STT Security Supervisor Sarah Birtell received this month’s Employee Spotlight award! Officer Birtell is commended for her work ethic and for taking pride in the company that she works for. STT Security Director Rich Willis offered praise for Officer Birtell, stating:
Sarah Birtell is an excellent employee; she’s always on time, very dependable, and reliable. She is who I have designated as the lead supervisor, and she takes pride in the security department and STT. Sarah also works well with all other department head managers.The client, local police, and other departments will go to Sarah when the security director is not available. She’s essentially an Assistant Director of Security. She keeps security officers and most supervisors informed and accountable. She has an excellent rapport with mall management and tenants. She is always called upon and assigned the challenging tasks and assignments.Overall, Sarah Birtell is a dedicated employee and the backbone of the security department.
Tell me about yourself:
I’m just a regular suburban girl working in the city-atmosphere. I like hiking, going to the gym, reading – anything to wind down after work. The atmosphere where I work is challenging, but it’s nice to work with people who are kind and compassionate. I like the challenge of de-escalating situations and getting involved where some others might not want to. I love the people I work with. I’ve got a strong work ethic and am a part-time EMT on the side trying to become a paramedic. The crossover between security and EMT work has allowed me to view all challenges through a different lens. I step into positions that security personnel might not typically get involved in. I’ll take on additional work and don’t look for the recognition simply because I don’t want the people I work with to have to deal with it. It also makes the day go by quicker! It’s a very interesting job, so you see any and everything here. I think that’s why I’ve stayed so long with STT; every day is different.
When did you begin working for STT?
I started as a part-time Security Officer in 2004. I was referred to the job by a teacher of mine in high school who knew someone who worked at STT. A friend I went to school with was also a Police Officer and referred me to a guy who then became my supervisor when I first started!
What drew you to security work?
I was always interested in this type of work. I was jokingly seen as “the director of security” in high school because I would always intervene in fights and try to de-escalate things between people. I worked part-time as a dispatcher for the local police department, but I wanted something with more variation. I’m a very active person who wants to walk around and be involved with things that are going on, so security is a great fit for me.
What do you like about working for STT?
STT is very personable. You aren’t a badge or ID number – everyone knows you by name. We get our issues sorted out right away. It honestly feels a bit like a family instead of a business. We don’t have many problems; we don’t go over each other’s heads – but everyone is comfortable talking to [the STT home office] if need be because it doesn’t feel like your typical hierarchy or corporate ladder.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I would say it’s the love/hate I have with being challenged. Challenges make the job interesting and keep things fresh every day. It makes me deal with new situations every day. If one word could describe my work, it would definitely be “challenging.” It can be mentally and physically draining, but I love it. It’s a great stepping-stone to see if you’re cut out for this type of work – police, paramedics, fire fighters. As a Security Officer, I’ve dealt with fires, gas and water leaks, shootings, medical emergencies – you name it. If you want to work for the public, this is a great place to start.
What does an average day of work look like?
Well, due to the pandemic, it’s a bit more of a challenge. We have to constantly enforce face masks and social distancing policies [at the mall where I work], on top of our normal patrols and responsibilities. We make sure we’re catching any hazards, theft, fights – or arguments that are about to escalate into fights – we just make sure things are running smoothly. We’ve also seen an increase in gang activity lately. We’re here to serve the public professionally and with integrity, so we make sure these things are prevented or taken care of right away. Weekends can be challenging as well because there is a youth-curfew we have to enforce on top of everything else. And I don’t mean to make it sound like this is a tough place – it’s not a scary job, but it’s also not a place for weak people. You have to constantly be on edge because you are in charge of making sure nothing unwanted happens. It’s a very nice mall but things can get ugly really quick!