'20 under 40' 2012 - Erica Wood

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Erica Wood, 33
Co-owner, chief security officer
American Fire & Security
Dayton, Ohio

How did you get into the security industry?

When I met my husband back in the ’90s, he was in the security guard business, and I got involved and got really excited about meeting business owners and helping them out with their security. And I began to expand the business out into electronic security, and eventually the electronic security division of our business just spun off into American Fire & Security. A good portion of the people we deal with are women—apartment managers, business managers, office managers—and we found that women are more comfortable talking to women, so I kind of got involved at that level. … (I also created) The Security Girl, who writes a blog but has kind of turned into our company mascot. I had a graphics artist draw up The Security Girl, and we put it on all our marketing materials and my business cards, and it has really boosted our sales tremendously because it’s what people remember. It’s a great way to stand out against our competition by having a chick with pink hair.

What can be done to attract more young people to the industry?

There needs to be more training about security starting at the vocational school level or high school level, and mentoring programs for young people so they know this is a great career choice.

Who in the industry has helped you most in your security career?

My husband (Robert Wood, co-owner and service manager of American Fire & Security). He encourages me to try new things as a business owner. I don’t know how many people involved with a business would say that coming up with someone with pink hair would be good for business. He was very supportive and I’m forever grateful to him for that.