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Ron Hartman, Director Of Business Development

RHartmanProviding service to the Canadian Property and Casualty Insurance industry for over 20 years has given Mr. Hartman the experience and contacts necessary to succeed in his role as Director of Business Development, Insurance Service Division of ASAP Secured. Prior to joining ASAP, Ron held a similar role as Senior Account Executive with a software solutions provider to the North American Property and Casualty Insurance industry where he played a critical role in its growth over the past seven years. He has also worked with other premier insurance solution providers and technology companies as an Account and Relationship Manager. Ron’s key strengths include relationship development, identifying opportunities, understanding requirements, and proposing and presenting creative solutions. Ron holds an Honours B.A. from York University.

“It’s 10pm. Do You Know Where Your Children Are?”

 

During the summer of 1967, New York TV station WNEW coined the phrase following urban unrest and rioting in Newark, NY. If you remember the phrase you can appreciate why it was important to know where your valuables were at all times.

This is equally true today in the trucking industry, where it is important for trucking companies to know where the cargo they are transporting is at all times. Sadly, despite efforts to combat cargo crime, thieves are becoming ever more creative in coming up with ways to steal cargo. One of the most recent approaches is for thieves to set up fake trucking companies, present themselves as legitimate third party carriers on Load Boards, pick up the cargo at a midpoint in the journey and never deliver it to its intended destination.

In a recent article I read in Fleet Owner Newsline, the author suggested that more due diligence needs to be done by shippers, brokers and even carriers. Background checks, social media searches and investigations should be conducted on third party carriers and their principals. According to Scott Cornell, Director of Specialty Investigations for Travelers Group, “If you are dealing with a brand new company with no track record or referenceable pool of information to draw from, or a carrier whose authority has lain dormant for several years and is now suddenly active, they need to be checked out.”

You could do that due diligence yourself, but who has the time to dedicate resources to investigate third party entities amongst all the other day-to-day tasks you need to complete to move cargo from point A to B to make money? Or, you could enlist the services of a professional organization that has expertise in all types of investigation – social media and physical.

It is my opinion that the investment of dollars to get the job done right and in a timely manner is far less than the cost of a lost shipment and the damage done to your company’s brand and reputation. It is important for companies to look for security partners who can assist in areas that are not core to their business.

If you would like to learn more about how my company can help you ensure you know where your cargo is and with whom #justASKMEE.

Posted in: Protective Services and Investigations

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The Need to Protect Your [Cargo] Assets

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a seminar about Truck Safety and Security that was hosted by the Caledon detachment of the OPP and the Ministry of Transportation. The seminar was well attended by drivers and management representatives from transportation companies (large and small) from around the area. I learned a lot about what the inspectors from the Ministry of Transportation look for when they perform their safety checks on commercial vehicles and trailers on the road; everything from required CVORs, daily trip inspection reports, and logbooks to driver rules and working load limits. All very interesting information, but what was of most interest to me was what information and insight the officers from the OPP’s Cargo Crime Unit was going to provide in their presentation.

The presentation started off with an introduction to CPTED and an explanation of the underlying principles and design philosophy behind the program. I was familiar with CPTED, the acronym for Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, as my organization is CPTED trained and frequently performs threat risk assessments and site assessments for our clients. The officer talked about how businesses can reduce the fear and incidence of crime by using the environment to enforce the three CPTED principles: Natural Surveillance, Natural Access Control and Territorial Reinforcement. The officer went on to say that for many companies in the transportation industry, it translates to “establishing natural sightlines which would keep intruders under observation” and gave some examples of successful applications, which included: orienting driveways and paths so that they can be easily observed, trimming back overgrown landscaping to eliminate hiding spots, implementing mechanical forms of surveillance such as CCTV, security and/or mobile patrols, installing fences, low walls, gates and barriers that create an undesired risk for potential perpetrators to enter the property and engage in criminal activity and finally establishing a visitor reporting procedure.

Next was a discussion about criminal activities and trends. This section of the presentation was of particular interest, as I’ve done presentations several times on the topic of Cargo Crime and ways to mitigate loss of cargo at a facility or on the road. According to the OPP’s Cargo Crime Unit, “it all comes down to drugs” and the predominant trend is that theft of cargo is a crime of opportunity. Using an illustration of a triangle, the officer described crime using three factors: desire, ability and opportunity. Thieves have a desire for money, and the ability to steal, so to protect yourself and your cargo. It is important that you don’t make it easy – eliminate the opportunity.

According to the officer, statistically the number of cargo theft incidents is rising. This echoed my findings. The authorities are seeing an increase in metal thefts, especially copper and aluminum. What was surprising was the increase in theft of clothing, recycling, garbage and scrap metal bins. All items made of metal. Car dealerships and construction sites with equipment are also being routinely targeted for the metal left out in the open and unprotected. I was surprised to learn that battery theft from trucks, communication equipment and traffic signs have also seen an increase. In addition, there is a rise in theft of diesel fuel stolen directly from truck tanks while the driver is inside a rest or truck stop while on route. For many of those who I talked with at the seminar, these facts brought to light the ever-increasing need to protect their [cargo] assets and I took the opportunity to speak with them about the services my company can provide.

To learn more about ways to protect your property, people, assets or cargo #justASKMEE.

Posted in: Protective Services and Investigations

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I Was Meant to Feel Safe

Ron 2

 

The Pan Am Games have been in full swing for a week now and Team Canada has been doing extremely well. The security team from ASAP Secured has been working hard to protect people, property and equipment at several competition sites in the Western GTA. Over the past week I’ve stayed away from downtown Toronto fearing heavy traffic and large crowds. However, on Friday my wife and I had the chance to go downtown to take in a Blue Jays game.

Rather than fight traffic and watch cars drive by us in the often talked about ‘HOV lanes’, we decided to take the TTC to Union Station and walk to the Rogers Centre. When we arrived at Union Station I noticed a very prominent presence of police and security personnel. I was very impressed and felt that my safety was their priority. At the Rogers Centre there was also an increased police and security presence. Bags were being checked at entry points and corridors were being patrolled. Between innings, police and security stood guard on the field. After the game we headed to Nathan Philip’s Square to watch some Pan Am festivities. Unfortunately the evening’s concert was over, but the crowd was still large. Again, the police and security presence was very noticeable. We felt safe.

Prior to the Pan Am Games, ASAP Secured was involved in extensive planning sessions, as were the other security companies who had been selected to provide security to Pan Am sites and related public places. Guards had to go through extensive background checks, receive ‘accreditation’ and specific training on the procedures for the site they were assigned to. Now that the Games are on, those plans are being executed and to the best of my knowledge there have not been any safety concerns. I am grateful for the services of the authorities and the security professionals working the Games. They are working hard to ensure the Games and the spectators are secure. Because of them, I was meant to feel safe.

 

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With a Calm Voice She Took Care of Me

Ron

My wife and I recently went to Sicily to celebrate my best friend’s 10th anniversary. Although most of the trip was pre-planned by my friend, we did have 3 days on our own and rented a car to drive around the island and see the sights.

I also rented a GPS to help me get around. This was my first time in Sicily, and in the Mediterranean for that matter. I had heard many stories about how aggressive the drivers were in this part of the world, so I wanted to make sure that I, ‘the turista’, didn’t cause too many problems on the road. On our first day, we had to drive 3 ½ hours on a main highway from Palermo to Catania. About an hour or so into the drive, we discovered that a big section of the highway was closed and we were being forced to take a detour. The detour took us up into the mountains, far from the highway, along some very narrow roads and through many small villages. It was a good thing we had the GPS because the detour route went up and down several mountains turning left and right at many intersections and the detour signs were far and few between. Had it not been for the comforting British female voice coming from the GPS, instructing us which direction we should go, we certainly would have gotten lost!

That lovely voice calmly got us to each destination we chose to visit during those 3 days. She knew exactly which exit to take on the roundabouts, and how to get to the big cities we wanted to visit via the back roads, so we could see and experience the small coastal fishing villages and towns.

I was so happy that we rented the GPS. It saved the day. I would not have been able to get around in this foreign country, with a language I did not speak or understand if it were not for that voice.

Having the GPS with me made me think of the travel and executive protection services my sister company, AFIMAC Global provides to company executives and employees who travel to foreign countries to conduct business. Much like my experience, company representatives have to contend with different languages, unknown territory, and local politics and customs. Sometimes they have to visit factories or sites that are located in areas that are prone to violence or personal attacks. Using an organization who specializes in security and travel protection, employees can have peace of mind knowing that they will be securely transferred from point A to B, and that they will be protected should anything untoward happen.

Having AFIMAC Global at your service is much like having that calm British voice direct me around Sicily. “At the roundabout, go left, second exit”.

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I Met The Third Best Hull!

Meeting Dennis Hull @ OIAA Provincial

Growing up in rural Ontario, I was fortunate to be able to play hockey with my younger brother on Bonner’s pond, across from our house. We played as often as we could until the daylight faded and we could no longer see the puck. With only two of us on the ice, we switched positions often. In net we would pretend to be Tony O and out of net, Bobby Hull. Oh, how I loved being Bobby Hull!

Bobby’s third youngest son is Brett Hull. Brett was also a super star in the NHL. When Brett wrote his first book, I took advantage of a promotion I found in the sports section of the newspaper, where you could purchase the book and get it autographed by Brett Hull. That was a gift for my brother, a hockey nut and a collector of all things hockey.

Many years later, I had a son who took to hockey and played at the rep level. I went to all of his games and practices, except for when I had to be out town for work. At one of his practices that I wasn’t able to attend, I missed seeing Bobby Hull in the arena watching his grandson play. My son was 8 years old at that time and didn’t know who Bobby Hull was, but all the Dads did. They encouraged their boys to approach Mr. Hull and get his autograph. Bobby, being the gentleman he is, signed every one of their sticks! Later that night, I got home just before my son’s bedtime and he told me about meeting an old hockey player at his practice. He didn’t tell me his name. He no doubt had forgotten it, but when I saw the autograph I was dumbfounded. I had missed meeting my hockey idol because of a work commitment. To this day, that hockey stick, with Bobby’s signature HOF ’83, is proudly displayed above my son’s bed. I think he likes to remind me and rub it in.

A couple of weeks ago I attended the OIAA Provincial Claims Conference at the Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville. I went with another colleague and a couple of ASAP guards who provided access control and various other duties. Dennis Hull, humorously known as ‘the third best Hull’, was the guest speaker during lunch. He was a great speaker, had lots of stories and made us all laugh. I remember Dennis when he played for the Hawks on the right wing with his brother Bobby, on the left. I never thought I would ever get the chance to meet him, but I got that opportunity after the lunch. It was great talking with him. He signed his book for me, which I will give to my brother. Later that day, a silent auction was held during the final dinner, where I bid on several pieces of hockey memorabilia. Luckily for me, there were 3 Bobby Hull items with his autograph on them. I watched the bid sheets ‘like a Hawk’ and was fortunate to come away the winner of a signed McFarlane figurine. This time I’ve decided to keep it and not give it to my brother. I’ve given him enough signed hockey memorabilia. It’s about as close as I’ll ever get to Bobby Hull, other than meeting his brother, ‘the third best Hull’.

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Cargo Crime: Is it an Epidemic?

RoadSigns2

On my way into work last week I drove by a road sign displaying three messages. Those messages were “High Crime Area”, “Police are on Patrol”, and “Report Cargo Crime”. I found it troubling that local authorities felt they had to resort to using road signs to publically communicate the state of cargo crime in the area. I’m well aware that cargo crime is a $5 billion problem in Canada, and that the GTA, especially along the Kitchener-Waterloo, Milton, Brampton and Durham Region corridor, is known as the ‘shopping triangle’. I can just imagine how attractive this corridor is to thieves, given the number of distribution centres, abundance of CN/CP intermodal yards and volume of trucks and drivers on the road carrying cargo.

With the number of industry seminars and webinars focused on cargo crime, along with the fact that authorities feel it necessary to use road signs to make the public aware, I believe that it is an epidemic. And to combat the epidemic there are a number of actions companies can take to minimize their risk of being victim to this crime.

First and foremost companies who deal with the distribution and transportation of products and goods should work with a reputable security organization who is focused on the transportation vertical, is well versed on the measures that can be implemented to deal with the problem, and offers an array of products and services, such as ASK, that can be subscribed to. Such a security organization can identify areas of concern and vulnerabilities at the office, in the yard and on the road through Threat Risk Assessments and Security Breach Tests. They can define and deliver security solutions, physical and/or systems, that protect people, property and brand, and they offer Knowledge through education, seminars and webinars.

Over the next few weeks there are a number of free education events being hosted that focus on cargo crime and what can be done to combat it. On May 12th, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, Canada’s largest trade and industry association, is hosting a free webinar entitled “Mitigating Loss at Your Facilities and On Route for Cargo Shipments”, and on May 14th, the OPP in Caledon, ON are hosting a free seminar entitled “Truck Safety-Security”.

I will be attending these events, as I am very interested in helping others to combat this epidemic. If you want to learn more about how to combat cargo crime, or the ASK program, drop me an email at rhartman@asapsecured.com.

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Watch Out for the Other Guy

Not too long ago my colleague, Stephen Anderson, wrote a great article titled “You’ve Got a Green Light, But I’d Still Look Both Ways”. It was essentially about being aware of your surroundings and planning for the unexpected.

Today I want to talk about something that has been weighing on my mind for quite some time. That is safety while driving on the roads. Why is it when the weather gets nasty some people seem to forget the rules of the road?

Recently in Toronto we had an evening of heavy snow and freezing rain. The next morning many neighbourhoods experienced power outages as a result. The newspapers estimated that over 25,000 Toronto Hydro customers were in the dark. The roads were slippery and there were numerous intersections with traffic lights out. I had to drive a lot that day and at each 4 way intersection I waited for my turn to go through, always being aware of my surroundings and looking out for the ‘other guy’. I was astonished to see that many drivers went through the intersection without a concern for other drivers. It was like being in a smash up demolition derby! Over the course of the many hours I drove that day, I witnessed too many accidents, no doubt as a result of drivers crossing at the wrong time, or being too aggressive.

We need to all remember when the traffic lights are out at an intersection it is to be treated like a 4 way stop. The first vehicle to come to a complete stop at the intersection has the right-of-way. If two vehicles arrive at the same time and they are facing each other, the left-turning vehicle must yield to the oncoming vehicle. If two vehicles arrive at the same time and are perpendicular to each other, the vehicle on the right has the right-of way. And drivers are to cross the intersection one at a time. Not in bunches!

It’s always a good idea when arriving at an intersection to assume the other driver is going to make a mistake. If need be, let confused or aggressive drivers go first. The delay in applying a little patience may only be a few seconds, but those seconds may be life-saving seconds.

Just last weekend I avoided being T-boned at an intersection on a rural road north of my home. I was travelling southbound, and my road did not have a stop sign at the intersection; so I had the right of way. I saw a car to my left coming west on the crossroad and he had a stop sign but didn’t show any sign of slowing down as he approached the intersection. Just as I anticipated, he didn’t stop! Good thing I was aware of my surroundings and slowed down. Not only did that driver not stop at the stop sign, neither did the car following him!

What’s the message here? You need to be aware of your surroundings and assume the worst of the ‘other guy’.

 

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Mr. Jones? I Will Take You to Your Destination

This past weekend I had to pick up my wife and her friends from the Toronto International Airport from the arrivals lounge after a week-long ‘girls only’ trip to a sunny, warmer, southern paradise. While I was waiting for them to go through customs, collect their luggage and exit the baggage area, I noticed several transportation company representatives displaying placards with names on them. They all seemed to be acquaintances as they were very friendly to each other and shared stories. They were obviously there to pick up specific passengers and take them to their final destination. Now, I don’t know how secure these transfers are, or whether the passengers know them, but it struck me as odd that the passengers acknowledged their name on the placards and then left with the representative without any obvious verification of identity or trading of secret validation script or password to ensure they were getting into the car with the right company/person.

I wondered how easy it would be for someone to falsely represent him or herself and abduct an unsuspecting traveller? Now, I am sure all was in order, but being in the security business and exposed to stories of the dangers of international travel, especially to countries with crime and terrorism concerns, I also wondered what measures did the company the passenger worked for take to ensure their Duty of Care obligations were met? And, what measures did the transportation company take to ensure the identity and background of their representative? Is a thorough background check a mandatory requirement for employment?

Personally I’ve always felt most comfortable when travelling for personal reasons; when I’ve arranged airport transportation with a company I know and drivers that I’ve met before.

For those of you who read my last blog entry, I am pleased to tell you that I wrote down where I parked at the airport and found my car without incident. The ‘girls’ had no knowledge of my paranoia.

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Lost in Spaces

Not too long ago I had an appointment with a colleague who works at a downtown office building. I arrived 15 minutes early and parked in the underground. As I locked my car and started to walk toward the elevator I heard a call for help. “Can you help me?” said an elderly lady who approached me from another aisle. I looked up and wondered what she wanted. Again she asked “Can you help me?” and this time she added “I can’t find my car!”

Now, I am one to help someone in need and I had a few minutes to spare, so I replied “Yes”. I asked her where she thought she parked her car and she started to look around. She was adamant that when she arrived she parked quite quickly in the underground lot, walked a short distance to the elevator and rode up 1 floor to the office for her appointment. After walking around and looking for 5 to 10 minutes I began to wonder. What if she had the wrong floor? What if she forgot just how far she had to walk to get to the elevator? What if she didn’t have a car? Should I give up, let her deal with it and get to my appointment?

Sensing that the car wasn’t close by, I decided to use my car to drive us around to look for her car and I asked her to get in. Up and down the aisles we travelled, looking for her car. As time passed she began to question herself. “I couldn’t have been in this area. I must be somewhere else.” She asked, “What will I do if we don’t find the car?” I suggested going to the building security. Perhaps they would have video footage that could help determine where her car was.

I decided to broaden the search and ventured far away from our starting location to look around the other end of the lot. Then it happened. “There it is!” she exclaimed. I drove up to the car, waited for her to get in and start it just to make sure she was OK. She thanked me profusely and drove away. I parked my car and got to my appointment, albeit 20 minutes late.

Now I’m a bit paranoid about forgetting where I’ve parked my car, as it happened once at the Toronto airport. So, I’ve made a habit to write down the floor and post number to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

If it ever does happen, I sure hope there will be someone close by who will offer to help me find my car.

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It’s Déjà Vu!

I had the weirdest experience this past week. I attended a function downtown at Queen’s Park. Now, I’ve been to Queen’s Park before, but I’ve never seen more than the front lobby and the legislature. This time I got deep into the bowels of Queen’s Park, got trapped in a maze of underground tunnels and rescued by one of Queen’s Park’s finest security officers. Let me explain…

Due to the impending snowstorm, I decided to take transit to the event and got off the TTC at Queen’s Park station. As I was exiting the station, I noticed two non-descriptive doors leading to a tunnel that looked like the right direction. I thought, what the heck. Take the underground rather than trudge through the cold above ground. So, off I went. Now this tunnel went on and on. There were many turns and signs pointing to exits for the various government buildings in the park. Finally I decided I had gone far enough and left the tunnel. Exiting through some doors and down another long hallway, I encountered a security guard. After verifying my identity and my reason for being at Queen’s Park, he issued me an ID badge and sent me off down another series of tunnels to the designated spot.

The event was great. I had the opportunity to meet presidents and executives of some of Canada’s leading companies in the manufacturing industry. I was also able to meet the Premier of Ontario. When the event was over, I decided to retrace my steps and find my way back to the TTC station via the underground tunnels. That’s when my weird experience happened!

As it was late, I was the only person in the tunnel. Miraculously I was able to retrace my steps and work my way back. At each firebreak door I noticed a sign indicating, “Access to the Subway is Closed After 6pm. Pedestrians Must Exit at a Security Exit”. I figured I’d be OK. When I got to the last firebreak door I came across a man sweeping the floor. I thought to myself, this is weird. It’s déjà vu! It was just like the scene in the movie Almighty Bruce when Jim Carey comes across God (played by Morgan Freeman) working as a custodian sweeping the floor. So I asked the man where the security exit was so I could get out and walk to the TTC station and he looked at me funny. So, I asked the man again and he looked at me like I was speaking another language. He told me there were no exits and I would have to go back to where I started and exit there.

Now I wasn’t happy about that, but what could I do? I turned around and walked back through the tunnel. When I got to the final doors they were locked! CRISIS! Luckily there was an access card reader and a security phone on the wall. I picked up the phone and asked the security guard to be granted access so I could exit the building. The guard asked me a few questions, said he could see me but didn’t know who I was, and asked that I stay put and he would send a guard to get me. A couple of minutes later a young female guard came to my aid. She asked me some more questions. After checking my photo ID and making a note in her logbook, she led me through some other tunnels, up some stairs and down some halls to an exit point.

Finally I could see the outside! I exited to the street, trudged through the snow back to the TTC station and found my way home.

So much for taking a quick route underground to the station to avoid the snow.

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