SHSU Alumnus Garrett Samples turned an internship into a job at Mustang Engineering.
For the 6,500 employees at Mustang Engineering, Garrett Samples (MS ’12) serves as eyes and ears around the world to help keep them safe on the job.
Mustang Engineering, a global company based in Houston, has offices around the world in such places as Abu Dhabi, Angola, Kuala Lumpur, London and Mumbai. As a leader in engineering, design, and management services for the oil and gas and manufacturing industries, the company employs a global security force to protect its employees and assets wherever they are located.
Mustang Engineering has offices worldwide.“It has a large number of people traveling abroad to a wide variety of locations,” said Samples. “Our first priority is to keep people safe.”
Samples recently turned a summer internship at Mustang into a full-time job with the company. As a Master’s student, Samples pursued a degree in Security Studies because he wanted to know what was happening in the world and how he could help. He held out for an internship as an analyst and found out about the Mustang Engineering opportunity five minutes after the request for an intern was made.
Since getting the internship, Samples has used his training from Sam Houston State University to make a difference.
Mustang protects employees and assets in the oil and gas and manufacturing industries.“I would not have been able to do this job without Sam’s program,” said Samples. “There is not a day or an hour that goes by that some concept or activity that I learned at Sam comes up, whether it is using GIS systems, survey methods or legal precedents I learned in class. I can use all of these in one ten minute period on a single project.”
Samples ended his internship with the company on Aug. 3. He graduated from SHSU on Aug. 4 and on Aug. 6, he began his first official day as an employee.
“It worked out fabulously for us,” said Michael Daigle, the Director of Global Security for Mustang. “He was at the right time and the right place. He really got the opportunity to jump in with both feet.”
Samples was the first intern in Global Security department for Mustang, but not the first SHSU student to work for Daigle. Daigle recently retired as the Deputy Special Agent in Charge at the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in Houston, where he hosted several interns from the College of Criminal Justice
“We were using undergraduate interns and they were very successful,” said Daigle. “I have nothing but a positive impression of the quality of students that came out of that program.”
Mustang has 6,500 employees around the globe.As an analyst, Samples’ work entails providing security briefings to employees traveling around the world. These briefings offer information on geo-political features of the country, threats and security hazards and how to avoid problems and issues. Samples said he uses many of the lessons learned in security classes, only this time with a lot more information at his fingertips.
The briefings include information on the culture and geography of the region and focus on general street crimes, violent protest or terrorist groups, conventional military threats and environmental concerns, such as traffic or road conditions. This information is used to assess the most likely or critical threats and to develop comprehensive plans on how to address them. In addition to providing security tips for employees, the company also has contacts with security professionals around the world to help ensure employee safety.
For example, in some areas of the world, there may be a threat of kidnapping for ransom. In addition to hiring local drivers for employees, Samples offers counter surveillance techniques to make it hard to plan such actions. These may include changing times of arrival or departure, identifying and using many alternative routes, having backup plans and alternative locations in case the employee is followed and contingency plans in case anything goes awry.
The global security team assesses risks at every location.“He focuses on gathering intelligence to keep our people and assets protected around the world,” said Daigle. “Some places are okay; some placed are not okay.”
Daigle hopes to provide more internship opportunities to SHSU Security Studies student s in the future. While Daigle may not be able to offer them a job, as he did with Samples, he can provide real-life experience in conducting threat assessments and expose them to security professionals with other energy sector employers.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity to be exposed to people that do this type of work on a daily basis,” said Daigle.
The College of Criminal Justice has about 200 internships opportunities available in various aspects of the field, and undergraduate students can earn nine elective credits toward their degree. For more information, contact Dr. Jim Dozier at (936) 294-4819.