'20 under 40' 2012 - Patrick Schalkofski
Patrick Schalkofski, 32
President of outside sales
How did you get into the security industry?
I met Curtiss (Weinstein, president of Absolute Security) when I worked for him for a few years in the Kirby vacuum cleaner business in Florida. Then he moved away and so did I, and then a few years later I ran into one of his brothers (who was talking to Curtiss on the phone), so I talked to him. At that point, I had gotten a few curveballs thrown my way and I had absolutely nothing going for me, and Curtiss said, “Hey, come up to Virginia (and work for Absolute Security).” … That was nine years ago. I got up there and literally the very next day he put me in the field selling. He knew I could sell because we had sold Kirby cleaners; we ran a pretty big door-knocking operation, and that was what I was good at. He taught me how to be a business person and a security person too. I knew nothing about the security industry, but I loved it immediately. It’s very rewarding to be in an industry that helps protect people and save lives.
What can be done to attract more young people to the industry?
We should advertise that the industry is recession-resistant—crime didn’t go into recession. Also, personal recruiting, that’s something Absolute Security is big on. Everywhere I go I feel like I’m one of those military recruiter guys, looking for a few good men.
Who in the industry has helped you most in your security career?
Curtiss Weinstein. He has been just a personal mentor for me, 100 percent in the security industry and really in life. He’s kind of like an ADT angel. He taught me how to be a professional in every sense of the word.