Pair of security professionals to visit SRU as part of speaker series


Slippery Rock University’s Security Studies Speaker Series returns Sept. 21 and Oct. 24 with a pair of security professionals representing the private and public sectors.

Sept. 18, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Security professionals are out in the world protecting it from existing and emerging threats, but they also recognize the importance of looking inward, to a world of emerging professionals in their field. After all, today's students are tomorrow's protectors.

In an effort to provide real-world perspective to Slippery Rock University students studying the field, the Security Studies Speaker Series returns for a second year with two professionals representing the private and public sectors to describe what they do, discuss the evolving challenges of their industry and offer advice to students entering their field.

John Pulcastro, supervisory intelligence analyst for the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, will speak Sept. 21; and Bryan Leadbetter, chief security officer of global security and aviation for Arconic, will speak Oct. 24. Both hour-long sessions will start at 12:30 p.m. in the Spotts World Culture Building, Room 111. Admission is free and open to the public.

"The speaker series is a way that we can connect SRU to the professional world," said Susan Lubinski, associate professor of criminology and security studies. "The ability to network with professionals, to hear about their various responsibilities and duties, to hear about the many job opportunities in the profession, to actually learn about different topics, these are all reasons to attend. We're really grateful that these professionals are able to take time out to join us."

Susan Lubinski

Pulcastro has more than 28 years' experience in the FBI, providing investigative and tactical analytical support for counterterrorism, counterintelligence and federal drug and cartel-affiliated investigations. Considered a subject matter expert on domestic terrorism, Pulcastro currently manages intelligence analysts and staff operations specialists who provide counterterrorism and counterintelligence support in western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Leadbetter is a veteran of more than 30 years in government and corporate investigations and enterprise security. A former military police officer in the U.S. Air Force who retired from a 20-year military career as lieutenant colonel, Leadbetter has worked in the private sector as a director of corporate security for Bausch & Lomb and director of global security systems and chief security officer for Alcoa. He remained in the latter role when Arconic, a company specializing in lightweight metals engineering and manufacturing, separated from Alcoa in 2015.

"We're bringing in speakers from both sides of the aisle, public and private," Lubinski said. "John Pulcastro is going to talk about the lone wolfs and counterterrorism and what we are doing regionally and how it ties in with the domestic national policy. Bryan Leadbetter is going to talk about what a CSO does at a big corporation, and with plants located worldwide, some of the issues that he sees and the importance of the private security field."

Lone wolfs, according to Lubinski, are individuals who plan terrorist attacks who may have the ideology of an organization, such as al-Qaida. Cases of lone wolfs have become more common in recent years, such as the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.

SRU's Security Studies program launched the speaker series last year in an effort to offer students educational enrichment and networking opportunities.

"It's been a great success," said Sgt. Tyler Wyckoff, a senior homeland security major from Trafford, who is the secretary of Security Studies Club. "You learn a lot in class, but (it's important) actually getting the people who work in that field to come and speak and to know what they do on a daily basis. The biggest thing is networking. If you don't start networking, you're not going to have contacts that you can use down the road."

In addition to the speaker series, students will have additional access to security professionals. Sept. 29, the Security Studies Club will tour PPG's security operations in Pittsburgh and Oct. 12 students from SRU's FYRST Seminar will tour security operations at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

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