Graduates get BS in security, Bosch knowledge

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

FARMINGDALE, N.Y.--When graduates this May tossed their caps in the air at Farmingdale State College, based here on Long Island, roughly 50 of them went out into the workforce with a BS in Security Systems, completing one of the few four-year programs that prepares students for a life in the installation/integration industry.

Though the program began as a full-time degree track in 1995, it has grown in popularity, said John Kostanoski, chair of the Criminal Justice and Security Systems department, and the school was able to increase the quality of its offering this year thanks to $200,000 worth of security equipment donated by Bosch Security Systems.

As many ponder where new talent will come from to supplant a growing list of retiring company owners and executives, Kostanoski said he's turning out "managers of technologies, managers of systems. These are application-oriented graduates." He said graduates exit his program ready to design security systems, go into business for themselves, or join up with manufacturer's rep firms and vendors to be sales people with an understanding of system design and engineering.

And these aren't your father's security systems they're designing. "I would say we're definitely leading edge," Kostanoski said. "From the get go, the IP suite was built into the program, so we could look at these systems using the protocols of the internet to communicate with one another. From the very beginning it's had a strong core of computing. And that's paid off handsomely, since manufacturers are now adopting IP in their devices. So our students have kind of been there, done that."

Jim Musshafen, director of customer solutions support at Bosch, developed the relationship with Farmingdale after participating in a job fair there in the fall of 2007. "I looked at that as an opportunity," he said, "to see what kind of talent was coming through the program and look at how we could help the university populate and fertilize the security industry with people who have knowledge of not only the analog side of things, but the IP as well."

Because the program had some legacy equipment that covered analog technology well, Bosch largely donated IP-ready equipment from its CCTV and access lines. And Musshafen said the relationship won't end with the technology donation: "We've made the commitment to get in front of the students and really talk about what we see in the industry," he said. "And it's not a marketing spiel for Bosch, it's a technology-sharing opportunity. As a manufacturer, these are the skill sets that we need ... even in today's marketplace, it's challenging to find people that have a good technology background as it relates to IP, in conjunction with soft skills that drive customer satisfaction and help build the brand."

The program was started at Farmingdale, which is one of a handful of technically oriented SUNY schools, because of Long Island's rich history with security technology, from Ademco/Honeywell to Vicon to Napco to Speco, and a number of others. It has 175 full-time students, along with roughly 25 part-time students.

Musshafen said Bosch is interested in working with other universities across the country, and will use Farmingdale as a test bed for how to make the relationship successful for both sides.