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Where I Work: Command Center

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Where I Work is a periodic series about unique Intel employee workplaces.

Wally Dunn is not a name widely known at Intel. But if there’s one guy whose job is it to keep tens of thousands of Intel employees safe—and tens of billions of dollars in fabs and factories and buildings secure—well, you’re looking at him. Wally, who is security manager for Intel sites in the Americas, is showing us around the Ronler Acres Security Command Center based in Hillsboro, Oregon.

This is Intel’s biggest facility of its kind anywhere in the world, and is the security nerve center for Intel’s single biggest manufacturing site on the planet. From this one room, Wally and his team in the company’s Corporate Services organization keep an eye on nearly 1,000 security cameras, more than 1,300 Intel badge readers, more than 4,000 doors—all 24/7/365.

What kinds of calls does Wally’s team get? Ronler is a sprawling site, so everything from office and factory alarms of all kinds, to fab tool issues, chest pains, and car prowls. Not long ago, some bad guys were prowling the Ronler Acres parking lot, looking to steal GPS units. Wally’s team spotted them and gave chase. The bad guys, anxious to get away, took a corner too fast, rolled their own getaway car, then tried to take off on foot. The cops got ‘em. Wally smiled at that story. He’s a quiet-spoken guy who, like a number of Intel’s security team leaders, spent time earlier in their careers in the military or law enforcement.

“What was that loud noise I just heard?” Yes, Wally says his team fields those calls too—from workers in bunny suits deep inside the window-less fab who think they’ve heard thunder, and, well, wonder.

Intel’s worldwide security operation dwarfs even Ronler’s. With a presence today on every continent on Earth except Antarctica, the company operates 30 security centers of various sizes, with staffers who monitor some 10,000 cameras, answer 1.5 million calls each year and successfully resolve almost 9 million alarms of some kind. It’s a remarkable torrent of data that Wally and his colleagues overseas oversee: In 2014, for example, Intel badge readers got triggered a staggering 124 million times.

But you know what? “A lot of employees don’t even know we’re here,” Wally says. Until now.

Photo by Walden Kirsch.
Related—Where I Work: Cone of Silence
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About the Author
Walden Kirsch is a journalist, editor, and photographer based in Portland, Oregon.