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End Users '20 under 40' 2015—Michael Gonzalez

End Users '20 under 40' 2015—Michael Gonzalez

Michael Gonzalez, 34

Senior physical security IT systems administrator, Hawaiian Electric


If Michael Gonzalez could disregard budget, a radar would be the first thing on his shopping list to protect Hawaiian Electric.

“I've been really impressed with short-range ground tracking radars. They tie into security systems for telemetry,” he said. “I'm looking at installing one of those, actually—this year.”

“It's pretty cool. It tracks either things in the ground or things in the air—anywhere within a mile or two of your facility—and tags it with GPS, and it'll make all your cameras turn and look at it,” he said. The system can tell specifically what an object is.

Gonzalez said he would use this technology for “buffer zones” in conjunction with other layers of perimeter security.

Gonzalez served in the U.S. Army. After leaving, he started as director of security for the Ala Moana Center, which he said is the world's biggest open-air shopping center. From there, he joined the Hawaiian Electric utility as its contract manager.

At Hawaiian Electric, IT presents the biggest challenge, Gonzalez said. “My biggest physical security challenge continues to be working with our IT people to make sure that the network capacity, and also the network security, at all of our unmanned stations keeps up with our IT needs as far as physical security devices.”

Active shooters and vehicle-based explosives are potential threats, Gonzalez said. He advocates for “mostly detection and response rather than prevention because you can't really turn all of these facilities into giant bomb-proof bunkers for technical and economic reasons.”

Knowing the situation and sending the right response to problems is key, he said. “I don't want to send somebody with a hardhat when I should be sending someone with a gun.”


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