'20 under 40' 2014—Jessica McKinney

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Jessica McKinney, 31, Vice president of operations, Crime Prevention Security Systems, Gainesville, Fla.

What inspired you to get into the security industry?
I grew up in the business. My parents started the company in 1975. I just kind of always knew that I would be part of this organization one day. Both my sister [Jorgia McAfee, the company’s VP of development] and I would file and answer phones, and we both moved into more prominent roles in the company. I studied business management at UCF [University of Central Florida] in Orlando and it made me understand how I can better our organization. … As a kid I dreamed of other things, like being a vet or a lawyer, but when it came down to it, I knew in my heart this is the place for me.

What can be done to boost the ranks of young people in the industry?
With technology being such a large part of what we do now, that definitely interests people my age and younger. I think that’s going to attract a younger group of people. … Advertising is going to say where we’re headed and get the word out.

Where, in terms of technology and trends, do you see the security industry going next?
I see this trend of … all the interactive features, people have really started getting interested in them, so I definitely see that continuing to take off. And just a basic security system, I think that’s going to go away. Everybody is going to have some sort of interactive feature with their security system and it helps out with retention because customers are using it daily and seeing the value in it. And if you can tie in all your devices such as your thermostats and your cameras and your door locks and your lights, you can [do such things as] cut down on your energy bills. There’s a lot of things we sell now that aren’t mainstream, but I think they’re going to become mainstream.