At the Frontline: ASIS President Richard Widup

Widup discusses his goals for the upcoming year, trends impacting security professionals

Last month, Richard “Rich” E. Widup, Jr., CPP, became the 59th president of ASIS International. Widup, who is the senior director of corporate security for Connecticut-based pharmaceuticals company Purdue Pharma, began his career in the private security sector in 2001 when he joined Pfizer Global Security as the director for the Americas Region. Prior to that, Widup worked for 27 years in law enforcement, first serving as an investigator with the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) and later with the Office of Criminal Investigations for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Widup said his experience with ASIS had been in “fits and starts.” He first joined the organization when he was with the Army, but was not active and let his membership lapse. Widup joined ASIS again when he was with the FDA, but again was inactive and allowed his membership to expire. However, he joined once again just prior to joining Pfizer and had an experience that changed his outlook on the value that ASIS provided to him as a security professional.

“I was working at Pfizer responsible for anti-counterfeiting, diversion and supply chain security efforts and my boss came in and said to me, ‘the logistics team wants to put together what they’re calling standards of care for the security of our products throughout the supply chain here in North America and they want to expand that worldwide eventually… can you do that?’ I said sure and after I walked out his office I said to myself, what’s a standard of care?” said Widup.

Widup said he immediately reached out the ASIS resource center in Alexandria, Va., and began to pour over information on the topic, but one name kept popping up during his research – Louis Tyska, a former president of ASIS International. Tyska encouraged Widup to join the ASIS Transportation Security Council, of which he would later become chairman. “That was just a compelling situation for me. I had so many great takeaways and that’s what has kept me going in volunteer leadership because for every hour you give, you get a hundred times back in value,” he said.

In this “At the Frontline” interview, Widup discusses some of his goals for the upcoming year as ASIS president, as well as some of the broader trends impacting security professionals across the board.

SIW: What are some the things that you hope to accomplish as ASIS president this year?

Widup: I think first and foremost, I want to continue the long line of distinguished service, dedication and professionalism that other past presidents have provided this great organization. I’m filling some pretty big shoes. There have been some phenomenal presidents in the past. The other things that we want to try and focus on this year, and these are some of the things that I mentioned to the volunteer leadership a couple of weeks ago in Arlington (Virginia) at our annual leadership meeting; I want to continue to improve upon the strategic plan. We get asked a lot about, ‘what’s your vision for the society.’ Really the goal for our society is the strategic plan and this year we’ll be updating our strategic plan and I want to make that strategic plan the best possible document that it can be. We’re spending the better part of the year on an environmental scan process to make sure that we’re incorporating, evaluating and considering all of the dynamic factors that are affecting the security profession, and ASIS in particular, so that when we sit down and draft the strategic plan it’s going to put us in a position to continue to be a value-added organization and even more relevant than we are today.

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