Keeping the facilities and staff of one of the world's largest media corporations safe is a job that requires a wealth of experience in dealing with multiple types of security issues.
The recently opened 47-story Hearst Tower in downtown New York City, not only houses the publishers and editors of many of the Hearst Corporations publications, it also plays host to celebrities and politicians, who regularly visit the company's headquarters. Among the high-profile media properties that the company owns are the Houston Chronicle, the San Francisco Chronicle, Good Housekeeping magazine, Popular Mechanics magazine, the Oprah Magazine, A&E Networks, and ESPN.
One of the people responsible for taking on these security challenges and ensuring the safety of the thousands of people who occupy the Tower at a given time is Ted Lotti.
A 26-year veteran of the New York Police Department and former commanding officer of the Queens County District Attorneyâ€™s Office, Lotti joined Hearst as their Deputy Director of Corporate Security in June of 2006, several months before the companyâ€™s newly renovated headquarters opened.
In this "At the Frontline" Interview, Lotti shares his insights on high-rise security and how he keeps the staff and facilities of the Hearst Corporation safe.
How do you utilize access controls and keep track of people coming in and out of your entrance and exit points at Hearst Tower?
Every entrance into the building is access controlled. So you either have to have an (access) card to get in or you have to be checked into our visitor register program or announced. To access every floor in the building, 44 floors, you to have a card and you have to be authorized. We can monitor in real time, any floor, any person that I want [to find out] where they are in the building.
In a building the size of Hearst Tower, what goes into evacuation planning in case of a fire or terror attack?
A lot! We had to submit our EAP (Emergency Action Plans) plans with the fire department. Weâ€™re very lucky that we have Tishman Speyer as our property management company. With their vast experience at Rockefeller Center and all their other properties, they were a great help putting together the EAP plan. Every building has to submit to the fire department and get pre-approved just for that. We even sat down and put a whole plan together just in case thereâ€™s a blackout for the summer, which has happened before. It is not an emergency situation, but you still have to evacuate the people out of the building without elevators and worry about their medical conditions [in regards to them] walking down the stairs in the heat.
What steps have you taken to harden Hearst Tower against potential terror attacks?
We do have (bollards) at the front entrance of the building. The glass is tempered glass to begin with because that is the structure of the building. But otherwise we just depend on our security program, the officers and the equipment that we have.
How do you handle issuing access cards for employees at Hearst Tower and other facilities?
Just in New York alone we have five office buildings and what we did is set them all up on the same system so that from the central command center here in the Hearst Tower. I can authorize an employeeâ€™s card to be used at any one of our facilities and I can still monitor it right from the central station.
What kind of challenges are involved in bringing in a private security firm like AlliedBarton on board, which you did when Hearst Tower opened, and how do you get their officers in sync with your security program?