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40 under 40: Zack Morris, ADT Commercial

40 under 40: Zack Morris, ADT Commercial

YARMOUTH, Maine—Zack Morris truly enjoys seeing his colleagues succeed.

As Director of Commercial Career Programs at ADT Commercial, Morris told Security Systems News how his role involves mentoring employees to grow in their careers in the security industry.

“When it comes to my role at ADT Commercial, I am one of our leading champions of growth, progress and development for all employees,” he explained. “Because of that, I am lucky to have the opportunity on a day-to-day basis to develop and lead programs explicitly designed around empowering our people to grow in their security industry careers and develop into true industry leaders who make a difference each day for our customers.

Morris, 30, has been at the Boca Raton, Fla.-based ADT Commercial, formerly Protection1, for the past eight years. During that time, he has contributed to a number of training initiatives. 

“Some of the key initiatives I’ve had a hand in launching include our Department of Labor-approved technician apprentice program, our new hire training and development programs, and our non-industry staffing programs,” he said.

“Higher Purpose”

Morris entered the security industry about 10 years ago as a technician while in school and has subsequently worked in many different aspects of the business ever since.

“One of the key aspects that attracted me and later kept me on a career path within the industry is the ‘higher purpose’ I can see in the work that we do every day,” he explained. “Not many professions allow you to wake up each morning knowing that your organization is literally saving lives, supporting businesses and the strength of their communities. That is something incredibly special that I try not to take for granted.”

“New Age” Points

Morris noted that one of the biggest security trends he has seen recently is “the transformation from merely providing traditional electronic security services to providing coverage for some of the ‘new age’ points of interest for our loss prevention partners.

“Those points of interest can now range from enterprise risk management and active monitoring to exploring more non-traditional fields, like AI integration, robotics, or cyber security,” he continued. “When looking toward the industry’s future, I see this evolution continuing to bring about positive changes within the security realm. I confidently see our industry broadening our scope, expanding beyond the physical security space and transforming into a proper security/risk prevention and mitigation industry.”

In regard to new security technology, Morris believes that one of the most exciting pieces of new technology is the innovative utilization of artificial intelligence (AI).

“I believe it will continue to evolve to play a more prominent role in our industry's day-to-day functions - utilizing AI's range of applications, from behavioral recognition and anonymization features, preventively recognizing violent or high-risk behavior through CCTV systems, to using AI to identify and detect vulnerabilities within the electronic security equipment itself,” he said. “It is a vastly important technology because it is proactive - not reactive - in responding to physical and cyber security threats.”

Responding to Challenges

During the unprecedented times we are living through as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Morris offered a few keys to success, both on a personal and a professional level.

“I don't think anyone can say that they were truly prepared for what 2020 had to offer,” he said. “With so many difficulties manifesting themselves at once, it was - and still is - easy to feel overwhelmed. But the advice that I would give from a business perspective is to maintain the mentality that you can always execute your goals regardless of the circumstances. It may require you to pivot your strategy or adjust the angle you use to approach your goal, but you can still perform. If you are passionate about what you are doing, you can find a way. You may even find some innovation in the process.

“From a personal perspective, my advice would be to always prioritize self-care. It is always difficult to remember to take care of yourself, especially during times as unpredictable and unprecedented as these. Whether through meditation, mindfulness, yoga, or physical activity, pausing and disconnecting mentally is crucial. Taking that time allows me to keep from burning out and stay focused on what is truly important.”

Exciting Times

Morris makes no secret that he is excited about the current and future state of the security industry. 

“I think the industry is currently in a fascinating place,” he said. “On one hand, we have some areas that absolutely require improvement. We are coming off a year where the pandemic affected so many key business areas that have been a large revenue opportunity for many. Our industry is also facing a future talent shortage as many of our more experienced industry members reach retirement age in the coming years. That’s why so much of my focus in my role has been to establish a clear and sustainable career path within our organization, and to encourage younger professionals and qualified candidates – like former military servicemembers – to consider a career in security.

“On the other hand, I also think this is one of the most exciting times to be in the security industry. As industry professionals, we have a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of groundbreaking transformation. By investing in our future talent, diversity and inclusion efforts, and with next-generation technology driving our services, I think our future is looking brighter than ever before.”

With that said, Morris called the recruitment of talented people for a career in security “a very crucial topic within our industry.”

“I believe that, without dedicating significant resources industry-wide, over the next five years, we will begin to see a significant increase in the talent shortage, especially across many of our highly skilled industry positions,” he explained. “One of the most significant ways we can address this issue is by investing in strategies to attract young, diverse talent into the industry. From my perspective, there are two critical areas of opportunity: removing antiquated barriers of entry and investing in young professional development programs.”

Morris continued. “Our industry needs to culturally change from over-indexing where the prospective employee gained their skills, and instead emphasize what skills and proficiencies they bring. Many unique and diverse talents come from non-industry backgrounds and are often overlooked because their resume looks different from what we commonly see.  

“Additionally, once we have young talent, I believe it is our responsibility to develop their skillsets to become the future class of talent our industry needs. These young professionals will determine if our industry achieves excellence in the coming years. By investing in areas like mentorship, certification, and leadership development, we are not only making decisions that make sense business-wise, but also are truly investing in our industry's bright future.”


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