Walt Fountain, Director, Enterprise Security
“On April 3rd,CNN showed footage of our tractor trailers being thrown through the air like toys during the tornadoes in Texas,” shares Walt Fountain, Director, Enterprise Security for Schneider International.
“Thanks to our resilience planning, that facility was back up and running within twelve hours and there were no injuries. You have to get out in front of risk and we were very pleased with our ability to be prepared, respond, and have the best outcome possible.”
Schneider National is a 75-year-old company and the largest truckload carrier in the U.S. with more than 17,000 associates, 10,000 tractors and 31,000 trailers (well, 30,999). “Schneider serves as one of the most powerful business-building tools in the industry to our customers, and security is integrated into that vision,” explains Fountain. “My role is to synchronize and coordinate risk assessment and security processes across the worldwide organization as efficiently as possible.”
As examples, Schneider’s physical security division reports into the CAO and Fountain works closely with the corporate security manager. Similarly, he works with the IS manager within the CIO’s office to address information security risk. In addition, he integrates with Human Resources on background checks, regulatory issues and drug testing.
“Supply chain management is such a vital part of a company’s ability to manage and grow their business,” says Fountain. “A great part of my job is to develop supply chain risk assessments and show our customers how to secure shipments and avoid high risk shipping profiles. Bigger shippers build a level of expertise, but smaller shippers have to depend on us for risk management.” In some cases, Schneider National provides end-to-end supply chain services, but for most customers, they manage a part of the customer’s supply chain. “That requires us to understand risk beyond our part and extend security to other parts of their supply chain.”
There are more than 700,000 registered carriers in the U.S., and like many businesses, Schneider National battles the notion that all shipping is a commodity, especially when it comes to risk and security. “Our customers get access to robust capacity with reduced risk and increased confidence in the process. We have worked with and given information to the sales team to differentiate our brand and address customer service, quality, safety, risk management and security’s value,” explains Fountain. Security uses a full suite of metrics to track its top and bottom line contribution. The information used by the sales team is fed from this extensive metrics program.
On the other side of the risk equation is knowing the customer. “Risk tolerance must be considered so we do not accept business from companies where the risk or customer request is not good business. The issues of theft, fraud or other illegal activity must be vetted to avoid being hired by a fraudulent customer,” says Fountain. Schneider National is self-insured and very careful about from whom it accepts business.
The security team also has a worldwide focus on the protection of their employees. “Workplace violence continues to be a growing concern for businesses. We brought a team together to explore the topic and address it. The outcome was to create an environment where our people felt comfortable using resources and seeking help. Our process is proactive by controlling the relationship with a colleague to discuss expectations and business issues internally,” explains Fountain.
Whether responding to flying trailers, customer shipments or workforce protection, Fountain focuses on creating a resilient organization that identifies and mitigates risks. A challenging area for all organizations is cyber security. “Our business runs on the back of information, so information integrity and availability is paramount to the successful delivery of our services. Our company was a pioneer in ‘in cab’ communication. And through redundancy and best practices we have prevented cyber events,” he shares.
“Our CEO expects us to be a business enabler and we have done that by tailoring our services to meet a specific customer segment that demands security,” says Fountain. Every CEO should expect security to be a business enabler that proactively focuses on business and not be just a defensive process and cost center.”
Fountain sums up the scope of his role by saying, “The best part of my job is going out and working with the customers. They understand that they have a risk issue, but they do not know how big those risks are or how to mitigate them. It is rewarding to help them find a solution that is positive for their business goals and increase the value of our company’s services.”
A marathon runner, Fountain served in Army intelligence for 24 years and joined Schneider National after retiring. Based in Green Bay, Wisc., he is a proud Packers shareholder who enjoys being home with his family.
• Revenue/Budget: $3,400,000,000
• Security Budget: Confidential
• Critical Issues:
- Supply Chain Security
- Workplace Violence
- Cyber Security
• Asset Protection/Loss Prevention
• Brand/Product Protection
• Business Continuity
• Corporate Security
• Cyber Security/IT Security
• Disaster Recovery
• Emergency Management/Crisis Management
• Intellectual Property
• Physical Security/Facilities
• Regulatory Compliance
• Risk Management
• Supply Chain/Vendor
• Workforce/Executive/Personnel Protection