After 15 exemplary years heading up one of the security industry’s leading certification bodies, Geoff Tate has made the decision to retire at the end of 2014. As SSAIB celebrates its 20th anniversary and prepares for the next chapter with a new chief executive, SecurityNewsDesk took a stroll down memory lane with Tate.
Having been a stalwart figure in the security industry since the late 1960s, it’s easy to see why Tate was the ideal candidate to take up the mantle of SSAIB Chief Executive 15 years ago. When he took the role the organisation was a much smaller entity than we see leading the industry today, and this expansion, of members and services alike, is a direct result of Tate’s energy.
“During my term SSAIB has moved on from a small approvals body focused only on security systems,” said Tate. “Now it is the biggest accreditation body in the industry dealing with fire, monitoring and guarding systems, as well as security and telecare. Getting to this point has been a long process, particularly gaining UKAS accreditation which we achieved more than 10 years ago, and I’m very proud to have been a part of this.”
Tate has been instrumental in establishing SSAIB’s internal processes, and he cites the question “Who guards the guardians?” as a key foundation in everything the organisation does. That is why SSAIB undergoes external audits conducted by UKAS in addition to its own internal audits.. This ensures that the industry knows that a company with the SSAIB seal of approval has been certificated by the best.
The high standard of SSAIB services has contributed to the ongoing growth in companies taking advantage of the organisation’s services. But what does Tate think the future holds?
He said, “I feel I am leaving the SSAIB with a very sound base, including over 1,500 registered firms, that should form the foundation for a very positive future. Obviously I can’t speak for my successor, but I believe that the organisation should continue along the same successful path and continue to specialise in providing the security industry with certification services rather than expand to become a more general certification body. I have no doubt that our very experienced team will continue to be the best at what they do, maintaining an intimate understanding of the security industry and adding value to every business that comes to SSAIB for certification.”
With such a positive and exciting future ahead, just what has prompted Tate to make the decision to step down?
“Tempus fugit,” Tate replied. “Time goes by quickly, and I feel that the organisation would benefit from a fresh perspective and renewed energy. Also, I am looking forward to enjoying some more free time!”
While Tate insists he will miss the day-to-day bustle of the SSAIB and involvement with the industry, we get the feeling that he will be kept busy indulging his passion for cars and driving, enjoying the bustle of the circuit! Tate is also looking forward to quality time with his wife and their horses.
With 15 years under his belt, Tate has plenty of knowledge to hand over to his successor, but he has some specific advice for the next chief executive.
“My advice to the new SSAIB Chief Executive would be to maintain a close liaison with the security industry and how it is evolving and develop a strong understanding of what the industry needs in terms of certification which is what SSAIB is all about,” said Tate. “Above all else, it’s vital that whoever assumes the position continues to ensure that SSAIB always adds value to the businesses it accredits.”