Meet Security Manager Keith Smith

Published on : 10/19/22
    • Time with Sodexo: 6 years
    • Location: Keeyask Generation Project, Northern Manitoba
    • Segment: Energy & Resources
    • Role: Security Manager 


    Keith Smith is a security manager of Métis ancestry. He has been with Sodexo since 2016.  

    Since starting at Sodexo, Keith’s career path has not stopped growing. From security guard to supervisor, to assistant manager and now security manager, the opportunities kept coming. He has been a security manager for six months now, running the security department at the Keeyask Generation Project, a work camp in Northern Manitoba.

    His role as security manager requires effective communication with the clients. Though the clients make the final decisions, him and his team’s input is important. I write a lot of standard operating procedures (SOPs), says Keith, to make sure we are following whatever the clients’ needs are.

    On a daily basis, they deal with a variety of situations on camp, such as medical emergencies and fire alarms. His team works with many partners that support many types of situations they may face on the camp, including emergency response services, or ERS. We deal with a lot of the surrounding communities, Keith tells us. So, we’ve setup a system with the ERS to liaison with them if the First Nations people we partner with have any issues or challenges.

    As the Keeyask project is ending, the activity on site has been slowing down. But the security team typically stay until the very end, and sometimes longer. We have a skeleton staff that stays a little longer because there are teams finishing up some work, and we need some agents to watch the site and operate the security gates.


    Training and Growing at Sodexo

    To get to where he is now, Keith started with on-the-job training and online courses provided by Sodexo. It was a combination of the two: taking courses on [Sodexo’s online learning platform] and learning on the job to gain the experience. Keith also reached out to his managers to support his growth. I had good mentors. My managers wanted me to grow in certain roles and encouraged me. When you have upper management saying, ‘What do we have to do to get you where we you want to go?’ that makes a big difference.

    The resources are there, he continues. It’s a matter of personal preference. You take the course you think you might need for your current role.

    Keith says the management structure and open-door policy supports his growth. If you’re actively involved and come with ideas and concerns, and upper management sits down with you to resolve it, you feel part of the decision-making process, right?

    And this has in turn influenced his own management style. I’ve learned a lot about myself, too. I didn’t want to have an autocratic type of management style. I want to offer open, encouraging, and helpful mentorship. I don’t look at it like my role is above you. I’m in a role where I’m here to support and encourage you.


    Supporting Indigenous Employees

    When it comes to understanding and supporting Indigenous employees, Keith says Sodexo walks the talkIt’s one thing to have policies and procedures, and partnerships. That’s the starting point. But then you must go forward and say this is where we are going to support First Nations people, and this is where opportunities are available.

    I don’t think a lot of people in Canada realize the challenges that First Nations peoples deal with. There are institutionalized roadblocks for them. There aren’t a lot of opportunities of employment in northern regions, Keith says. In my experience, Sodexo has been creating these opportunities and making resources available for First Nations peoples and partners.

    There have been a lot of people promoted to upper management where I am, and a lot of them are from partnering communities. Sodexo is there to support them. It’s a good partnership. It really is.

    Learn more about Sodexo’s inclusive work environment strategies.