SIA RISE Profile: James Kendall of Northland Controls

Read our interview with James Kendall, Application and Commissioning Engineer, Northland Controls, as the Security Industry Association (SIA) spotlights a young professional on the RISE!

Are you a young security professional under 40? We want your story! Contact Bryan Miller at to be featured in a monthly profile!

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

I’ve always been very IT-focused, which of course lends itself quite well to the security industry these days. From an early age, I was supporting most of the communities’ computer systems! After leaving school, I went to university to study computer science, but I soon realized I wasn’t getting enough of what I enjoyed—making things work!

So, I figured what better way than setting up an IT business to support my local community, which I had left behind while away at university. Little did I know this would ultimately see me leaving them again not long after returning! An ex-customer and now good friend of mine intrigued me with an opportunity at his company… and my inquisitive mind couldn’t refuse. So here we are 5.5 years later, not regretting a single step of the way…

What has your career path been?

Since joining Northland Controls as a service/install tech, my experience and knowledge of the industry has gone from strength to strength. I’ve worked on such a wide range of systems in dozens of countries around the world and now find myself in a role programming, commissioning and maintaining systems for some of the most renowned companies on the globe.

It’s great that this also allows me to develop skills in other areas such as SQL, high-availability clustering, biometrics and even network engineering to further expand my horizons.

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

I’ve met countless great people within the security industry all over the world, many of whom are now good friends of mine, but I would have to name a couple who have provided me with particular inspiration and support throughout my career. Pierre Trapanese, CEO and owner of Northland Controls, never fails to amaze me. Every time he visits our London office, I am completely blown away and excited for what the future has in store just by hearing what he has to say.

More close to home, our EMEA Engineering Manager Rob Kay has provided me with the assistance I needed every step of the way, mentoring and supporting me wherever he can and doing whatever it takes to ensure the engineering team has the backing they need to do what they do best—”make it happen.”

It’s the people that make you stay with a company, and I feel extremely lucky to be part of The Northland Team.

What do you think you need to enhance your career?

There are countless paths open to someone within the security industry. In many ways, we are at the edge of a technology boom, and I think it’s important to prepare for that so it’s fantastic to be part of a company that really are committed to providing different avenues for further education and training.

Personally, I am keen to stay at the forefront of this technology, and I am grateful that our clients are the type that keep us on our toes in this regard. It’s a really interesting time for me right now, and I’m excited to see what the future holds.

With that in mind, I’m ready to take on more challenges and any opportunities to learn where I can and continue to grow my experience and also share my knowledge with those newer to the industry.

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

From my experience, I would say the key to your development is to find a good company. The values of a company are what sets it aside from the rest. If a company lives and breathes by values you too share, then you know it will work.

With that in mind, it’s also really important to enjoy what you do. If something doesn’t interest me, I really struggle to make time for it. So, make sure you find something you enjoy and a place where you will have fun while doing it.

The security industry is a fantastic sector to work in. Give your all, don’t let anything get the better of you, be honourable to yourself and your clients, and you will succeed.

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