Federico Casso, a Laredo, Texas, native and a site security manager (SSM) with the U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), is the recipient of the 2020 Special Agent Daniel E. O’Connor Memorial Award for Excellence in Site Security Management. He was selected for his outstanding performance and innovative leadership as SSM at the New Consulate Compound (NCC) construction project in Guadalajara, Mexico. SSM Casso was selected from a field of nominees representing posts worldwide.
SSM Casso managed all security aspects of the NCC $330 million construction project while navigating new safety precautions and resource limitations due to COVID-19. In his efforts to keep the project moving forward, Casso developed new personnel safety procedures to limit the spread of the virus at the construction site. The new procedures included a new screening process for all personnel at a designated area, dedicated guards to open and close doors, and staggered arrival times for workers. He also eliminated badge exchanges and developed an alternate personnel tracking system.
SSM Casso’s new safety procedures were so effective that they were adopted by the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Building Operations Security Management headquarters to use worldwide.
“Federico’s leadership instilled confidence in his team, improved security performance and oversight,” said Matt Davis, project director for Overseas Buildings Operations in Guadalajara. “He bridged the gap between construction and security management,” Davis added. During Hispanic Heritage Month, SSM Casso is an exemplar of the Latino leadership within the U.S. Department of State.
“I feel very honored to be selected for this award,” said SSM Casso. “I was doing my job making sure the staff was safe while getting the job done.”
Federico Casso is the son of Yvonne Casso Diaz of Laredo and the late Alfonso I. Casso. He is a 1986 graduate of Joseph W. Nixon High School. In 1990, he received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Three years later, he graduated with a master’s in urban administration from Trinity University in San Antonio. He received his Juris Doctor from St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio in 1997. He began his career with DSS in 2004 as an assistant regional security officer at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia.
Casso has previously served in regional security offices in Asuncion, Paraguay, and Accra, Ghana. In July 2019, SSM Casso was the recipient of the “Paraguayan National Police Medal of Merit,” an award created to honor police officials and civilians who provide extraordinary assistance to the Paraguayan National Police.
The Daniel E. O’Connor Memorial Award for Excellence honors the late Daniel E. O’Connor, whose life tragically ended in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. The award recognizes superior professional performance, innovation and outstanding leadership in the challenging field of Site Security Management.
DSS has the largest global presence of any U.S. law enforcement organization, operating at more than 270 U.S. diplomatic posts in over 170 countries, and in 32 U.S. cities. The organization is responsible for investigating transnational crimes and for protecting State Department facilities, people, and information.
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