CWU Alumnus Works to Keep Amazon Safe
As a 1988 law and justice graduate of Central Washington University, TJ Klomp had a vision for his career and future. Shortly after graduating, he entered into a career in law enforcement and had his sights set on working for the secret service or FBI.
After working in local law enforcement for a few years, Klomp had the opportunity to work on a multi-agency drug taskforce and was also assigned to a SWAT team.
He started to enjoy his local law enforcement experience and soon decided that pursuing a career in federal law enforcement might no longer be his dream.
His career continued towards an investigative career path, and he moved from the multi-agency drug taskforce into a permanently assigned detective position, marking the end to his law enforcement career in 1999.
“What led to me transitioning from law enforcement into the private sector was doing some off-duty work for companies in the greater Seattle area,” said Klomp. “I saw that the skills I had developed in law enforcement were transferable to the private sector, and the thought of that was kind of exciting.”
That’s when an opportunity opened up at Amazon. They were searching for somebody that could do investigation and provide general security and insights regarding protection of Amazon’s leadership.
The combination of Klomp’s SWAT and detective experience made him the ideal fit for this role, so he pursued it and began a career with Amazon where he now serves as the vice president of Amazon Protective Services.
In this role, Klomp and the protective services team oversee security for the senior leadership at Amazon, oversee security for Amazon Studios security in the greater Los Angeles area, cover Amazon special events around the world, and work in close connection with Amazon building security teams as part of emergency services to make sure employees are safe and secure when they are at Amazon locations.
“There’s always something, every day, that is unforecastable that we end up working on, which is exciting,” said Klomp. “That is the interesting part of the job, still to this day. Every day truly is a new day.”
In the future, Klomp wants to continue to protect Amazon, but his career is not something that he saw himself doing when he was a student at Central.
“I never would have envisioned when I was in the law and justice program that I would be in the role that I am now,” said Klomp. “My CWU education gave me a well-rounded unique perspective that I didn’t have, and with that came confidence early on in my career which led to bigger and better opportunities. My degree and law enforcement career were absolutely necessary for me to be where I’m at now and they provided such a wonderful foundation to build upon.”
Throughout his entire career, Klomp says that his goal is and has always been to leave people better off than he found them, saying, “Share with people your expertise and knowledge so that when you leave them, they can use that information moving forward to help themselves.”
Klomp’s advice for those who are currently in school, seeking to start a career, or even those who have been in their career for a long time but are considering a change is to not limit yourself, and always think big.
“There is a lot you can do with your degree and with your career,” said Klomp. “Learn the art of exceptional customer service, and it will always treat you well, and strive to develop an expertise. Become an expert in your area of passion and until you reach that level of an expert, be an expert on what the experts are doing. At the end of it all, once you reach that level, be humble.”
March 18, 2021
Original Posting: January 2021
Story by: Robin Burck