End Users '20 under 40' 2014—Matt Johnson
Matt Johnson, 33
Security supervisor, Progressive Insurance, Austin, Texas
Johnson handles daily physical security operations, including access control and alarms, at Progressive’s Austin office, which has more than 1,200 employees. He also is responsible for specific claims offices in Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Arizona.
What inspired you to get into the security industry?
I grew up being a police cadet in high school, then joined the Army as an MP. After leaving the Army, I was hired by G4S and quickly moved into the operations side, then to a project manager position. That opened up my eyes to really making a career change, and it led to my job at Progressive, where I hope to one day be a regional manager.
If you could have any technology you wanted, without regard to budget, what would it be?
I want to see current access control and other security technologies become more portable. We’re starting to see with the iPad things become more fluid. Ideally we won’t be so stationary as in the past. I’d like to be able to reposition cameras more easily. All aspects of the physical security field should be more flexible, rather than having to have a contractor come in and do the work.
What’s your biggest physical security challenge today, and what do you think it will be five years from now?
It’s the involvement of people. Employees dealing with customers and claims need to have the level of security awareness where it needs to be. How can we get people to be more involved and care more? Not just when something is happening and they have to ask, what are we doing, how can we stop this? There should be no complacency. We need more training to counter that. We need security awareness training to make that easier for employees. Sometimes security tries to overdo things on their level, but not on the employees’ level. Five years from now it will still be the same thing. People are people. We continue to strive to better ourselves and to better interact and communicate our mission.