'20 under 40' 2013 - Joey Rao-Russell
Joey Rao-Russell, 39
President and CEO
Kimberlite Corp., an independent Sonitrol franchise
How did you get into the security industry?
Several members of my family are in law enforcement and didn’t have a high opinion of security, with false alarms and things like that. I had worked in retail sub-prime financing as a divisional director of operations and I was recruited to implement credit and collection policies for this company. But I found out it was security and I was like, “Hmmm … I do have a degree in criminal justice, but I’m not sure.” So I called my uncle and he said Sonitrol was a great place to work. So, that’s how I got started in security. I interviewed some of the people who were here and knew some of the customers, and it had a high quality of service and a solution-based product. That sounded like something I wanted to be a part of.
Who or what in the industry has inspired you most in your security career?
We had a long-term sales manager when I first came on board, Ronnie Nelson. After 26 years, he still had the same passion and dedication to protecting our customers and to helping them find solutions to protect their businesses, their personnel and themselves. To have something you could take pride in for that many years was very inspiring to me. And in the industry as a whole what has inspired me is the move toward not just protecting assets but the protection of people.
What can be done to boost the ranks of young people in the industry?
Many of our next generation coming up want to do more than make money, they want to do more than produce or sell widgets. I think we need to do a better job of letting them know this is not just a business … it can be a passionate life work and it can be very rewarding.