End Users '20 under 40' 2015—Andre Podpolucha
Andre Podpolucha, 30
Director, global physical security, Western Union
Andre Podpolucha oversees access control, badge credentialing, camera systems, visitor management, risk assessment, asset tracking and additional security measures at 300 locations around the world for Western Union. He recently moved to the company’s headquarters here from New Jersey.
He started his career working as a security officer on an overnight shift for a financial institution. That shift afforded him a lot of time to think.
“Instead of just goofing off, I started learning more about the security world. I started going through the procedures, updating them, changing them. Being proactive got me noticed very quickly. Within six months I had worked my way up to the first shift,” Podpolucha said.
“I totally fell into security, but this is actually what I envision myself doing over a long period of time,” he said.
His professional wish list includes a fully integrated command center “where you have all the technology brought back to one central location—access control, visitor management, anti-piggy back. It would be all encompassing, all centralized, used efficiently,” he said.
Budget is his biggest challenge, but he’s making progress on that at Western Union. He put together a five-year strategy plan for the company to replace access control systems and outdated cameras, among other systems, and it was accepted.
“A lot of the time people forget about the basics. A lot of people don’t value security officer incident reports—lots of them are still done on paper—but we purchased an incident management program that has helped us develop analytics,” Podpolucha said.
“Breaking it down, the hardest challenge is quantifying risk. But we’re seeing traction,” he said.
He said he hopes that five years from now, when his budget gets in place and his strategy is pursued, he will just be doing maintenance.