2018 Top 40 Under 40: Branden Porter, MS, PSP, WSO-CSSD

Sept. 14, 2018
Branden Porter, MS, PSP, WSO-CSSD, System Security Manager, Sound Transit
  • One word to describe yourself: Driven
  • Alma Mater: Central Washington University
  • Favorite book: "I like reading anything related to history."
  • Favorite TV show: "The 100"
  • Favorite movie: "Transformers"
  • Favorite hobby(s): Sports, fishing, hiking and traveling.
  • Fun fact about yourself: "I have a twin sister."

Branden Porter has done an exceptional job during his time here at Sound Transit as the transit system security manager.

Porter was the Public Safety Division’s point person for safety and security certification of both U-Link and the Angle Lake extension. For context about the scope of that work, Porter has had to verify all certifiable items that have been identified as security critical; verify that all the security criteria in the design criteria manual has been achieved; and that all resolutions identified in the threat and vulnerability assessments have been implemented. This was a critical step in both the U-Link extension and the Angle Lake extension opening in 2016, both on-time and under-budget.

Porter has completed all the necessary design reviews for East Link, Lynnwood Link and has begun work on the Federal Way Extension along with each of these three extensions’ preliminary threat and vulnerability assessments. These assessments require coordination between the project and the authorities having jurisdictions in addition to capturing Sound Transit's security and law enforcement lesson learned. Porter works closely with both the design teams and operations to develop solutions that balance risks and operational impacts with design limitations of scope, schedule and budget.

Porter is adept at managing expectations of local jurisdictions and internal teams. Porter is currently leading the team responsible for the design reviews and security certifications of all projects within Sound Transit’s $54 billion Capital Expansion Program; a program which delivers high-capacity transit service extensions and additions set to open nearly every year starting in 2019 through 2041.

Porter has found his home in transit and has endeavored to learn the business of transit. He has successfully participated in Sound Transit's Management Excellence Program (MEP) and is currently a member of Sound Transit's ENOMAX cohort. ENOMAX is an exchange program between peer agencies that send a diverse cross section of managers to learn from each agency. Porter was selected as one of six managers to represent Sound Transit in this program.

Porter also is an instructor for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Transportation Safety Institute (TSI) and routinely teaches courses throughout the United States. He is well regarded as an instructor and is often consulted as a subject matter expert in a variety of transit security-related topics.

Porter serves on the American Public Transportation Association's committee on Public Safety; the Physical Security Council for ASIS; and the Infrastructure and Risk Working Group for TSA/APTA.

Other highlights of Porter’s career include developing and implementing Sound Transit’s security methodology which provides a standard by which threats are evaluated and rated; developing and implementing the operational Threat and Vulnerability Assessment Program, which includes  identifying security vulnerabilities throughout the system and coming up with security mitigations to lower the security risk to the lowest practical level; developing and implemeint the Security Certification Program, which consists of conducting threat and vulnerabilities for projects in design and identifying the certifiable security items; and developing and implementing Sound Transit's Physical Security Program Plan.

"I spent 10 years as a law enforcement officer and decided I wanted to do something different but still be involved in some aspect of public safety. I have also always been interested in security risk management so when this opportunity presented itself it was a great fit for me."

"My job requires me to work with all the different divisions within the agency and fits into the overall agency mission. Being able to do this gives me a better understanding of how we can align with other divisions to support each other in meeting our goals and objectives. This also gives me the opportunity to work with a diverse group of people with different backgrounds that can bring forth great ideas based on their experiences."

"Threats against transit systems are continually changing and evolving. Being able to effectively evaluate the threats and determine the actual risk to the agency is very important. Since risk mitigation projects can be costly, it’s important to understand the agencies risk tolerance levels and make sure we are considering the risk verse costs. When we do this, we can prioritize the risk mitigation projects to ensure we are allocating budgets to mitigate the right risks from a business standpoint and at times this can be very challenging."     

"Professionally, I am most proud of the Transit System Security Program I have built at Sound Transit. Through the years, I have been able to create, develop and implement our threat methodology, while developing a process as to how security risks are evaluated and mitigated. I have been able to develop a team of dedicated professionals who utilize our established processes that allows us to design, build and operate a safe and secure transit system."    

"Technology is crucial in transit security, and it will continue to increase in importance as technologies change and develop. Over the next ten years, I predict that we will become more reliant on technologies, including video and server based analytics, as they will play an essential role in establishing business intelligence. Business intelligence will allow us   the capability to identify priorities and deploy resources more efficiently. This information should also be used by other business units to assist them in making more informed decisions and create efficiencies."                                        

"Working in public transit, we have the opportunity to have a positive impact on people’s quality of life. Either by taking vehicles off the roads and reducing vehicle congestion or by giving our customers a reliable, safe and relaxing experience on a bus or train. From a regional perspective, public transit has a positive impact on the communities it serves and the businesses within those service areas. Being able to play a role in creating these positive impacts is what I like most about being involved in public transit."