Luckily for all of us, Mike Banner, a protective services officer for the Frederick National Laboratory (FNL), takes his job seriously.
“Keeping people safe is, and always has been, my priority. It’s my very nature,” Banner said.
Banner extends his safety-first attitude to the important courses he teaches for FNL employees, which include CPR, AED, First Aid, and Stop-The-Bleed. And he takes things a step further by keeping track of the training records for EDGE, Protective Services, and Occupational Health Services (OHS). Banner is also a licensed Opiate Naloxone Overdose Rescuer certified by the Frederick County Health Department.
In his spare time, Banner is a member of the OHS Wellness Committee and writes blogs for the Protective Services Professionals group on the company intranet and his personal blog, On the Brighter Side.
Banner describes just how much protective service officers do for the FNL community and his work beyond campus boundaries.
Where can we find you working most days?
At the Advanced Technology Research Facility.
What do you do at the Frederick National Laboratory?
When most people see protective services (or security) officers, it's when they're opening doors, greeting visitors, providing directions, or helping people get where they need to go. However, our department does much more than that. We are on site 24/7, 365 days a year to help ensure no equipment losses occur that could jeopardize the important work done here. We monitor alarms for specific pieces of equipment, fire alarms, and other building alarms that could put work at risk such as power bumps, campus or building-wide power outages, and animal room water issues. We patrol the grounds at all FNL locations to keep ahead of any potential fires, floods, or other calamities.
How did you become interested in your line of work, and what drew you to the Frederick National Laboratory?
Law enforcement seemed a natural progression for me. When I first started out in the greater Los Angeles area, I was a martial arts instructor who made extra money as a bodyguard. I became an unarmed specialist with high-value clients like well-known Hollywood celebrities and corporate CEOs throughout the 80s. I got my feet wet by becoming a police composite artist, drawing suspects from victims’ descriptions before hitting the streets. After a work-related shooting that laid me up for years, I got into private security, including U.S. Embassy security, and managing hundreds of correctional inmates at a time before moving to Maryland. FNL has become a home that I’ve been looking for, a professional atmosphere with potential to grow.
What is one thing you enjoy about working at the Frederick National Laboratory?
I like being a part of this research community and providing mission support to individuals who really make a difference in the lives of those afflicted by diseases such as cancer or COVID-19, so our community can thrive and lead happier and more productive lives. My life could not get any better than it is right now. I am happy because I now work-to-live. I spent most of my career living-to-work and rushing in to save whatever needs saving. I still remind myself from time to time to step back and don’t rush in to do it all.
What accomplishment(s) at FNL are you most proud of?
I’m truly blessed to be a part of the work that we do here. I was promoted to PSO II which means I have been one of the primary alarm monitors to handle all kinds of alarms on our campus adjacent to Fort Detrick. Probably most of all, becoming the instructing coordinator between OHS and Protective Services for the American Heart Association’s CPR/AED/First Aid for employees at Fort Detrick, Advanced Technology Research Facility and the Vaccine Clinical Materials Plant. I am also an instructor for the American College of Surgeons’ “Stop the Bleed” course.
What FNL core value holds a special meaning to you? How do you live this core value or how do you weave it into your work?
My whole career has been about accountability, but I would also say dedication because I take my work seriously. I am not the type to go through the motions. I also live the other FNL core values of compassion, versatility, integrity, and collaboration.
Along with these, I also have the following values that I use in both my work and personal life: customer service or going out of your way to help wherever you can and perseverance, like when I was in a wheelchair for years.
What accomplishment(s) outside of FNL are you most proud of?
This is going to sound corny, but it’s my son, Chris! He will always be my greatest accomplishment. Everything I do is for him, in some way. Since I started at FNL, I now have time to spend time with my son and watch him grow into a man. To set a good example of how to be honest, care for others, and work hard for the benefit of others, no matter what they may think of you. I never had that chance when I grew up. I am also proud of earning my Black Belt.