“For many people who work in enterprise security, there’s no straight line to get there. That was my situation, too,” says Jerry Loghry, AVP Corporate Security & Safety for EMC Insurance Companies.
EMC, based in Des Moines, Iowa, is among the top 50 property/casualty insurance organizations in the country, with more than 2,400 employees. The company provides property and casualty insurance products and services throughout the United States and writes reinsurance contracts worldwide.
Loghry’s career in security began at Iowa State University, where he was a master’s degree student. He worked with several university departments – psychology, sociology, criminal justice, industrial technology and engineering – to create an independent curriculum for him to study security management and architectural security design. He was the first Iowa State student to receive a Master’s of Science in security management.
The path to his current role at EMC Insurance Companies was a little different, as well. His first position at EMC was an engineering consultant to policy holders on safety and security. He left EMC to take on the role of global safety and security administrator at Principal Financial Group, then went back to EMC as a consultant, and more recently, was named AVP Corporate Security & Safety, leading EMC’s new enterprise wide security and safety business unit.
On Logrhy’s team are 13 security operations specialists that operate the company’s security operations center that oversees the corporate campus in Des Moines, in addition to 18 branch offices. “Soon we will hire a Security and Safety Systems Analyst who will work to maintain the dozens of networked systems within the SOC and a Security Program Analyst who will work on executive protection and international travel,” he explains. “Our SOC is also undergoing a digital transformation – we are updating our camera monitors and our visitor management system to one that is cloud-based.”
Loghry and his team are challenged not only with compliance and regulations, but with keeping company employees safe in an environment where many of them work remotely and who travel regularly for business. “For our team members who work from home we provide – from a safety aspect – ergonomic knowledge,” Loghry explains. “We also provide knowledge of computer equipment security and how to protect themselves when they’re traveling. My colleague on the cyber side of our business reinforces information security pieces, provides document shredders and allows only certain levels of access to the information they need to do their jobs.”
One challenge of his role, Loghry notes, is the people factor. “It’s always difficult to educate employees who may not believe that security is necessary or is important. We have daily conversations with employees about their personal safety, whether it is speeding in a parking ramp or trying to enter access control optical turnstiles without badging through. In addition, Des Moines has a skywalk system that essentially brings the sidewalk to the second level of almost all the downtown buildings, which includes the middle of several of our buildings. Essentially, we have a public space in the middle of our building that is frequented by thousands of people each day, and that makes it difficult for my team to keep our employees safe and secure.”
One area where Loghry and his team have been more successful with their messaging is the onboarding of new EMC team members. “That is where we see our new team members understanding and appreciating the work that we do,” he notes.
He has also been successful with communicating security’s value to the C-suite. “I regularly visit our branch locations to maintain a relationship with those leaders. Our C-suite understands that there are some costs involved and are also willing to accept some of the changes that need to be made to keep the company and its employees safe. We also use quarterly and annual metrics to demonstrate that that it is worth the money they’ve invested in us. It is one of the most important things for long-term promotion and maintenance of our department.”
Much of Logrhy’s free time is spent volunteering with leadership roles in organizations such as ASIS International, NFPA, ASTM, ICC and Prevent Child Abuse Iowa. He also teaches bachelor and master level classes at Bellevue University on security, emergency management, cybersecurity and homeland security.
“My parents instilled in me a value to serve others,” he says. “They taught us that it is important to provide the personal time and the financial support for entities that are important to us. That is how I have raised my children, as well. They are all serving on young professional groups or political teams or volunteering for many organizations, just as I do.”