CHICAGO—Keith Kambic, director of security and life safety for the Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, gave us a great overview of the 4.3 million-square-feet building, Some 12,000 people work in the building and anywhere from 300 to 11,000 tourists visit the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere each day. From access control, surveillance, bag screening, loading dock security, mass notification, building evacuation drills and more, there's a lot going on at the building, which at the same time has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. More about the Willis Tower later.
Next we were off to the Museum of Science and Industry. Said Edward J. McDonald, director of facilities and operations, "We're here to be a 'touchy' museum.' We encourage people to touch things," he said. "We haven't lost anything in 30 years." Guards and 370 cameras keep things well in hand. McDonald also gave us a tour of a couple of the exhibit halls—there are 71 major ones. Put this museum on your bucket list, for sure. Fascinating.
Both Kambic and McDonald, along with the other security directors we spoke with on the tour, stressed the importance of effective communication and positive relationships, both within their organizations and with local and federal law enforcement agencies.
A big thanks to ASIS' Leigh McGuire for inviting me and for a problem-free, exceptionally instructional tour. Fllooding in Chicago, because of the torrential rain Weds/Thurs, caused the cancellation of one of our site visits, but we more than made up with it at other tours. As I said, exceptional. Lots of good article ideas.
I had to leave my hotel at 5 a.m. today to fly back to Maine, unfortunately missing out on the security tour of O'Hare, but I will certainly write more about my Chicago experiences in the coming days.
It was a great trip.