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WE ARE PEOPLE

People are awesome, and all of them have a story.

This is ours.

HOW IT STARTED


In 2004, our founders were faced with a challenge.

Fresh out of school at the University of Calgary, Chris Kerr found himself working behind the scenes at many of the concerts that toured through the MacEwan Hall stage. Seeing a need for team of event production staff, Chris joined up with a couple partners, and we were founded as Backstage Support Services Ltd. A year later in 2005, we entered the security guard business with a strong focus on crowd management and live entertainment. Leaning on Chris' growing experience of producing events and directing venue security teams across the country, we began to zero in on calm, compassionate de-escalation as our core principle for how we managed situations. As the music festival scene in Alberta grew, so did our team, and by 2008, we were the go-to security vendor for notable music festival properties like Virgin Festival at Fort Calgary, Monsters of Rock at McMahon Stadium, and Sonic Boom at Edmonton Northlands, among others.

Unlike most, the origins of this security company are not out of law enforcement, or the military. That's not to say one is more right than the other. It's just the way it happened. Back at the start, the goal was to make a better guest experience for the concertgoer. That was it. The thinking was - who could better manage these crowds, than the actual people that make them up? We never set out to be deliberately diverse. In fact, we primarily set out to hire based on who had the right vibe. Therefore, nothing else mattered above how well the potential candidate could empathize, communicate, and learn. Most importantly, could we trust them to always do the right thing? Security experience and a license was largely unimportant - experience could be earned, and a license acquired. What resulted over the course of the next few years with this hiring philosophy in mind, was an incredible team of over 200 that was diverse, LBGTQ+ inclusive, aged between 18-70, and almost half female that represented the province's largest entertainment facilities and the world's largest concert promoters.

HOW IT'S GOING


Nearly 20 years later, we are XA Security.

In 2014, long-time client and friend Greg Stephenson joined the company as Managing Partner. Greg's superpower is coaching. He has a remarkable ability to connect with people, and his mentorship effected a culture change that unearthed how important self-improvement and learning were to our success. In 2016, we looked beyond events, eager to get our empathetic, forward-thinking security guards in front of new markets. Realizing it would be hard to do that called Backstage Support Services, the company underwent a re-branding to XA Security. We wanted to focus on who we are, rather than what we do. So after some amazing discussion about what makes us tick, we realized that what we love to do most is facilitate great experiences for people. So we became XA - short for Experience Ambassadors.

Today, we extract the most professional and personal satisfaction out of making someone's day better. We just don't buy into the idea that security somehow must be synonymous with tough. We believe security should be synonymous with smart. We are here to support our public safety partners by being proactive, observant, and taking great notes. We celebrate how many non-physical de-escalation interactions we achieved in a shift.

Whether we are working in loss prevention, retail, construction, office, night patrol, or stage front at a show...

We excel because we know that for every one issue that needs a security response, there are ninety-nine that need a human response.

It's this awareness that is our difference.

OUR TEAM


Chris Kerr

President, Founder


Chris’ path into crowd safety and major event management began at the University of Calgary where he was Vice President Events on the Students’ Union in 2001. It was here that he was exposed to the fundamental values of tolerance, patience, and diplomacy in difficult crowd situations. In 2004, he founded the company to staff local live events. In 2005, he brought the company into the security industry and over the following 15 years, grew the team to over 800 with offices in Calgary and Edmonton, and has established the company as a recognized crowd safety leader.

Today, in addition to leading the XA Security team, Chris is also a respected production manager of concert tours, music festivals, and major ticketed events with global experience. Among his many roles, Chris is the Production Manager for Grammy Award winning recording artist Zedd, and the Festival Operations Director for the annual FVDED in the Park music festival in Surrey, BC which hosts 25,000 music fans annually.

His strong relationships with government agencies and regulators are a result of his collaborative approach to site operations and crowd safety, and his successful management of large, ticketed events on government properties.

He is the Vice-Chair of the Event Safety Alliance Canada, and a vocal advocate of elevating global event and crowd safety standards. He is driven by ethics, social responsibility, and community building.

Greg Stephenson

Managing Partner


Greg Stephenson is a passionate leader and coach who graduated with an MBA from the respected Haskayne School of Business. He has over 30 years of experience in Food and Beverage, Risk Management, Labour, and Ticketing. Before joining the XA Security team as a partner in 2014, his previous roles have included Owner at Prime Box Office (regional ticketing company located in Calgary), Food Beverage and Events Director at the University of Calgary Students’ Union, and Owner at Rare Events, a specialized food & beverage staffing agency.

XA Security’s unique and inclusive culture is a direct reflection of Greg’s unique experience, and notably influenced by his time at the University of Calgary. Greg was integral in designing, opening and operating the extremely successful MacEwan Hall, MacEwan Ballroom, and Den/Black Lounge, and implementing security and safety policies across the properties. Most importantly, Greg's leadership is deeply rooted in the special university culture where respect, honesty, learning, and inclusion are non-negotiable values.

His education, history, patience, and passion for coaching and mentoring has been a core ingredient in XA Security's success.

Jill Volker

Director, Professional Standards


Jill joined XA Staffing in 2011 as a security guard after completing her EMT education and a degree in Criminal Justice. It wasn’t long before she was a security supervisor and managing teams on-site at major events. From 2013 - 2020 as Operations Manager, Jill was instrumental in effecting a complete culture shift at the company, and implementing systems and policies to allow XA Staffing to be more efficient, safer, and compliant.

Today, Jill is the company’s Professional Standards Director where she oversees the HR, Training, and Policy operations of the company. She has completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Crowd Safety and Risk Analysis from Metropolitan Manchester University, as well as a certificate in Occupational Health & Safety from the University of Alberta. She is a key member of the senior leadership team she continues to grow and develop the company’s training programs, policies, and professional standards.

Her passion, and relentless drive for improvement motivates her to push the conventions of the security industry. She embraces the dynamic nature of society and strives to exceed industry benchmarks in both crowd and risk management, by continuously looking for innovate ways to enhance public safety and crowd interactions.

Dan Smith

Director, Client Partnerships


Dan Smith is a capable and affable security industry and leadership veteran. Previously an executive with Garda World Cash Services, where he oversaw operations across Western Canada, Dan joined XA Security as the company’s Director of Client Partnerships in 2020.

Dan’s rich history includes a 22-year career in the Royal Air Force that saw him deployed to various locations across the globe. Today, he continues to develop and apply skills sharpened in numerous operational environments. He believes in a unified approach to security and customer delight, and understands that success comes from anticipation, preparation, and communication. Throughout his career in private security, Dan has focused on creating value with every client, guest, and employee interaction.

Graham Larkin

Finance Manager


Getting his start in the world of commission sales, Graham quickly found that he had a passion for the numbers side of business. After several years as an accountant for a property management firm, Graham's personality and interests steered him toward small business, where he managed the finances for a local Calgary skateboard shop before arriving as the Finance Manager for XA Security in 2020.

Graham is a super passionate learner who values family, inclusivity, and positivity. He satisfies his passion for helping others achieve their personal goals through his business that provides fitness equipment rentals.

Matt Bevis

Operations Manager


Hailing from the live entertainment world, Matt Bevis is a skilled production and site operations manager with over 10 years of experience. Originally from Winnipeg, Matt was integral to the event operations team of the Bell MTS Centre where he managed venue logistics for major touring productions such as the JUNO Awards, Cirque du Soleil, and others.

In 2017, Matt made the move to Calgary, where he joined the company’s event operations team as the Production Lead where he held roles including Site Manager for the FVDED in the Park music festival in Surrey, BC, and Stage Manager for recording artist Zedd.

Today, Matt is the Operations Manager and the glue for ensuring our team is on-time, prepared, and ready to help.

Aaron George

Night Operations Manager


A passionate security professional, Aaron George has 10 years of security industry experience in mobile patrols, alarm response and monitoring, airport operations, and team management. Aaron enjoys working with collaborative teams that share information, and believes in positivity and respect in all interactions.

Aaron joined the XA team in 2020 as the Night Operations Manager where he keeps the company's decision making machine running 24 hours a day.

 

ARE YOU A FIT FOR OUR CULTURE?


If you value safety, learning, and empathy, a career with us might be for you.

We have great perks, like above average earnings, access to Alberta's best live events, and a management style focused on coaching, development, and growth.