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40 under 40: Mark Milas, Tenet Healthcare

40 under 40: Mark Milas, Tenet Healthcare

Mark Milas, 39, changed his perspective on the security industry from “something to do until I figure things out” to “a real and rewarding career path.”

Milas serves as the Vice President of Security for Tenet Healthcare - a health system and services platform based in Dallas, Texas, and he has been with the company since February 2019.

“In my role, I oversee all physical security operations for the organizations, including corporate security, hospital security, access control and CCTV upgrade projects, investigations, and overseas security operations, as well as emergency management and disaster preparedness,” he explained.

Rewarding Career Path

It was a difficult and challenging path to the security industry for Milas, who battled cancer during his military career more than 20 years ago.

“I became a Midshipman, Marine-Option at the University of Oklahoma in 2000, looking forward to earning my commission as an Infantry Officer in the Marine Corps,” he said.  “Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with cancer in December of 2002 and my life plans derailed. After recovering from chemo in 2004, and a medical discharge from the program, I formally started my security industry career as a night shift security officer.

“I honestly viewed my job like many security officers do – ‘it’s something to do until I figure things out.’ Along the way, however, I discovered a real and rewarding career path. One of my passions has been to inspire our security officers to invest in themselves and in their roles, to see the potential for growth in a changing, exciting time for the security industry.”

Convergence and Consolidation

The biggest security trends that Milas and his team have had to work through and navigate are convergence and consolidation.

“We’ve made great progress this year when we added a leader from the IT/Networking side to our team,” he noted. “It helps that this individual has a military and law enforcement background, so there is a baseline understanding of security perspectives, but what is brought to the table in terms of bringing systems online (access control, cameras, infant abduction systems) is where the value lies.

“We historically relied on the vendor to make recommendations and follow their processes, but their processes don’t always align with our internal network security requirements and procedures. Having an internal resource help navigate that process has been instrumental in developing a more agile, effective team. Increasing use of various emerging technologies in the physical security space will require increasing collaboration and integration between physical security and IT.”

Milas referred to consolidation as “the other big trend and increasing challenge. “We’re seeing fewer security service provider options on the horizon, and they increasingly look the same,” he explained. “These massive organizations are owned or held by investors and rely on volume to make up for razor-thin margins. As a result, these organizations often act like staffing agencies versus invested partners interested in developing people to perform and grow. In this reality, large organizations will have to revisit their model periodically to gauge value and potentially consider developing their own programs.”

Camera Analytics

One security technology that Milas is “excited” about is camera analytics, which he describes as “the developing ability to detect slip and fall risk and aggressive behavior, the development of traffic flow heat-mapping and headcount.”

He added, “These are all big value-adds in the hospital setting. I know this sounds like old news items to many security professionals, but healthcare is generally slow to the new security technology party, so we’re still in the ‘excited’ phase on this one!”

Flexibility and Self-Improvement

As we navigate through these challenging times, Milas noted that the key to success in times like these is flexibility and self-improvement.

“Many organizations are fundamentally changed from the inside out, both in headcount and in processes,” he noted. “Many are asked to ‘do more with less,’ be adaptable, and be willing to go with the flow. We don’t really have the luxury of going against that grain.

“Understandably, the changes we’ve seen this year have created a sense of instability and uncertainty. The best way to counter that is to invest in yourself – read books, take some online courses, get the certification, listen to podcasts – anything that helps you grow your knowledge, develop your perspective, and grow as a leader. These are some things you can do now to make yourself valuable to your organization. Old thinking is out in many ways. Those who can demonstrate good leadership, flexibility, and think through and propose new ideas or new ways to do things more efficiently will be rewarded.”

Optimistic and Excited

In order to get more talented, diverse young people involved in security, Milas noted that young people need to know that there is a real career path in the industry.

“Many other career opportunities have a path mapped out that is easy to read and understand. You can see the paths in fields like finance or IT, for example,” Milas said.  “Unfortunately, many young people apply for a job as a security officer only as a gap-filler. Few are aware of the path beyond that, and unfortunately, many front-line leaders don’t exactly inspire the troops to pursue it. We need to do a better job presenting the map and presenting the numerous rewarding, exciting career options and adventures available in the security world.”

Going forward, Milas is “optimistic and excited” about the future of the security industry.

“The year 2020 has put a spotlight on the need for and value of a good security program,” he said. “Organizations have been challenged in many ways from both a physical and cybersecurity perspective. Security professionals across the globe have stood up to the challenge and have done an amazing job responding to threats or events, mitigating risks, and leading through change. It’s an exciting time for the industry.”


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