At DK Security, we not only provide high-quality security services to our clients, but also foster a culture of opportunity and advancement for our employees. We believe that by investing in our team, we strengthen the company as a whole and create fulfilling careers.
This January, we’re delighted to announce Elias Williams as the newest Vice President of Operations for East Michigan. Starting as a part time security officer nine years ago, Elias has since taken every opportunity to advance his career and is now among DK’s greatest success stories.
Securing a career
Elias Williams grew up on a 30-acre hobby farm in mid-Michigan, managing livestock, chickens, hay, corn, soybeans, and more. Moving away to attend Aquinas College, he was working part-time at a gas station over winter break when DK Security answered his airport security officer application.
After joining the company, Elias continued to live in Grand Rapids year-round and took on security work while continuing his studies.
Following college and a stint at Gerald R. Ford International Airport, Elias decided to move closer to his rural mid-Michigan hometown. He transitioned to a new site with DK Security in Lansing, where he elevated to an assistant security supervisor position.
Elias Williams completing a command center fingerprinting appointment (2017)
With time, Elias developed an interest in securing a full-time role with the company. His application as a command center operator was backed by former Lansing supervisor Jason Knight, and Elias eventually moved back to Grand Rapids to join the West Michigan corporate team.
“I really liked the command center,” he remembers. However, he had his eye on the bigger picture early on. As Elias began to supervise more and more employees, he increasingly considered “the idea of long-term, big project management.”
Rising through the ranks
Elias’s first step towards handling larger projects was to become an Operations Manager, a supervisory role that services a batch of security clients and oversees the security guards that support those clients.
When a manager position opened in 2018, Elias jumped on the opportunity. He spent one year, almost to the day, as a West MI Operations Manager before his next promotion surprised everyone around him.
Tyler Kalinosky, VP of Operations for East Michigan, had just notified the company of a vacant Senior Operations Manager position. Believing that “Tyler would be a great person to work for,” Elias immediately called him to chat about the vacancy.
“Hey, if I do something crazy and I convince my family to move to East MI, and Sindia [Narber, COO] lets me move to East MI, would you let me be your Senior Ops Manager?”
Tyler said yes, emphatically. Within a short time, Elias was packing for Detroit and quickly climbing the corporate ladder.
Elias Williams participating in a photo shoot for Executive Protection services (2019)
Until September 2021, Elias impressed as East Michigan’s Senior Operations Manager and put himself in the conversation for even higher leadership roles. When West MI coworker Luke Bowen was advanced to the director level, Elias was offered Luke’s previous role — Account Director for one of DK’s largest clients.
Unlike with his previous titles, Elias enjoyed one of the highest levels of autonomy in the company as an Account Director. While the role had its challenges, he remembers enjoying a level of time management freedom not seen elsewhere in the leadership team.
Leading the team
This month, Elias succeeded Tyler as Vice President of Operations for East Michigan. For years, the decision to lead a corporate office would have been a no-brainer for Elias. When promotion to VP became more realistic for him in the last few months, however, the opportunity “became scary” for him.
“There’s a lot to the role that nobody knows about,” Elias admitted with a smile. It requires constant learning, and he’s coming to understand the pressures shouldered by Tyler that are now his own.
Things are busy, primarily. The Detroit-serving corporate office devotes most of its time to supporting a single client that operates from 8am to 5pm. If concerns, from notification to resolution and notification of resolution, aren’t closed by 5pm, “you’ve failed.”
In a way, though, he’s comfortable with it. Because much of his time is devoted to a single large client, the VP of Operations role feels similar to his previous Account Director duties.
He and Tyler were always close, too. Elias felt that he might have been the one person Tyler could “share some of the struggles of the role” with, which helped prepare him to eventually step up.
Former VP of Operations Tyler Kalinosky (left) alongside successor Elias Williams (right)
Now, Elias is looking forward. “We’ve got a very new management team here,” he says. The Madison Heights office is brimming with fresh operations team hires, giving him the special opportunity to make the team his own.
Making it here
In nine years, Elias has risen to become one of DK Security’s highest-ranking leaders. The new head of the Detroit (now, Madison Heights) office is thankful for the many corporate leaders that coached him through his early years, for Sindia Narber’s headlining leadership, and for Tyler’s mentorship on the east side.
Our congratulations go out to Elias on his promotion to Vice President of Operations. His rise through the ranks is the perfect example of DK’s investment in career advancement — we’re proud of his continuous demonstrated leadership and how his experience strengthens us daily.
More about Elias
Elias Williams lives on the east side of the state with his wife Chelsea, their son Morgan, and a second baby on the way. Elias attended Aquinas College for Business & Music and continues to nurture his musical passion through hobby guitar-collecting and music recording. He also enjoys reading and traveling; Elias and Chelsea are excitedly planning a family Europe trip in 2023.