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I'm not driven by the low bid, but of course I do what makes sense financially for the university. Like many other institutions we have a cycle to work with and we have our fat times and our lean times. I must say that the university has been very good about doing what we need and not compromising security for the sake of saving money.
What would you say to locksmiths out there who have thought about working in an institution? Would you recommend it?
Yes I would. I would suggest first getting one of the certifications like one from ALOA or the ILA because during the interview process, you're being judged by people who aren't locksmiths and the certification serves as a quick barometer to help determine whether you're qualified or not. I would also urge them to walk into the interview looking professional because once again you'll be sitting in an office with a bunch of suit and ties and go through more than one interview in addition to having a background check done. I would venture to say that I was hired here because I shaved and wore a nice suit. It's also important to demonstrate that you're able to deal with the different types of people you'll have to while in that position; everyone from presidents of some pretty lofty institutions within the university to the cleaning people and the students.
Keep in mind that in these times of outsourcing and downsizing I don't see a time when we'll be told that teachers are cheaper in Mexico and we're moving the university. Between that and the increased need for qualified security professionals, the job is a pretty stable one.
Ledger technical editor Jerry Levine recently sat down with a lock shop supervisor for a major university. Topics of discussion included the duties of an institutional locksmith, hardware choices...