Like many Americans, I’m very, very happy that professional football is back. I love football. On each side of the ball, eleven players committed to working together to best achieve their common objective in the face of an adversary committed to the same objective. Unlike in some other sports, no single player, no matter how great, can win a game without their teammates. Sports take active involvement, and many have heard that idea carried over to life in general in the phrase, “life is not a spectator sport.” Indeed, it isn’t. And neither should InfraGard membership be a spectator sport!
In full candor, when I first joined InfraGard, I sat on the sidelines for a few years – passively receiving emails, often hastily deleting emails... but as I increased my involvement, now serving as part of our chapter’s Board, I’ve found the more I give, the more I get back. Not unlike preparing for a big game, or working out, or studying... the more I put in, the more I get in return.
This week, I had the privilege to represent our chapter, may I say the nation’s finest chapter, at the 23rd InfraGard National Congress in Chicago. I had the opportunity to sit alongside our fantastic FBI Coordinators, and a number of our chapter colleagues and fellow Board Members, as well as representatives - public and private - from chapters across the country. During the two-day program I saw Board Member and Treasurer Boykin Jordan honored as the National Award Recipient for “Meeting the Challenge” and our Chapter President Steve Bieber recognized as a Regional Award winner for leadership. I also had the chance to see InfraGardNCR member David Paulos honored as “Rookie of the Year.” It was fantastic to see him receive his award and to be joined by two colleagues from GardaWorld who came to Chicago with him to celebrate his achievement. Additionally, InfraGardNCR member Michael Lowder ran for and won a seat on the
InfraGard National Board!
While at the Congress, I had the opportunity to meet colleagues from across the country and to discuss common issues and concerns, explore ideas and ways to collaborate, and to hear from insightful leaders, including a closing Keynote Address from FBI Director Wray. National events are fun, and valuable, but I’ve been very grateful to be able to attend local events, such as our annual members’ meeting at the Capital One Arena, to contribute to a variety of discussions with my Board colleagues and our FBI partners, and to lead and execute events, such as this year’s Information Sharing Initiative (ISI). Planning for ISI was focused on delivering a good event for participants, and I think it was. But to be candid, I probably get the most out of those events! Planning the discussions, engaging my colleagues as we develop the program, leading the discussion and engaging with members – I walk away from every event like that more informed, more aware, and better prepared to help contribute to my professional work and our InfraGard Chapter, and more able to support the FBI’s mission “To protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States.”
I sat on the sideline for a few years, not getting much from, nor giving anything to, our Chapter. I was missing out. I love watching football, but if I had the opportunity to suit up and try to chase down a scrambling quarterback you can bet I would take it (that’s right, fear me, Aaron Rodgers...)! With the eighteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks just past us, as we move into fall and start thinking about goals and objectives for the new year, I’d like to encourage you to get more involved. What can you contribute to our chapter, and our collective national security?
InfraGardNCR Chapter Mission: Our mission is to facilitate, improve and extend information sharing among critical infrastructure stakeholders and the government to assist in protecting infrastructure assets.
To support that mission, we’ve developed InfraGardNCR Goals and Objectives.
Goal #1: Promote information sharing and collaboration
Provide relevant and timely information sharing
Promote mutual learning opportunities
Develop and maintain multiple avenues of sharing between members, the government,
and other stakeholders as appropriate
Goal #2: Enable protection of critical infrastructure starting within the area of responsibility (AoR).
Alignment of efforts with current and emerging threat picture in AoR
Increase outreach to and collaboration with other chapters
Engage the SMEs in our AOR to encourage more active participation and to further
InfraGardNCR's goals through projects, activities, events
Our mission, our goals, our objectives... none of these are individually accomplished but take a team. Our team – InfraGardNCR - needs you. We need your insight, we need your ideas, we need your energy and enthusiasm, we need your leadership – we need whatever you can bring to the team to help us “facilitate, improve and extend information sharing among critical infrastructure stakeholders and the government to assist in protecting infrastructure assets.”
We have a great Chapter – full of award winners!! – but to continue to be excellent, we need to keep getting better. Though it pains me to admit it, the Patriots are a great team because they build upon their best coaches and players and continuously add new talent, new skills, and new abilities. We have a championship team, but to stay great, we too need to keep improving. I hope you’ll join us!
If you have any questions or ideas, please reach out to our Board or FBI Coordinators anytime. We’d love to get to know you more and we’d love to work with you!