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The Seebald & Associates Facility Security Officer (FSO) Course and Security Symposium kicked off this morning in New Orleans with the largest class to date.  After coffee and beignets, 35 students settled in to begin their FSO course, led by S&A Instructor Joe Hester.  The students included several active duty Coast Guard personnel as well as people from various segments from the port facility industry, including petrochemical manufacturing, energy, passenger facilities, and dry cargo.  The students represent many years of experience in addressing facility risks, and Joe encouraged them to mix, mingle, and share their perspectives during the class.

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Our fearless leader, Ed Seebald, provided opening remarks.  For those of you who know Ed, you won’t be surprised to hear that Ed told some “sea stories” and was both the source and the target of some good-natured kidding.  Ed also gave the group a little of his own background, which I’ll add to:  Ed and his brother founded S&A shortly after 9-11.  His devotion to helping companies develop meaningful security programs is borne from a sense of patriotism that all of us at S&A share.

When Ed (finally) yielded the stage, Joe Hester began the course in earnest, introducing an alphabet soup of terms like MTSA, SOLAS, ISPS, CFR, and SSI.  The class took a pre-test to evaluate everyone’s comfort level with these terms and other fundamentals. 

Typically these pre-tests score only about 50%, but this is only day one.  We know from years of experience that by the end of the class the students will be well equipped to lead and manage their security responsibilities.  And if they have developed a taste for beignets and coffee, it isn’t our fault.