Each month, we talk to an NTS instructor to find out their background, how they got involved in NTS, and their predictions for the future of the security industry.
This month, we're speaking to John Yusza, Jr. of Monitor Controls.
What's your background in the security industry?
I first became involved in the industry in 1970 when the company I was then working for was considering the manufacturing of alarm components. They wanted me to explore the market potential.
As part of the exploration, I purchased and installed several systems, learning how everything went together from the ground up.
I liked the industry and the idea of building better mousetraps was more fun than what I was doing on a 9-5 basis. Shortly thereafter I made the career change. I've never regretted it.
How did you get involved in NTS?
As a member of the state alarm association, I was asked if I would be interested in participating in a new program called "Level 1 Alarm Technician certification.”
The instructor was a gentleman by the name of Michael Rolf. We hit it off from the start and things have continued from there. I served as the Connecticut Alarm Association Education Chairman for 17 years until appointment to the State of Connecticut Electrical Board of which I am still a member. I continue to teach with the present chairman.
How do you apply your background to the courses you've taught?
I enjoy my job. If it's not fun, it must be work. Not only does the student learn something by the end of the course, but I want them to have fun doing it.
Students are encouraged to participate and bring real job problems into the discussion as we go through each module. Nothing is off the table. I use the PowerPoint presentation as a program guide and avoid as much as possible reading a screen shot.
What's the funniest experience you've had teaching a course?
Over the years I've had a number of memorable ones. I can think of one from my first interview to be an instructor. There were about twelve of us in a conference room. A page was taken from the Toastmasters program to see how well we could think on our feet.
One at a time, we were each given a one-word subject and allowed one minute to formulate a three-minute discussion on the subject. It didn't matter if the information was factual or what content. I believe the object of the exercise was to see how well we were able to hold the interest of the group and our speaking demeanor.
My friend had to discuss Windsurfing for three minutes. He did a great job. I was next and well, what do you do with a word like "soul train?"
For the following three minutes, I discussed the problems encountered with people getting their souls to heaven using mass rail transportation.
What do you find are the best ways for students to get the most out of NTS courses?
Participate and discuss with the instructor what you are learning. Attending a lecture is boring if you just sit there. You don't get your money's worth or the educational benefit.
How have you seen the security industry change over the years?
I've seen it go from relays to ICs, leased telephone lines and voice dialers to networks, tubes to transistors. Some days it's easy to reach technical overload trying to keep up with the changes.
There was a time when things were simpler and I knew everything. Today you're hard put to keep up with technology.
What are your predictions for the future of the industry?
It is both an exciting and frustrating time to be in the industry. It's exciting to see the changes that appear daily. If you are not afraid of change, this is the buffet of life.
It's also frustrating because you haven't the time to learn everything about every technology and still run a business. It takes a knowledgeable, dedicated team to run a business in this industry. NTS courses are a major part of our company's success. Our state now specifies a number of these courses as required education prior to testing for a license. I think other states will follow in the near future.