Gabriel R. Gates
New job: Compliance coordinator, Pennsylvania State University at University Park, charged with ensuring that Penn State complies with the Clery Act, a federal law requiring universities to disclose information about campus crime
Previous position: Senior financial-compliance analyst, Maersk Line Ltd., a company based in Norfolk, Va., that manages logistics for government-owned and commercial cargo ships
Highest degree: Bachelor's degree in criminology with a concentration in forensic accounting from Mount Aloysius College
I started my professional career at Pyramid Health Care, a therapeutic facility for juveniles, many of whom had suffered mental, physical, and sexual abuse. I was able to play a part in victim recovery, and to really develop an appreciation and passion for that line of work.
After I graduated from college, I took a job doing compliance audits with the Naval Audit Service. After about five years with the federal government, I applied for a senior financial-compliance analyst position at Maersk Line Ltd., which is where I was before coming to this job.
Penn State had been in the news because of child-sex-abuse allegations against a former defensive coordinator for the football team. Louis Freeh, a former FBI director, is leading a private group that was chartered by Penn State to take an internal look at university affairs, and the Freeh group recommended that Penn State hire a compliance coordinator. However, Penn State had already been in the process of announcing the position.
I got a phone call from my mother, who told me about the position. It looked interesting to me because it gets back to the start of my career, dealing with crime awareness and prevention. I always had an interest in the Clery Act because it's right up my alley—it's criminology with statistics and data.
If it were any other place, I wouldn't have taken the job, but having grown up in central Pennsylvania, I have a close, personal attachment to Penn State. This position had such potential to have an immediate impact. I'm not saying my last job didn't have an impact, but it's certainly a different one. At my last job, I may have found we're missing a fixed asset worth $50,000. In this position, I could potentially save a victim of a future crime.
Going into the interview, I had a lot of questions. I definitely wanted to make sure that this position wasn't a PR move to say, "Look, we're hiring a compliance coordinator; give us a break." After extensive discussions, it was clear to me that Penn State was making the hire for sincere reasons.
I don't think this position has anything to do with redeeming the image. Hiring me and doing a great job from here on out isn't going to change what happened, but we are doing everything we can to never let that happen again. I wanted to come in here and set the standard for Clery Act compliance. I want other universities to look at Penn State and say, "Wow, how did they do that in a year?"