Round table discussions
After eight years as an Engineer in the Royal Australian Army, I briefly worked at Telstra before joining Honeywell Australia. In 2000 I moved with Honeywell to Europe, and in 2010 took a position at ASSA ABLOY. My current role is global CTO for the ASSA ABLOY Group. During my career I have developed extensive knowledge of the global residential and commercial security industry, and of all aspects of building automation. I have had responsibility for sales leadership, project and product management, R&D, marketing and general management, in both Australia and Europe. How did you come to work in the security industry? At Honeywell Australia in the early 1990s, I was working on the design and installation of medium- to large-sized projects with a mix of building automation and security. I felt a natural inclination towards the security products, which were undergoing important technical changes at the time — integrated solutions, RFID technologies, graphic displays and more. I found this interesting and ended up specializing by taking on the role of Product Manager for security products in Australia. What is the best professional advice you have received (and from whom)? A very good boss of mine once told me that it is fine to rush ahead and try to change the world, but it is critical to ensure your team is standing beside you: you can’t do it alone. What's something few people know about you? I am a rather poor but passionate fisherman. I enjoy an occasional fishing trip with friends and would like to do it much more. Quick Facts Film or TV? Both. Film for drama; TV for information, especially documentaries on technology and science. Biggest hero My wife. How she tolerates me sometimes I don’t know! First job My first “real” paid job was as a jig fitter making roof trusses and frames for homes. Ideal holiday Fishing from a boat in a sunny location like the Mediterranean. My wife would be very happy, and that is very important firstly, plus I might even catch a fish! Favourite album ELO, “Out of the Blue”. What's the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? Without doubt the people I get to work with, both colleagues and customers. The opportunity to learn from them, to understand challenges they face or ideas they have, and then work with them and others on solving them. This is what gets me out of bed in the morning. What are your interests, hobbies and passions outside security? Aside from poor attempts at fishing, I love walking (“rambling,” as the English call it) through wonderful countryside around my home in South Oxfordshire. I also love to cook — and tend to take over the kitchen come weekends and the BBQ in summer (I am an Aussie, after all). And I love to read and learn about technology and science in general, not as an expert but more a collector of interesting facts. Where was your last vacation? Would you recommend it to others? This summer I was truly lucky to spend two weeks in the Greek Islands, a week on land at a hotel and a week sailing on a catamaran with friends. Would I recommend it? Absolutely, especially the sailing part. Being with good friends on a small boat gave me a great perspective on island life.
As Vice President and General Manager of Computer Vision at RealNetworks, Dan Grimm leads the company’s facial recognition platform, SAFR. Prior to joining RealNetworks, Dan served as General Manager of Kindle Enterprise Publishing at Amazon. Dan also served as Associate Partner at Monitor Deloitte, where he led numerous strategy engagements advising C-suite and cabinet-level leaders in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa on driving top-line corporate growth, national prosperity, and economic development. How did you come to work in the security industry? We evaluated whose work we could best support with SAFR and identified the public servants and professionals keeping us safe in important spaces. They are asked to complete a near-impossible task: maintaining vigilance over hundreds of cameras in real-time — I’m delighted we’re able to help them do their jobs more effectively. What is the best professional advice you have received (and from whom)? Find the place where your gifts and passions intersect with the world’s need. And then dig in and make a difference. My pastor in college told me that, and it’s stuck with me ever since. Quick Facts Biggest hero Abraham Lincoln Favorite film The Last of the Mohicans Favorite meal Steamed Maryland Blue Crabs First job Warehouse Clerk Dogs or cats? Dogs What's something few people know about you? Many years ago, I appeared as an extra in the film, Mona Lisa Smile, with Julia Roberts, Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Ginnifer Goodwin. It was a brief scene, but great fun. Director Mike Newell said I did well — maybe I chose the wrong field! What's the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? The opportunity to usher in the future with an extraordinary team. As a pioneer in the field of computer vision and facial recognition, I believe we have a responsibility to design, develop, and distribute this technology in ways that fundamentally enhance the human experience — that’s a challenge that I relish every day. Dan, along with his wife, brother, father-in-law, and some dear friends climbed Mt. Rainier to raise funds for Syrians in need What are your interests, hobbies and passions outside security? (And why?) When not immersed in the latest tech, I go the other direction and spend time in the wild. A few years ago, my wife, brother, father-in-law, and some dear friends climbed Mt. Rainier to raise funds for Syrians in need. It was a wonderful and humbling experience. Where was your last vacation? Would you recommend it to others and why? Camping in an airstream trailer in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest with my wife, our three children, and a 3-month-old pudelpointer puppy, Lewis. I recommend it highly as a family-bonding experience.
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.