On the RISE: Trevor Zuerlein’s Security Evolution

On the RISE is a column by SIA in partnership with SSI that profiles the next generation of security industry leaders. This month spotlights VTI Security’s Trevor Zuerlein.

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’s RISE initiative, a community that fosters the careers of young professionals in the security through networking and career growth events, education and professional development offerings and scholarship opportunities.

For this installment of On the RISE, SIA spoke with Trevor Zuerlein, security systems engineer at VTI Security.

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

Security has been in the back of my mind for quite some time. At a young age, I became interested in computers, and I followed that path through high school and into college. During college, I became more interested in the security realm, both physical and cyber. At that time, cybersecurity hadn’t yet been fully adopted. As time grew on, I started to enjoy more of the physical security industry. When I hit a dull spot in the career path I was on, I decided to make the switch.

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

I joined the security industry with minimal knowledge; however, I had a colleague take me under his wing and show me the ins and outs. Joel Overby, a security systems technician at VTI Security, taught me installation and service of access control, video management and intrusion systems. Alongside helpful training sessions and certification courses, Joel has enabled me to be who I am today by his knowledge and expertise.

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

The best advice I can give: Make connections, ask a lot of questions, don’t be afraid to make mistakes and never get discouraged when you encounter something you are unfamiliar with. This is a big industry, with plenty of twists and turns. LinkedIn is a great platform through which to connect and make new connections to people all over the industry, including integrators, manufacturers reps, sales and more. If you aren’t sure on something, reach out to anyone to get a helping hand. Ask those questions, not just at work, but also with others in the industry. Everyone gets it wrong at least once, so you’ll need to be able to make those mistakes, learn from them and keep on growing.

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

I’ve been a big fan of anything technology related since I was a kid. Technology now is advanced and continues to grow day after day. Being in this industry, I get to work with the new tech and expand my knowledge constantly. To me, that is very exciting. The thing I enjoy the most about being at VTI Security is the ongoing support for my continued growth. Not only does VTI allow me to partake in trainings offered by others and complete certification courses, but I’m also able to be bold, ask questions and advance as much or as little as I like.

What are some key components of your role and how do you and your team help VTI succeed?

As an engineer at VTI, my main role is to design physical security systems, whether that be by reading and adhering to a written specification or starting from the ground up. This role plays a key part in both pre- and post-sales. On the presales side, I help our account managers create and sell solutions that meet or exceeds our customers’ needs.

Once a project has been booked, I assist the installation process by providing our project managers and technicians with documentation such as programming schedules, floorplans, wiring schematics and more. By having the extra help at each stage of a project, we are able to help the company remain profitable, sustainable and a trusted business partner.

How do you think the SIA RISE community can help foster the careers of young people in the industry?

There are a lot of things happening within the SIA RISE community that everyone can benefit from. Just to name a few things you can get involved in: webinars, networking events, book club, scholarships, mentorships and AcceleRISE.

Out of all the great offerings available, SIAThere!, the monthly networking event series, offers a great opportunity to make connections with others in the industry and expand your knowledge. I have personally found these events to be incredibly helpful in my professional development.

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