End Users '20 under 40' 2015—Ross Bourgeois

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Ross Bourgeois, 39,

Assistant chief of public safety, Mercedes-Benz Superdome/Smoothie King Center/Champion Square

New Orleans

After retiring from the New Orleans Police Department three years ago, Ross Bourgeois took on his current role, responsible for the day-to-day security operations of three venues that host some of the nation’s largest sports and entertainment events.

His NFL and NBA stadiums have hosted, for example, the Super Bowl and the Final Four college basketball championship. Champion Square is an “outdoor fan gathering area that has morphed into an amphitheater environment” for concerts and festivals, he said.

“It keeps us hopping,” said Bourgeois, who recently, and proudly, became the 26th person in the country to receive a Certified Sports Security Professional designation from the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security.

He oversees 30 full-time and 125 part-time employees and on big game days at least 700 more. Working with the NOPD working in special events prepared him for the challenge, he said.

He’s always looking for ways to integrate his standalone access control, CCTV and alarm panels, he said. “There’s limited integration now,” he said. He’s also interested in facial recognition technology and analytics.

The Superdome was built in 1975, long before “the threat of terrorism and other different things we face now were a blip on the radar,” Bourgeois said.

Meanwhile, his three-venue campus is in downtown New Orleans. “We don’t have setbacks and vast parking lots. We have a lot of points of ingress. Protecting a porous structure is a challenge, and being in the middle of an urban area is a challenge, but we have a very robust plan and we definitely rise to the challenge.

“Our stadium is secure, just as secure as the new ones, we just have to work a little bit harder at it,” he said.

Five years from now, he said, his challenge will be continuing “to keep pace with threats on—and who wants to do harm at—large gatherings. That’s going to change based on the world climate and what’s out there in terms of lone wolf terrorists. Technology is a big piece, but you also have to have clear knowledge where the likely threats are.”