Play Ball! A Secure Opening Day at an Iconic Ballpark
Play Ball! Words usually heard by fans at the start of a baseball game in some of the world’s most iconic stadiums. In-person sporting events were sorely missed during the pandemic. But the start of baseball season in the US this year brought hopeful new meaning to the words “Opening Day.”
A return to gatherings that give us joy includes spending a day at the stadium with friends and family as part of the home team crowd. It rises to the top of the list for many. In that spirit, we are reflecting on an interesting search project we did for one of the US’s premiere sports venues, a stadium that was heralded as a great success in fan-friendly ballpark construction when it first opened.
The challenge their Managing Director asked SMR to help solve was to locate a Head of Security and Public Safety to develop a leading-edge security and risk management program. They had a heightened awareness of the risks associated with large gatherings and events and needed to protect both their assets and their fans in often fluid situations.
We developed a candidate profile for them that described someone who could function at a management level while being equally effective with the team on the ground. Someone who could manage the operational aspects of the security program, upgrade the technology and connect with a large, diverse group of people.
It was a high-profile public venue and especially active. The city’s football team was also using the facility at the time while waiting for their new stadium to be built. It was important to find someone who possessed the skill to interact with and gain intelligence about large, city-wide events from local, state and federal agencies.
The public sector salary point was a component of the recruitment challenge. Initially it was less favorable than a comparable position in the private sector. We had to find the right person at the perfect point in their law enforcement career to transition into the role.
The project launched and we were amazed at the response. Hundreds of candidates applied for the position, attesting to the nationwide appeal of working with “The Boys of Summer.”
The successful candidate for the role was as uniquely qualified for the position as the stadium is to the faithful who pilgrimage to every ballpark. He was from a law enforcement agency in the same state and was skilled at working with other agencies in emergency management and response issues. He already understood our client’s issues and was effective on day one.
Our client’s team for this project were great partners. It was rewarding to find a unique security professional for their very unique venue. We continue to appreciate their ongoing hard work and customer friendly risk assessment and security. It means – post-pandemic – we will once again be able to hear the words “Play Ball” . . . in person.
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