A Conversation With…

Scott Mcbride: Dedication and Perseverance get to the Finish Line

Scott McBrideIt was a foggy Sunday morning and the calm water of Mirror Lake was interrupted at exactly 6:20 am when the starting shot signaled the beginning of the 140.6 mile IRONMAN Triathlon and thousands of participants jumped in the lake to begin the first trek of the race. Among the countless participants was Scott McBride, a loss prevention professional with over 20 years of experience. As a former active duty United States Marine Sergeant, Scott is now the Senior Director of Global Loss Prevention, Safety and Security at American Eagle and continues to use his military training as a resource and tool to solve Loss Prevention obstacles and on a personal level, as a driving force behind his triathlon participations.

Scott began his military career in 1984 when he signed up for the Marine Corps before graduating high school. His deployment consisted of traveling around the world to places like Honduras, Nicaragua and many miles of endless oceans. One of his most memorable experiences was in the Mediterranean assigned aboard a ship. “In the Marines we call it a float where you go out for six months at a time. Every single day there are Marines aboard ships to respond to any worldwide crisis that the president may direct,” said Scott. “Every six months these units around the world are rotated on and off these naval vessels called the amphibious fleet, always on standby as a force in readiness.”

After completing his time in the military, Scott garnered an extensive resume. He went to college, worked in the construction industry for four years as a project manager for a small company that did a number of construction jobs, from pipelining to industrial coating and then transitioned to his father’s computer consulting company selling computer technology services and programs.

Realizing he was not very fond of computer service business, Scott took a second job at American Eagle as a part-time associate. Eventually, he left his father’s company and in 1993 became a manager for American Eagle. Two years later, the company decided to create an LP department making Scott one of the first regional loss prevention managers to come from a store.

Scott McBride
Now, as Senior Director of Loss Prevention, Scott has transformed and advanced the LP department to include emergency management which handles emergency situations like violence, threats, chemical spills, and hazardous weather conditions like hurricanes and tornadoes.

When dealing with other loss prevention challenges, Scott compares his tactics to those of the military. “When you go into combat, the plan is absolutely unimportant because it’s going to change automatically. It’s the planning and being prepared for anything that is the most important. You have to be fluid and flexible, and in loss prevention that‘s the name of the game,” Scott says.

“We have tried to not fill a room with a manual for everything that could possibly happen. We have empowered our leadership to be able to handle stressful situations without needing to contact me or someone outside of the situation for permission to act. My team and I are there to support and understand what happened, but since I am not there, I cannot alone make decisions,” Scott says. “The person in the store with a situation is the most adequate person to make decisions because, by the time we’ve heard of the incident, it’s already happened.”

While combating challenges and keeping thieves in mind, Scott believes in also remembering that there are honest customers who are the most important.

“We have to be mindful of how we protect our merchandise without going overboard,” says Scott. “We have to still make the items accessible to the customers because you can’t put the whole store behind glass. Our biggest challenge is to always keep ourselves as loss prevention professionals in tune to the customer. The ideal situation is when the honest customer does not notice your LP efforts and only the dishonest customer notices.”

Building an overall comprehensive team is part of Scott’s agenda. His method to empower local leadership really sets apart American Eagle’s efforts to handle a situation and quickly take the lead.

Outside of his LP profession, when it comes to having fun and being active, Scott now has a first full distance IRONMAN Triathlon under his belt. The IRONMAN Triathlon in Lake Placid consisted of a 2.4 mile swim in Mirror Lake, a 112 mile bike ride followed by a 26.2 mile run to the finish line. Participants are grouped according to the time they believe they can complete the trek and Scott is proud to say he made it. His goal of 14-15 hours was surpassed when he crossed the finish line at 13 hours and 34 minutes.

“In order to complete the event I trained for a year by swimming three days a week and allowing myself to push my limits. You want your body and mind during the race to know and recognize that it’s been in this situation before,” Scott says. “Your body will always try to take the easiest way, but your mind is the one in charge; the one that says, ‘keep going it will fix itself later.’”

The toughest part for Scott was the swimming portion because he had to learn to swim distance. At times when asking for advice, he would be told the best thing to do is to keep swimming, which was a frustrating response to hear. “At the time I would think that’s not good advice but once you’re in the race it makes perfect sense,” Scott says. “The beginning of the race is filled with anxiety because when you’re swimming you have people all around you and it can get dangerous. The best thing to do is really to just swim.”

During the triathlon, Scott and his teammates sponsored The Semper Fi Fund, a nonprofit organization set up to provide immediate financial support for injured and critically ill members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. They also sponsored The Veterans Place of Washington Boulevard – Pittsburgh, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of America’s homeless Veterans by providing housing and other resources to help facilitate their return to society. Scott serves on the Board of Directors and is proud of the organization’s efforts to help those in need.

“It is a wonderful experience to help and be able to give back,” Scott says. “We find these individuals and help them become productive members of society. I’m fairly new to Veterans Place, but I am happy to be a part of it.”

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