Integrators '20 under 40' 2015—Rob Simopoulos
Rob Simopoulos, 38
President, Advance Technology
Fresh out of high school in Toronto, a friend told Rob Simopoulos he could take a course to learn how to hook up spy cameras.
He took that course and many more to earn a degree in Security Systems Design and Implementation. Internships were required and Simopoulos had the opportunity to work for Frisco Bay Industries as an undergrad.
“I was at the Toronto International Airport doing high-level access and video right off the bat,” he said. “I was lucky.”
That program no longer exists, but Simopoulos believes “the industry needs a path to attract early career people to get into the industry. A lot don’t know there is a security industry.”
The key for success in security is providing services, “the ability to provide proactive services to our customers … [via managed services],” he said. If there’s a problem or a system health issue on a customer site, integrators need to “let the customer know what’s happened and provide remote [repair or service] if necessary.”
Integrators throughout the industry should “take the time to go speak at different colleges to interest and inform students about security. … It has to be a grassroots effort.” If we get to the point where people can get college degrees in physical security [as the Security Industry Association is endeavoring to do] that would be stellar,” Simopoulos said.