Round table discussions
As editor of SecurityInformed.com, Larry attends industry and corporate events, interviews security leaders and contributes original editorial content to the sites. He also guides the "editorial roadmap" to ensure the site provides the most relevant content for security professionals. From 1996 to 2008, Larry was editor of "Access Control & Security Systems" magazine and its affiliated websites. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Georgia State University with a minor in marketing. [Pictured: Larry and wife Linda relax with SecurityInformed.com's loyal office dog, Frankie] How did you come to work in the security industry? I started in the newspaper business and then migrated to trade publishing. I realized that every profession has its own journalism microcosm, so I learned a lot about robotics and paint and adhesives before I landed in the security field. That was around 1996, and security has been the center of my professional life, and a subject of continuing fascination ever since. What is the best professional advice you have ever received? I never met the man, but a famous quote from Woody Allen is something like "80 percent of life is showing up." I find that comforting. Showing up is something I can do. And knowing that I am already 80 percent successful at the get-go has provided extra confidence in a lot of situations over the years. Quick Facts Favorite TV show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee First job McDonald's crew member Tea or coffee Neither: Diet Coke Best gift you received Dance lessons from my wife Last thing you cooked Grilled Cheese What's something few people know about you? Several years ago, after ISC West, I was killing time at the Wynn casino before going to the airport. I had put my last few dollars in a “Red White and Blue” slot machine, and I won the “mini-progressive” – more than $6,000! Having the lady count those $100 bills into my hand is a great memory of ISC West. What's the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? I get to hear people talk every day about something they are passionate about. I get to learn from really smart people about interesting subjects that actually matter in the world. Jekyll Island on the Georgia coast is Larry Anderson's go-to destination for a relaxing week every summer What are your interests, hobbies and passions outside security? Books, including “literary” fiction, whodunits and lawyer novels. I tend to binge-watch television on demand while on the treadmill at the gym – which takes away the guilt. My wife Linda and I go to the movies a couple of times a month. Where was your last vacation? Jekyll Island on the Georgia coast is our go-to destination for a relaxing week every summer for the last 20 years. They have houses you can rent for the week, beautiful nature walks and bike trails, huge trees draped with Spanish moss, and a smattering of history – it was where millionaires like J.P. Morgan and William Rockefeller retreated to their 25-room “cottages” in the early 1900s. There’s plenty to see and do – or not to do if so inclined!
John van den Elzen is the General Manager of Tiandy Technologies Europe. He is responsible for managing the European activities of Tiandy related to sales, marketing and operations. His main tasks include building the infrastructure, creating and maintaining the eco partner environment and developing local sales & marketing activities in the region. Prior to joining Tiandy Technologies, he was General Manager, Worldwide Surveillance Business Unit of Promise Technology, and the Managing Director of Promise Technology EMEA. In these positions he was responsible for managing the global activities of Promise in video surveillance, and strengthening operations in this market. In addition, as the Managing Director of Promise Technology EMEA he led the company’s activities throughout Europe the Middle East, Africa and Russia. How did you come to work in the security industry? Actually, it was pure coincidence as I was working for Promise Technology and mainly active in the IT market with storage solutions. We had some “accidental” sales in the security market, mainly related to casinos in Africa and prisons in Europe. In 2007, General Electric Security approached Promise Technology and some other storage vendors as well for the development of a storage system. We managed to stay in the race until the end but at the very last moment we lost the entire deal to a competitor. The loss of this deal was for me the signal to change our strategy and not only focus on the IT industry anymore but also jump into the Security industry. That year was the first year we joined the IFSEC show in Birmingham. What is the best professional advice you have received? I have always been in a lucky position to get professional advice and support from many people in the industry, but the best advice was always to work hard but also smart towards the goals you want to achieve in life. Of course, I am travelling all around the world and meet with a lot of different cultures. From an owner of a Russian distribution company I received some of the funniest advice I’ve ever heard: “John, here in Russia we don’t do business with the brain but with the liver.” It will not come as a surprise that the company was not able to generate good business, because also in Russia people do business with their brains. Quick Facts Film or TV? Film as I never watch television as I am working most of the time. I see a lot of movies when I am flying from one location to the other Favorite album Don't Come Easy, Tyketto Ideal holiday Just relaxing at the swimming pool and enjoying time with my family in a sunny country during the summer holidays Favorite film Highlander - it's the mix of the movie and the music from Queen Morning or evening? I am definitely an evening person. I never like to go to bed and as a result I have difficulties waking up in the morning. In general 5 or 6 hours sleep is enough for me during week days. What's something few people know about you? I have been on some quite remarkable business trips. I can remember one trip with a Russian business partner 8-9 years ago and my partner there was an owner of an old Russian vessel. The purpose of the trip was to investigate if it made sense for Promise Technology to purchase shares from the company, and become part-owner to speed up the business in Russia. We were cruising around on Lagoda Lake, a large lake between Russia and Finland. We visited a monastery church and a bunker from WWII built in the middle of nowhere on small islands. This was my first experience with white nights as it never got completely dark. At 3 o’clock in the morning the owner decided to stop the engines of the vessel and start a BBQ on a small island, starting the business discussion. It was an unique experience but later on I was reading that there was high radioactivity measured in the bunker… Oops. So, I might be radioactive but I’m still alive. What's the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? Although you need to sacrifice a lot of your family life during all the business travels and work from early morning to late evening, I still find it a privilege to work with so many different cultures and visit places most people will probably never visit. You learn to view and approach situations from different perspectives. A white night on Lagoda Lake, Russia What are your interests, hobbies and passions outside security? When I was young I was playing volleyball. Nowadays I am coaching my son’s team with a lot of enthusiasm. In my spare time I also like to swim and keep fit, as it gives me new energy and keeps me in good shape. I am in the fortunate position that I have a swimming pool in my backyard, so I am not bound by opening hours of public swimming pools. I also enjoy sitting on a terrace with friends and talk about everything except business while enjoying a drink. Where was your last vacation? For years we have visited Lazise, a small village at lake Garda in Italy. It is a very beautiful environment but it was not my choice. My wife is used to going on vacation to Lazise in her childhood with her entire family, so I more or less inherited it from the moment I started dating her. In the beginning I was still resisting as I like to go to different places. I was able to convince her once to go to France but that was my one and only victory in 15 years. Sometimes my family is invited or able to join me during my trips and these are the most memorable trips for me.
Jeff Burgess’ career has spanned nearly 40 years in various segments of the computer industry, getting his start as a company shipper and working his way up to Vice President of Sales seven years later, within that same organization. He founded Burgess Computer Decisions, Inc., (BCD) in 1999, building high-availability servers for Fortune 500 companies. Burgess has been married for 33 years to Joanne, and has three children, one daughter-in-law, and two dogs. How did you come to work in the security industry? A fluke chance meeting in early 2008 led to the inception of BCDVideo via a customer-generated issue at a local GE site introduced me to the security industry. Another case of “good service wins the day”. We had already been established as an organization trained to provide high-availability servers and even higher-availability customer service to Fortune 500 accounts. We simply flipped that model to the security integrators and it was, frankly, nothing they had ever seen before. What is the best professional advice you have received? “First get the deal, then worry about it”. I learned that from Judson Beamsley, then President of Tek-Aids Industries, the company I started with as a shipper. He had just won (from Illinois) a multi-million three-year State of Texas contract on product he did not sell. When questioned on not carrying the product, he replied “we will now!” Sure enough, that manufacturer beat a path to our door. It’s never failed me since. Quick Facts Favorite album Close to the Edge, Yes First job Warehouse/shipper at 16 for my Dad’s paper company Sweet or savory Spicy! Favorite film Animal House Dogs or cats Dogs What's something few people know about you? I met my best friend, Gary, in high school detention during sophomore year. Eleven years later, he fixed me up with my now-wife on a blind date that neither one of us wanted to go on. Joanne was his fiancé Monique’s sorority sister. We were engaged in six weeks and married in six months. 45 years later, the four of us are still best friends, and live three miles apart. Best (and only!) Roman candle I ever set off down a school hallway!!! What's the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? At this point in my career, the ability to mentor young people within my company is one of my greatest rewards. We work with a local organization which supports first generation and under-served college-bound students. We sponsor a number of these students as paid interns. Also within my company, we strongly encourage opportunities for both personal and professional growth and development. If no one had given me the opportunity, where would I be? Jeff Burgess particularly enjoys grilling and barbecuing - and appreciates spicy food What are your interests, hobbies and passions outside security? My passion is my wife and our family. I enjoy being with them and we have a special bond. My wife and I play golf and travel the world together, enjoy good food and friends. Or just stay home together. As for hobbies or interests, I really enjoy grilling and barbecuing (there IS a difference). I spent three years in Austin, Texas in the early ‘80’s and was tutored in this fine art. I have a beef brisket published at a spice house website, whose rub I use. Where was your last vacation? Our last vacation was Budapest, Berlin, and Copenhagen. I wrapped work meetings around the first and last stop, and had a wonderful work-free weekend in Berlin. We loved all of these new experiences. That tends to be the norm when we travel. But more excited about our next vacation. Taking a Barcelona-to-Barcelona cruise in mid-July. Never have cruised before and never have totally shut work off for two weeks. Doing both. Joanne has always wanted to cruise and deserves my time after 20 years sharing me with the company - she’s getting both.
Technology, products and services are vital to the security market, but so are the people behind them. This year, SourceSecurity.com has been highlighting some of the key characters who make up the security market. Along the way, we’ve discovered a broad spectrum of experiences and viewpoints that make up the industry. Many of the most insightful responses were to the question: What is the best professional advice you have received (and from whom)? Don’t underestimate yourself, says Don Erickson, CEO of the Security Industry Association Scott Brothers, Executive Vice President of Corporate Development, Oncam Listen, listen and listen some more. Which continues to take real training because of my passion over spilling into a “need to be heard” when really, I should be listening. It’s a trait I continually work on and seek feedback on. Listening for me equals learning and the best ideas sometimes come from the unexpected voice in the room. The open environment we cultivate at Oncam really promotes this kind of interaction at all levels. Don Erickson, CEO of the Security Industry Association Don’t underestimate yourself. John Stroia who is a former chairman of SIA and presently the president of Hamilton was literally the first person who encouraged me to apply for the CEO role at SIA. I was perfectly content handling government relations at the time the position opened. I also hadn’t aspired to the role. John actively encouraged me to go for it despite my reservations about whether I was ready for it. Liam McShane, Sales Director at Perfect Display Technology Take whatever chances come along. It’s much better to regret something you did than something you didn’t do! (From a mentor at my first financial services company) Return all calls as soon as possible and no later than the end of each day, advises Scott Schafer Eddie Reynolds, President & CEO of Iluminar Many of my childhood friends' parents would always say to me, “If no one wants to give you an opportunity, create your own.” Scott Schafer, Chairman-elect of the Security Industry Association My father was in the major appliance industry and showed by example the importance of outworking your competitor. He also made sure to return all calls as soon as possible and no later than the end of each day. Kim Loy, Director of Marketing at Vanderbilt Industries The best advice I have received is that we are only in competition with ourselves. If we strive to always improve our knowledge and performance, success will follow. That there are no boundaries, we are all capable of doing anything we strive to do as long as we don’t set limits for ourselves. This advice is something that I heard from a very young age and grew up completely believing – it came from my dad, Chuck Robinson. Thomas J. Langer, President of ASIS International From my father and totally by accident. He was 60 and learning computer aided design which was making his drafting table obsolete. I asked him why, at 60, do that now? His response was that he doesn’t get to choose where advancements take his profession. I have never forgotten that and therefore never settled for the status quo. Change and advancement are a constant in everything. You have to have a work life balance and be resilient in order to manage the ups and downs of business and your career Thomas Cook, Vice President of Sales at Hanwha Techwin America My first manager, Marty Meyer, told me when to keep emotion out of everything you do at work; especially when you are negotiating and presenting your side or case. Fredrik Nilsson, Vice President of the Americas at Axis Communications My manager, Bodil Sonesson, VP of Global Sales at Axis has given me great advice over the years. She says that your career “is a marathon not a sprint,” meaning, in order to be successful long-term you have to have a work life balance and be resilient in order to manage the ups and downs of business and your career. Kenneth Hune Petersen, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of Milestone Systems Flemming Tamstorf, CEO of my former company, showed me by example that you should never tell anyone “See, I told you so.” He never did it himself. If you play to the limit, there is a risk that you will fail. If you’re taking a risk, things can go wrong. And he never said “I told you so.”
Don Erickson grew up in Bellerose Village, New York and graduated from Catholic University. He has been the CEO of the Security Industry Association for five and a half years after serving as SIA’s government relations director. Erickson is responsible for managing the operations and programs of SIA and implementation of the Board’s strategic plan. He has worked in the U.S. Senate and held government relations positions with Alcatel and an association of rural telecommunications carriers. How did you come to work in the security industry? I advised Senator Rod Grams on government telecommunications and criminal justice policies. I became passionate about working with law enforcement in Minnesota to secure funding for a state-wide interoperable public safety network. I also enjoyed close collaboration with national telecommunications and broadcasting companies on global initiatives such as U.S. ratification of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Treaty. I joined SIA in early 2006 to build a national advocacy program that would generate real value for association members. What is the best professional advice you have received (and from whom)? Don’t underestimate yourself. John Stroia who is a former chairman of SIA and presently the president of Hamilton was literally the first person who encouraged me to apply for the CEO role at SIA. I was perfectly content handling government relations at the time the position opened. I also hadn’t aspired to the role. John actively encouraged me to go for it despite my reservations about whether I was ready for it. Quick Facts Biggest Hero My wife Favorite Book 1776 by David McCullough First Job U.S. Senate Ideal Holiday At World Series, Game 7 Best Gift You Received My kids What's something few people know about you? I love to read autobiographies and biographies including autobiographies from Bruce Springsteen and the actor Bryan Cranston most recently. My favorite autobiography is by Jackie Robinson. The experience of his family as victims of the Holocaust described by Elie Wiesel (Night) is one of the most impactful books I have ever read (more than once). To this day, I regret passing on the chance of speaking with Wiesel while we were waiting for the same flight. What's the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? The most rewarding part of this job is when a co-worker secures a big win on a project to benefit our members. I am happy for that colleague and our members. Being able to communicate frequently about the accomplishments of our team is rewarding. We have an amazing and effective professional staff at SIA. My favorite part of what I do for a living is visiting member companies at their facilities, developing an understanding of their company cultures, and seeing the latest in security products. Don Erickson has attended a baseball game at 29 of the current 30 Major League stadiums What are your interests, hobbies and passions outside security? One of the greatest gifts my father gave me was a love for baseball. He grew up a huge Brooklyn Dodgers fan and later became a long-time Mets season ticket holder. I have attended a baseball game at 29 of the current 30 Major League stadiums. What’s cool about this is that one of my sons has developed the same goal and visited 10 stadiums himself already. I am planning to run my seventh marathon this fall. Where was your last vacation? Would you recommend it to others? My family spent last Christmas in Rome and paid a visit to Pompeii. To sit 20 rows from Pope Francis at Christmas Eve Mass was an unforgettable experience especially for the kids. The city’s history is very inspiring, the restaurants are unforgettable, and it is easy to get around on public transportation.