Roll Call: Nick Capalbo, Client Service Manager
Nick Capalbo is a Client Service Manager (CSM) operating out of Summit’s Westchester/Hudson Valley Regional Office. In this role, he manages security services programs for many clients—including school districts and colleges—establishing and maintaining responsive client relationships. The Summit Report spoke with Nick about his role and the services he provides to educational clients.
TSR: How do schools differ from other Summit clients?
NC: When you protect schools, especially K-12 schools, you are essentially protecting children. Of course, we are also protecting administrators and teachers, as well as school property and physical assets, but at schools, students become the primary focus of security planning and officer deployment. This places very different requirements on the security officers we assign to schools. For example, at schools with very young children—elementary schools, for instance—the students will often try to interact with the security officers because they see them as role models and authority figures.
So we want to be sure that security officers we assign to those locations are properly trained in dealing with young people, are able to project a friendly attitude, and can make children feel confident that they can approach a security officer if they need to report something. In high schools and colleges, the students are older and the problems are different—students attempting to bring prohibited materials, like drugs, alcohol or weapons—onto campus. We also handle a lot of special events for schools—commencement ceremonies for colleges, as well as sporting events for a variety of schools, which require crowd management and enhanced customer service skills.
TSR: As a CSM, how do you work with a client to coordinate a special event, like a commencement ceremony?
NC: One of the accounts I oversee is for an educational provider with multiple campuses in the Hudson Valley. They have a graduation ceremony every year that is attended by more than 1,000 people. We deploy dozens of security officers at that ceremony. On my end, before the event, I review our available security officer force to determine which officers have the experience and training to provide security at the event. Once the officers for the event have been selected and approved, I arrange transportation to deliver the officers to the event site. I train the officers on the event-specific requirements. I then remain on-site all day during the event, from setup until everyone leaves, providing supervision of the officers to ensure that they are performing all required tasks and meeting Summit’s high standards for professionalism.
TSR: Has the market for school security changed in recent years?
NC: Repeated school shooting incidents nationwide over the last two decades, and especially the horrific events in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, have forced schools to pay very close attention to their levels of security and the ability to respond and react to an active shooter incident. Preventing unauthorized access to school campuses and buildings is a major priority. Summit deploys highly trained security officers to control access to school facilities. These officers mostly deal with the same people coming in and out of the building every day—students, parents, staff, etc.—but occasionally they will encounter an unknown individual trying to gain access. At that point, they need to determine if that person has legitimate reasons to access the facility, has permission to do so, and, how to react in a manner that best ensures the security of the school, its students and staff.
TSR: How does Summit work with schools to address their unique needs?
NC: I work directly with Regional Manager Jude Murphy to coordinate Summit’s response to each client’s needs. When we start working with a school or district, Jude and I will visit every location and meet with the superintendent/principal or administrators and find out exactly what they are looking for and what resources we will need to deploy to meet their needs. Every school is different. Some require security officers who speak different languages; some are looking for retired law enforcement officers; and others want security officers who have specialized backgrounds or training—in special education, for example.
Once we have assessed the school’s needs, we then review the qualifications of our existing security officers to determine which officers are the best match for the client’s circumstances. Our HR department then makes sure that the officers have the required training and certifications. Then we have the prospective security officers meet with the school or district’s administrators for approval. Summit provides security officers to a wide range of schools and school districts, including K-12 schools, standalone high schools, universities, colleges and international language schools. Summit also has the Office of Government Services (OGS) contract for regions of New York State, so we serve a number of government agencies in addition to school districts.
TSR: What is your background and how did you come to join Summit?
NC: Prior to joining Summit, I worked in the mental health field for a private company as a supervisor overseeing multiple mental health programs for Putnam County. This involved case management, coordinating services, and meeting with clients and professionals. After years of doing this, I decided it was time for a change. I had a contact at Summit who told me that they were looking for a CSM in the Westchester region. It sounded like a fantastic opportunity and Summit has such a good reputation as a family-run, responsible company that I was excited to join. During the time I have been with Summit, the Westchester/Hudson Valley Region has shown impressive growth. That is due in large measure to the leadership of Regional Manager Jude Murphy, who helped train me when I joined Summit and who has provided consistent guidance and mentoring.
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