Grossman to Lead Security for Westfield
Michael Grossman’s most recent position at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department required bringing the private sector into the homeland security enterprise.
He now has the opportunity to view the role of business through a different lens as he begins a post-law enforcement career as Senior Vice President of National security for the Westfield Group. Grossman, an alumnus of the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security, retired from the LASD on Jan. 22, 40 years to the day he entered the sheriff’s academy.
"While 40 years is an elite club, this opportunity was too good to pass up," Grossman said by phone. "I’m going to be able to continue working on public-private sector enhancement, but now from the corporate side. I really get to apply the knowledge from a whole different perspective."
Australia-based Westfield owns 48 shopping centers in nine states totaling about 55 million square feet. It owned the retail space at the World Trade Center on the day of the 9/11 attacks, where extensive reconstruction is underway to open an iconic flagship property in 2015.
Grossman will be responsible for oversight of the company’s security operations, and emergency management. Many of the issues he will address are similar to law enforcement – active shooters, public safety and natural disasters among them. Malls may also be viewed as potential locations for terrorist activity.
"Malls are public places you want to attract people to, so there is always a concern," Grossman noted. "Much like the transit system it’s a welcome, open place for the public that faces the potential problems open places have. It’s no different than protecting a city. It’s actually a city within a city."
Grossman brings deep experience to the job after working in a variety of roles with the LASD over four decades. In his most recent assignment as chief of the Homeland Security Division he oversaw all department emergency operations: disaster preparedness, counter-terrorism, air support, special weapons teams, arson-explosive investigations, hazardous materials operations, and transit security for Los Angeles County.
As part of that job he worked on incorporating the private sector into the homeland security enterprise through the LASD’s Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC). His new position will allow him to continue with this effort in conjunction with the CEO of Westfield, Mr. Peter Lowy, who is the current chair of the HSAC.
"That’s where it needs to be done – in the corporate sector," Grossman observed. "There is a lot of work being done about public-private sector partnerships for emergency management and response, but there is no comprehensive system in place."
He commends his CHDS education enabling him to navigate the changing nature of police work in terms of homeland security as well as the new corporate role.
"The association, the degree, every class in the master’s program has had some application," he said. "It’s just amazing. You show up with this knowledge that you didn’t even know you had. You either have an answer or you know where to find one."