SIA RISE Profile: Chris Villarreal of ASSA ABLOY

Security Industry Association (SIA)

Read our interview with Chris Villarreal, PSP, Integrated Solutions Specialist, ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions, as the Security Industry Association (SIA) spotlights a young professional on the RISE!

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

I started my education for a career in information technology. I knew little about the security industry until I was approached by a global CCTV manufacturer. They spoke to me about security and safety in general and more specifically about how technology would revolutionize security. They wanted to use my skill sets, specifically in IP, to help innovate video from VHS into digital formats and video over IP. I was interested and gave it a shot. I never looked back.

What has your career path been?

I started my security career in CCTV. This was when CCTV was made up of video multiplexers and time lapse VCRs. I began as more of a technical role helping launch into the industry one of the first commercial digital video recorders and video over IP systems. As digital video recorders hit the market, I moved over to marketing to help market this new technology to the North America. From there, I moved into sales, where I’ve remained ever since. I will never forget how excited we were when hard drives had reached a 13GB capacity and capable of displacing a time lapse VCR. It was an amazing time showing customers how you could see their security cameras through their computers from anywhere in the world. Nearly 15 years later, I moved to ASSA ABLOY on a similar mission of helping introduce innovation and IP into access control.

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

I have learned so much from so many… I think my first head of engineering in CCTV when I began in the industry helped make security electronics interesting and fun. He made me an expert at repairing CCTV systems. The first VP of Marketing I worked for taught me a lot about how to strategize in the market and how to understand the fundamentals of competitive analysis. A past VP of sales taught me valuable lessons on how to connect with users and present solutions that made sense. Lastly, my wife for always encouraging me and building my confidence. All these people have helped shape me into who I am today as a security professional.

What do you think you need to enhance your career?

That’s always a tough question. I love where my career is at right now. Ultimately, I believe knowledge, experience and hard work are the ingredients to advancements. I am always looking for opportunities to gain a greater understanding of security technology. I make it a point each week to spend time researching current and new technology. This helps me grow and become a resource to my employer and customers.

Any advice to young professionals just starting out in the industry?

The security industry is broad and many solutions, technologies and manufactures play equal parts. This often can overwhelm new security professionals and discourage positive development. My advice is to take your time, learn, ask questions and never stop evolving and learning. As they say, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts and/or profiles are those of the authors or sources and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Security Industry Association (SIA).