In our series, “House of Guest”, we go behind the scenes with a few of our team members to find out more about the passion behind their role, team and projects here at Traction Guest. This week, we feature our Director of Global Security Strategy, Brian Phillips. Learn more about Brian as he talks about his journey that led him to a career in security, and what he sees in the future for the physical security industry.
Tell us about your role as a Director of Global Security Strategy. What does it entail?
First and foremost, I am a security professional with a focus on keeping Traction Guest secure and resilient as a company. I work across our marketing, sales, and product teams as a subject matter expert in physical security, bringing my knowledge into how the platform is designed and how it applies to the real-life challenges customers are seeing every day . I like to think of myself as a champion for our end users; helping tell their story within Traction Guest.
Describe your journey in choosing a career in security. What led you to this career choice?
Being a corporate security professional is not something you grow up aspiring to be. Nor will you find us at a career booth generally. I actually started my career working as an EMT for a local ambulance and a contract firefighter at Pfizer. I had a chance to move to the security side and never looked back. I had a keen interest in technology and found a niche early on working with access control systems and other security systems and grew from there to building my own security programs.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve seen in physical security in the first half of 2020?
Some of the biggest challenges we’ve faced as physical security professionals this year so far are based on dealing with the unknown. Security has been pushed to the forefront of the COVID-19 efforts for companies around the world. This is something we are used to in handling any crisis. However, we have typically lived through situations similar to the ones we’re helping to mitigate. In this case, this is totally unprecedented. There is no script to follow. Things evolve and change by the day. We need to make sure we have the most credible information in real time. In many cases we are also doing this remotely; carrying the responsibility for employee safety in locations all over the world.
How has COVID-19 changed the security landscape, and in particular, your role? What trends do you see in the future with regards to how companies run their workplaces?
In some cases, this year has been make or break for security departments. How we have handled the situation at our companies will pave the way for executive buy-in or loss of credibility. My hope is that this has propelled our industry forward and given some providers a seat at the table if they didn’t have it already. I think biosecurity will become a more prominent focus of our day-to-day responsibilities. It's not just about keeping a bad guy out, but in this case, the bad healthcare risk.
Being a Traction Guest customer in your previous role at Thermo Fisher Scientific, how would you say your experience working with us has changed your perspective?
Having an insider perspective, I can now see that helping companies provide a safe and secure workplace is truly at the forefront of everything we do. The leadership team has tremendous goals and I believe this will serve a great future for Traction Guest. Working for a company that is mission driven is important especially when we share that mission with our customers.
What is the best part about working in the physical security industry?
I love the feeling of helping others. I’ve been a volunteer firefighter and EMT since I was 18 year old. Working in security allows me to not only help people individually but help my company. Across our industry, helping to keep our companies safe and secure has a ripple effect on keeping our countries safe as well. Also, no two days are the same. There’s always a virtual fire to put out or something we need to adjust on the fly.
You were named a Top 20 under 40 by the Security End Users Awards a few years ago. What would you say is the biggest contributor to your success?
Without a doubt, mentorship. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had two mentors throughout my career who are very well respected in the industry. They saw potential in me and constantly pushed me to the next level and to better myself. I endeavor to do the same for the next generation security professionals.
What would you say enticed you to join the Traction Guest team?
I believe that technology has a place in the physical security industry that is only becoming more important by the day. Being the tech nerd that I am, I thought this would be a good way to leverage my experience with both security and technology to help our industry move forward and provide a safe and secure workplace. In speaking with our leadership, I could see they felt the same.
What is your favourite way to unwind and disconnect from work?
I love (slow) long distance, scenic runs or hikes. I don’t bring my phone on these runs. This is my time to reflect on things and enjoy the outdoors with all its beauty. I also enjoy kayaking. I’ve been trying to get into fishing lately but let’s just say most of the fish I’m catching are from the grocery store.