Gannon University Faculty Member Co-Authors Book for Risk Managers

Posted: February 24, 2017

David Smith is the director of the insurance and risk management program at Gannon University's Dahlkemper School of Business, so you would expect him to have experience in the insurance industry. Smith has held positions in underwriting, product development and market intelligence during his long insurance career, but he also had a concurrent career in the U.S. Army Reserve that included 10 years as both a combat and a strategic military intelligence officer. This provided the opportunity for active duty for training periods as an analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency and as an instructor at the U.S. Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

It was there that he met Mark Silinski, Ph.D., a man whom Smith said, "is an outstanding terrorist profiler." Silinski is also the co-author of Smith's first book, "The Manager's Guide to Terrorism, Risk, and Insurance: Essentials for Today's Business."

The book, currently available in an electronic edition from Rothstein Publishing, has been ranked in the top 100 business books on Amazon.com and was designed for risk managers at companies and risk management students.

"Most of the focus has been forensic, or responding to the risk. We weren't sure risk managers were looking at the kinds of threats that were happening, and we thought people could reduce their risk by considering them," Smith said.

"One way to do that is with knowledge, and another by taking steps to make your business or location a hard target rather than a soft target. If everybody hardens yourself against exposure, your risk is reduced. As [former Secretary of Homeland Security] Tom Ridge says, 'terrorism has been with us for a while and it's not going to go away.' Our approach is from the standpoint of loss prevention, as opposed to how you react to a loss, which is what the Navy SEALs can do."

The e-book contains two chapters, defining terrorism and loss prevention. There is information on how terrorist cells work and why recent attacks in San Bernardino and Brussels caught risk managers by surprise.

An expanded print edition due this year will include additional chapters on eco-terrorism, product tampering, and threats to infrastructure and the environment, all of which can hurt the economy according to Smith.

"We'll also discuss the use of barriers and electronic surveillance, two elements of a basic security checklist for every business," Smith said. "We'll discuss how to assess a site and look at the progressive collapse risk."

The book is the culmination of a process that was set in motion almost four years ago. Working on the book, Smith says, "has improved my writing skills," but he's not eager to write another one anytime soon. Still, he says, "we'll keep this one current."