Cy Oatridge, CPP: Aiming for an Inclusive, Purposeful Strategy
Cy Oatridge, CPP, got his first taste of security as a hall monitor in junior high school, kicking off a long career in guarding and security management, framed by his focus on relationships, community, and purposeful strategy.
At age 28, Oatridge and his young family had just moved out to Seattle, Washington, when he answered a blind ad. His business aptitude—honed during years of working in his family’s construction business—caught the recruiter’s eye, and his new boss decided to steer him into the security profession, including recommending he join ASIS International.
Oatridge fondly remembers his first ASIS meeting—a dinner meeting on Tuesday night at a local hotel.
“One of the members in the group was Bob Watson, who was at the time on the ASIS board,” Oatridge says. “He was a security director for Weyerhaeuser. He and Roland Neese, a former chapter chair and security director, just took me under their wing, introduced me to people, and mentored me along my career journey. It was a phenomenal introduction to an organization.”
With guidance and encouragement from Watson, Neese, and ASIS past presidents such as Ray O’Hara, CPP, Oatridge was able to pursue a successful career in guarding services management, eventually launching his own firm—Oatridge Security Group—in 2003.
“ASIS was a big part of my security education and learning the industry,” he says. His active involvement within ASIS taught him how to foster and maintain long-term relationships, how to mentor others, and how to hone his craft as a security leader.
“This business is based on relationships,” he explains. “If people trust you, they know that you’re going to look out for their best interest, and they want to do business with you, they will continue to work with you. That’s the thing I have found in the security industry—people don’t realize how important our relationships are to the type of work we do.”
Oatridge’s dedication to building honest and devoted relationships with his security clients, peers, and fellow ASIS members led him to hold nearly every volunteer position across ASIS in the past three decades, working his way up from the local chapter to the 2024 presidency of the ASIS Global Board of Directors, where he is guiding the development of a new strategic plan for the association and expanding the progress that ASIS members and staff have made in recent years.
“The challenging part about strategy is that nobody can predict the future; nobody knows what the next five, seven, 10 years are going to look like,” Oatridge says. “That said, our commitment to excellence, meeting the needs of our global membership, and our passion for advancing the profession has never been stronger. In the spirit of unity and progress, our collective success relies on your invaluable insights and experiences. Listening and learning from our membership will be a cornerstone of our journey in the coming months. Your perspectives, expertise, and dedication are the driving force behind our association’s strength, and I encourage you to actively engage in shaping our shared future.
“We’ve been going through this process for a year plus,” he continues. “I’ve been speaking with different business owners and executives in the security industry. What does ASIS need? Where’s the security industry going? This process has educated me on the challenges and needs of the global security world. Because our European members, our South American members, our African members, our Australian members, our Asian members, they all have core security challenges, but they also have different dynamics that their societies are causing them to focus on…. We have to think even bigger and broader to help everybody because we encompass a global membership from more than 150 nations. We need to continue making a difference in the lives of our members and beyond.”
This effort to create an even more inclusive long-term strategy led Oatridge, his fellow board members, and other ASIS volunteers to seek out new voices and opinions, reaching out to business leaders in different industries, entrepreneurs, young professionals, and outside-the-box thinkers to get a fresh take on what the security industry needs.
Within his term, Oatridge aims to deliver a “strategy with a purpose” that will reinvigorate less engaged members and non-volunteers while attracting new participants. While many strategic plans are created, announced, and then shelved, Oatridge believes that the strategy being developed will create opportunities for members to expand their relationships both inside and outside of the security industry, developing a path for the profession to grow and expand into the future.
Want to participate in the ASIS strategic plan? All ASIS volunteer leaders are welcome to attend the 2024 Leadership Exchange, where a 31 January session on strategic planning will provide opportunities to give feedback, inspire conversation, and influence the future of your association.
Claire Meyer is managing editor of Security Management. Connect with her on LinkedIn or email her directly at [email protected].