New Security Industry Association (SIA) member Utility Business Media (UBM) is a producer and publisher of information and education dedicated to the utility safety and operations leadership community. The company is headquartered in Crystal Lake, Illinois, and its workforce is nationwide, with employees in Arizona, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan, Georgia and Florida.
SIA spoke with Curtis Marquardt Jr., vice president at UBM, about the company, the security industry and working with SIA.
Tell us the story of your company.
Curtis Marquardt Jr.: UBM is the publisher of Utility Security magazine, a publication that will reach 15,000 security professionals who help secure our nation’s utilities. Our publication and media will provide monthly information and insights about how to better their security for workers in the field, infrastructure security, facilities security and cybersecurity.
UBM was founded by Carla Housh in 2004 first starting out as a newsletter. Carla’s passion to enhance safety in the utility industry through information and education has grown into three publications, two annual educational conferences and a robust training division that help inform a combined 40,000 subscribers and learners. All of our publications, media and education focus on serving professionals who work for utility organizations and the contractors who work for them.
Carla continues to drive our small but mighty woman-owned business as it embarks on serving the vital security professionals who help protect our critical infrastructure.
What solutions/services does your business offer in the security industry? And what makes your offerings or your company unique?
CM: With 20 years of experience serving the utility safety industry with our safety publication, Incident Prevention magazine; our fleet publication, Utility Fleet Professional; and our educational division, Incident Prevention Institute, we pay close attention to the utility industry. As we saw the number of substation attacks on utilities grow to more than 100 per year, along with a rise in theft and violent civilian confrontations with field workers, we found that there was a need to offer the industry news, insights, education and resources to help it better combat their growing security concerns. That led us to the idea to launch Utility Security magazine, which will be the only security publication that focuses solely on this critical infrastructure segment. Utility Security will provide subscribers with insights on how to better their infrastructure security, facilities security, field worker security and cybersecurity. As is the case with all of our publications, qualified utility professionals receive complimentary subscriptions at utilitysecurity.com.
What is something we might not know about your company – or something new you are doing in security?
CM: We helped establish the utility industry’s premier safety credential, the Certified Utility Safety Professional (CUSP), and its not-for-profit association, the Utility Safety & Operations Leadership Network. This accredited credential is highly regarded and has been adopted by utilities across the United States.
What is your company’s vision, and what are your goals for the security industry?
CM: Our goal is to be an impactful resource to physical security and cybersecurity professionals who work for utility and utility contractor organizations. Much like we have already done in the safety and fleet management space, we want to build a thriving, active community of utility security professionals where ideas are shared and solutions are found that improve their infrastructure security, facility security, security for workers in the field and cybersecurity.
Each print issue of our publication will include three in-depth feature stories, five expert-written columns, a new products section and an interview feature with a security professional. In addition to our quarterly print publication, we will also provide a monthly e-newsletter, a podcast channel, social media spaces and webinars. As the community grows, we plan to expand our offerings in ways that best serve utility security professionals!
What do you think are the biggest opportunities in the security industry right now?
CM: For us, the biggest opportunity is in helping to create a thriving community of utility security professionals and offer them spaces and opportunities to share ideas, network and create solutions that advance security in the utility industry. It can be argued that the utility segment of the critical infrastructure security spectrum is really the most vital of all of them because all of the other critical infrastructure functions need electricity, gas, water and/or internet to function — as does most other areas of society. We rely on these vital services, and it is more important than ever to ensure they are secure.
What are your predictions for the security industry in the short and long term?
CM: As with most aspects of life, the security industry is one that will need to be constantly ready for change. Whether it is the advances of artificial intelligence, increased global disruptions, unpredictability of natural disasters or the rise of terrorism or future challenges we just won’t be able to anticipate, the need to be informed, connected and educated is more important than ever. In working together and sharing ideas and knowledge, security professionals have a much better chance at succeeding at the vast array of threats that may arise.
What does SIA offer that is most important to you/your company? And what do you most hope to get out of your membership with SIA?
CM: SIA is the leader in bringing together security professionals from across the globe, and we are excited to be a part of its community! Between its insightful research, educational offerings and outstanding trade events, we knew it was the perfect organization to join to help us connect with the security industry as we launch our new publication. We look forward to opportunities where our staff can assist SIA and SIA members with our accumulated knowledge of utilities, marketing, events and media.
How does your organization engage with SIA? What are your plans for involvement in the next year?
CM: We recently attended ISC East and plan to attend ISC West and East moving forward for years to come as they really offer so many ways to connect with security professionals and learn more about the industry. We also look forward to other opportunities where we can network and contribute to the association.
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.