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Touching base informally.

THE ASIS INTERNATIONAL 49th Annual Seminar and Exhibits was awash with opportunities for attendees to touch base with each other in informal settings. Whether it was just a chat on the bus, a chance meeting in a hallway, or an event planned for attendees as a whole, these relaxed encounters provided an opportunity to renew friendships, share common interests, and forge lasting relationships. The unique concerns and opportunities that face security professionals every day could be put aside for a few hours, as members exchanged news and experiences and were invigorated for the tasks ahead.

Head start. The annual Get-Acquainted Mixer allowed attendees of all stripes to meet up with old friends and chat with their peers in a casual setting. This year's event featured hot Mexican treats and a cool New Orleans-style jazz.

Enjoying the stylish sounds of the jazz combo performing during the mixer were Donna Kahl, CPP, and Judy Shimamura from Aerospace Corporation in California. Shimamura attended the CPP review program over the weekend and was looking forward to the various educational sessions to be held throughout the week. Kahl, meanwhile, said she was eager to visit the exhibition hall, noting "It's really the only place where you can go security shopping."

King for an evening. The Marx Brothers were there. So were Richard Nixon, King Arthur, Cleopatra, and Sarge from Beetle Bailey. At least, plaster versions of these historical or pop-culture figures, suitable for adorning opulent floats during Mardi Gras, could be spotted among the ASIS throng.

Yet the most significant luminary of the evening was none of these notables. Rather, the Mardi Gras Rex of the evening was 2003 ASIS International President Daniel Kropp, CPP. Kropp and his family welcomed hundreds of partygoers to a rollicking President's Reception at Mardi Gras World, where floats and costumes for the annual two-week frenzy that begins with "Fat Tuesday" are built and stored.

Three bands offered different versions of unique New Orleans sounds: zydeco, rhythm and blues, and New Orleans-style jazz. When they weren't dancing, chatting, or taking in the vivid figures lining the walls, guests enjoyed fresh roast beef and turkey as well as an array of local treats, including fried catfish and jambalaya. Host Dan Kropp, clad in an elaborate getup complete with oversized hat, lavished green plastic coins on attendees throughout the evening.

Intrigued by this behind-the-scenes view of Mardi Gras was Robert L. Morse III, director of security for Palmetto Health Richland, Columbia, South Carolina, who was joined by his wife, Angela. "It gives you the opportunity to see the inner workings and get a greater appreciation of what goes into the parade," said Morse, who attended Mardi Gras seven years ago.

"I always wanted to know how they built the floats and stored them," agreed James Wilkerson, who was checking out the floats and characters under construction, including Sesame Street's Big Bird, with coworker Brad Ivener. Like many at the seminar and exhibits, Wilkerson attends annually for a mix of new technology, educational sessions, and networking. Of particular interest to him were CCTV cameras; he says that Nebraska Furniture Mart, his employer has the largest number of cameras of any retail setting, with more than 300 units in a single store. But also on his agenda were educational sessions on identity theft, which he sees as an "up-and-coming concern."

Elsewhere, in a small screening room, attendees watched a celluloid Mardi Gras parade, which included a variety of memorable costumes, such as the couple immortalized in the Grant Wood painting American Gothic. Viewing the film footage from the back of the room, Philadelphia-area native Jeannette Neville compared Mardi Gras to her home city's Mummers Day Parade. Her husband, Phil, was in town from Schenectady, New York, to bring back ideas for his employer, Lockheed Martin, where he works as a security specialist.

But best encapsulating the sentiment that prevailed Monday night was Ivener, a corporate investigator with Nebraska Furniture Mart. He summarized the whole seminar, exhibits, and reception experience with a single word: "Wonderful."

Going for the green. The Golf Club of New Orleans at Eastover, qualifying site for the PGA Tour, has hosted some of the best players in the world. On Saturday, another group of determined duffers hit the links and braved the stormy weather at the ASIS Foundation's 7th Annual Golf Classic.

For the third consecutive year, first place awards went to a Securitas team of Geoff Oletti, Blair Cohen, and Ron King. Coming in second was another Securitas team of Craig Smith, Morgan Makley, Larry Anstett, and Ken Daigle. In third place was Jim Pasquerello of Security One Systems, ASIS Foundation, Inc., Board of Trustees member Rudy Walter (of CitiGroup), and Wade Pinnell ,and Craig Cassaday of Huffmaster. Additional prizes went to Bryn Padena, chair of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter, for longest drive, and Jim Yothment of the Andover Controls team for closest to the hole.

Special thanks go out to the sponsors: the St. Louis Chapter, Edwards Systems Technology, Huffmaster, Securitas, Arata, PCSC, ADT, Altronix, Honeywell Access Systems, Security One Systems, and Barton Protective Services.

Proceeds from the annual tournament benefit the Foundation, which distributes matching scholarship funds to local chapters and conducts security education-related research.

Great sounds abound. The Neville Brothers, New Orleans' contribution to the music scene, wowed the more than 400 guests who attended the 21st Annual ASIS Foundation Dinner. Attendees jumped to the dance floor as Aaron, Art, Charles, Cyril, and Ivan Neville took the stage by storm and wove their own brand of magic for more than an hour of high-energy music. A moving version of "Amazing Grace," the group's closing number, brought all attendees to their feet, asking for more with their applause. Many left the banquet with an autographed copy of the group's latest CD recording.

ASIS Foundation Board of Trustees President Bonnie S. Michelman, CPP, thanked the 32 chapters that donated the proceeds to the Foundation, as well the 24 chapters and companies that purchased tables for the dinner. Michelman also expressed ASIS's gratitude toward the sponsors of the Foundation's golf classic. She saved special accolades for Edwards Systems Technology, a Foundation Platinum Sponsor for the dinner, and PPM 2000, the annual sponsor of the Allan J. Cross CPP Review scholarship awards given through the ASIS Foundation.

A sumptuous meal was enjoyed by the partygoers who gathered in the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Ballroom for the candlelit evening. Savoring a gourmet dinner of beef tenderloin, crabmeat-stuffed shrimp, white chocolate pecan pie, and all the accoutrements, attendees quickly marked their calendars for the 2004 dinner in Dallas.

Sponsors of the ASIS Foundation Golf Classic

ADT--Beverage Cart

Altronix Corporation--Golf Hole

Arata Expositions--Putting Green, Driving Range, Golf Hole

Barton Protective Services--Golf Hole

Edwards Systems Technology--Platinum Sponsor

Honeywell Access Systems--Golf Hole

Huffmaster--Golf Apparel

PCSC--Hole in One

Securitas Security Services--Golf Bag

Security One Systems--Golf Hole

St. Louis Chapter--Premium Sponsor

Sponsors of the ASIS Foundation Dinner

Edwards Systems Technology--Platinum Sponsor

Wheelock, Inc.--Scholarship Club Sponsor
COPYRIGHT 2003 American Society for Industrial Security
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Title Annotation:Special Events
Publication:Security Management
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2003
Words:1158
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