Cyber Cited for Future Success

Here are the tactics our 2023 SSI Industry Hall of Fame honorees would emphasize if they were freshly approaching getting into the field of security.

Last month, I once again had the pleasure, honor and enriching experience of being able to probe the minds of some of the sharpest cookies to ever reap their fortunes — professionally and often financially as well — in security. Since its 2004 inception, administrating the SSI Industry Hall of Fame has afforded me the privilege of getting deeply acquainted with the fascinating — frankly sometimes astounding — careers, accomplishments and lives of those special people annually chosen for enshrinement. I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about these unique individuals, harvesting the best ideas and insights from an institution that has grown to in excess of 100 of the most talented, passionate and successful practitioners to ever toil within the realm of electronic security.

Theirs are the legacies of the entire channel — from suppliers to dealers/integrators to monitoring centers to technology innovators to all facets of business and entrepreneurship. While it’s impractical to enlist all of the living Hall members as mentors, your humble messenger is here to offer the next best thing. I asked each of this year’s honorees if they were freshly approaching getting into the field of security and pondering how to map out a rewarding career, what tactics would they emphasize. A common thread referenced almost universally ties into this month’s issue theme: cybersecurity.

The 2023 SSI Industry Hall of Fame honorees. Top row: Maria Cambria, Ray Coulombe, Don Erickson; bottom row: Jamie Haenggi, Morgan Hertel and Jim Wooster.

“The world has become an on-demand, instantaneous results-driven world; and our industry is no different. We have to develop technologies that allow our customers to quickly react to any threat. Historically, security has been viewed as a slow-moving industry; however, I believe it has advanced quickly to support today’s climate. The ability to drive synergies between sectors will play a crucial role. Personally, if I were to break in today, I would focus on a specific part of the industry, areas that are growing rapidly and are crucial to its success, such as cybersecurity or data analytics. Both are critical to the industry and will allow you to be impactful to whatever solution you are driving.” — Maria Cambria, Vice President, Sales Enablement – Solutions, Teledyne FLIR

“I would get a sound technical grounding in electronics, networking and cybersecurity. Also, I would look to connect with a top-flight integrator to learn the craft and the market from the ground up across many different installations. This creates a firm basis for moving into any other sector of the industry. This leads directly into highlighting the need in the industry for such people, opening a wide door for women, minorities and skilled veterans.” — Ray Coulombe, Managing Director, SecuritySpecifiers

“I would start by identifying exceptional talent. The leading challenge facing electronic security/fire systems providers today relates to how to effectively identify, recruit, upskill and keep talented employees. I’d push all the industry associations to work faster to develop compelling career pathways for prospective employees that align specific curriculum with each step of any career journey within the industry. That careers roadmap would describe how progression along the pathways could lead to pay raises, promotions and individual progress. Second, I would want to leverage truly independent third-party evaluations of products to ascertain their level of cybersecurity readiness. Third, I would work with partners who have a reputation for putting ethical behavior into practice when it comes to the application of security technology such as facial recognition.” — Don Erickson, CEO, Security Industry Association (SIA)

“I would look at where I could get access to a target audience, with an existing relationship where my product makes sense to couple and/or it adds reciprocal value to each other and the customer. I think [ADT’s partnerships with] State Farm and Google are two great examples of that.” — Jamie Haenggi, President, ADT Solar

“The way you break into any industry largely depends on the amount of money you have to do so. It’s like the age-old question: ‘How big is the universe?’ However, assuming this was a smaller organization that wanted to do a traditional start-up, I would focus on a niche market like fire, heavy commercial, high-end residential/AV, access control or video. I would not want to compete in the traditional residential or commercial sales arena.” — Morgan Hertel, Vice President of Technology and Innovation, Rapid Response Monitoring

“I would find a program that could educate dealers from point A to point Z. I would find an adequate funding source. I would become involved in alarm associations. And I would take a class on how to be organized and prioritize time management.” — Jim Wooster, President (semi-retired), Alarm Financial Services

This year’s SAMMY and SSI Industry Hall of Fame ceremony will take place during ISC West, Wednesday, March 29 at 2 p.m. on the Bridge Stage (add the event to your ISC West schedule here), located near the center of the show floor. All attendees are invited and encouraged to take in the presentation, which is once again supported by longtime SAMMYs sponsor ADI Global.

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at [email protected].

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