Interviewed by Julianne Reichert, Duane Morris LLP
Title: Chief Administrative Officer, Partner & Human Resources
Company: Oracle Protection Services
Q: What is your role with Oracle Protection Servces? What does a typical day look like for you?
A: My roles with Oracle Protection Services include Chief Administrative Officer, Partner and Human Resources. A typical day could consist of a multitude of different things, from business development and networking to doing interviews or counseling sessions with staff. It’s very hard to outline my role simply because I need to be constantly malleable to any given situation. I love it because rarely am I bored.
Q: What ignited the spark in you to become an owner?
A: One of my current partners, Mitch Gyger, and I were presented with an opportunity through a large challenge. Our first thought was to save the jobs of all the dedicated people we had been working with over the years. We had several hundred people looking to us for answers in a very difficult time. After a series of meetings with legal and consulting guidance, we decide we could do it and we could do it better. During this time, we reached out to a long time mentor and asked him to join us, which he did without hesitation. This is our third partner, Daniel Costa. We are here now, one year later, making waves in the industry by raising the standard in security.
Q: What is the most enjoyable aspect of being a business owner? What aspect is the most stressful?
A: The most enjoyable aspect of being a business owner is being able to help others. We are just over a year old and already offer healthcare, vision, dental and retirement options to our employees. There is no greater feeling than to be able to help someone. Our staff members are the product; they work so hard that it would be unfair to not do everything we could to take care of them. This can also be some of the stress. We know that every decision we make has the potential to affect a lot of people. That can keep you awake a few hours a night.
Q: What three pieces of advice would you give to a college student who dreams of becoming an entrepreneur?
A: The best piece of advice I could give them is “Don’t be afraid of hard work.” Owning or even being a partner is more than a full time job. You don’t have hours or days off. Be prepared to do things no one else will so you can live a life no one else can. Being an entrepreneur is one of the hardest but most rewarding careers out there.
Q: What are the top three characteristics needed to become a successful entrepreneur?
A: The top three characteristics needed to become a successful entrepreneur are dedication, hard working, and resiliency. You must be committed to your cause, which means outworking everyone else around you. Being resilient is one of the most important attribute because you have to be able to adapt and roll with the punches.
Q: What about the security business appeals to you?
A: The security business appeals to me because, again, I really enjoy helping people. There are so many ways in which security helps people with peace of mind. I’ve always gained satisfaction after an event or shift, especially being able to keep people safe and seeing patrons of any venue or establishment happy. I’m a people person and think what better industry to be in to be able to interact with people of all different walks of life.
Q: What is the funniest experience (that you can disclose with YPN) that you have had as a security professional?
A: I think the most interesting experiences we get are from our high net worth clients. The requests sometime tend to be slightly outside of the norm. Unfortunately, I cannot go into detail.
Q: What advice would you share with someone interested in the security business?
A: The security industry post 9-11 is one with tremendous growth, especially with all the government agencies that are now looking to outsource the work to the private sector because it’s cheaper and more efficient. The best pieces of advice I can offer are to be above board, be properly trained and credentialed and learn from people who are more experienced than you.
Q: How has YPN helped you in your career?
A: YPN was the second group we as a company joined right after the Chamber of Commerce, of course. After joining these two groups, we almost immediately saw our return. The great thing about these organizations is that the more you put into them the more you get out. There certainly is not a lack of opportunity to build business with YPN.
Q: Who has been an influential mentor in your professional career, and why?
A: In the security world, Daniel Costa has been a tremendous benefit to our experience and guidance over the years. Although we have had a tremendous amount of support from a few different people, two stand out in my mind – Scott Mirkin and John White. These two gentlemen still give us guidance regularly. Whenever we have a question or a challenge, they do not hesitate to help guide us in the right direction.
Q: YPN’s Professional Development Committee has a “PD Bookshelf” of books recommended by regional business leaders. What book are you currently reading, or have you recently read, that you would recommend to the YPN community? Please explain.
A: A few books I would recommend for any business person starting out include – Who Moved My Cheese?, Good to Great, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Start with Why. Currently, I am reading Fundamentally Different by David Friedman.