Ridge College and SEC advance partnership to benefit students

Ashley Barletta, News editor

The Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences and the Security Executive Council, better known as the SEC, have been in a partnership for the past few years. There has been a recent announcement that the partnership is advancing in order to provide better intelligence analysis on a corporate level.

The Security Executive Council is “the leading research and advisory firm that specializes in corporate security risk mitigation solutions, as stated on the SEC’s website.

Ridge and the SEC have been partners since 2019, beginning when strategic intelligence students were given a capstone project by the SEC.

“Upon the completion of the project, SEC was so impressed with our students and program, they asked how they could become more involved with providing opportunities for Ridge College students and how they could leverage the competitive business intelligence program and faculty capabilities,” Brian Fuller, Director of Operations at Ridge College said, “We thought the best avenue for accomplishing an Academia Partnership in meeting what the SEC was asking to do would be to go through the Center for Intelligence Research, Analysis and Training (CIRAT).”

After students went through CIRAT, the Academia Partnership Agreement was born. Now, the Security Executive Council as well as their client base find internship opportunities for students in Ridge College.

“These projects and internships have resulted in students being able to gain real world applied experience, build their resumes, and develop relationships with employers which have resulted in employment offers,” said Fuller.

The plan under the Ridge/SEC partnership is to provide advanced security to corporations. Some of the businesses the SEC has worked with are Amazon, Pixar and even the FBI. Mercyhurst students will not be working directly with any of these organizations, but will be aiding in security operations which can in turn help organizations like these.

“Under our Academia partnership and in conjunction with SEC, we plan to advance intelligence analysis in corporate security by helping security operation centers in the private sector to develop and transition to Intelligence and Information Fusion Centers, developing processes and solutions for accelerating risk management operations in the ever changing threat environment and developing solutions with supply risk management needs,” said Fuller.

Bob Hayes, the Managing Director of the Security Executive Council is hopeful that the partnership will benefit many groups involved.

“Through this partnership we hope to rapidly advance the private sectors awareness, utilization and value from developing high quality programs with employees of the caliber that Mercyhurst provides,” said Hayes.

Hayes also sees the partnership as an opportunity to give students practical experience for future jobs and internships.

“Along the way we hope to ingrain student interns with what corporate security is and does with the hope they may someday be the next generation of CSOs (chief security officers),” said Hayes.

Broadly, the goal is to aid in the growth of intelligence and security, but specifically, Mercyhurst students and faculty are making security more efficient, which will in turn help the SEC with the bigger organizations they work with.

Fuller stated that Ridge faculty and students will be “increasing the flow, analysis and distribution of key intelligence and reports that are currently being stovepiped, compartmentalized or not reported.”

In order for Mercyhurst to fulfill its duties within the partnership, students and faculty alike will need to take on different roles.

“Overall, we are trying to increase the effectiveness in which private sector security centers can understand and leverage all information sources and capabilities available to them in supporting their company’s operational needs and decision makers requirements,” said Fuller.

In doing this, students will learn more about the advancement of security and make connections with businesses that offer jobs in security operations.

“Students will be utilized in filling the internship opportunities driven from this partnership,” Fuller said. “Faculty will serve as Principal Investigators on CIRAT projects, graduate students as team leads and undergraduates as project analysts, data scientists and cyber security analysts. Students and faculty will also continue to support through Capstone projects provided by SEC clients.”

The role of the SEC in the partnership is to work to bring opportunities in security operations to Mercyhurst students. The SEC then provides private

sector security companies with advanced security systems.

“These security leaders would benefit from developing intelligence and business information analysis programs and we can assist in advancing this idea to the rest of the industry by showcasing their successes,” Hayes said, “The SEC will act as both the champion and the broker to pair needs with the solutions.”

It is amazing that Mercyhurst students and faculty are taking these steps to help the improvement of corporate security.

“We have always admired the work Mercyhurst has done and the quality of students they have produced in the intelligence community,” said Hayes.