Late last year ASIS International announced the appointment of Peter J. O’Neil, FASAE, CAE, as its new Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer.
O’Neil is an accomplished association management executive, and he joined ASIS in January of 2016, bringing a broad scope of strategic leadership experience and acumen. Yet officially he’s not full time into the role until this month.
Previously, O’Neil served as executive director of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), an international professional society representing 10,000 occupational and environmental health and safety professionals. In addition to AIHA, O’Neil had oversight of three limited liability companies, a related education oriented foundation and a foundation that establishes guideline values for exposure limits.
He earned his Bachelor of Science in International Relations from Syracuse University and completed additional post-graduate work in public administration, knowledge management and association management.
I recently spoke with him about his vision for ASIS, its members and the annual conference. One theme that O’Neil said that he wanted me to communicate to ASIS members is to encourage membership in a professional society. “As an association executive, I have always encouraged people to join a professional society. We hope that security professionals choose ASIS, of course. But we will only move the security industry forward if we stand together.”
What attracted you to ASIS and this role?
I have been in association management for 20 years, and I knew of the great reputation that ASIS enjoys in the association space. The subject matter of enterprise security is one that I believe affects everyone. I enjoy running global organizations where I can really advance the profession and advance the organization.
So far, what have you seen about the security industry that has intrigued you?
I’ve only been on the job part time for a few weeks, but I’m learning more each day what a pivotal issue operational and cybersecurity is for the global business community. This is an interesting time in the world, and ASIS plays an important role in both of those areas.
What can ASIS members expect from your new role in terms of membership, standards, and the annual conference?
Again, it’s still early days, but those are areas that I will be looking at. Overall, I’ve always looked at association management from two perspectives: the operation, because without a strong operation it doesn’t matter what’s happening because if we can’t serve our members the way that we need to from member value and benefits, then we’re not doing our job. The other, equally important perspective is the profession itself: how it needs to grow and thrive. Both perspectives need to line back to the organization. Ultimately, as I move forward, my goal is to strike a balance between the needs of our internal and external stakeholders for mutual success and reward.
How will you work with other industry trade associations, such as SIA?
Collaboration is critical, and I have had that in my past role. For example, at AIHA I worked with our British and Australian counterparts. The result was a successful program that united global health professionals. I also partnered with a research organization to produce metrics around the industrial hygienist’s profession, which those members then were able to show the bottom line to their managers. So I appreciate the need to collaborate, and I look forward to working with SIA and other organizations that share interests and goals.