Read our interview with Manny Gonzalez of Hikvision USA, as the Security Industry Association (SIA) spotlights a young professional on the rise!
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SIA: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Manny Gonzalez: I am a creative manager at Hikvision USA; I joined Hikvision in 2015 and lead creative and digital marketing.
I was born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley, a northeast region of Los Angeles County. I attended Notre Dame de Namur University (NDNU) in northern California in the heart of Silicon Valley, where I studied fine art and graphic design. After receiving a bachelor degree in graphic design, I entered NDNU’s master program in business administration and marketing. After receiving an MBA, I returned to L.A. to begin my career.
SIA: What first got you interested in security and safety as a career choice?
MG: My passion for design and marketing led me to the security industry. An opportunity to help further develop a large security brand in North America was the key factor for me joining Hikvision.
SIA: What has your career path been?
MG: From a very young age, I have been passionate about art. I recall knowing that I wanted to pursue art at five years old. I was fascinated with animation and would draw Disney and Marvel characters any chance that I got. I was introduced to computer graphics in high school, and by my senior year I knew I would study graphic design in college.
After college, I embraced my entrepreneurial spirit and launched a startup to help give local businesses an easy and cost-effective way to get online and attract customers. Timing is everything, and the economy at the time proved very difficult to break through. I leveraged my knowledge of design, web and marketing and general resourcefulness to continue to grow personally and professionally.
Prior to Hikvision, I was the creative director for a marketing agency. We mostly worked with clients in consumer verticals like fashion, fitness and consumer electronics. I literally had my hands in all aspects of design and marketing – from brand development to ad campaign deployment and everything in between. I helped grow the marketing agency from a startup into a competitive, profitable business by churning out high-quality creative work that would in turn create new business. I do not miss the massive numbers of hours I put in, but the experience I gained was invaluable.
SIA: Who has influenced you or mentored you – either within the security field or outside?
MG: I cannot pinpoint one person who influenced me more or less. I have been fortunate to come across many influential people during my lifetime who have helped me develop into the professional I am today.
It all started with my parents, who raised me with strong values and made countless sacrifices to give me a good, solid education. At my first “real” job, I had a director who took me under her wing and taught me about corporate culture and business etiquette with incredible patience and kindness. Over the years, I would come across many diverse groups of people who would impact my career in some way.
SIA: What do you enjoy most about being at your company – and in the security industry?
MG: The ability to be creative every day and bring new ideas to the table. I enjoy the team I work with – we’re in it together, and we help each other succeed.
SIA: What do you think you need to enhance your career?
MG: More networking opportunities.
SIA: What’s something most people don’t know about you?
MG: I used to play in a rock band in college. We went from playing talent shows on campus to booking major venues in San Francisco all the way down to L.A. A radio station in Indonesia picked up our album, and before we knew it, we were on a multi-city tour in the tropical southeast Asian country. We would have a No. 1 single on the Top 40 chart that summer (Love Lockdown by Kanye West was No. 2).
SIA: What advice do you have for young professionals just starting out in the industry?
MG: One thing that I have observed in my 3+ years in the industry is that it is just getting started. The security industry is not what it was 5-10 years ago. Technology is rapidly evolving; security has entered into the world of the Internet of Things, and now there are cybersecurity challenges to consider. The industry is changing and prime for new energy, ideas and collaborations. I believe young professionals are the key to improving the technology and finding solutions to make it safer and more secure.
So, if I have anything to pass along it is this: Seize your opportunity to make an impact in this industry. Bring the energy, bring the fresh ideas and let’s work together to make the world a safer place.
Learn more about Hikvision at https://us.hikvision.com/en.