Scott Starkey, Security Director for the Birmingham Water Works Board, built the organization’s security department from the ground up. He has designed and built security systems to address security vulnerabilities, including a fully integrated, enterprise-wide security system that features security cameras, access control, fence detection, remote location detection, power over ethernet intercom systems for remote locations, integrated gates and barriers and a security operations center. He manages and develops a team of 11 employees and a large number of contract security officers and off-duty police officers.

He has developed a security culture program at Birmingham Water Works Board, where every employee of the organization feels a part of the security department. He has implemented emergency response plans and training, and employed new risk assessment methodologies to ensure business resiliency. He also developed SOPs for active shooter response, and has conducted situational awareness and active shooter response training. Starkey also works with other water utilities across the state on active shooter training and to develop SOPs.

“My advice to future security professionals is to immerse themselves into this industry with a ‘heart of a student,’” Starkey shares. “The security sector is an ever changing, dynamic and exciting profession. Recruiting, developing and motivating employees is a monumental task. If a future security professional will dive head first into learning, reading and talking with other security professionals; become involved with their local security community; embrace the changing security landscape; consistently stay abreast of the latest technologies; and can establish a meaningful mentorship for their employees, then their success in this industry will be inevitable.”

Starkey works with each member of the security staff to develop a strong personal financial knowledge and understanding of the importance of saving money. “I strive to make heartfelt connections with my team by encouraging them to grow professionally and personally,” Starkey says. “I meet with each employee in the department and guide them in establishing their steps to attain their career aspirations. For birthdays or special occasions, I give books on personal finance to educate my team on becoming successful in their personal lives. I also created a Manager 360° for myself, to provide the security department’s employees an unencumbered outlet to accurately measure my leadership abilities and areas for improvement, all while allowing the department’s employees to contribute in how they view my leadership of the department and ways to improve. This initiative has reaped more benefits than I would have ever possibly imagined.”