On The Rise: Tim Loth Mentors Young Security Talent Through SIA’s TIME Program

Tim Loth follows his heart and finds both personal and professional success as sales engineering team lead for i-PRO Americas.

On the RISE is a bi-monthly column by the Security Industry Association (SIA) in partnership with Security Sales & Integration profiling the next generation of security industry leaders. This column is part of SIA RISE, a community that fosters the careers of young professionals in the security industry through networking and career growth events, education and professional development offerings and scholarship opportunities.

For this installment of On the RISE, SIA spoke with Tim Loth, sales engineering team lead at i-PRO Americas Inc. and a mentor in SIA’s Talent Inclusion Mentorship Education (TIME) program.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career path.

Tim Loth: I was born and raised on the island of Curaçao in the most southern part of the Caribbean. Having started in retail electronics, my first introduction to the security industry was when I was offered a job as an IT intern for a security company.

While attending college at the University of Netherlands Antilles, I was looking for an internship in IT, and after a quick recommendation by the company I worked for, I landed an internship at TKH Security (formerly known as Keyprocessor bv) in the Netherlands.

I worked for six months on various projects at TKH, and upon returning to Curaçao, I learned that my previous security company was filing for bankruptcy. Keyprocessor called to ask what my intentions were considering this news, and to my surprise, they recommended that I start a new security company with a new name on Curaçao.

At age 21, taking a leap of faith, I started Integrated Security Concepts Inc., realizing I was in an industry that was still very new to me. During this time, I met my girlfriend, but she moved to the United States to study. I traveled back and forth to the U.S. every month to spend time with her.

After seven years of running my company and maintaining a long-distance relationship, I decided it was time to sell my business and start the process of moving to the U.S. I had two interviews but was rejected by the first for seemingly being overqualified, having run my own security business; however, I wanted to start in a company and work my way up through the ranks.

My second interview was with Panasonic Security (now i-PRO), which lasted just 20 minutes and was conducted by my current manager. Four years later, I am now the team lead of the i-PRO engineering group in the Americas, based in Houston, Texas. Oh, and that girlfriend? She’s now my wife!

What first got you interested in security and safety as a career choice?

TL: During my internship at TKH Security, I realized quickly that my IT background was a good fit for the security and safety industry. The more I worked in security and safety, my passion grew for this career.

Who has influenced or mentored you – either within the security field or outside?

TL: Mr. Ed Jongbloed, the sales manager for global export at TKH Security (formerly known as Keyprocessor bv), played a big role in guiding and mentoring me through my early years in the industry. From offering me an internship to mentoring me in the security industry, supporting me in starting my own integration company.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

TL: I speak four languages: Dutch, English, Spanish and Papiamentu (a Creole language based principally on Spanish and Portuguese, spoken on my home island Curaçao).

What are some challenges and advantages of being a young professional in security?

TL: As a young professional, you typically enter an industry with a lot of experienced people, many of whom might have been in the industry all their life and worked their way up. It can be challenging if they are not open to change or aren’t willing to consider a fresh perspective.

The advantage for many young professionals is that they are often more adaptable and open to change. They are also more likely to be up to date on the latest technologies and trends. Additionally, young professionals are often more motivated and eager to learn, which can make them valuable assets to any security team.

Initiatives like RISE and TIME can help when it comes to finding the right balance and making sure everyone is able to contribute in a meaningful way.

What advice do you have for young professionals just starting out in the industry?

TL: Here is some advice for young professionals just starting out in the security industry based on my experience so far:

  • Get certified. There are many security certifications available, and getting certified can give employers confidence that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to do the job well.
  • Network. Attend industry events, join professional organizations and connect with other security professionals on social media. Networking is a great way to learn about new opportunities and make connections that can help you advance your career.
  • Stay up to date on the latest trends. The security industry is constantly evolving, so it’s important to keep your knowledge current. Read security blogs and articles, attend industry events and take online courses to stay ahead of the curve.
  • Be willing to learn. The security industry is a complex and ever-changing field, so it’s important to be willing to learn new things. Be open to new ideas and technologies and be willing to take on new challenges.
  • Be passionate about security. If you’re not passionate about security, it will be difficult to succeed in this field. Security is a demanding career, and it requires a lot of hard work and dedication. If you’re not passionate about it, you’re likely to burn out.

In my opinion, if you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to a successful career in the security industry.

What do you enjoy most about being at your company – and in the security industry?

TL: Every day is a new day, and every customer comes with new and unique challenges. At i-PRO the culture is what makes this job fun and exciting. There’s a lot of mutual respect between people and the various teams. Everyone is passionate about providing the best possible experience for our customers.

How do you define success?

TL: Success is a relative term. It means different things to different people. For some, success is about achieving financial wealth and material possessions. For others (like myself), it is about making a difference in the world or achieving personal fulfillment. Ultimately, success is about living a life that is meaningful and fulfilling to you. Here are some common goals that lead to success which I try to aim for:

  • Set attainable goals.
  • Be grateful for all that you have.
  • Make a difference in the world.
  • Earn love and respect from others by how you treat them.
  • Live a life that is true to yourself.

There is no one right way to define success. It is up to you to decide what success means to you and create a life that is full of it.

How do you think the SIA RISE community can help foster the careers of young people in the industry? What does the program offer that is most important to you/your company?

TL: I attended SIA’s AcceleRISE conference for the first time in 2022, and I did not know what to expect. I really enjoyed the inspiring speakers and topics!

Regarding what SIA RISE has to offer: As we all know, the security industry is constantly evolving, and young professionals need to be prepared to adapt to the changing “landscape.”

AcceleRISE highlighted the importance of staying current on the latest security technology, as well as the need for young professionals to be creative and innovative in their approach to security. Some of the key takeaways from the conference included:

  • The need for young professionals to be able to think outside the box and come up with new and innovative solutions to security problems
  • The importance of staying up to date on the latest security solutions and best practices
  • The need for young professionals to be able to work effectively in a team environment
  • The importance of building relationships with other security professionals

This event to me was a valuable opportunity for me to learn about the latest trends in the security industry and to network with other professionals. It is clear the security industry is a dynamic and ever-changing field, but equally important was the need to attract new young professionals to the industry. This is a place where RISE can truly help.

What are some key components of your role with i-PRO?

TL: I continuously communicate and collaborate with the sales engineering team, the sales teams in the different territories, tech support, product management, development and the factory, all in an effort to provide amazing service to our clients.

Daily, my team and I work closely with our partners and end users, building relationships while keeping up to date on the latest products and developments to support pre- and post-sales engineering activities.

What were some of the most valuable things you learned while running your own security company, and how have you leveraged that experience in your current role?

TL: The importance of customer service, being proactive and adaptable, being a team player and again being passionate about delivering the highest-quality work.

As a participant in SIA’s TIME program, what role do you think mentorship has played in your security career?

TL: The TIME program provided me guidance and helped me focus on the right path for me in the security industry. I highly recommend participating in TIME, as it can smooth your transition into the industry by offering support and advice while helping you build your network both at work and in your personal life.

What are some ways in which you think the security industry could foster more diversity, equity and inclusion?

TL: That can be done several ways, but first we need to redefine our idea of a security professional since security has been regarded as male-dominated industry for too long. We need to modify the hiring process to seek out the unique perspectives that a more diverse workforce offers to customers.

Creating a more inclusive culture and supporting more DE&I initiatives help put the industry in a better position to hire the caliber of fresh talent it so desperately needs.

What key challenges, opportunities and/or trends do you see as most important to the industry, or more specifically to companies in the security surveillance and public safety space like i-PRO?

TL: For challenges, it’s clear that cybercrime is on the rise. We need more cyber standards and best practices like FIPS and Zero Trust architecture to increase cyber resiliency. All along the way, we need to keep privacy top of mind.

There are many opportunities and growing demand for the data that artificial intelligence (AI)-based security cameras can provide beyond security to include operations and business intelligence.  The right technology can help security and public safety pros do a better job with the limited resources they have.

As for trends, I hope to see responsible use of AI which will give us new ways to fight crime. Cloud solutions will offer expanded access and interoperability. More cities will become smart cities capable of reacting quickly to the needs of businesses and residents.

At i-PRO, we are focused on staying ahead of the curve by being aware of these trends and providing our customers with the best possible AI-based security systems. Our goal is to democratize AI so that everyone can benefit.

As part of this, we want to enable our customers to be more proactive, rather than simply reactive to events which have already occurred. Realizing that all this AI data is only good if a video management system (VMS) can decipher it, we released Active Guard, a real-time AI intelligent search application/plugin. This lets VMS like Genetec and Milestone, as well as i-PRO’s Video Insight VMS, make use of all the attributes our cameras capture directly within the VMS.

We currently have over 60 models of cameras with AI capabilities in different form factors, with about eight AI applications built by i-PRO. We also have an open AI application platform where we allow third-party AI applications to be installed on our cameras.

What has been the most rewarding accomplishment or experience in your career in the security industry?

TL: I can’t really think of a specific instance, but for me in this industry it’s all about protecting people and organizations from harm. I have been part of teams that designed important systems for hospitals, schools, (small) cities, residences and much more.

I am proud of the work I have done in the security industry, and I am grateful for the opportunity to help people and organizations stay safe. I am confident that I will continue to make a positive impact on the world through my work in security.

What are your predictions for where the security industry may be headed in the next 5-10 years?

TL: With the way things are looking right now, I think we’ll see more cybercrime and an increased use of AI to combat it. Our government will hopefully wake up and legislate more privacy protections for citizens.

Security cameras will become a source of data beyond security to help with day-to-day operations and city planning and management. This will mean that security cameras and infrastructure will be an integral part of company operations and revenue generation beyond simply securing people and assets.

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