DWINDLING SALES NO CAUSE FOR ALARM . . . JVS Grad Reinvents His Business and Changes with the Times
Matt Dukles, Industrial Electronics, Class of: 1997
Pardon the pun. But for Matt Dukles, choosing a career in electronics was as easy as flipping a switch.
"My father is an electrician at Ford Motor Company, and he was always finding things around the house for me to work on," said Dukles, who studied Industrial Electronics at the Lorain County Joint Vocational School and now operates his own business, Private Security, in Grafton.
Dukles curiosity with electricity began as a toddler.
"When my mom carried me through the house, I had to flip every switch," Dukles, 35, recalled, laughing. "And dad couldn't keep me out of his toolbox. I was always taking things apart - the electrical box and wall outlets… the furnace, too."
"I know that mom worried that I'd be electrocuted while I was taking something apart," Dukles continued. "We replaced a lot of fuses in our house, but I never got hurt."
Dukles graduated from the JVS in 1997 and was making a good living repairing televisions.
But with advancing technology in consumer electronics, business dwindled and revenues decreased.
"I wasn't repairing many televisions. I was very concerned. I knew I had to start thinking outside the box," he said.
Dukles, who dabbled in security electronics, pursued a job lead from another JVS classmate and landed a job with Rebman Systems in Lorain, which provides security, surveillance and fire protection to homes and businesses.
"I learned a lot at Rebman but I wanted to be my own boss, do things my way, sink or swim on my own," said Dukles, who founded Private Security in 2009.
"Instead of fixing one or two televisions a month, I'm installing 10 to 15 security systems each week," Dukles said, marveling about how his hobby became his career.
Now Dukles caters to homeowners and businesses, including Ridgid Tool in Elyria, Spitzer Auto World, the Cleveland law firm Team LGM and the Lorain County Joint Vocational School.
Dukles acknowledges that crime is rising and advises people to do whatever they can to remain safe - to prevent burglaries and thefts.
"Unfortunately, most folks are not proactive but reactive when it comes to securing their homes and businesses - they don't think about security until something bad happens," Dukles lamented.
Dukles said that he takes pride in devising and installing security systems that will restore peace of mind, making people feel safe again.
"Each customer is different and each security system is unique to their situation," said Dukles, whose systems range in price from hundreds to thousands of dollars. "It depends on the layout of their home or office, if they want wireless technology, desire protection for both doors and windows, 24-hour surveillance or something simple like a warning siren."
Dukles said that he relies on Internet webinars and on-line literature to stay abreast of new technology.
"From software to alarm panels, advancements happen overnight," he said. "And sometimes a product I use is discontinued before a new product is available. But I always buy something and work with it before it's installed."
Dukles reflected on his career path that led to owning his own business and credits the JVS for his success.
"The JVS gave me good fundamentals in the electronics field and definitely opened some doors," said Dukles.
That includes working with NASA's Central Operation of Resources for Educators (CORE). Located on the grounds of JVS, CORE is NASA's worldwide distribution center for education materials.
"I watched a lot of educational videos and got involved with computer networking and structural wiring," said Dukles, who also worked at the JVS Adult Career Center after graduation, teaching basic fundamentals of electronics such as repairing televisions, video recorders and microwave ovens.
"My JVS teachers realized my potential, my talent," said Dukles, who is also Ward I councilman for Grafton Village, a police activist and volunteer firefighter.
As a councilman, Dukles oversees on-line auctions, selling village items which have generated more than $24,000 in revenue for Grafton. He also has donated surveillance equipment used in local parks and isn't afraid to get his hands dirty when necessary.
"If a bad storm blows through town late at night, I'm not afraid to get out there and help out, cut some tree limbs," Dukles said. "But I wouldn't have had the courage to help others, to branch out on my own, without the JVS."