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Specifically Speaking: Joe Maddox on the need to attract young talent

Specifically Speaking: Joe Maddox on the need to attract young talent Physical security engineer at Jacobs talks adding creative minds, designing physical security systems and more

Specifically Speaking: Joe Maddox on the need to attract young talent

YARMOUTH, Maine—Joe Maddox, physical security engineer at Jacobs, feels that the security industry should make a considerable effort to attract young talent.

“In my opinion, based only on observation, the mean age of personnel in this industry is too high,” he told SSN. “The security industry needs to be better at attracting the right type of technology-thirsty and creative minds from a younger demographic.”

JacobsMaddox cited the creativity that the security industry provides as a reason why younger professionals would pursue a career in security.

“Consider the worthy but more ‘binary’ disciplines like structured cabling, or fire alarm, where there is very little room for creativity,” Maddox explained. “Contrast that with the security industry, which requires creativity to properly apply the broad palette of technologies and design disciplines to each client's unique situation. This requirement for constant cross-functional thinking should be used as an appeal to those longing for a career in engineering and contracting that retains its excitement and challenge decade after decade.”

As part of Security Systems News’ monthly column Specifically Speaking, the following is an exclusive Q&A with Maddox:

SSN: What are your roles and responsibilities at the company?

MADDOX: I am honored to serve Jacobs as a physical security engineer, and I am also a BICSI [Building Industry Consulting Services International] RCDD (Registered Communications Distribution Designer). I serve on an incredible team of security-centric designers and engineers consulting on and designing electronic physical security systems.

SSN: What kinds of systems do you design/specify and what services does the company provide?

MADDOX: Jacobs provides a full spectrum of professional services including consulting, technical, scientific and project delivery for the government and private sector.

Our team designs and specifies electronic physical access control systems, video surveillance systems, intrusion detection systems, and intercom systems, and we consult on the structured cabling infrastructure to support those systems.  

Beyond the design and specification of systems for construction, Jacobs' security-related services include EPA-mandated Risk and Resiliency Assessments (RRA) for water utilities, vulnerability assessments and security consulting for any vertical.

SSN: Any interesting projects that you can mention?

MADDOX: I am currently performing a vulnerability and risk assessment analysis for a new (greenfield) raw water intake and processing plant and leading the security design for an enormous existing water intake, treatment, and distribution facility. That design will include advanced integration of video and radar analytics along with a facility-wide upgrade to cutting-edge access control.

SSN: How did you get started in security and designing/specifying?

MADDOX: After 16 years of bench electronics experience in the military and manufacturing in a variety of roles, from technician to production manager, I was invited to join a PSA founding integrator as its operations manager. That eight years of experience led to an invitation to join a major local MEPT [mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and technology] design firm that needed practical, Division 28 security system experience, and they gave me experience with all the other Division 27 communications technologies.

SSN: Can you talk about what new or emerging technologies you are seeing or
specifying today?

MADDOX: Radar and LiDAR [light detection and ranging], enhanced by analytics, are the game-changers that put real perimeter detection into the hands of operators or automation for consistent response outcomes. These technologies accomplish this at a reasonable investment and low infrastructure bandwidth, and with minimal false positives.



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