Steve Hyle, LPC, is vice president, director of national accounts for AFA Protective Systems. He joined AFA in 1997 after starting his career in retail store operations followed by ten years working in various corporate roles in loss prevention. He earned his LPC certification in November 2014 and today serves on the Loss Prevention Foundation board of directors.
Why did you decide to pursue certification?
To become a more knowledgeable and respected leader in my industry and profession. Having spent the initial thirteen years of my career working in retail operations and loss prevention, it was important for me to legitimize the integrity of my knowledge through certification. Having the privilege to work for a highly respected solution provider with over 140 years of proven performance, certification provided me the valuable know how to strengthen my business skills, better understand the business challenges of our retail customers, and improve my overall professional competency.
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Was the course what you expected?
It exceeded my expectations in most every respect. It provided comprehensive, in-depth study across all disciplines within the profession and also provided me with valuable lessons to succeed in business and strengthen the quality of my business relationships.
Tell us more about the process of going through the course and taking the exam.
Initially, I set a goal to complete the study within eleven to twelve months. I committed to set aside several uninterrupted hours each week to immerse myself into each course module. This proved to be a sensible approach given the vast volume of content and my desire to absorb as much information as possible. I found the information to be highly engaging and informative-so much so that on many occasions I found myself exceeding my planned study targets and moved forward through the subject matter at an accelerated pace.
What information within the course helped you the most or was most eye opening?
I found the section on mentoring to be highly relevant and impactful to my role as a solution provider. Each and every day, we all have the ability to positively influence the lives of others. Taking the time to develop your skills and knowledge demonstrates a passion for your craft that is visible to others. Knowledge shared unselfishly not only can positively impact the lives of others but also is personally fulfilling and provides a profound sense of accomplishment.
What benefits have you seen from taking the course?
Throughout the profession, there is a clear and heightened level of respect given for the personal sacrifice made to earn this certification. As a solution provider, you must first be willing to understand and embrace your customer’s challenges before you can provide meaningful solutions to protect assets and people and solve problems. This includes challenges surrounding risk management, store design, life safety, and more. The course brings focus to and facilitates awareness of the challenges in the retail environment and most importantly provides the tools needed to succeed.
If you could offer one key takeaway to someone currently considering getting certified, what would it be?
Don’t squander the opportunity to immerse yourself in the course content. Like any self-development exercise, what you get out of it is directly proportional to the effort you put into it.
Read the rest of this interview in the full article, “Earning the Respect of Your Customers,” which was originally published in 2018. This excerpt was updated January 14, 2019.