End Users '20 under 40' 2017—Brady A. Phelps

 - 
Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Brady A. Phelps, 32

Physical security supervisor, Grant County Public Utility District

Ephrata, Wash.

Brady Phelps manages a lot of the security projects for Grant County Public Utility District; “Our county covers 2,700 square miles, so that's a lot of sites, and a lot of transmission lines and a lot of substations,” he said.

“I started at Grant County back in January 2016 and when I got there I had to completely redesign the security department—and the whole program—from the ground up,” Phelps said. Phelps helped to establish Grant County’s first district security operations center for access control monitoring and video surveillance in July 2016, as well as a new drone program around March 2017.

Phelps manages the guard force, risk assessments and security assessments, cyber- and physical security awareness training in the district as well as Grant County PUD’s requirements under the North American Electric Reliability Corporation.

“We have 60-plus substations, we have two hydro-electric projects on the Columbia River in Washington State—that's how we generate all of our power via hydro.” These projects are federally regulated dam projects, he noted.

After serving in the U.S. Marine Corp., Phelps worked as a security officer in various industries, such as loss prevention, hospitality security, event security and private contracting. Phelps had a role as a field investigator for Tuscon Electric Power, “That really opened my eyes to the potential for a security career—in both physical and cyber—in the utility industry. … I decided that [is] what I really liked and that’s where my passion was,” Phelps said.

Asked about the future of physical security, Phelps predicted more overlap with cybersecurity. “I think that each and every physical security professional is going to have to open up to the idea that they’re going to have to be cybersecurity professionals as well,” he said.