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40 under 40: Mason Bortz, BIT Inc.

40 under 40: Mason Bortz, BIT Inc.

YARMOUTH, Maine—At age 24, Mason Bortz has already made his mark in the security industry.

As the president and founder of BIT Inc., an Elkhart, Ind.-based technology integration company, Bortz calls himself the “Chief of Everything Officer.”

“I handle almost every facet of the business,” he explained. “The only area of the business that I am not involved in very much is the day-to-day field work. I will do walk-throughs, but I hung up the tool bag as soon as I could. I realized fairly soon after I started the company that being in the office grows the company more than being in the field.”  

Starting Young

Bortz noted that he formed an LLC for his new venture at the tender age of 18.

“That is when I technically started my business,” he said. “I didn’t go full time until 2019. After high school I went to college for a semester. In college, I struggled to find a purpose. I felt that I was working to impress a future employer. I dropped out of college after one semester and found a job at Dish Network. I ended up really enjoying the job. I was never bored at that job, I got to travel around in my work van every day and meet interesting people. I also learned a lot about how a large company operates. My end goal working at Dish was to take concepts and apply them to my company, BIT Inc.

“I ended up parting ways with Dish Network in 2019 and going full time with my company. Since then, it has been onward and upward.”

Bortz noted that it was not his original intent to pursue a career in the security industry.

“I actually got pulled into the security industry by accident,” he said. “My uncle asked me to install a security camera system in his shop. I installed a Unifi Video system for him. I found it fairly straightforward and thought I could sell it to others and make some money while in high school. Camera systems snowballed into everything else. We install security camera systems, access control systems, home automation systems, fiber infrastructure, and more.”

Cloud Systems and AI

Bortz cited cloud/security-as-a-service (SaaS) as one of the top trends in the security industry today.

“Cloud/SaaS is growing rapidly in the space,” he said. “Customers want a solution that integrates well with their other systems. Integrators are wanting systems that they can service from a ‘single pane of glass.’

“I personally feel that businesses that will thrive in the security space long-term will be the ones focusing their offerings on connected cloud systems with recurring revenue attached to it.”

He added that AI (artificial intelligence) is currently one of the most exciting technologies in the security space.

“AI that works well is extremely exciting,” he said. “I started my company installing security camera systems, and the biggest complaint was motion alerts based upon pixel-based motion detection was practically useless. Properly implemented AI takes systems to the next level.

“The clearest example of this is security camera systems. A system with excellent object detection and text recognition allows you to filter out the noise and provide meaningful feedback. The combination of AI and interconnected cloud-based systems excites me.”  

Restructuring the Business

Adapting one’s business model during the COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the keys to BIT Inc.’s success, according to Bortz.

“One of the lessons we took away from COVID was restructuring our business to be less reliant on a consistent flow of jobs and more focused on providing services with RMR,” he explained. “We also shifted on standardizing our parts bin to keep a better stock of products on hand for our customers.”  

Focus on “Intelligent” Technologies

When asked about his views on today’s security industry, Bortz did not hold back.

“I personally feel that the security industry, as a whole, moves slow,” he said. “A perfect example of this would be OSDP. The Wiegand standard should have died a long time ago, but it is still widely used and implemented. Security through obscurity is practiced too often in this industry. That is just one example of many.

“The companies that thrive in this industry in the future will be the ones focused on implementing new secure technologies that are ‘intelligent’ and integrate with other cloud platforms seamlessly.”

Expanding Offerings

Bortz noted that companies should make their offerings appealing in order to recruit and retain young, diverse security talent.

“What I realized shortly after starting my business is almost no one wants to pull cable through an attic every day until they retire,” he said. “In order for me to keep talented people, I had to expand my offerings in a meaningful way to allow them to take on bigger opportunities and projects. To get young, talented people interested in security you have to make it appealing and interesting. You also need to lower the barrier to entry.

“A personal example is my first year at ISC West. I set up a meeting at a company’s booth. I was very curious about their product and how everything worked together. When I finally was able to meet with a representative, my meeting was cut off because of my company's annual income. I simply wanted to learn more about their products, and I was told I wasn’t good enough for them because of how much money I had earned at that point.”

He continued. “The more time I have spent in this industry, the more I see this pattern. The information is not available for people outside the industry to even experience. It is hidden away. If we want more interest in security, information needs to be more readily available.”  


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