Don Erickson grew up in Bellerose Village, New York and graduated from Catholic University. He has been the CEO of the Security Industry Association for five and a half years after serving as SIA’s government relations director. Erickson is responsible for managing the operations and programmes of SIA and implementation of the Board’s strategic plan. He has worked in the U.S. Senate and held government relations positions with Alcatel and an association of rural telecommunications carriers.
How did you come to work in the security industry?
I advised Senator Rod Grams on government telecommunications and criminal justice policies. I became passionate about working with law enforcement in Minnesota to secure funding for a state-wide interoperable public safety network. I also enjoyed close collaboration with national telecommunications and broadcasting companies on global initiatives such as U.S. ratification of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Treaty. I joined SIA in early 2006 to build a national advocacy programme that would generate real value for association members.
What is the best professional advice you have received (and from whom)?
Don’t underestimate yourself. John Stroia who is a former chairman of SIA and presently the president of Hamilton was literally the first person who encouraged me to apply for the CEO role at SIA. I was perfectly content handling government relations at the time the position opened. I also hadn’t aspired to the role. John actively encouraged me to go for it despite my reservations about whether I was ready for it.
|Biggest hero||My wife|
|Favorite book ||1776 by David McCullough|
|First job||U.S. Senate|
|Ideal holiday||At World Series, Game 7|
|Best gift you received||My kids|
What's something few people know about you?
I love to read autobiographies and biographies including autobiographies from Bruce Springsteen and the actor Bryan Cranston most recently. My favorite autobiography is by Jackie Robinson. The experience of his family as victims of the Holocaust described by Elie Wiesel (Night) is one of the most impactful books I have ever read (more than once). To this day, I regret passing on the chance of speaking with Wiesel while we were waiting for the same flight.
What's the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living?
The most rewarding part of this job is when a co-worker secures a big win on a project to benefit our members. I am happy for that colleague and our members. Being able to communicate frequently about the accomplishments of our team is rewarding. We have an amazing and effective professional staff at SIA. My favorite part of what I do for a living is visiting member companies at their facilities, developing an understanding of their company cultures, and seeing the latest in security products.
|Don Erickson has attended a baseball game at 29 of the current 30 Major League stadiums|
What are your interests, hobbies and passions outside security?
One of the greatest gifts my father gave me was a love for baseball. He grew up a huge Brooklyn Dodgers fan and later became a long-time Mets season ticket holder. I have attended a baseball game at 29 of the current 30 Major League stadiums. What’s cool about this is that one of my sons has developed the same goal and visited 10 stadiums himself already. I am planning to run my seventh marathon this fall.
Where was your last vacation? Would you recommend it to others?
My family spent last Christmas in Rome and paid a visit to Pompeii. To sit 20 rows from Pope Francis at Christmas Eve Mass was an unforgettable experience especially for the kids. The city’s history is very inspiring, the restaurants are unforgettable, and it is easy to get around on public transportation.