By Mary Klida
Karen Totaro, CVE, general manager for Huntington Place/ASM Global, announced the rollout of new public safety and security measures starting with the Nov. 4 all staff International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) Venue Safety and Security Training. Mark Herrera, director of safety and security at IAVM, will conduct the training for all teams inclusive of leadership working to secure all events in Huntington Place.
“Safety is one of the top concerns for meeting planners and attendees,” Totaro said. “Combining local, state, and national security efforts in a way that makes our clients feel safe and cared for will be instrumental to our future.”
Public Safety is increasingly becoming a top priority for convention centers and other venues. Marlon Wilson, who began his role director of public safety Huntington Place last month, will be working with Herrera to train staff on the latest safety and security protocols for venues. The IAVM is committed to provide innovative safety and security guidelines and training so as to assist venues and their executive teams in managing with the priority of protecting all aspects related to life-safety and physical assets. They also provide education, resources, advocacy, and certification to event industry professionals and venue managers.
“I look forward to continuing my mission of the highest standard of safety and security for every team member, patron, and vendor who visits and interacts with Huntington Place,” Wilson said. “I plan to use my longstanding law enforcement background to implement protocols and procedures that create the safest and most conducive environment possible for all.”
Midterm elections are the focus of increasing anxiety for voters and election officials in the United States. The Huntington Place public safety team has been working with an extensive security task force in Detroit all year to make sure the enhanced safety and security measures in place for the Nov. 8 Michigan elections keep everyone safe. The FBI, Homeland Security, all state and local law enforcement agencies, the Michigan Secretary of State, Detroit Department of Elections, and the Downtown Detroit Partnership Security Task Force are working cooperatively as a Security Response Team and central on-site command to share information and strategies.
Herrera oversees the industry’s Academy for Venue Safety and Security and will work with Wilson to roll out the Nov. 4 staff training in Huntington Place. Herrera has seen a growing demand for guidance related to security issues in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. He has conducted more than 350 training sessions to leadership and frontline teams on Behavioral Indication and Risk Mitigation through Guest Service Interjection. The training emphasizes developing teams capable of providing exceptional focus, performance and control in extreme situations.
“Facilities such as Huntington Place under the direction of GM Karen Totaro pride themselves with creating better experiences within the venue industry inclusive of all facilities which is more important now than ever before,” Herrera said. “Training teams to forecast and expect those unexpected challenges in the future provides them with the tools to mitigate the risks our world delivers daily.”
Convention centers across the country are coming out of the COVID pandemic with changed sets of customer expectations for service delivery and environmental hygiene. Public safety departments have broadened their reach to not only include crisis communications, crowd control and policing strategy, but also guest experience and customer service.
“We are thrilled to coordinate these national programs and agencies in our local public safety protocols,” said Totaro. “With Marlon having an extensive background in local law enforcement and knowledge of our community, and Mark’s expertise in venue security, it is the right fit for our team’s efforts. Public Safety is continually front and center of our guest experience in Huntington Place.”
Mary Klida is Senior Marketing & Communications Manager for Huntington Place.