Solvay, a Belgian chemical company, had not had a corporate level security function since its founding in 1863. Werner Cooreman was brought on to establish it. In less than one year, he developed and implemented a tailor-made, cloud-based, security vulnerability self-assessment application to assess site-level protection of the 140+ industrial sites in the group, which is now the group’s reference and baseline for physical protection projects.

Cooreman has mentored individuals and teams active in security in and outside Solvay to enhance their professional and relational skills. One individual in particular has driven the development and implementation of an all-risk travel management program, securing 7,000 Solvay travelers in less than a year, while all teams have contributed significantly in making security a board level topic.

At Solvay, Cooreman has also created an integrated security advisory team consisting of risk stakeholders, including IT, insurance, travel and other relevant departments.

He is an active member, volunteer and leader in professional security associations, where he actively engages in activities aimed at enhancing the posture and reputation of the security profession. He provides leadership training for junior security management professionals to allow them to accelerate their progress and preparations for executive level security positions.

One project that he is proud of resolves around developing and implementing the site security protection program, from scratch, in three months. “It required my full experience acquired over [my] years in security to design, develop and deploy a security vulnerability self-assessment tool that gave our sites an immediate indication of their risk level in combination with the appropriate measures they could take to reduce the risks,” he says. “While this seems standard from a security expert perspective, it was an entirely new challenge for our sites, as my company never had a security function prior to my arrival. Thanks to the pragmatic and feasible approach, I got the budgets required to pursue the necessary mitigations in place and launch the site level projects in six months.”

His career advice begins with remembering that a security career path is usually long and seldom steep. “Be patient but persistent, continue to learn and strengthen your competencies and always keep your focus on adding value to the organization you work for,” he says.