Global Security

July 2015

Mivil Deschênes


Protecting The Company’s Most Important Asset: Its Employees

A day in the life of Mivil Deschênes is probably similar to yours—aside from the fact that he’s responsible for the safety of more than 40,000 SNC-Lavalin employees around the world. Even though his “project” cannot be boasted for its size or output, it is nothing short of “mega” when you consider its importance.

Mivil joined SNC-Lavalin in May 2014 and leads the company’s Global Security team. In the last year, he has increased security at the company’s head office in Montreal, refined the company’s corporate travel security program and kicked-off a new Business Resilience and Recovery Program that will help the company remain operational in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. Spectrum sat down with Mivil to discuss global security, some of the crises his team has faced in the past year and how security protocols add value to projects.

Spectrum (S): What does “global security” mean to you?

Mivil Deschênes (MD): Global security can be divided into four categories. The first and most important category is employee security. These are the programs that protect employees, such as our Travel Security Program. The second is physical security, which refers to the company’s physical property. We recently installed electronic access gates at our head office in Montreal so we can track who enters and exits the building to prevent theft. The third category is cyber security, and we have a team of experts who monitor our servers and our systems to protect company information. The last category is how we, as a company, prepare for any type of natural or man-made disaster.

S: What was your reaction to the shootings in Ottawa and France?

MD: As soon as I heard about the shootings, our team quickly contacted our offices in those locations to ensure everyone was safe. Logistically, we had to determine if the events posed a threat to the lives of employees working or travelling in those areas. Once we had a better understanding of the events, we advised senior management, including group presidents, our CEO and our Regional Security Directors. In both the Ottawa and France cases, we placed a temporary travel restriction. Whenever anything like this happens, we log all of our actions so that we can do a formal debrief after the incident is over, learn from our mistakes and see how we can improve our performance for the next time.

S: How does Global Security add value to projects?

MD: We are currently working on a Business Resilience and Recovery Program that will allow us to continue operating after a natural or man-made disaster. This is a major added value to our customers. So it is a question of thinking about and preparing for Plan B, something we do with the different business units. What if we lose access to a building? How long can we operate as a company if an office is closed? What are the costs associated with giving employees remote access? What tasks are essential to continue operations? What it comes down to is how we can continue to operate and provide our clients the service they deserve after a disaster.

S: How does it make you feel to know that you’re in charge of the security of more than 40,000 people?

MD: It’s a lot of responsibility, but I have a great team and the right tools to be successful. We have a crisis management centre here at the Montreal office, where our team monitors world events. We have security managers and directors in different regions who constantly monitor events. We also work with security companies, such as International SOS, that provide us with security alerts for any type of disaster event. We even have some embassies that advise us of events as they unfold. It can be demanding and hard to disconnect from at times, but at the end of the day, our job is to protect employees, and we take that very seriously.


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