How did you get into the Security Industry?
It actually was a case of serendipity. Almost 30 years ago, Louis Weiss, the Founder and President of Louroe asked me to be the Trustee of his estate. When Lou passed in 2009, I took on the responsibility of the company and chose to move from Washington DC to California and join the Security Industry. I had spent most of my career in the energy sector so the transition to security was a major shift, however right away I was struck by how closely knit this industry is and also how welcoming many of our business partners were to a newcomer.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Taking part and watching people rise to their best capabilities in a small business and industry that is not static, but faces evolving requirements and increased awareness. In the few years I’ve been in the industry, there has already been a number of substantial changes in technology, best practices, and system integration. Looking out to the next few years, those changes will only accelerate, as well as expand the industry. This demands having a team who must be nimble, taking on frequently changing assignments, being able to address the frequently changing needs of our customers, and maintaining a vision and foresight about where we need to be in a few years. I’m often reminded of Wayne Gretzky’s quote that he doesn’t skate to where the puck is; he skates to where the puck is headed. The challenge of our industry is anticipating change with meaningful and unique solutions. Watching my team work hard to successfully manage all of the above is very rewarding.
What is your prediction for the biggest trend that will take place in the security industry in the coming years?
The expanding evolution of incorporating compatible audio with video, crafting a total security solution. Go back fifteen years or even further and to the untrained eye, the idea of a security system was a camera over the front door and a “buzzer” at the door. Professional’s are beginning to realize that with a video only system, they can’t hear names or other identifying information, but also that video was event capture only. Some technologies, especially audio, are becoming more prevalent not only for the purpose of capturing additional evidence in the case of a crime, but for deterring criminal activity in the first place. In just the past few years we’ve seen customers take two way audio over IP systems and scare off potential intruders by saying over the network “man in the red shirt, you are trespassing and our response team is on the way. They will be at your location in less than a minute”. That’s a great benefit that a video system alone doesn’t give you.
What is your biggest challenge?
The lack of information and the knowledge gap in the marketplace on the permissions required to use audio as part of any security solution. One very eye opening experience I had at trade shows upon joining the industry was a chorus of distributors, integrators, and even some end users who presented wildly misinformed opinions such as “the law says you can use audio but not if you have a video camera too.” My sales team hears even more misinformed remarks. We commissioned our legal counsel to research not only the Federal law that applies to rights of privacy with regard to audio, but also the applicable laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Our research findings weren’t a surprise to us, and reading the text of these statutes did not change our position. The key for Louroe is how to reach our professionals, present the facts and the reality about how to use the permissives the laws provide to an audience who may already have a poor experience or a horror story of good intentions gone bad.
What does your organization receive from membership in SIA that youd like to share with others?
SIA provides the ability to network and share value proposition with others in the security industry. This goes beyond the ISC West and East shows and extends to events like Securing New Ground and the Government Summit which bring together key influencers, decision makers, policy makers, and industry leaders. As an organization based in our Nation’s Capital, the daily opportunity to open dialogue and educate policy makers and governmental agencies that impact the industry is priceless. Being able to build relationships within the industry, while discussing trends, technology, interoperability and policy is immensely beneficial to generating growth.
Will you be attending the ISC West show (or other SIA networking events)?
Yes. Louroe has not only committed to participate and exhibit at the ISC West show, but also we will exhibit at ISC East, Expo Seguridad and participate in Securing New Ground and the SIA Government Summit. In 2012 I was invited to work on the SIA Government Relations Committee, putting to use my many years of experience in Washington DC.
What is the importance of government relations, specifically state policy, to the industry? Why should companies continue to track policy at the state level?
Government policies shape the marketplace. Fact based education and information make for best practices and allow us to inform policy makers on the state of the market. State and community regulations and policies have a direct effect on our company. We work from a global perspective, and provide product and services to a local level, so policy makers from the Nation’s Capital down to local city governments have an effect on our business. A key benefit of involvement with SIA is the mission vision and objectives of association tied to providing federal, state, and even municipal governments with best pre-competitive practices.
In light of recent events in CT, school safety will be an issue that is at the forefront of 2013. What role can the security industry play in making our schools safer?
December 14th was the most tragic day in recent memory, the type of day that our industry must make every effort to prevent. Be it through technology, manpower, or other means, we must offer interoperable technologies that schools can integrate together for prevention, information gathering, and faster response times. Our responsibility as a manufacturer is to put together reliable and durable Audio Monitoring Technology, always mindful how critical it is when life safety is on the line, that our products and services function properly and consistently.