“In my role, it’s important to meet with people to fully understand the exact nature of their security challenges, and then determine together what the best solution is.”
As the manager of security systems infrastructure, Loudanski Gumbs oversees the design of Ryerson’s security systems with expertise in card access, CCTV and intrusion and duress systems. He works with faculties and departments across campus to understand their specific security needs and implement systems that help support this. For example, he may work in areas with extensive digital or research technology to understand how systems can help secure the spaces, or with faculties to set up card access systems for areas that are frequently used by students outside of regular business hours.
For Loudanski, each time he works with a new area on campus, it’s an opportunity to learn about what they do, understand their concerns and develop systems that address their needs. “We recognize that the people we’re working with know their space, their challenges and their needs best. I know what systems we have available and how they work. It’s about developing a solution together.”
One example of Loudanski’s impact on Ryerson's physical safety infrastructure was his involvement in securing the funding, planning and installation of the blue pole or emergency stations that immediately dispatch Ryerson security to specific locations.
“One thing I’ve found about Ryerson is that it’s very open to change and to taking risks, both of which lead to progress and growth for our community.”
Loudanski joined Ryerson when it was a polytechnic. For him, part of Ryerson’s growth is a result of the willingness of our community to take bold risks in the name of progress and development. Alongside this broader university growth, he’s seen his own department grow, with more resources and appreciation for his team’s work. As he explained, this has had a major impact on the experience of working at Ryerson: “When you feel that you’re part of the university community and feel like you belong, it helps you feel more committed to the work you do.”
An example of Loudanski and his team’s work on campus is Ryerson’s Building Access Pilot Project . The project arose out of Community Safety and Security’s regular reviews of the university's policies and procedures to continually enhance safety and security on campus. The project was complex and the team had a lot to consider. Most of the affected buildings have multiple uses. It was important to consider how to balance openness to the community while addressing the concerns of individuals who may be working alone at night. Once the framework for the pilot was considered, Loudanski and his team were able to make recommendations on what technology infrastructure was needed.
The goal is always to make sure that the enhancements to security on campus are done in a way that makes our community more comfortable while maintaining their level of access to our facilities.
“When we come to work, we have to understand it’s not about us. It’s about how we support students.”
Loudanski’s career at Ryerson began in 1986, first as a member of the university’s external security contractor. He then joined Ryerson in 1996 as a security systems administrator on the security team. With a background in Sports Therapy from York University (where he graduated in 1992) he often thought each year would be his last before he moved on to medical school. Yet each year he found himself enjoying his role more and more - too much to leave.
He credits the support of two key individuals, Lynn Reynolds, who at the time worked in continuing education, and Renee Lemieux, a former director in Computing and Communications Services for his career at Ryerson. “When I joined Ryerson in 1986 I had recently immigrated from St. Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean, and had run away from home and was underhoused. "Both Lynn and Renee took the time to get to know me, to understand my background, and encouraged me to stay at Ryerson and to go to university.” He’s happy to be able to give back to his community, and has volunteered as president of the St. Kitts and Nevis Association of Toronto and participated on the Caribbean Council of Associations.
For Loudanski, not only did these two individuals have a massive impact in his life, they changed how he approaches his work and his interactions with his colleagues. He’s conscious of getting to know those who he works with, and to remember that everything we do at Ryerson should place students and their needs at the centre. When he’s working on a challenging project with various solutions to consider, he always asks himself, “Is what I’m doing the best solution for our students?” If the answer is yes, he knows he’s on the right path.