The last in-person Global Security Exchange conference was a memorable one, with Security Through Safe Design Inc’s President being honoured for his contribution to the growth and integrity of the industry.
The event, Global Security Exchange (GSX) 2019 presented by the world’s largest association for security management professionals; ASIS International was held in Chicago and boasted a large Canadian contingent. GSX is ASIS International’s annual conference featuring in excess of 250 educational sessions, as well as general sessions, daily keynote addresses and over 550 exhibitors. More than 3,000 security professionals from around the world were in attendance.
The conference’s tone was set by ASIS International President Christina Duffey:
Bill VanRyswyk, President & CEO of Security Through Safe Design Inc. was awarded the Ron Minion Memorial award, recognizing his contributions to the Canadian Security Industry, ASIS International in Canada and to ASIS International globally.
A Regional Vice President for ASIS Canada since 2014, VanRyswyk has also been elevated to Senior Regional Vice President for 2020.
In an interview with Canadian Security Magazine, VanRyswyk outlined several goals in his new role. The first of these goals is building on the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed two years ago between ASIS Canada and the Canadian Security Association (CANASA). He also wants to put ASIS Canada in the spotlight when it comes to commenting on matters of national importance. Building a new ASIS Canada website in 2017 was a step in the right direction, he said. “Now it’s a matter of how we take that entity and develop it, so it becomes known to government agencies or large corporate entities.”
VanRyswyk will be polling ASIS Canada members to learn more about their needs and wishes, however, his stated goals are strong signs of where ASIS Canada is heading in the near future.
COVID-19 put the brakes on in-person conferences in 2020 and the foreseeable future. In turn, ASIS moved the event to a virtual-only format for 2020. Now branded as GSX+, organizers are touting the advantages of a transition to an all-virtual conference. Not only does the new forum allow for more participants, but attendees can also take part on their own time, choosing to attend live or later once the recording is made available. These recordings also make it possible to re-listen to sessions and attend more sessions that may have been held concurrently. These advantages lead to attendees reaping more from the conference and changing the experience itself.
When asked about the move to virtual, VanRyswyk noted that he would miss the in-person opportunities to network that accompany a typical GSX conference but was enthusiastic about the advantages of an online event. In particular, the opportunity for Canadian security professionals to attend, who may not have been able to travel to the more traditional event. “It opens the door for a lotof people who could never go to GSX. I anticipate the GSX attendance this year — virtually — will be very strong,” he said.
ASIS Canada’s Annual General Meeting is also moving to a virtual format. Typically, only a few dozen Canadian ASIS members attend. However, the new format will make it possible for many more to participate. He added, “This year, there’s no reason why we can’t have hundreds [of people attend].”
Also of note was a presentation by Nóirín O’Sullivan, the Assistant Secretary-General for Safety and Security for the United Nations. She spoke of the challenges involved with protecting the 180,000 staff of the United Nation along with their 400,000 family members–complicated by an environment where country and regional boundaries are losing some of their importance.