Magazine article Security Management

A Conversation with 1993 ASIS President Chad Rea

Magazine article Security Management

A Conversation with 1993 ASIS President Chad Rea

Article excerpt

CHAD REA, CPP, 1993 president of the American Society for Industrial Security, calls himself a volunteer organization freak. While studying for his master's of administration at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in 1969, Rea decided to fulfill an assignment by writing a paper on managing a volunteer organization. "He wouldn't let me do it," says Rea of the professor. "His contention was that managing a volunteer organization is not real management. That has stuck in my craw ever since."

Perhaps this setback sparked his passion for volunteerism. Whatever the reason for his climb up the ASIS ladder of volunteer leadership, Rea has made it to the top, and he plans to make the most of it.

The son of a forest ranger, he was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1933. After graduating from the University of New Mexico in 1955 with a degree in chemistry, Rea went into the Air Force. That, however, is not his most vivid memory from those days, he notes. "Just before my senior year, |Nancy and I~ got married--in September of 1954," explains Rea. "In June we had our first little baby, the first of six children."

During his service, Rea was stationed in New Mexico; Washington, D.C.; Alabama; Maryland; Connecticut; Puerto Rico; Taiwan; Japan; and Korea. His security career blossomed. "I was with an investigative organization throughout," he says. "I was with the Air Force OSI |Office of Special Investigations~ and with Defense Investigative Service."

Rea stayed in the Air Force nearly twenty-four years, even though he had promised his wife that he would not make a career out of it. But as he says, "Things happen." Rea adds that Nancy was a great supporter during the Air Force years and her enthusiastic support of him and his involvement in ASIS is what makes it all possible.

While preparing to leave the service in April 1979, Rea heard about an opening for chief of security at GE Aircraft Engines in Cincinnati, Ohio. He applied for employment and got it. Perhaps Rea got more than a job when he took over the position; it seems to be charmed. He is the fourth ASIS president to have worked for GE.

Rea has been in the same job since he left the military, but it has grown considerably. Originally he was responsible for only half of the group's aircraft engine business. Over the last five years he has been given responsibility for the whole group. Rea now has a staff of approximately 120 people and a budget of $8 million.

At the same time Rea became a civilian he became an ASIS member. He says membership has benefited him in subtle ways. "You don't get big rewards out of networking," he explains, "but if you can call up somebody in some far-off city and get just a little door to open, that's all you need. It's the kind of thing you can't buy. No amount of purchasing of services, of consultants...can do that."

Since becoming a member, Rea has worked his way up through the ranks. He has served as chapter chairman of the Cincinnati Tri-State Chapter (1983), regional vice president (1985 and 1986), chairman of the ASIS Standing Committee on Substance Abuse (1982), on the Foundation Board (1988 to present), on the ASIS Board of Directors (1988 to present), and on the ASIS Executive Committee (1991 to present).

Those experiences will help his presidency. "We have two streams of leadership in the Society," Rea says. "There's a committee stream and the chapter and regional stream. I feel very fortunate to have been in both of those.

"The standing committees and councils really do a whole lot of what is quietly done to put on the major education programs, and all of the programs at the seminar and exhibits are put on by the standing committees and councils. They provide the test questions for the CPP exam. They stimulate articles and write articles for Dynamics and Security Management," Rea says.

The chapters are responsible for mustering enthusiasm at a grass-roots level. …

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