An expanding outreach and programming targeted especially to international visitors are among the ways ASIS International is seeking to attract more global attendance than ever to its 63rd Annual Seminar and Exhibits, which will take place between 25-28 September in Dallas, Texas.

In addition to returning, long-time international visitors, ASIS International is looking to expand global attendance. One initiative is the International Buyer Program (IBP), a joint government/industry effort, which brings thousands of international buyers to the United States for business-to-business matchmaking with U.S. firms exhibiting at major industry trade shows, including this year’s ASIS International annual seminar and exhibits.

ASIS 2017’s participation in IBP provides attendees access to a global network of security professionals, qualified international buyers, representatives and distributors. When attendees join an IBP delegation through their local U.S. Consulate or Embassy, they can take advantage of special registration prices – 50 percent off the ASIS member rate – and other benefits only available to IBP participants.

Strengths of annual ASIS show

“International” has long been an emphasis for ASIS, as well as part of the organisation’s name. ASIS International is the largest global organisation for security management professionals with 242 chapters and 35,000 members worldwide.

Godfried Hendriks, ASIS secretary, will be among the long-time ASIS members welcoming new international visitors to the show. He has been involved in the ASIS organisation for more than 25 years and is a member of the Benelux Chapter.

Godfried Hendriks, ASIS secretary, will be among the long-time ASIS members welcoming new international visitors to the show

The ASIS Annual Seminar and Exhibits in the United States is unique, says Hendriks. “If you look at the other events, they are either a good trade show or a good conference,” he says. “The strength of the annual ASIS show is that it combines an incredibly large trade show and a great conference programme. That’s the unique thing I haven’t seen anywhere else.” This year, the show will be even better, given the ASIS organisation’s efforts to maximise the benefits of both components. For example, there will be more time between conference sessions to attend the trade show and meet suppliers, and Monday will be a conference-only day.

Local knowledge, global network

Educated as a mechanical engineer, Hendriks unexpectedly found himself in the security profession in 1986 and eventually made his way to the local Benelux Chapter of ASIS International, which helped him get a “flying start” in the security field. A decade or so later, he became a volunteer leader in the chapter and has been returning the favor ever since. Currently, Hendriks is a managing consultant of his own company, GOING Consultancy in Alkmaar, the Netherlands, advising both local and multinational companies, industry organisations, public services and county authorities on security and crime prevention.

“The most important thing about being a member and a volunteer leader of ASIS International is the networking,” says Hendriks. “There is less need to spend hours and weeks investigating things and getting information when all the information you need is a phone call away from another member. I am passionate about the organisation and what we can do to help each other. “

The Benelux chapter numbers more than 300 members. Other large European ASIS chapters include the “flagship” United Kingdom chapter with about 800 members, and also large and active chapters in Sweden, Germany and Spain, among others.

“What you see globally, in the different countries, is that ASIS members are a sampling of the highest security professionals from those countries, including representatives of large multi-national companies,” says Hendriks. “The organisation combines local knowledge with a global network of professionals.”

ASIS 2017’s participation in IBP provides attendees access to a global network of security professionals, qualified international buyers, representatives and distributors
The “flagship” European ASIS International Chapter in the United Kingdom will again be well represented at this year’s Annual Seminar and Exhibits

Joining the ASIS International family

In addition to the ASIS International Annual Seminar and Exhibits each year, Hendriks says he also attends IFSEC and some of the national trade shows in various countries. Also, there is a yearly ASIS European conference; earlier in 2017, it was in Milan, Italy, and it is planned next year in The Hague, Netherlands. Hendriks has attended the ASIS annual gathering in the US every year since 2006.

 “Many people in other fields who work at various companies, even competitors, don’t often speak to each other,” says Hendriks. “In the security profession, people are so willing to speak to each other, to meet regularly and to share information on the most successful ways to prevent crime and reduce losses.”

International visitors have participated in the ASIS annual seminar for years; there were 109 countries represented at last year’s event. A “Global Networking Lounge” serves as a gathering place for international visitors. Long-time international attendees are aware that first-time visitors may be overcome with the size of the show and become “lost.” Therefore, long-timers remain on the lookout for people who need guidance. “We want all our members and volunteer leaders to reach out and introduce new attendees to themselves and other people, so they can get the most out of the experience,” says Hendriks. “We want them to feel welcome and become part of the ‘family.’”

Tailoring and translating ASIS sessions

Some of the sessions are tailored to an international audience, such as the “Top Global Threats Affecting the Security Profession” session. Other sessions will cover international topics such as human trafficking, terrorism, and the security risks of the European migrant crisis.

Language isn’t generally a problem for ASIS visitors, who mostly speak and understand English (the “international language of business.”) However, there are Spanish and Mandarin translators, and delegates from various countries may also provide their own translators.

"Many international visitors become regular, if not yearly, visitors after their first visit to the show"

“Come and see for yourself – it’s really worthwhile”: This is Hendriks’ message to security professionals all over the world. “Many international visitors become regular, if not yearly, visitors after their first visit to the show,” he adds. Hendriks notes that time zone differences make the afternoon and evening hours at ASIS especially conducive to a more relaxed atmosphere for security professionals to meet, network and exchange information. (Their offices are already closed because of time zones, so there are no distractions of trying to keep up with daily issues back at the office.)

For anyone who cannot attend the annual meeting in person, ASIS International is providing “Global Access Live,” a streaming service featuring select sessions worldwide – three sessions on Monday, four on Tuesday and three on Wednesday.

Enterprise Security Risk Management

ASIS International has embraced Enterprise Security Risk Management (ESRM) as a driving global strategic priority that unifies its programmes and concepts. ESRM covers both traditional security issues such as loss prevention and terrorism, as well as topics such as brand protection, business continuity, corporate espionage, cybersecurity, information security, resilience and white collar crime. ESRM is both a philosophy and a management system, aimed at using globally established risk management principles to help security professionals – ASIS members – manage the variety of security risks facing their organisations. ASIS 2017 will include more than a dozen sessions focusing on ESRM.

Also in Dallas, ASIS will launch an effort to expand the “globalisation” of its popular topic-specific councils, including the Retail Security Council, the Hospitality/Entertainment Council, and the Physical Security Council (there are 34 in all). The initial focus will be on expanding participation in Latin America.

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Larry Anderson Editor, SecurityInformed.com & SourceSecurity.com

An experienced journalist and long-time presence in the US security industry, Larry is SourceSecurity.com's eyes and ears in the fast-changing security marketplace, attending industry and corporate events, interviewing security leaders and contributing original editorial content to the site. He leads SourceSecurity.com's team of dedicated editorial and content professionals, guiding the "editorial roadmap" to ensure the site provides the most relevant content for security professionals.

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