Updated July 14, 2014
As the Aug. 1 deadline for nominations for Security Director News’ “20 under 40” awards fast approaches, I’ve been thinking about the previous winners I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know.
I checked in with a few of them by email recently—it’s very hard to get these busy pros on the phone!— to get their take on how the award has helped them in their careers and how attending the TechSec conference, where the awards are presented, benefited them. From advancing in their careers, expanding their professional ties through networking and earning even more respect from their peers and supervisors, each had positive things to say.
I hope they’ll inspire you to add some more names to this year’s robust nominee list. Please do—and remember the deadline is right around the corner. Here they are, in their own words…
Toby Heath, business development manager, Seneca Data
“The award landed me the next job in my career path. My employer specifically asked about the award and immediately understood my relevance in the security industry.
“There were two distinct benefits in attending TechSec. First, the educational sessions were all focused on the future of the security market—this is the opposite of most shows. Second, the networking with peers provided me with numerous new relationships that I am still leveraging today.
“I would encourage others to nominate their peers because the security industry is built on relationships. What better way to strengthen a relationship than recommending them for an award!”
Chad Pohle, director safety and security, Montage Laguna Beach
“The award has impacted my career with respect to the networking opportunities and new relationships I’ve made with a multitude of professionals in various industries (especially my own). I feel the most valuable relationships I’ve built have actually been with the other winners in my class.
“More importantly, winning the award publicized and affirmed the commitment my team of officers has for our guests’ safety, security and comfort. I still don’t consider myself to be the winner of this award as I feel this award was won by my team of officers, and I was simply the person who accepted it on their behalf.
“I’d encourage others to nominate young professionals for '20 under 40' because recognizing individuals for their hard work shows the nominees they’re appreciated and they’re doing something right. Ultimately, it promotes camaraderie and creates a fraternal organization of trusted individuals who are dedicated to their profession and gives up-and-coming young professionals the forum to be recognized for their continued efforts. My goal for every officer on my team is for them to eventually hold my title (and beyond) at one of our properties (if that’s what they’re seeking). As I’ve matured into my position over the years, the one main thing that continues to drive and excite me more and more is the growth and development of talented young security professionals and enriching their lives with education they can use in their personal and professional lives."
Adam Parker, director of loss prevention, Lamps Plus Inc.
“I was very excited to learn that I was selected as a '20 under 40' winner from Security Director News. It truly is an honor to be part of such an exclusive and high-caliber group of young security professionals. It was also very nice to hear the congratulations of my peers, both in the retail loss prevention community as well as the larger security industry as a whole.
“Attending the Tech Sec Solutions conference was also a treat. I think what I enjoyed most about the conference was sharing information and networking with other security professionals. The event attracted hands-on leaders from every security market and discipline including hospitality, data centers, schools, hospitals, utilities, retailers, manufactures and more. I was able to share and gain insight into many of the common security challenges and solutions that we all face. I’m personally very appreciative for the entire experience and to be included with such a wonderful and diverse group of young security leaders.”
Scott Starkey, security director, Birmingham Water Works Board
“The '20 under 40' award was probably the most influential professional award that I have ever received. After my company learned that I had received the award it helped my career immensely. Within a year of receiving the award, I was promoted and had several other companies call with unsolicited job offers.
“I would certainly encourage all security professionals to look around at their staff and take the time to nominate someone who has worked really hard in the profession and deserves the credit and prestige that goes along with winning this award.
“I have attended many conferences put on by various security organizations; the TechSec Conference is, hands down, the best conference of the year. Each year, I learn a great deal from the very knowledgeable speakers, and I bring their practical, insightful knowledge back to my job to incorporate strategies that I learned. The strategies and technological ideas that I bring back helps me show a very pleasing ROI to my board of directors and CEO, which, in turn, provides me with the needed financial resources to implement my security strategies. I feel that this conference is certainly well worth the time and expense. If a security professional attends this conference, they will not be disappointed.”
Demerle Lewis, security manager, New York State Insurance Fund
"Receiving this award has helped me tremendously in my career. Not only did I receive recognition for my expertise and knowledge, but I joined a fraternity of professionals who have received the award before me as well as those who will receive the award in the future. Receiving the award has allowed me to move forward in my career as I am now making the transition from a security manager to a security consultant. Some of the relationships I have with my colleagues stem from winning the award. I am grateful for the nomination and still honored to this day that I was chosen. It is a huge accomplishment.
"Attending the TechSec conference was one of the best decisions I have made. The conference gives security professionals the opportunity to network with peers, and there is nothing better than putting a face with a name. The conference also allows us to take part in panel discussions about topics that are current and relevant to the industry and not only do we discuss issues we are facing, but also to come up with solutions and ideas to make things better.
"There are so many professionals in our field who are going unnoticed. Nominating them will not only help to enhance their careers, will also encourage them to continue to strive to be the best they can be. I remember the excitement I felt when I first learned of my nomination. Not only was I ecstatic, but I felt a sense of accomplishment. I was proud to be nominated, and I didn't expect to be chosen as a winner of the award; the nomination itself was enough for me. It helped me to know I belonged in the industry and that I can accomplish so much more."