At the cognitive age of fourteen, it is normal for a boy to start focussing on the future and setting personal goals. Some even challenge the assumptions and solutions presented by adults. Fourteen-year-olds want their independence.
In retrospect, Andrew Witham was a normal 14-year-old.
Certainly, he had been thinking about what he wanted to be in life and had decided he wanted to be an engineer.
The traditional choice of professions, certainly in Jamaica, were lawyer or doctor or engineer.
Little thought is given to the type of engineer one wants to be. But Andrew, or Drew as he is fondly called, was not like that. He knew that he wanted to be a train engineer –
specifically, a signalling and telecommunications engineer.
As the eldest of four siblings, he knew he needed to set an example. He would study hard, he would graduate at the top of his class, and he would attend university and become a train engineer. Naturally, his younger siblings would follow in his footsteps.
Or, alternately, he would have a great time at school, fool around, have fun, forget to study for his exams and not go to university.
For reasons best known to him, Drew decided on the latter approach.
At eighteen years old, Drew packed his bags, jumped in his car and drove off over the horizon to find fame and fortune.
Sorry, let me read that again…
At eighteen years old, Drew packed his bags jumped onto his bicycle and rode off over the horizon to find fame and fortune.
I do apologise for having misrepresented the facts.
Tonight, he has found fame, maybe tomorrow he will find fortune. Unless he has shares in Twitter, in which case he probably found fortune a few days ago.
I am sure you will be surprised to learn that Drew’s first job was in engineering. Seriously.
Andrew Witham’s first job was building record cleaning machines. Technician? Engineer? – what’s in a name?
From building record cleaning machines, he went on to building an impressive resume in the fields of management, law enforcement, security management and lots of volunteer work.
But for his dodgy eyesight, he would have joined the police. However he was not deterred and was able to join the special constabulary.
He saw himself in law enforcement even if others couldn’t.
The special constabulary was a volunteer organisation and Andrew spent fifteen years donating thousands of volunteer hours to law enforcement.
During those early years, Andrew held managerial positions in a number of companies.
From 1995 to 1998 he became the corporate fraud and security manager with a media company, ComTel, now Virgin Media. He describes his time at ComTel as his favourite job.
At ComTel, Andrew performed loss prevention functions and managed physical security. He supervised over 2,000 staff covering over 54 premises, in addition, he served as a single point of contact for all fifty-two police departments throughout the UK.
His more notable initiatives included establishing a “Malicious Call Trace” initiative to prevent fraudulent criminal reports, and overseeing the development of software and hardware solutions for network security, fraud detection, and access security.
In addition, he held “expert witness” status in the field of telecommunications, assisting in the industry drafting of the Telecommunications (Fraud) Act 1997.
He was a guest speaker at the 1998 Telecommunications Billing Conference in Atlanta, GA. Where he spoke on "Fraud Control - Competitive Pressures, Common Challenges and Future Directions"
And he was a founding Member of the Telecomm UK Fraud Forum and a member of the Communications Fraud Control Association.
A list of accomplishments for which he feels a sense of pride to this day.
After ComTel, Andrew moved to California where he held several law enforcement and private security positions.
Unfortunately, Andrew’s health deteriorated because of his intense professional routine.
So he decided to leave California for a nice quiet Caribbean island which had low crime rates and a stress free environment. Everything a man recovering from a heart attack needs.
He chose Jamaica. And we are the better for it.
Andrew began working as the Post Security Manager and Fire Safety Manager at the British high commission in 2013.
In this role he is responsible for the day-to-day management of security. He also provides professional advice on physical security issues.
We suspect that this is now Andrew’s favourite job because he has spent more time here than he spent at ComTel.
Drew describes himself as a dynamic, results-oriented professional with strong aptitudes in leadership, conflict resolution and security management in both national and international settings.
We couldn’t agree more.
Drew joined ASIS International in 2019 and immediately reached out to the Jamaica chapter where he was welcomed with open arms.
Since then, he has served on the chapter’s management committee as Sergeant at Arms and was recognised as member of the quarter (October to December) in the year 2020.
Again, his own words best describe how he performed his duties as sergeant of arms, “I possess superior interpersonal skills, and I'm able to communicate and project a positive image with an action orientation to support rules and regulations that govern companies/society.”
His influence on the chapter, and on our sometimes-wayward behaviour, has lifted us to a new, higher level of professionalism, which we are striving to maintain.
Andrew, for your lifelong service to the profession of industrial security, for your learned contributions to the development of our craft and for your service to the Jamaica chapter of ASIS international.
We take great pride in awarding you an Award of Merit.