Reilly, CPP, PSP, has been employed by Tech Systems, Inc., for the past four years. His duties include active shooter training, training program development, writing policies, and facilitating tabletop and drill exercises for clients. But “the task that keeps me most busy is risk assessments,” he says.
Reilly works with team members across the country to find the right security enhancements for a client. When conducting a risk assessment, his team looks at both an organization’s strengths and areas for improvement. “Many clients have never had an audit that lists their strengths,” he says. “They show a lot of pride in seeing that what they have done right is recognized…and I do, too.”
Reilly honed his security skills through a 29-year career with the U.S. Air Force Security Forces. After working briefly for a defense contractor conducting risk assessments and antiterrorism training at U.S. Department of Defense installations, he took on a security director position with a healthcare system in South Carolina. While in that post, Reilly created a police jurisdiction with a 16-person police force, attended the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, and held the additional position of chief of police. He also is a graduate of both technical and academic instructor schools, and holds a B.S. in education. In 2013, Reilly was sought out by Tech Systems to join the company, “a particularly memorable moment and a very gratifying opportunity,” he says.
Tech Systems encourages training, so Reilly continues to learn more about risk assessments and other tasks, often via ASIS International, which he joined in 2004. He served on the Risk Assessment Standard Development Committee and is the assistant regional vice president for Region 4. “ASIS has helped me stay abreast of all the new technology and best practices,” he says. “Many experts have developed great security practices and are willing to share them through ASIS articles, blogs, and webinars,” he says. “I steal as many good ideas as I can.”
Reilly was motivated to earn his Certified Protection Professional© (CPP) while applying for a job after his stint in the Air Force. Learning he was not certified, an interviewer said “a CPP would have made a difference. Retired lieutenant colonels are a dime a dozen.” Reilly got his certification the next year.
“Just studying for the test gave me insight about areas of security that I had not been exposed to,” he adds. “Being certified also opens doors.” First-time clients see the CPP designation on his business card and know that he has met a standard of credibility.
Reilly has spent the last three years conducting CPP and Physical Security Professional© (PSP) study groups, and more than 25 company employees have become certified—some achieving both designations. He encourages others to investigate the information and self-assessments on the ASIS website. He recommends joining or starting a chapter certification review program and buying the Protection of Assets manuals. One key to passing the test, he notes, is paying for the test application and setting a test date at the beginning of the study process. He has observed that “nothing motivates more than having a deadline and investing money.”
The reward is a career in security management, which Reilly highly recommends, noting that the industry has upward mobility for everyone in the business. “Only you set how far you can go.”