Miami River security specialist Pi±on Iraq bound
Joe Pi'on, who was instrumental in the development of security programs on the Miami River in the aftermath of 9/11, is heading to Iraq as an employee of the U.S. State Department.
Pi'on launched the river security program in 2002 when he was the homeland security director for Miami-Dade County. The county had created the position for a year to get local security programs in place as the many post-9/11 regulations were developed.
Pi'on has also served as chairman of the Security Committee of the Miami River Commission since 2002, serving in an oversight role for river security, and has been a key player in assisting Miami River businesses achieve compliance with federal Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) regulations as an associate of the Miami-based security firm Inquesta Corp.
Jacques Island, president of Inquesta, will replace Pi'on as chairman of the Security Committee, which includes representatives from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, as well as private-sector Miami River interests. Island is a former FBI agent who formed his own security firm after leaving the bureau.
For Pi'on, the upcoming assignment in Iraq is another step in a highly diverse career. He was a police officer for 16 years before moving into city management-type local government positions. He was assistant city manager with the City of Miami Beach from 1990 to 1999. He then worked for the City of Miami as an assistant city manager for a year, before shifting over into government management consulting, with an emphasis on security issues. He then spent a year in the security post for Miami-Dade County before hooking up with Inquesta.
In Iraq, Pi'on will be working as a direct employee of the State Department, serving as a senior advisor of projects under development with the U.S. government. Pi'on said the position is roughly equivalent to the type of work done by city managers with oversight of local capital improvement projects. He will initially be working under a one-year contract with the State Department.
And what is his assessment of the progress of security on the Miami River?
'It's improved 1,000 percent,' Pi'on said. 'Before 9/11, there really were no rules. Now compliance is at a maximum. Every facility on the river has a security program that's been approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. They're all in compliance with MTSA and conduct regular drills and exercises.'