End Users '20 under 40' 2014—Melissa Lavery

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Melissa Lavery, 34

Security advisor, City of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Lavery conducts security awareness and education sessions for 18,000 municipal employees, is involved with electronic physical security design and installations and has a big focus on risk mitigation along with other responsibilities. She and her security colleagues “wear all different hats all of the time. It’s really fun, the variety,” she says. “There’s not one product to suit all of our needs. It’s not cookie-cutter.”

What inspired you to get into the security industry?

My grandfather was a teacher in law and security. He would bring me to his classes at university, so from a young age I’ve been very interested in criminology and sociology. I didn’t think of going into corporate security; I really took an interest in politics and municipalities.

If you could have any technology you wanted, without regard to budget, what would it be?

I am interested in biometrics, fascinated by the idea. It’s interesting to watch that type of technology develop and how it can be applied. It would be a way to make things simpler for employees, such as with access control.

What’s your biggest physical security challenge today, and what do you think it will be five years from now?

Planning. We always have to think of what is the next move. It’s a big issue. We’re often thrown into projects that have to be done quickly. But even if it’s a quick one-off, project planning needs to be done. We have to ensure that our clients know how to use it (the systems) and understand why they’re there. Five years from now it will be continuing to plan and visualize. That will always be a challenge. You can’t be complacent with the program you have. There’s new technology all the time, you have to keep ahead.