Carol Lovell reflects on three-decade career
Lovell spent most of her 33-year career working with door hardware and access control products before deciding to step away at the end of 2020
Carol Lovell is passionate about the security industry, as evidenced by her years of service, volunteer efforts and palpable enthusiasm for the subject matter. It’s also in her blood.
Lovell spent most of her 33-year career working with door hardware and access control products before deciding to step away at the end of 2020 when both she and her husband Tony Harte, who worked in the security industry for more than four decades, decided to retire.
“I got into doing what I do because I love people. I love meeting people. I like to be out. I like to see what their challenges are,” says Lovell.
Lovell has split most of her career between two organizations — the family business, Toronto-based Security Locksmith & Design (SLD) and ASSA ABLOY. SLD was founded by her grandfather under the name Pollock Locksmith in 1950. She worked in the company as a teenager during the summers, taking on clerical work.
“He gave me the opportunity to dabble in a little bit of everywhere,” she says.
At 14, she demonstrated her locksmithing skills for a school presentation, picking a class-room lock using a set of tools her grandfather had prepared for her. “The teacher was in awe,” says Lovell. The experience also cemented her attachment to the industry. “That’s when it really started.”
When Lovell’s grandfather retired in 1985, he turned over the business to her brother Brian, who renamed it SLD.
Lovell continued to work for the company. She moved away from the clerical duties and got into the field, meeting with clients and “putting things together from the hardware side, but also looking at their security requirements.”
She left the company twice to have her two children and then again in 2010 to work for access control giant ASSA ABLOY. Lovell came back to SLD two years later, then rejoined ASSA ABLOY in 2015, where she worked until her recent retirement. During her second stint with the company, she focused on the health-care sector and its access control needs.
Throughout her career, Lovell has engaged with security associations, predominantly ASIS International. Lovell says she was encouraged by Bill Bradshaw, former senior regional vice-president of ASIS Region 6 (Canada), to get involved with the local Toronto chapter and share her professional knowledge.
She joined ASIS in 2005 and quickly felt at home. “I got that feeling of acceptance and welcome immediately,” she says. A year later, she was approached to join the chapter’s executive committee as treasurer, a position she held until 2011 when she took on the role of chapter chair. Lovell also served as ASIS Toronto’s vice-chair in 2018 and volunteered with the chapter’s women in security commit-tee, which organizes an annual seminar event.
Lovell says her volunteer efforts with ASIS also helped her to expand her network of end users. Working with hospitals in the last few years has been especially gratifying, she says. She put her gregarious nature and industry knowledge to work in the health-care sector, providing consultations to clients in the Toronto area.
Martin Green, manager of security, telecommunications and emergency preparedness at Baycrest Health Sciences, has known Lovell for two decades through their mutual engagement with security associations, as well as in a professional capacity in health-care security.
Green says he always appreciated her enthusiasm and approach. “She’s collaborative,” says Green, who recalls her willingness to make hospital site visits in one of ASSA ABLOY’s mobile showroom vehicles. “She was always so good at letting you know what was out there. And if you called her up, she was always super-quick to come up with a solution.”
Lovell says she might technically be retired, but she’s assured Green and other friends and colleagues in the security industry that she doesn’t plan to step away permanently.
There’s a shortage of skilled professionals working in the security trade — particularly on the hardware side, notes Lovell. She’s hoping to work with young people to spur their interest and engage with schools and learning institutions to help promote an industry that has been so good to her over the years. “It’s in my DNA,” she says.