Show Notes: How to be a Remarkable Student of Security with Dr. Ygnacio “Nash” Flores | Episode #16


In this next Episode, I was honored to be joined by Dr. Ygnacio “Nash” Flores, an experienced educator and security leader. Nash is a professor teaching Homeland Security, Administration of Justice, and Corrections at Rio Hondo College in Whittier, CA. Prior to his teaching roles, he was the Dean of Public Safety. And he also served in the US Navy for 26 years — he was enlisted for 14 years, before earning his commission and eventually retiring as a Lieutenant Commander responsible for leading physical security and law enforcement projects. Plus, he’s a fellow USC Trojan (fight on!). That’s where he earned his doctorate in Education.

During our chat, Nash shared some excellent insights from his experience in working with young people as a professor and from his deep experience in security and public safety roles. Some of the topics we touched on included: cultural intelligence, allowing people to make mistakes (to learn from them), and much more.


Big Ideas from This Episode

  1. Project based learning and scenario based learning are ideal. They enable the student to discover — and their own personal experience sticks in their mind better than anything else.
  2. Education is important — The strongest skillset you can have is communication: verbally and in writing. Develop your educational domains! Read and acquire broad skills so that you can make meaningful contributions.
  3. Develop cultural intelligence and understand that the American way is not the only way.
    Read as much foreign books / writings as you can (e.g. learn about other cultures’ heroes). And learn from the great leaders throughout history.
  4. If you’re interested in getting promoted, take the hard jobs that no one else wants.
  5. Don’t take things personal. If you’re successful, people are going to hate you and try to bring you down because of their own inadequacies.


Rio Hondo College – police, fire service and security programs
– Past episodes referenced:
>> So, You Want to Be a Special Agent? With Jen Grant Holland
>> Curiosity, Bravery, and Corporate Intelligence with Anna Gorodetsky

Use CONTROL + F to search the transcript below if you want to learn more!

Transcript from this episode (#16)

*Note: this transcript was generated using automated software, and my not be a perfect transcription. But I hope you find it useful.

Travis  0:00  
Nash I'm happy, you're able to join me today, I had stumbled across your profile on LinkedIn when I was trying to connect with more USC alumni that work in the security industry. And what really stood out to me that was special about you is that you have experience in teaching young people about Homeland Security and Criminal Justice as Professor Plus, you've got some really cool experience to inform your teaching. For example, you've worked as the Dean and Director of Public Safety at Rio Hondo College, you have 27 years experience being enlisted and an officer in the US Navy and where you also supported physical security and law enforcement type projects. So Nash, I'm really grateful that you could join me today. Welcome. Thank you, Travis. It's my pleasure. And thank you for reaching out to me. Absolutely. So I like to kick off these sessions with with a hypothetical. So like, if you imagine that you have a magic wand, and it could help you solve any, any problem in the security and risk industry? What comes to mind? Is there any particular problem that you would solve with that magic wand? 

Nash  1:30
And I look at security, you know, from that, that Navy background to it includes Law Enforcement, Security, the three C's cops, courts and corrections,

I would say engaging the community, that that's a big issue today, and creating value in security. By teaching the valley of the community participant participation, I think that is really significant. I think too many people make assumptions that government is going to come to their rescue.

You know, when risks can be mitigated through sound security practices at home, you know, simple as locking your friend door, blocking your car, don't invite the risk, because they're really not, you know, risk if you leave everything open.

Travis  3:32  
Yeah, that's a great point. And just recently, I was I started doing a course on Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. And one of the big points that they hit on is how important it is to have people in the community, people in the organizations that you're working with, to get all of their inputs, so that it could be a community effort. It's not some security guy pushing something on them. It's not just, you know, the city government pushing something on on them with some kind of code or some kind of ordinance. It's everyone working together. So I think that is a really cool idea that you talk about. 

Nash  4:22  
Yeah, actually, I remember over 20 years ago, we were doing security through design in the Navy. And whenever we had new projects, you had, you know, all the leadership on the base. Security officer was there. And also, we had community members here, but you know, it's simple things. And even when we went through and here where I live in the San Diego area when I was in charge of the security department at I'm gonna use the term 32nd Street, May will stage in San Diego. We had 22 housing areas that we had to take care of that were outside the main bases. So the security to design is where do you put your plants? Where do you put your fences around the house don't invite things that again that attract criminals or take risk. So all that secured to design, it's very, very important.

Travis  5:05  
Yeah, this recent course I've been doing has really been changing the way that I think about security. Like generally like when I go out and I go walk through the neighborhood, just how I think about different ideas. So I do think that's a really cool idea that a lot more people should explore.

And so next, I wanted to ask you a little bit about your experience today. So like, can you share a bit about your role as an educator and what that looks like today? 

Nash  5:46  
Okay, so, one, I'm in a community college, and I am a professor there. And I'd like to teach through my learned and lived experiences, I think you kind of hit hit on that. And basically, it's how do we prepare the next generations of leaders? How do we prepare the next generation to understand what the security environment is going to be like, especially here in the United States, because it's so volatile right now. You know, you have active shooters happening all the time. And one of the things I like to do is, I work in FEMA independent study courses into my my own programs, and my initial program, I like to do the active shooter. So it's not only Hey, can you read this book and take a test, I like to go beyond that actually, I placed more emphasis on the beyond just taking a test. Because most people as we know, they forget everything after the test, but you have to show them how to really live. So I think my role as professor is to change how people think about their own safety and security and their role within security in the country.

Travis  6:56  
Yeah, I really liked that approach. Like one thing, I noticed that was like a very stark contrast from going from doing like a political science program at Cal State Fullerton and then doing an Applied Psychology Master's at USC, like one of the big differentiators was that in the master's program, almost everything was brought back to very practical projects that every business can relate to. And, and when you're kind of like thrown into the fire, and you have to go out and do these different projects, and interact with people who are in different organizations or different fields, it just makes the information stick that much more. And then also it kind of like lights a fire under you to go out and learn some of these things that that were kind of like hazy from, from listening to lectures and from reading books. So I really liked that approach. 

Nash  7:58  
Actually, that's one of my approaches. So project based learning, and scenario based learning. And what I tell the students is, I don't want you to learn, I want you to discover, and you just kind of described that because in the process of discovery, you retain that information more, because now it's your own personal experiences and attachment to that. But if you just read a chapter and take a test, it's not gonna be the same. And you really don't understand, well, how does this concept apply? Because most people haven't been in law enforcement or public safety, fire services, whatever. And they read it and they can't say they say, Well, how does this really apply to what I do every day? So getting the students out there, working projects, give them scenario based stuff, especially if their predictive analysis going into the future. They enjoy those assignments more, because they discover and that's far superior than just rote learning. Yeah, I just think that's the ideal way to learn to learn in general. And those kids just get so much more out of their education. And also, I was a little curious to ask you, could you share a bit about what it was like being the Director of Public Safety for a community college? Like, what types of projects does someone generally work on when they have a role like that? Okay, so that was an actually an academic role.

And then soon thereafter, became the dean of public safety. And a lot of people aren't aware of that. So it was running the program. So Rio Hondo College, we have the degree programs and like every other community college we have associate degree so we had him in administration, justice, criminal justice, Fire Sciences, wildland fire, technology, etc. But we also ran the academies, and that's really I think, what the call to fame for us we as a police academy, we are the Fire Academy, we have the Wildland Fire Academy, we have the EMT program, and then we constructed Homeland Security Training Center which is for advanced saucer training. And at the time, while the emphasis was on fire services, we do have law enforcement that train at Homeland Security Training Center. We have a lot of different props. You can have dog training, cadaver dog training, we've had private security go there to do training, we have a drone training program. So that's what I did there is running those overseeing those programs. I was a dean there, about seven years a lot longer than I was just the director. And that was good, because you work with the state organizations and the federal organizations that do to the certifying. And it's to make sure that we met the minimum standard. And they went beyond and we did this through advisory groups of chiefs and industry partners on both sides of the house. And we said, Okay, this is what we have to do, minimum. And they say, Yeah, but we'd really like a cadet, someone who graduates come with this knowledge. So we added that to the program. And they continue that practice. And the Chiefs have a very big say in what's going on. And they're always looking at what is the most recent challenge? How can we address that in the academies? And then how can we address that in our advance officer training, or in service training, those are two terms that are used. So that that's what I did in that job. So you know, running around a lot, make sure the programs were running, according to whatever crediting authority we had. Plus, also making sure our academic programs met the standard.

Travis  11:45  
That's really cool. See, I had no idea Rio Hondo is even involved in all these different types of training. Like I knew all about the fire service, because I've talked to a ton of people and a ton of my friends have gone through those programs or even like the EMT programs there. But that's really cool that there's so many homeland security and law enforcement type courses.

Nash  12:05  
Yeah. And our Homeland Security Training Center, was done in conjunction with the Santa Fe Springs Fire Department is our main partner because we actually have a property adjacent to each other. But that there again, is more for the advanced side. And then when we have our homeland security classes, of course, COVID is kind of throwing a wrench in and we could actually take them down there and show them hey, here's what a rubble pile looks like. Here's what a collapse house looks like. So we have props here. And it's kind of like going into a fun house where you go in and you're all disoriented. But we use those prompts for real training, see how is a firefighter How is someone with a Search Dog gonna go in there, and it just throws your whole orientation off. You're you're off balance, really have fun with those those projects, and I really liked taking people around. We've also hosted people from Japan, Korea, I think it was Finland. Rio Hondo College is really famous for its public safety programs. And of course, in addition that we also have our nursing programs that were related. And I know when I was a dean was my associate dean at Don Mason and my director of the Fire Programs, the chief Tracy recommend. We used to work with the nursing, the nurses would set up a scenario that they do for their end of the year, like a practicum type exercise, and then we would throw in our EMT students and our firefighting students. And then we would work with local police department and we should do these active shooter active bomb drills. You know, nowadays, people are doing it like we did this years ago. And it was one whole day we did about two scenarios. And it was integrative. So it would start with some kind of incident. And, you know, police were there to respond to so we had actual cities that were testing their SWAT teams here. And then we would have our EMT students respond and do the first aid and triage. And then we had ambulance companies that would come in, and then we transport them up to our nursing program where they had a emergency room hospital set up and then they would do all their testing and everything there. It was really good. And I always liked the scenario where someone gave birth in the middle of us. Yeah, so we had our theater students were the actor, so it was really integrated inter department. Scenario training, but we also brought in civilian police fire EMT program. So it was as realistic as you could get, and you could do the training safely. Had enough safety observers out there and score keepers so the students really learn from that.

Travis  14:56  
Wow, yeah, that's pretty incredible that you could get so many students from so many different departments, people from other disciplines, people from public safety in the community. That's, that's really cool. And next, I was curious. So is there anything that inspired you to inspire you to first get involved with all things security military, like, was there any, anything that kind of started that spark?

Nash  15:23  
Kind of a strange thing there. I've always wanted to be in the military. So I went into the military, right after high school, I was still 17. And I enlisted and went in the Navy. And I wanted to go overseas, and I was on a carrier. So my first few years, I was working on an aircraft carrier. And I really liked Japan. And I wanted to stay there. So my next set of orders was to go work in the base, police and security department. And I went there, and I liked that job. We worked very closely with the Japanese national police. And I said, I'd rather do this the rest of my career. And then from there, as I promoted a new job opportunities, I just kind of expanded. But I think in the back of my head, I always wanted to teach come from a family of teachers. Grandmother, mother, aunts, cousins, nephews, and nieces are now teachers. Sorry, so I knew I was wanting to do that. And then I just transitioned from a military career to an educational career.

Travis  16:39  
I see. Yeah, it's kind of cool that joining the military and getting that initial experience kind of put you down this path. What did what did your path look like? Between the US Navy? And then where you are today as a professor like, what? What roles did you have along the way? What, what did that path look like?

Nash  17:00  
Well, I was not aware of the organization for a while the community college system. So I was I thought I was getting into a teaching job because it said academic manager. And I actually went and I just went to academic manage, all I did was be the director of public safety. And that's where I worked underneath the dean for a couple years, and then I became the Dean when when he retired. And I did that. And I couldn't teach on my own college, I started teaching at another community college in administration of justice, Homeland Security, and then from there, it just kind of grew. But my, I always had my goal set on, hey, I want to be a professor. So about five years now I'm doing nothing but being a professor, you know, writing a book, chapters, articles, etc. And that's what I really enjoy. That's my passion.

Travis  18:07  
That's awesome. Yeah, like, I do think that sounds like a really cool field to be involved in. And for someone like me, like, periodically, someone will reach out on LinkedIn, who's a student in like a security technology course, or in some kind of criminal justice course. And they'll reach out to me. So they could set up a meeting and get my thoughts about whatever project it is that they're working on, or whatever questions they have about the industry. And for me, it's always really rewarding getting to chat with those people and to play like my own small little part in in helping them. So I do think it's, it's just super rewarding in general, to play any part in those roles.

Nash  18:45  
Oh, definitely in there any role, you have to be mentored or to be a mentor? I think you should, anyone out there should take advantage of that. And, you know, some people say, Oh, don't go with that person. They're terrible. I've learned just as much from terrible people as I have good people. And it's up to the individual what they're looking for. But you want to be exposed to different ideas, different processes, when it comes to security, because no one knows everything. And there might be some well, you know what, I never thought of that. He said, Well, yeah, everyone in this region knows it, because it's unique to that environment. But it might not be unique to your environment. Or if you move around, you can say, you know, this worked over there. I'm not saying it's better. But let's tailor that to what you're doing. That's kind of what we did in the physical security side of the house when I was in the Navy. And we would go around and we would learn from other bases. And we'd always take your best practices and say, Oh, how do we adapt them here? Because you never want to say, Well, what I did before is the best so I'm going to just come in and blanket it over you guys. Because one it's the environment is different. You have you know, the politics, you have unions, there's all kinds of things you have to work in fact factor in there. And the best thing to do is be inclusive so that everyone can agree on what the best steps are. And sometimes, when you're looking at mitigating things, you're not going to get 100%, you know, worked at 80% say this, what we can do, we still have some vulnerabilities. And those vulnerabilities, we further mitigate by doing this.

Travis  20:19  
Yeah, I like, I liked the idea that you mentioned when it comes from learning from other bases, because I feel like that applies broadly to the security industry in general, because I could think of so many different roles I've had, were working for a high net worth family office working in security technology, working with private investigators. And, and it's like, working with so many different groups, you kind of like, slowly snowball all of your knowledge a little bit, and you pick up a little piece here, a little piece there. And I think it's just so advantageous for young people to get broad experience working with different organizations. Because you could also find the opposite, where maybe someone works in like a very narrow industry for the longest period, but they don't interact with other people in other organizations where they could, whether that's through conferences, or whether it's through networking, or other means. But it's like if you if you live in like a little silo, it's so hard to continue to grow and to find like to bounce creative ideas and learn and learn from your peers. So I like that idea.

Nash  21:23  
Right. And you have to get out of your comfort zone, too. I was teaching in an Executive MBA Program for a couple of years. And business people think one way and I came in with, you know, that security mindset? Well, you know, we thought about this. And they were unaware of a lot of these things and say no, but that's very good idea. And it's, you know, this has to come to your thinking. So, you know, you can learn what happens in that business area. And I think anyone in physical security, or security or law enforcement or public safety, you have to look at the business aspect of it, because you could have the best idea in the world. But if you don't have the funds for that, it's not going anywhere. So you have to understand the business side of the house. And with that comes the politics of trading off well, I'll get this this year and fire services. So you get that next year, you support me, I support you.

Travis  22:20  
Yeah, that's an excellent point. Because yeah, at the end of the day, in private enterprise, everything comes down to like, does this make business sense in your ability, ability to pitch an idea or to make a case for, for security resources or for different projects? So yeah, I think that part's definitely huge. And so next, I wanted to jump into the fun part, which was to ask you, like, were there any times in your career where you encountered a failure or apparent failure? And it set you up for a later success? Or maybe like, Do you have a favorite failure that you've ever had in your career,

Nash  22:57  
I've had a lot of failures. I mean, I don't think anyone say, Oh, I've never had a failure, but I have definitely a lot of failures. What I think was good, is that I had more outstanding leaders and I had poor leaders, I did have some poor leaders that when there was a failure, then they pointed out their subordinates. And, of course, I have to sit there and take the blame. You know, as a good officer, you just sat there, and you took it all in. And even though you knew and even other people in the room knew that you had nothing to do with it, someone else's. So you use that as learning area. But I think the good leaders I had they can see at failure, and then say, hey, come over here, what are you doing? Where are you deploying your people? What have you thought about this? Have you thought about that? It says, Do you want to try that, go do that they let you fail, so that you can learn and that is a sign of a good leader is that they use the mistakes and failures as learning opportunities. So I'm glad that I had leaders that would see those before any of my my failures, many failures really got a bad or you know, caused any any harm or anything like that. And I another thing that I kind of learned there too, was don't be afraid to let your people make mistakes. You can shepherd them through and and I've said it to my bosses and other people have said to me is you knew that was going to fail and you let me do that. Thank you. Because if they hadn't, they would have just gone on gotten in trouble and not used it as learning experience. And then you kind of test your knowledge and then how you apply it to. So use failures to develop the next generation of leaders.

Travis  24:57  
You make a really interesting point when you say it to some time, sometimes you need to let your your teammates, your subordinates fail. And I feel like that's something that I need to work on personally to, because I'm probably one of those people that wants to like, look over their shoulder and makes like, maybe guide them too much. So I do think that's, that's an awesome point for me and for others listening to absorb, which is that, like that knowledge sticks so much better when you let other people make those decisions themselves and let them make the decisions and course correct and see how it all plays out.

Nash  25:33  
definitely. And the good leader, if it gets out of hand, and someone comes down, and you know, they might say, oh, Travis messed up, I want him fired. And she says, No, I let that happen. I use this as a learning experience, it got a little worse I went, it's not his fault. I let it happen. You have to own those mistakes at a higher level too. And I think in that process, some leaders again, can be great. But then they won't own up to that. And you have to be able to say, yeah, that mistake, it's mine. Because I was doing this and I allowed that to happen to you, you have to own those mistakes yourself.

Travis  26:11  
Yeah, that's an excellent point. You just being able to take ownership for the for all of your actions, and all the things that roll up to you. I think that's an excellent point. And so moving on, I wanted to ask you, so there's lots of young and aspiring security practitioners listening? Is there are there any bits of advice you would like to share to young people who are exploring security careers?

Nash  26:41  
Actually, this is anyone exploring any career coming out, not necessarily security, because every career has security in it. And people may not recognize it, and they don't want to admit that. But every career has security involved. I don't care what it is. So I'd say what I would tell someone that asked me question, it depends on the situation, because a lot of times the question they ask are driven by something that just happened or something environment. So I would say, Never doubt your abilities. Be humble. Please be humble. Think of others first. Education is important. And it doesn't have to be formal education to be out of the didactic you can learn yourself, you can learn from others, you can go to conferences. Education is important. And education is different than training. They're two separate things. And you have to understand that when people ask me, What's the difference between education and training? And if it's a group of older practitioners, you can say what do you have kids? Yes. They said, Do you want your kids to have sex education? Or six training? Got it? Good point. Okay. Got it. So, but you have to balance those two, learn from the past good and bad things. And if you're looking at promoting take the hard jobs, the ones that no one wants, you know, you know, former military say, well, that's a Ford deployment. I'm not going, you know, I'm happy here, wherever I'm at, you know, I'll take that job. And don't take things personal. Look beyond the haters. Because if you're successful people gonna hate you. And then they try and label you to bring you down because of their own inadequacies. So don't take things personal. I would avoid things that don't bring any value to your life. So you can do something bad, but if it brings you value, then it's worth that experience that you have. Sync for yourself, especially in the time of you know, populism and zeitgeist, don't let someone else think for you. And, you know, an example is, you know, someone says, oh, we have to do this, because it's, you know, really think about that, do you want to do it, think free to make your own opinions, gather all the information and get as, as accurate as possible vet, here's your resources that you're getting this information from. And I think my biggest rule for success is have fun and laugh. And for anyone that's worked with me, they know that they could walk into the offices where I'm at, and sometimes we are just laughing so loud. We're having so much fun. And that in itself, is a de stressor. And it brings camaraderie to any organization.

Travis  29:47  
You make a lot of really interesting points here, like one big one that I like to is, well, there's so many but to take the hard jobs like I could think of so many times where I've been with different organizations And sometimes it's just fun to take on a job that other people don't want or people kind of like scoff at just so you could learn something new. So I do really love that point, when you say, to take the hard jobs and plus putting you outside of your comfort zone, it forces you to learn. And really, it probably just makes your job more interesting. And then, especially if you think about times, like now like, we're basically in another recession, and if you're a millennial, this is like nothing new, there's basically a catastrophe every several years, so. So it's also just helping you develop more broad skills to make you more useful. So when a business executive walks up to you and says, Hey, I'm having this issue, that you could actually point them in the right direction and start helping them solve problems. And another one, you mentioned, was thinking critically, and this one stands out to me too. So there's one there, like a security, like a security publishing media type company called ipvm. And they published a ton of research, where they'll do like, they'll do like, hands on research, when it comes to using security technologies, just to see, like, do they live up to all the claims that manufacturers make. So I do think thinking critically is so important in the security industry as well, because like every technology company, or every manufacturer makes, or even people that are providing services and consulting, they may make very wild claims, and

Nash  31:31  
they'll make whatever claim they want to get your business, and then it's oh, well, the interface isn't working, especially if it has anything to do with technology. So we're gonna need to do this. And when they say when we need to do this, it's, I'm doing a change order, and it's gonna cost you this much. So especially if you're buying equipment, or putting equipment, really going to vet that, and when ways you can get in those areas, it's one thing, Sam doing physical security, take those hard jobs, includes working out of your wheelhouse and say, you know, I'm gonna go look at some of these systems, in, you know, from the manufacturer side of the house, because when it comes to selling, you're gonna say whatever it takes to get that deal. And you end up with, you know, paying a lot more later.

Travis  32:18  
Yeah, and it's everything. It's, it's selling and buying technology, it's when you go and conduct stakeholder interviews to help the organization with their security program, it's, you just have to think about everything critically and about how, you know, all the different dynamics might be influencing what someone says. So yeah, those are great points. And next, I also wanted to ask you a little bit like, Are there any particular skill areas or like competencies that you think benefit people most in their security careers? Is there anything that stands out to you?

Nash  32:55  
Yeah, develop and enhance your learning domains. Don't stick with one domain. So learn as much as you can? Well, my father gave me some advice many, many years ago, read any book you can, doesn't matter it is because you're going to learn something about that. And that kind of takes me on to my next point is, if you read various types of journals, newspapers, books, you're gonna see different writing styles. And that's very important, especially as a professor right across the spectrum. Because one of the biggest complaints that I hear from teachers, I got someone with a bachelor's degree, they can't write a sentence, right, or they want to write this academic style, I need a police report, I need a fire report. So right in across the spectrum, you have to learn how to write different styles. And I kind of worked out in some of my assignments. I haven't do professional memos. I think you were in the military. So you know that we memo each other to death. But that is a skill set that is going to be very valuable in security. So you have to learn how to write professionally, academically, especially if you're going to work with academics. From a business perspective, general, is it casual? Is it formal or informal? So I think the strongest skill set you can have is writing and that includes communication, both verbally and in writing. Another skill that's good is recognize that you don't know everything. I'm sorry, I don't know that. And if you're trying to get that job, you're gonna say, oh, yeah, we can look into that. And if someone has any knowledge, they're gonna ferret that out and they're gonna say this guy, you know, it's just BS. He doesn't know what he's talking about. So I don't know, but I will find out. Right? That's kind of with a teacher in the military too. I think what skill set is too Use every situation as a learning opportunity. What can you discover and use this? And probably one of the biggest things for my career experience that I don't see in a lot of young people. Is being authentic also means Can you read the environment, know your place in that environment? And I've heard, you know, some, some younger individuals come and say, well, when do I get that leadership job? Well, you know, you just, you're not even with this year. Yeah. But I went to school. So I know this, right. And one of the quickest ways to torpedo a career is to get outside of your lane. And you forget what your place is in that organization. Know why they hire you know, what you can do there. And, you know, that's a huge gamble, you think, Well, I'm gonna do something I didn't get hired doing and see, well, that's great. But you know, what, you weren't hired to do that. We have someone else to do that. So I think knowing your place is really, really huge. That's what I would recommend those skill sets. Yeah,

Travis  36:11  
I like what you said about expanding and learning across different domains. Because I feel like in security, that's something that's so important, because you're touching everything you're involved in business, you're involved in finance, to a degree, you're involved in procurement of technology, you're involved in, like so many different areas. And I can think I can think back to a couple of recent podcasts. So one with Jen grant Holland, who's with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. And she was talking about when she's doing her recruiting for special agents, and for investigators, like some of the big things that they care about is that they majored in something like something interesting, like something that's like off in the periphery, like someone that studied computer science, or maybe they were an engineer, or architecture or just some something different, but that can go back and inform the work that they're going to do so that they could think they're like creative solutions for for some of their problems.

Nash  37:09  
And as a leader, you need to do that, too. I remember working for one person, and we're having this work group of professionals and experts, and we all talk the same language, we all know what's going on. And we pretty much know where to projects going. And our boss said, I want you to bring a school teacher on this project, we're like what, you know, this military thing, right? No, bring some people in. And we learned so much, because we had blinders off. And having that in, so it also includes, you know, if you're setting up a workgroup or something, bring someone in to that, it's gonna give you a totally different perspective, especially if it counters what you're doing. Because especially nowadays, it can bring up swift as you know what we can avoid a lot of trouble. If we make this greener, or we can avoid a lot of problems with the community, if we take this into consideration. So get those different voices, and make your contacts through different communities, and a good professional use. They'll work with you where they can disagree with you individually or in politics, but you still work together for the same purpose.

Travis  38:25  
Yeah, that's a great point, just having other people around to get a fresh set a fresh set of eyes on it. It's just people that haven't come from the same educational backgrounds or work backgrounds. I liked that idea. And then another one that, that stuck out of my mind, that kind of gets back to learning domains. It's funny, I took a course in you doing user experience research. So like very much focused on like, software type things. But then, going back to this Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design course, like one of the big points that they emphasize is conducting user interviews with stakeholders in the community. I'm like, that's perfect. I just got 100 hours of interviewing people and writing surveys and all this stuff, like over the last year and a half. So it's kind of funny how, like getting bits and pieces of experience across these different domains, even though we may not really consider them relating back to public safety to security, that all these little points end up coming back in and influencing you and informing how you do things.

Nash  39:28  
Oh, definitely. Because when you get those users involved, and you're saying, guy, you know what's going on here, and someone will make a comment. Well, you know, on Tuesdays, this occurs, you know, they come pick up trash or whatever. And you're saying, well, is that why we are always delayed? We're sending someone there and we have someone sitting in the car for three hours, pieces, and that one comment can say save you a lot of money and time. And all you do is just shift that task to a different date. It getting input from the user Very, very important.

Travis  40:01  
Yeah, I think that's an excellent point. And next, I was also curious to learn about any books that you've recommended over the years, like, is there any, is there like a top two or top three that that you've tended to recommend over the years, whether it's to young people, whether it's to your peers, to anyone?

Nash  40:19  
I'm an avid reader, I read at least two books a month plus journals, etc. I have yet to find one book, that is the answer to life's questions. I don't believe in that. If someone asked me, I usually have some relationship with that person. And I can say, well, what are you looking for? And then I can give you a book, I avoid books with a set number of steps to success. Okay, do not do that they're shallow, they rarely work. And the parameters are so narrow, if you didn't do exactly what that author did. It's not going to work in this, what did you do this, you know, that's not my job, well, then that's why it didn't work. Each situation has a different set of variables. If you read those books, get one or two bits of gold information, you know, put that in your pouch. But if you read these books, and I've seen it time, and again, it's okay, we're going to do step one, step two, you're going to lose your team, and you're going to blow the project, it's not going to work. So don't ever think, Oh, I've got the book on 10 Steps to Success. It's not going to work. It worked for that one person. And you know what their real success is? They sold you a book. True. Okay. So that's what I do. And that's where I go back to what I said earlier, read whatever you can, especially something outside your discipline. And you say, I'm doing security work, whatever. And then you learn about the migratory path of salmon. And then five years later, you're at a place and they're saying, Well, you know, we got to put this dam up. So well, we can't do that. You know, because then you say, oh, yeah, I know some about that. And you can talk with a little bit of, of knowledge. So I recommend you read histories, because we don't want to repeat history. And I'm not talking just recent history, don't go back as far as you can read history, because everything kind of repeats itself. Read some of the biographies of the great leaders, you know, they can be political, the military, what was their challenge? And how did they overcome that challenge? Those would I recommend, read as much foreign material as you can. Because it might have happened in another city, especially if you go into you know, World War One, World War Two, the Afghan wars, read it from the perspective of our, quote, enemies at the time, and see how they looked at that situation. And then you can get a better picture of what's happening and what to do. So that'll give you an informed perspective of whatever you're doing. So anything that develops cultural intelligence, that's I tend to read foreign, read, foreign authors, foreign books, studies, etc. Look for the challenge. What is the challenge in this? How do they overcome it? So that's what I do, I don't have a one or two books that I carry around in my back pocket, because if you go to my library, most of my books are earmarked and dog eared. I have notes in all the margins and everything. I even encouraged my kids, this is what they say we can do that at school. And they say, No, you write it in there, because it made you think of something and you can come back to it 20 years later and say, I know why I put that comment there. So I don't have one book or two books.

Travis  44:00  
Yeah, I really love that advice, just to essentially to read broadly to read across disciplines to learn from some of like, the great people and events and situations throughout history, to learn how they're overcoming challenges, relate that back to challenges that you're overcoming. And then also, I do like your point too, about, like not getting caught up in like financial gurus or success or business gurus who claim to have the magic, whatever. And then, yeah, like you mentioned, there are a number of people who are essentially like snake oil sales salesmen who have made most of their money from writing books, not necessarily from their great business prowess. So I think those are excellent points. And so moving on, I also wanted to ask you, like, Are there any bad recommendations you hear people give over the years, whether it's to young people, whether it's people in their careers or in the security industry? Are there any that have that have stuck out to you that you think people should avoid, like the plague.

Nash  45:08  
The American Way is not the only way to do things. And there's some people come in and think, Hey, this is the American way it works in our country. It's going to work everyplace. And that comes from, you know, being stationed overseas for, you know, nearly two decades. You have to respect other people's culture. And you have to look at what you're going to when you come in and say that that goes right back to that, you know, a book on 10 steps of why this works in America. Well, yeah, that's but we all grew up in a shared culture and a shared economy, you go someplace else if it doesn't fit there. So you're given advice to company, public safety? Have you looked at who is in that company? They might not be from America, and they're gonna be looking at security differently, then you look at security. And sometimes they may say, Well, I want to do this a little more strong hand? Well, we don't do that in this country. If you do it over here, you can do it. But you can't do it. So no, those things I think, again, is expanding your horizon is the best recommendation I had is thinking there's only one way to do something.

Travis  46:30  
Yeah, that's an excellent point. And plus, that kind of gets back to just knowing the users that you're working with or knowing the populations that you're working with, and understanding how their culture, whether that's culture and business, whether it's culture, internet, internationally among ethnicities, and different groups. So I think those are those are excellent points. And so next, I wanted to ask you, and I think you can probably speak to this better than most people. I wanted to ask you like, as you see younger people like Gen Z, millennials, as you see them, as you see them starting to move into like leadership positions in organizations. Like how do you see them being different from some of their, from some of their predecessors? Like people in your age cohort, like a boomer? Yeah, like a boomer.

Nash  47:24  
Part of it is both sides, good and the bad. Both sides have to recognize what the experiences of the others were. Okay, so for older people like myself, I grew up in the Cold War, from kindergarten on, you know, we did nuclear attack drills, they rang a bell and you ran underneath your desk and put a book over your head and not that that would have helped you. But there was a a threat to we grew up with with a threat, right? Then we had the Vietnam War, you know, so the people that I looked up to were, they experienced World War One World War Two, the Korean War, the Vietnam War. Everyone just about knew someone or had a family member that died in a conflict that shaped society, far different from let's say, a Gen Z, or who their whole life has been peace. There's no threats, that they can say, hey, you know, this could happen. The American way of life is perfect here. But, you know, if you go outside of America, the most dangerous country, many people from other countries consider America the most dangerous country in the world. Right? So you have to understand that so when you see these people, you got to understand what their perspective is. And I think one of the best advice is to have them learn some of the experiences from the past because everything is cyclical, but you know, we've kind of unique in that we've had decades of really conflict free, you know, we did go to Iraq and Afghanistan, but it wasn't a national effort. You know, there wasn't Rosie the Riveter working because all the men were gone away. It wasn't having a victory garden, because all the food was being sent to the troops. It wasn't I'm not having we have meet once a month because we have to ensure that those protecting our country are getting the good stuff. Those are two different environments that we grow Up in. And I see that with my kids, sometimes I see Wow. And they say, oh, here goes another story, you know, walk to and from school five miles in the snow. But you know, it is different and it's something small. I walked to school, the rare time that I got to ride, it was raining really hard. Right? And one of my parents weren't working. But you see that people nowadays, young adults, their parents take them to and from school, it's it's not unusual to see at a university, the parents dropping their kids off. When I went high school, if parents dropped you off. They hazed you for that. So it's a different society. You know, we didn't have helicopter parents. Now we come from a society of helicopter parents and I am one, right, what's happening? What are you doing? And I don't think they understand some of the risks out there. So don't from my age, I try and look at okay, from your perspective, how are you seeing this, and if you're younger yet see, from their perspective, how they see this. And if you've never lived under a threat, you're not going to really grasp the totality of it. If you don't see people that say, Well, I did this, to sacrifice for my country is when like everyone sacrificed for the country, and you grew up with those stories you grew up with that, I still have a little garden that I call my victory garden. But that's what I grew up with, you know. So I think is just understanding our experiences and where we both come from, and how we look at society.

Travis  51:49  
Yeah, that's a really good point about being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes. And it goes back to what you're talking about before, which is when it comes to books, in your education, to immerse yourself in history, so that you could get into the minds of people that were living in a different time that have faced completely different situations, completely different challenges. So

Nash  52:12  
if you get the opportunity, speak to your elders, someone who lives through that, and they can tell you those stories, I had a cousin, and her mother in law would tell a story, you know, where they would go from the coast to LA. And she would giggle because you could just do it in like an hour now. She was telling where they'd have to go with horses stop halfway camp out, and then go, that was a trip to LA, I couldn't understand it, I get in the car, and I go right, up and back in one day. So talk to anyone who is older than you get their experiences, these oral histories, if you can listen to oral histories, and you can see what it's better to hear it. Especially when you can interact back and forth, then reading it sometimes. But the world we know isn't the world. It's always been there.

Travis  53:13  
Yeah, I like that, that point of view. And it reminds me of a project I did. So when I was doing my masters. Last year, we had one project where we had to interview a number of people that are that are in our industry that are like, you know, people that are way more experienced than us. So peep. So instead of me interviewing another kid in their late 20s, or 30s, interviewing someone who's in their 50s, or 60s that that's been in this industry for a long time that seen lots of changes across, you know, in society and in history. And for me, that was one of the coolest projects was just was just talking and interviewing these people to learn about what their careers were like, what happened when they got laid off from this place 20 years ago, and how they dealt with that or like businesses that they started or challenges that they've overcome as like, you know, yet as different economic economic cycles, influence industry. So yeah, I, I do really love your your perspective and your suggestion to get out there, and to just interact with more people that are in that older cohort so that you could understand them better and also so that you could draw, like, creative ideas from them from someone who's had completely different life experience.

Nash  54:28  
Yes, that's very important.

Travis  54:31  
let's see. So as we get closer to wrapping up our session, were there any other topics that you had like a burning desire to talk about or any other like, final parting words that you wanted to share with maybe young young professionals that are listening,

Nash  54:46  
and this probably goes to any young adult, develop cultural intelligence. Again, get out of your comfort zone because a lot of problems we see today is because we don't understand other people's cultures and beliefs. You have to respect those because they are important to other people.

Travis  55:10  
Yeah, cultural intelligence I see being really important. Everything from what we do in business. And then I've even had other people on the podcast, like, I did a podcast with Ana a couple months ago, and honors, she's a security intelligence manager. And one of the big ideas that came out of my conversation with her was that she thinks like, cultural intelligence is huge, and being able to go out and travel internationally and to interact with other cultures, yes, about how that influences the work that we do in security, because how it influences everything, everything from geopolitical analysis to the way that we make security recommendations just for people in our company globally. So I think that

Nash  55:54  
that was what she said, is really, really big, especially when you go to other countries, and you're doing, you know, security work and other countries and advising and consulting. You really need to know, what is the history there, because there may be some historical history there that goes back millennia that we don't know about. And here in America is, well, this works here in America, well, it's not going to work there. You know, it kind of triggered something. One of the things that I was given advice by my mother long time ago, that I also tell people, and it was one of the things I did when I was in the Navy. And when I was going to a new country, I got a hold of children's books. Who were their heroes? What are the expectations? What morals and ethics they they're learning? From children's stories? It'll tell you a lot about the people and the culture and your practices.

Travis  56:51  
That's fascinating. Yeah, I've never heard anyone put it that way. But that makes total sense. Because, yeah, the children's books are going to have all the archetypes, all the heroes, everyone that they ever want that essentially paint what is good, what is bad, and what's like, the proper way to do things. That's a really cool outlook.

Nash  57:09  
Yeah, that has gotten me far in my career. And it's good to share, you know, with the the next generation with my own kids and stuff. But that is very important. Because not everyone, well maybe you know, nowadays, you know, understand what Superman is or what his mission is, you know, every culture has their own superheroes. And if you can speak to the superheroes, especially if you're, you know, going someplace else, and I was in countries, they say oh, like OnStar. And they'd say, Oh, my God, you know. But that broke the ice. Because they say you you, you know, learned a little bit about my culture. I appreciate that. And then we then anchor the rest of our relationship on that superhero.

Travis  58:06  
Yet, that's an excellent, that's an excellent quote, to take away every culture has their own superheroes, because it's true. When you go to other cultures internationally. It's true when you interact with people who are in different different types of business cultures, from when you talk to someone who's working in HR, someone who's working in finance, when you talk to a CEO, it's like, they also have their own subcultures. And knowing all of those will make you will make you better qualified or better equipped to interact with them. I think definitely. I think that's very cool advice. Yeah. Well, Nash, I really appreciate you sharing your time with me today, we went over some really interesting topics, everything from expanding our learning domains to expanding our cultural intelligence, and then also just kind of learning about your cool journey from work from being enlisted in the Navy to being a professor now in criminal justice and security studies. So yeah, I really appreciate you sharing your time with me today, Nash. It's been it's been an honor chatting.

Nash  59:09  
It's my pleasure. And it's been an honor, I learned so much from this interview myself, too. Thank you.

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