Adam Bannister

Editor, IFSEC Global

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Adam Bannister is editor of IFSEC Global. A former managing editor at Dynamis Online Media Group, he has been at the helm of the UK's leading fire and security publication since 2014.
June 6, 2017

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Most Influential

Top 50 influencers in security & fire 2017: security manufacturers/service providers

After extensive consultation with a panel of judges from across the industry, we are delighted to reveal our roll call of the Top 50 influencers in security & fire 2017: security manufacturers/service providers.

You can meet and greet with some of the influencers over drinks at IFSEC International 2017, held in association with the BSIA. This networking event takes place between 14:30-15:30 in the Security Management Theatre on day three, 22 June. IFSEC takes place at London ExCeL between 20-22 June 2017. Get your free badge now.

The BSIA is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. It’s a trio of 50s because we’ve also designed a graphic featuring all influencers based on the cover of the Beatles’ seminal Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, which also celebrated its 50th anniversary last month.

We’ve also added a special ‘lifetime of influence’ tribute in recognition of the enormous contribution to the industry of Mike Tennent, founder of Tavcom Training, who sadly passed away last month.

Scroll down for the top 10 influencers in the security manufacturers/service providers category and find out results of the other categories below.

Top 50 influencers: Beatles tribute visual

Lifetime of influence tribute: Mike Tennent, Tavcom Training

Security management, education and thought leadership (UK and international)

Cybersecurity (UK and international)

Fire safety

Installer/integrator excellence

Security manufacturers/service providers

Mitie Plc. Jason Towse
Credit: Ed Robinson/OneRedEye

10. Jason Towse, MD, people services, Mitie TSM

Jason Towse has worked for some of the biggest names in the security business. MITIE Total Security Management itself is the second biggest company in the security services sector, behind only G4S.

He took up his position at Mitie TSM in 2012 after a year heading up the aviation security services division of Securitas. Prior to that he spent a decade at Chubb Fire & Security as commercial director.

One of the many glowing nominations submitted for Jason read thus: “Jason is a fantastic leader and role model, not only for the Mitie Total Security Management business, but also to our clients and the Fire & Security industry. He has taken Mitie TSM from a manned guarding business to a risk-based converged security solutions provider, driving our industry away from traditional, people-based contracts to technology-led solutions.

Notable nominations:

“His involvement with the relevant bodies in our industry, complemented by his blogs and contributions to industry media channels, has helped to shape the shift from traditional people based deployment to technology-led solution deployment. He has set up an exclusive forum for current and potential clients to debate and discuss the future of the security industry, challenging the norm and constantly assessing emerging technologies.”

Milestones Systems A/S 
Banemarksvej 50
2605 Bronby,Denmark
Tel +45 88 300 300

9. Lars Thinggaard, president & CEO, Milestone Systems

An entrepreneur with more than two decades’ experience in start-ups and venture capital Lars Thinggaard has led Milestone Systems through great success for more than 17 years. Thinggaard proclaims himself “a firm believer in the Scandinavian approach to management, where all employees in a company are encouraged to participate in the company’s success by freely contributing their input, ideas and opinions. Scandinavian management is about openness, trust and transparency, principles I believe are crucial to effective leadership.”

It’s an approach that has reaped dividends. Founded in 1998 Milestone Systems has grown strongly since he took over in 2000 and was bought by Canon in 2014.

“One of the main drivers in creation of a video management platform as an open service that works with all other applications. Whilst others may have had the ideas, he was the force that drove it to become as significant as they have become.”

#9 Keith Bloodworth, CNL Software

8. Keith Bloodworth, CEO, CNL Software

Keith Bloodworth is something of a legend in the security industry having co-founded Axis Communications, which launched the first ever IP camera in 1996 and went on to become the world’s largest surveillance brand even if it has been surpassed in global unit sales by Hikvision.

Bloodworth was also founder and CEO of FormScape, a specialist document management company based in UK, before setting up CNL Software (Computer Network Limited), a pioneer in the PSIM field that transformed the industry in the mid noughties. Now achieving annual revenue growth of 100% plus CNL continues to be a major player in the vendor space, partly driven by its flagship software suite, IPSecurityCenter.

Also known as Situational Awareness or C4i, PSIM has revolutionised gathering and analysis of intelligence in control rooms, reducing costs and dependency on manufacturers. It is particularly useful in critical national infrastructure like transport and utilities.

#7 alf goransson, securitas

7. Alf Goransson, President and CEO, Securitas AB

Alf Göransson heads up Securitas, second only to G4S among the biggest manned guarding companies in the world.
President and CEO since 2007 Göransson “has led Securitas through one of the most drastic transitions from man guarding to security operations and solutions,” said the judge who nominated him. “He has pioneered the changes within a static and low tech industry to start using total solutions, including technology to provide better services at lower cost. His contribution is to change the culture of the company, grown it to a global entity at the same time as bringing it in to utlise technology in a meaningful way. He gets my vote as the largest influencer for having the tooughest job in the industry.”
He was Divisional President, Security Services Europe at the Company from 2013 to 2015, before which he was President of Mobile Division between July 8, 2010 and September 1, 2010.
Before Securitas he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of NCC AB from 2001 to 2007; Chief Executive Officer of Svedala Industri AB from 2000 to 2001; Business Area Manager at Cardo Rail between 1998 and 2000, and President of Swedish Rail Systems AB in the Scancem Group from 1993 to 1998. He holds International Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Business Administration from Goteborgs Universitet.

#6 adam stroud paxton

6. Adam Stroud, CEO, Paxton

Adam Stroud, who began his Paxton career 20 years ago on the factory production line, is now at the helm of a company that made it into the illustrious FT1000, an index of the 1,000 fastest growing companies in Europe. The company has also been named as one of the London Stock Exchange’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain.
Paxton’s turnover has grown by £13m in three years, a rise of more than 65%, while profits have grown 50% year on year since Stroud became CEO in 2012.

His admirers credit Stroud with driving Paxton’s company’s ethos, which is centred on simplicity and quality. Adam has also helped Paxton pre-empt and react to the proliferation of on-demand services and developments in smartphone capability.
Adam has overseen international expansion with Paxton opening offices in the US, France, Germany, Benelux, South Africa and the UAE.
Stroud has also overseen the introduction of IP technology to its Net2 system. He has also recognised the synergy between access control and door entry to introduce Net2 Entry to the market, and more recently bringing access control and building automation together to create Paxton10.

“Adam was actively involved in the debate that advances in consumer technology meant that customers now expected their security systems to work seamlessly together. Aware of the growing demand for smart buildings, essentially systems that interact with other building facilities such as lighting and heating, Adam has strived to make the security industry aware of the business opportunity that exists for installers who choose to diversify into building automation.”

Simon Banks

5. Simon Banks, Group managing director, CSL

Simon Banks’ influence extends well beyond the fortunes and direction of the company he founded and now runs as group managing director – although the latter he does very successfully too.
Since founding the company in 1996, CSL has grown into the largest supplier of alarm signalling services in the UK. Formerly CSL Dualcom, The company has recently rebranded to just CSL and repositioned itself as market leading providers of Secure Connectivity for M2M/IoT devices.
Simon is also a keen supporter of the Engineers of Tomorrow initiative and also sits on the Government’s Trailblazer development group which has written the new curriculum for the 2017 Apprentice academic structure.
He co-founded the Apprenticeships for Security campaign in early 2011, placing over 2300 young apprentices into careers within the Security Industry so far.
He was also appointed to the NSI Board of Directors to represent the security sector.
Banks was instrumental in the development of the Trailblazer apprenticeship standard, which was launched recently to plug the growing skills gap in fire and security.

Influential in creating the NSI Summits – very good value events that bring manufacturers and high quality installers together […] Keeping products current and leading the market with new, useful innovations […] for his power of knowledge and experience across the security sector

#5 benji hutchison, NEC

4. Benji Hutchison, senior director, NEC; Adjunct Professor at GMU

Benji Hutchison is a senior executive in business strategy, business development, management, and consulting with extensive experience in national security. His influence is truly global, having helped governments in their national security strategies across 20 countries. He is also an authority in multi-factor authentication, secure credentials, biometrics, forensics, identity management, biometric and forensic enabled intelligence, and identity intelligence programs.
He has also served on multiple business capture teams and developed technical content for over $1 billion in DoD and IC biometrics related proposals.
Benji, who has held Top secret NATO security clearances, has been senior director at NEC Corporation America since February 2016.
Before that he held positons at Morphotrust USA, Six3Systems and Booz Allen Hamilton.

I was impressed by his role in “NEC’s kick off of long awaited facial recognition biometric exit technology at Atlanta airport with US customs and border protection

#3 Joe Grillo ACRE LLC

3. Joe Grillo, CEO, Vanderbilt Industries

Joseph Grillo is a 30-year veteran of the electronic security and identification industries with a track record of successfully growing, acquiring and restructuring businesses. In 1993 Joe was appointed National Sales Manager for HID Corporation. He participated in the management buyout of HID from Hughes Aircraft/General Motors in 1995. From 1995 to 2001, Joe became Vice President of Sales and Marketing, COO and eventually President as HID grew from a $15M card and reader company to the dominant $100M industry leader.
At Assa Abloy, Joe created and managed the Identification Technology Group, completing more than a dozen acquisitions, primarily in Europe. In 2005, he was promoted to Executive Vice President of the parent company Assa Abloy AB, and appointed President of its Global Technology Division, which included HID Global, Assa Abloy Hospitality and Besam Automatic Doors.
In 2012, Mr. Grillo and his former colleague Will West formed ACRE, LLC as a platform to consolidate acquisitions in the electronic security industry, with a special focus on access control. They successfully acquired the Schlage SMS business from Ingersoll Rand – now known as Vanderbilt Industries – in September 2012 and then completed the acquisition of Mercury Security in May 2013. In 2015 Vanderbilt completed the acquisition of the Siemens Security Products business with Joe as its Managing Director based at the new headquarters building in Wiesbaden, Germany.
Joe graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance. He served as President and Board Member of the Security Industry Association (SIA) from 1998-2007.

Joe has a track record of successfully growing, acquiring and restructuring businesses, and the acquisition of Siemens Security Products in 2015 no doubt played a significant part in his achieving this accolade. When Vanderbilt completed the acquisition of Security Products from Siemens, it was a rare case of a company buying an organisation much larger than itself, which posed some unique challenges but, over the last year, Joe put plans in place to significantly boost Vanderbilt’s market position in the Europe, which have been successful on every level.

#2 Dr. Mahesh Saptharishi, Avigilon

2. Dr Mahesh Saptharishi, chief technology officer, Avigilon

Boasting 18 years’ experience in developing smart video analytics technology and network camera software/hardware Dr Mahesh Saptharishi leads the company’s engineering team and recently-announced Centers of Excellence R&D initiative. As CTO he is responsible for driving innovation in Avigilon’s product and intellectual property portfolios, identifying strategic technology capabilities and exploring new business opportunities.
Writing a piece for Forbes on what the security landscape might look like in 2020 Dr Saptharishi certainly leaves his mark on the debates shaping the industry’s strategic direction too.
Avigilon launched the world’s first 7K surveillance camera last year and have moved aggressively in the burgeoning video analytics market, acquiring patents from Behavioral Recognition Systems Inc (BRS Labs), FaceDouble Incorporated, ITS7 Pty Ltd and the VideoMining Corporation for a total of just over $13m.

A true visionary. A thought leader and knowledge leader of his subject matter; not least, a captivating presenter […] a respected leader and visionary in video analytics and artificial intelligence within the physical security industry […] an inspirational and intuitive leader […] Long-term leadership in solving customer problems with video-surveillance solutions – specifically, with respect to the use of intelligent self-learning video analytics that enables proactive prevention of adverse security events.

#1 Martin Gren axis

1. Dr Martin Gren, co-founder, Axis Communications

Martin Gren topped the list in 2013 and has never been outside the top 10 since, finishing second in 2016.
As influential as ever 23 years after co-founding Axis Communications, Martin Gren attracted huge volume of nominations from people within Axis and across the supply chain.

Gren helped invent the world’s first network camera in 1996 when few people used the internet and those that did used dial-up access. Under his stewardship Axis Communications led the migration from analogue to digital video surveillance and is considered to be the second biggest supplier of video encoders behind only Hikvision.

While Ray Maurittson has long since taken over as president and CEO of Axis Gren remains a senior member of the board and is as animated by innovation as he was starting out three decades ago.

“Always one step ahead in term of vision, innovation and investment […] Martin continues to be the opinion maker and influencer in the field of security and video surveillance. He demonstrated this on multiple occassions in the past months – writing articles into security/IT media, speaking at numerous events we held globally.”

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