Intern Finds Pipeline to Future Corporate Career

Intern Nicole Aquais at Air Liquide.

Nicole Aquais did an internship at Air Liquide.

As an intern for American Air Liquide, Nicole Aguais spent the Fall helping to keep more than 5,000 employees, 200 facilities, and 2,000 miles of industrial gas pipeline in the U.S. safe for a multi-national company.

Air Liquide, a $20 billion global firm with 50,000 employees in 80 countries, is the world leader in providing gases for industry, health and the environment. In the U.S., the company’s products serve a wide array of businesses, including gases used for treating patients in hospitals, for operating pipelines, for the manufacture of computer parts and for stabilizing plastic water bottles, to name just a few.

Woman in the lab.“Anything you can image, we have something to do with,” said Aguais. “Even though we are in the industrial oil and gas industry, we are more of a ‘big picture’ corporation with more global security needs.”

As a Master’s student in Security Studies, Aguais is assisting the company with security for its employees and facilities. This included providing vulnerability and risk assessments, security analysis, and investigative reports.

Aguais developed advisories for employees travelling abroad by researching high-risk issues and areas in foreign countries, such as Mexico and South America. She also provided crime comparison reports for specific locations, comparing official government documents with data collected on what actually occurred in those areas. Those reports are used to identify safe locations, drivers and hotels for company employees.

Aguais also is spearheading a new campaign for employees in the U.S, finding innovative ways to raise awareness about security issues in and out of the workplace. The campaign will feature security articles in the monthly company newsletter, which may include issues such as workplace violence, weapon policies, travel safety, physical security, as well as security and safety tips delivered through posters, desk drops, and surveys.

“We want to raise our security awareness by utilizing multiple avenues,” said Aguais.

At Air Liquide, Aguais had the opportunity to work with company officials from the broad spectrum of services offered, which provided her with a wealth of contacts for future employment. She said the networking opportunities have been “phenomenal.”

“She has made connections that she can use throughout her career, whether or not she stays in Air Liquide,” said Rachel Ortega, Director of Corporate Security for the Americas. “She has met with a large number of people in a large number of business lines. From my perspective, the biggest benefit is that this is a big organization. It would be a Fortune 500 company, if it were traded on the U.S stock exchange. Nicole has received the big corporation experience in what feels more like a medium-sized company.”

Ortega said Aguais was well trained in security practices, but it was her “go-getter” attitude that set her apart.

“She was well-trained, but what has made her so successful are her personal qualities,” said Ortega. “She is exceptional and a delight to work with.”

Worker on top of industrial gas tank.

Aguais said her security studies courses at the College of Criminal Justice, especially projects where she designed a team security company, helped prepare her for a career in the field.

“Every single thing I learned in the security studies program, I use here,” said Aguais.

This opportunity has allowed Aguais to “experience a wide range of security issues that our major corporations face every day, which are often overlooked and go unnoticed.” Aguais looks forward to continuing her corporate security career with Air Liquide upon her graduation this December.

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