On the RISE: How Colin DePree Leads Salto to Success

On the RISE is a column by SIA in partnership with SSI that profiles the next generation of security industry leaders. This month spotlights Salto Systems’ Colin DePree.

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 Colin DePree, residential business leader at Salto Systems.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in Michigan and moved to Minnesota in 2008. I currently live about 25 minutes south of the Twin Cities with my wife, five-year-old daughter and three-year-old son. I have a bachelor’s degree in economics and management and a master’s degree in management information systems. Outside of the office, I am a sports and travel enthusiast.

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

A job! Honestly, I had just finished college and was looking for a career in sales, and I wound up as a small business sales rep at a regional alarm/ security integration company. I had intended on that being a temporary position. After a couple of months as a sales rep, I asked to move into the tech support group, and that is where I fell in love with the industry. It all started to make sense from a technology and client need standpoint. I began to realize the impact that security technology could make at organizations, and a job became a career.

What has your career path been?

My path has been 100% in the security industry but has spanned a number of operational responsibilities. I have worked at three separate organizations — two on the integration/alarm company side of the business. I have held roles in tech support and customer experience, but most recently I have held leadership roles in sales and business development.

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

This is a section that could go on forever. Mentorship has been a huge part of my growth in the security industry. I was fortunate to have a number of great mentors at my very first job in the industry, and they helped drive me to expand my network and identify other mentors. Bill Wood, Eva Mach, Steve Hasbrouck, Bob Gibson, Steve Paley, Angela White and Robert Few are just some of the folks in the industry to whom I owe a ton of gratitude for guidance and support over the years.

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

Get involved with local and national associations. This industry has a number of great associations that can help with both networking and training. On the mentorship topic, I do suggest to seek out and find not one but multiple mentors; my one caveat here is that mentorship is a two-way street. Mentorship does not mean a mentor just pours information and knowledge to the mentee — the mentee must bring something to the table also, for example ambition, a goal or ideas.

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

There are a number of things I enjoy about both my company and the industry. We are in a time of tremendous change as software and technology are driving innovation in our space. I enjoy the challenge of understanding the market demands and aligning the capability of our hardware and software to meet those demands. Many of these innovations are also allowing us to explore new uses for security technology that can impact businesses in more areas than just safety and security.

How do you define success?

This is the hardest question; success can come in a number of ways, both personally and professionally. I won’t attempt to define success, but my thought process to achieving success always starts with defining expectations. If expectations aren’t established, success is really hard to achieve.

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?

The RISE community, in my opinion, serves the biggest purpose of giving young professionals a platform to grow outside of their organization. Different perspectives, viewpoints and approaches to leadership are not always available from inside an organization. This is relatively the same value that RISE brings to our organization; new viewpoints and ideas are also a benefit to the company. There is also the added value of providing awareness about our organization to the young talent in the industry.

What are some key components of your role as residential business leader at Salto Systems, and how do you help guide Salto’s strategy and growth in the smart home and property tech space?

In this role, our goal is to expand our market reach and grow revenues; my specific responsibility is to do this not through their direct sales efforts, but rather through understanding market needs, evangelizing our message, and aligning our products, solutions and initiatives to meet those needs.

What are some notable accomplishments or efforts from your previous roles at a regional integrator and a regional alarm company, and how have you leveraged that experience in your current role at Salto?

I’m not sure any of the accomplishments specifically have set me up for success at Salto, but rather a combination of working in many different areas of the business and being pushed by leaders to continue to learn and to own the deliverables within my role are what I focus on, no matter the position.

What are some of the top trends, challenges and/or opportunities you’re seeing in the residential security space?

The ecosystem and partnerships are becoming extremely critical in meeting the demands of the end user.

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