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Q&A Sep 19, 2022

Rise Up for BeyondZero: A Q&A with Alan Stenson

In this Q&A, we connected with Senior Director Global Security & Resilience Alan Stenson ahead of our BeyondZero program’s 15-year anniversary.

Q&A with Alan Stenson Jacobs Senior Director, Global Security & Resilience

BeyondZero® is our approach to the health, safety and security of our people, the protection of the environment and the resilience of Jacobs. BeyondZero is so much more than a typical safety program. It’s helped us recognize and emphasize our whole selves, clearing the way for safety that encompasses the physical and emotional alongside the courage to raise our hands, speak up and stand down to create our Culture of Caring.

This year, BeyondZero is marking the 15-year anniversary of its launch – creating an opportunity for each of us to make an immediate and enduring commitment to contribute to our culture of work that’s healthy, safe and secure for our people and our planet. 

In celebration, we’re talking with some of the team members leading the efforts to extend BeyondZero beyond where we work and into our daily lives, so we’re able to create a safer and healthier future for our families and our communities.

In this feature, we’re talking with Alan Stenson who is our Senior Director for Global Security & Resilience.

Hi, Alan. Tell us a bit about yourself and your role.  

Hi, my name is Alan Stenson and I am the Senior Director, Global Security & Resilience for Jacobs, responsible for the security of personnel, assets and information throughout. I joined Jacobs in June 2015 and am a member of the Senior Management Team and Operational Centers of Excellence.  My role is to support and enable an integrated global security and resilience strategy that is risk-driven and intelligence-enabled.  I am responsible for Global Security Operations ensuring protected business growth, assessing, influencing and managing regional security leaders to mitigate security risks in a dynamic international business environment.

Married to Niamh (pronounced Nee-uve – it’s a Cork thing), a strong Irish woman who too served in the Royal Military Police, which is another story on its own, we have 2 children and live in Dubai where I operate out of, providing a ground presence in a challenging region, while supporting global delivery.

A keen off-roader I continue to maintain my skills from my days as a Police advanced driver and Protective Driving Instructor, teaching evasive and defensive driving techniques, driving in snow and ice (not much need for it here), desert and general off-road conditions.

How did you get into the security and resilience space?

Born in U.K., I served 12 years in the Royal Military Police, British Army conducting investigations and providing protection to government dignitaries, high ranking officials and members of the Royal family. Serving in various theatres of operation and NATO HQ, I was deployed in multiple areas of conflict, including the Gulf War, Algiers, Bosnia in Herzegovina, Kosovo War and Northern Ireland where I received a commendation during the negotiation of the Good Friday agreement.

Leaving in 2001, I moved into corporate security working in distribution, government, power and extraction sectors. Working as security advisor to General Petraeus and General Dempsey, I was present during the post Saddam Hussein formation of the Iraqi Government and the establishment of the Iraq Constitution.

I’m rising up for BeyondZero because…

Not only am I an ambassador for BeyondZero, with security being an integral part of the strategy alongside Health, Safety & Environment (HSE), but I have also seen and been involved in BeyondZero as a beacon of ‘doing things right’ through some testing times.

As a member of the Tiger Team, I saw BeyondZero at the front end of the response to COVID-19, as our staff and the business prioritized the safety and wellbeing of all our employees, partners and stakeholders, in the face of an unprecedented pandemic, , and that had a major affect on all our lives and our working environment.

I saw BeyondZero as the vanguard, when local staff and their families were under threat in Ukraine and the business decided that people come first, supporting our employees and their families in evacuating, and relocating out of harms way, going beyond in providing resettlement in other countries, support which continues today. 

While these are the extremes, I have also been personally touched by the care and continued support of colleagues who have gone out of their way to support myself and my family as my wife goes through cancer treatment. It is the little things that often show me BeyondZero is at its best, reaching out on WhatsApp, a quick message on Microsoft Teams, often unrelated to work but to enquire as to how we are doing and what help is needed.

How do you see BeyondZero supporting our strategy to boldly move the company forward? 

With security and resilience being a key pillar of BeyondZero, assurance is required for all three accelerators.

Climate Response, to ensure that not only are we part of the solution for climate action but that we are also able to sustain support as a resilient business that is adaptable to change, predictive in its outlook and capable of maintaining business through disruption.  

Data Solutions, protecting our information and intellectual property both in cyber space but also the physical world, deterring, detecting and defending against bad actors and threatening situations. All while enabling business and showing the industry effective practices, providing successful solutions for our clients and partners.

Consulting & Advisory, protecting and guiding our leaders and staff with strategic risk analysis and consistent security and resilience framework, as we advance into new geographies, expand to alternate industries, increase our partnerships and progress our business strategies.

What is an action we can each take today to support our Culture of Caring?

Be empathetic. We often will not know what is going on in someone else’s life and what their life story is. I try to consider the age old saying of “before you judge me, step into my shoes and walk the life I am living”. Considering someone’s predicament before making assumptions has always enabled me to open my eyes to their needs and so able to go beyond the normal aspects of what they did or did not do, more the why they may have done something at a certain time. Listen before I speak.

“I would love to get to the stage where BeyondZero is not subject to be elevated, not an event to be arranged, not a set meeting to be had but instead a normal part of life, second nature to walking and breathing. ”

Alan Stenson

Alan Stenson

Jacobs Senior Director for Global Security & Resilience

Tell us about a career moment you’re most proud of.

While working on a mine in Ethiopia I was responsible for the HSE, security and camp admin, as well as community liaison. In order to ‘give back’ to the community, we decided to construct a school which I had the privilege of overseeing. As well as precuring all materials, equipment and furniture, I also collected books donated from home schools and took them to help build the school library. Previously the nearest school had been a four-hour return walk and so many children were not able to gain an education. After the school was built, we were able to help educate another 400 children in the area and beyond.

What’s something you do differently every day because of BeyondZero?

I have spent more time with my family, balancing family and work life better. Previously I would often be very focused on work, even working on weekends and days off. Since Jacobs set a focus on mental health, I began to think more about my wife and children’s mental health and how I could be impacting on it. I started to separate my family time from my work and making time off more quality family focused time. As a result, I would say our family is closer than ever.

What does the future of BeyondZero look like?

I would love to get to the stage where BeyondZero is not subject to be elevated, not an event to be arranged, not a set meeting to be had but instead a normal part of life, second nature to walking and breathing. That it is so embedded in our culture and mindset that it is not a highlighted subject but an everyday activity something everyone does, like eating.

What do you enjoy most about being part of #OurJacobs?

The ability to be authentic, to be the person I am, without fear or judgement. To meet other cultures and different mindsets and open myself to new views and different approaches, all the while being able to maintain my core beliefs. I am proud that Jacobs values align with that of my own and my family, which we have held long before I was ever an employee of Jacobs. It makes working at Jacobs the natural choice.

About the interviewee

Alan Stenson

Alan Stenson is a senior member of Global Security & Resilience group, with over 24 years’ experience in Corporate Security and Military Law Enforcement. A proud veteran and authentic leader, he thrives in a multicultural and diverse environment, likes challenging the status quo, but most of all enjoys being part of a successful team.