Employee Safety: Travel Guides
You are responsible for traveling employees' safety. It's good to tell them what not to do. It's better to teach them how to be alert and anticipate and avoid trouble.
By Kathleen Carr
September 30, 2004 — CSO — "Seventy-two hours to live." the front-page headline in this morning's New York Post on Wednesday, June 16, 2004, refers to Paul Johnson Jr., an American engineer for Lockheed Martin, kidnapped and threatened with execution by Islamic militants in Saudi Arabia. Johnson is shown blindfolded, helpless, vulnerable.
David Katz, the instructor of a class on Executive Travel Safety & Personal Security, holds up the paper in front of the small group gathered in a basement meeting room in the Flatiron District in New York.
Everyone stops smearing cream cheese on their bagels. Sipped coffee cups are set down.
As if anyone needed it, Katz's gesture is a reminder of the potential overseas travel nightmares that these security executives are here learning how to prevent.
The instructors from Global Security Group
Michael Castronova, director of security services for Tiffany & Co., is there, as well as Craig Sewell from Motorola's global security group and Mike Belcher, the CSO of a Fortune 5 company. Bruce McIndoe, CEO of iJet Travel Risk Management, and security execs from Hydro-Québec, Kroll and Strategic Security Computing round out the class.
Katz conducts this class several times during the year, and says that requests are rising now, as they usually do when bad travel stories hit the media. Classes sometimes consist solely of security executives, but Katz also conducts training sessions for employees. He's also setting up the first-ever travel safety online seminar for ASIS International in September.
Today, CSOs are often tasked with building their company's corporate travel safety programs. The job calls for a proactive approach to educate employees about precautions they can take to stay safe, whether they're the CEOs of multibillion-dollar conglomerates who fly on company jets that land on secured tarmacs or rank-and-file staff riding in commercial airline coach.
There's likely to be more demand for such travel safety training as corporate America realizes that terrorism is a long-term risk, says Alon Stivi, a counterterrorism expert and CEO of Direct Measures International. "No one has a monopoly on controlling terrorists," Stivi says. "We haven't seen the last of this. When a terrorist group gets successful, they multiply their efforts in that area. They're not as stupid as many of us would like to think. They have resources. We'll eventually need mandatory regulations regarding travel safety."