An avid history buff, Cortez Lagroon zeroed in on security as his field
by MADELEINE THOMPSON
Commercial Security Guard
Cortez Lagroon’s upbringing in a family of preachers is evident in his dedication to helping others. Lagroon has been in the security industry for 26 years — he was at Google for 12 years and has been at 1 Court Square for five — but he has made a career of going the extra mile for people. Asked what people rely on him for, Lagroon says “everything.” Even when he was offered a more lucrative job at a different building, he decided to stay at 1 Court Square to help coworkers negotiate a new contract since he knew it would be a difficult process. “I get a joy out of helping my fellow workers,” he says. “I’m here for the long haul to make sure that their money is right, that no one tries to take advantage of them.”
Lagroon also volunteers regularly with 32BJ. He canvasses for elections on Saturdays and is active in his own community in the Bronx, where he oftens provides advice and mentorship to neighborhood kids. He says it’s a life lesson he learned from his mom. “My parents always said when man forgets about man, we’re in trouble,” he says. “That’s what we’re supposed to do for each other.” Lagroon comes from a large family — he’s one of eight siblings — and oftens visits his hometown in South Carolina. He likes reading and working out in his free time, and is an avid history buff.
After coming to New York City in 1996, Lagroon zeroed in on security as the thing he wanted to get good at. He read books about security, took emergency management training classes and studied the field with an academic sense of purpose. “I’m trained in all of it,” he says. He got a job as supervisor at the Archdiocese of New York, then moved up and up the ladder. Now, he describes his title as “rover” since he’s capable of manning the front desk, filling in at the loading docks and everything in between. He uses those skills to look out for what he calls “my people”; that is, everyone who comes through the three buildings he oversees.
“Seeing a smile on their face, that’s what I enjoy most,” he says. “This is my family.”