The Matrix Systems Revolution

Approximately 18 months have passed since Holly Tsourides took the reins as the CEO of Matrix Systems. But in that short time frame, she’s executed a robust growth strategy and business plan that has changed the face and the path of the company.

Launched in 1979 and based in Miamisburg, Ohio, Matrix spearheaded the development of enterprise-level access control solutions to the healthcare, airports and industrial markets. Appointed CEO of Matrix in May 2013, Tsourides brought a unique perspective to the organization. A seasoned leader, she has more than 15 years of executive management and sales experience at technology companies ranging from start-ups to global corporations. At VideoIQ, she served as chief sales and marketing officer, helping the company build global sales and marketing channels. She was president of The Stanley Works’ $90-million independent distribution business. She also held various senior-level sales positions including vice president of sales with IFS/GE Security and national sales manager for GE Security.

“The opportunity to join Matrix was one I could not refuse,” Tsourides said. “When I first started reviewing the business, I realized it was a world-class organization with many opportunities for growth. The company needed a strong leadership team to help revamp its go-to-market strategy and drive technology innovation. In addition to myself, we’ve added top-tier executives to help drive all segments of the business while investing in the infrastructure and processes necessary for success.”

Prior to Tsourides’ tenure, Matrix had stagnated in the industry and business was not growing. Under Tsourides’ guidance, the company began writing the next chapter in its business story. It adopted Lean processes, outlining new strategies to increase efficiency in manufacturing and research and development, and further improve customer service. It opened a sales and marketing office in the Greater Boston area to enhance strategic opportunities with potential partners and spearhead recruiting efforts in the technology-focused region. And, in January 2014, Matrix announced the creation of two new strategic channels of business: Frontier Security and Xentry Systems Integration.

“We wanted to focus on building the business while positioning the entire organization for future opportunity,” Tsourides said. “To accomplish this, we needed to build two go-to-market strategies that more closely align with industry accepted models.”

Frontier Security delivers the Frontier access control platform and offers an integrated enterprise video and access solution called the Frontier Integrated Platform. Xentry Systems Integration offers a comprehensive range of security integration services to end-user customers. The two entities deliver enhanced capabilities and technologies to serve their distinct customers and provide the larger Matrix organization with the flexibility to pursue separate yet focused strategies for continued growth. Both businesses are each led by separate management and sales teams.

“The vision of today’s Matrix is to provide the organization and future acquisitions with a robust and efficient back office to help focus on whatever it is they do well,” Tsourides said. “This vision is part of the company’s commitment to differentiate themselves from other organizations who may not have made the strategic investment in the shared service model or their industry talent.”

The organization’s senior management team has seen the addition of some of security’s top talent—industry veterans and executives who have a history of successful company growth. Tsourides added top-tier professionals to manage both divisions. Jeremy Krinitt, formerly with Software House, serves as the general manager of the Frontier business, and industry veteran John Nemerofsky is president and CEO of Xentry Systems Integration.

Both companies have been aggressive in building their respective brands and driving growth. As such, May 30, was monumental for the company as Xentry acquired AcreeDaily, a leading systems integrator in Ohio. The same day marked the closing of a capital infusion from Pine Street Capital, as well as tax and legal restructuring that allowed for the transformation of the business into a holding company with wholly owned and stand-alone businesses Xentry and Frontier underneath. The acquisition itself was part of the strategic plan for Xentry, adding a robust line of technology offerings including AMAG Technology, Ascom Nurse Call, and Edwards Fire & Security, but that single day secured the capital and resources required to fulfill Tsourides’ vision for the entire Matrix Systems organization.

“We wanted to extend our footprint and expand our product lines and talent,” Tsourides said. “Acquisitions are a great way to enhance these capabilities. AcreeDaily had the type of technology portfolio we were looking for and after our first conversation, it became very clear we had complementary businesses.”

This year’s ASIS conference marked a significant milestone in the Frontier organization as the business had not successfully released a new product of note for almost a decade. At the conference, Frontier debuted the Cylon Security Controller, which is designed to streamline installations and reduce the complexities and significant time required to install traditional controllers. The company filed for three provisional patents, looks to begin rebuilding their intellectual property and continues to invest in technology innovation.

“Frontier is truly redefining what is expected from traditional access control solutions,” Tsourides said. “Cylon is a great example of the type of solution Frontier is pioneering: it is designed from the ground up with ease of installation and serviceability, while future-proofing installations for years to come.”

Matrix and its business segments also focus on building community support programs and driving social responsibility initiatives throughout the organization. The company empowers its employees to leverage technology, services and partnerships to create a positive impact at its locations across the country.

“We believe social responsibility and corporate citizenship are core fundamentals of our business,” Tsourides said. “We work collaboratively with our employees and a wide variety of partners to build a strong foundation that brings new ideas and goals to life.”

As Matrix, now Matrix Holdings LLC, and its business segments continue to grow and evolve, Tsourides will focus on driving high-level strategy while exploring options for new opportunities. An additional focus will be on creating a new strategy for recruiting and retaining “A” players by creating a culture that both rewards and supports high performance from employees. The company will soon announce a new executive hire in the role of Chief Human Resources Officer to help facilitate this new plan.

After spending more than 15 years helping lead growth-focused organizations, Tsourides said it is the overall mission of the security industry—protecting people and assets—that make it a positive industry to work in, as well as the people she works most closely with.

“The smartest thing I do is hire people smarter than I am, and my team is at the forefront of the Matrix growth,” she said, “Additionally, the Matrix ownership is instrumental in having faith and the commitment to our vision to grow Matrix into the employer of choice in this industry and the preferred acquirer for companies who value their people and legacy. For me, these things make it all worthwhile.”

This article originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of Security Today.

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