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Top 10 Under 40: Matthew Vallis, Senior consultant, smart buildings, Telus, 39

July 2, 2023  By  SP&T Staff

What is the first task you take care of in a typical working day?

Typically, the first thing I do on a working day is make a coffee; then I check my emails and meeting calendar. This helps me identify priority items as well as review and prepare for any meetings I may have throughout the day. After checking these items, I go to the gym. During my morning exercise routine, I leave my cell phone in the locker so I can have distraction-free “unplugged” time. I also use this time to think about my daily priorities and put together a “plan of attack” so I can accomplish the tasks I want to get done each day.

What do you enjoy most about the security profession?

I have always enjoyed the technology and how it is constantly evolving to meet the needs of the customer. When I first started in the security industry it seemed like the approach was “how do we use technology to keep the bad people out?” Most systems were clunky, inefficient and not really all that user-friendly for the people who managed the systems or those who had to use the space the systems were protecting. Now, there has been a fundamental shift in the security industry where customers are looking for integrated platforms that are easy to manage and maintain while still providing the security they require.


Do you have any tips for achieving a successful work-life balance?

Yes, don’t be afraid to unplug. When I first started in the security industry I always carried my work phone on me and took my laptop everywhere, even on vacations. I would constantly be answering emails or working on items in the evenings, weekends and even on vacation (I never used my Out of Office). This unfortunately led to people contacting me outside of working hours because they knew I would answer my phone or emails. Slowly I began to realize that I was no longer enjoying my free time. Now, I have set working hours for myself and quite often I will leave my work phone on my desk when I go out and do activities (unless I know there is a priority item). Also, I highly recommend having a hobby. Something that has absolutely nothing to do with work.

How can the security industry draw more young people and newcomers to the profession?

I think the biggest thing the security industry can do to attract young people and new talent to the profession is more awareness that there are lots of careers with a secure future in the industry. When I tell most people who are outside the security industry that I work in a security profession they immediately think I am either a security guard or an IT person who works in cybersecurity. One of the mandates that I am the proudest of implementing as chair for ASIS Chapter 162 Calgary & Southern Alberta is “Attend your first ASIS Chapter event for free.” This has encouraged existing chapter members to bring out new employees or those new to the security industry to events so they can see what the industry is all about and to meet some of the experienced professionals who can share their success stories.

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