Passion for Security
Barnette climbs ladder of success as president of AMAG
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Jan 04, 2016
As a kid, Matt Barnette got shuffled around
the country as his father would relocate his
family for career opportunities in the technology
field. The upside was that Barnette was exposed
to the latest in computer technology. That was
a few years ago.
Since then, Barnette, who was born in New York
and grew up in New Jersey, made his way through college
at San Diego State University studying economics.
“I realized near the end of my college career that
economics was probably not a viable way to make
a living,” Barnette said. “That’s when the education
from my father kicked in. I knew about IT, so I applied
for a job as the network administrator with a
security systems integrator in Silicon Valley.”
So, you see how it works. Barnette had that collateral
education, then jumped into IT and eventually
made his way up the security industry. The staff at the
Silicon Valley integrator had computers on their desk.
Seems commonplace today, but this was the early 90s;
most companies, especially small ones, didn’t have
PCs let alone on everyone’s desk. Barnette made
sure they were functional and securely managed. Not
long after working with the integrator, Sensormatic
bought the company, and voilà, Barnette is now part
of the security industry as we know it today.
Barnette bounced around a little bit, like professionals
do sometimes, but he picked up valuable training
and education. He spent eight years with Andover
Controls, and before long moved back to Southern
California to become the director of national accounts
in the West region for AMAG. That was about
12 years ago.
“This was a newly created layer of management.
My charge was to help the regional sales managers in
the West,” Barnette said. “Sales is a tough business;
maintaining quotas. Once you get the momentum, it
all becomes a good thing.”
Barnette said his goal for business is to maintain
the integrity of that business. For instance, he wants
to maintain the good name already established by
AMAG. He said he enjoys being able to look people
in the eye and know you’ve done the right thing for
them. A good reputation goes a long way.
Now, as president of AMAG, his role has shifted
a little bit. He works with the people inside the company
more than ever before. His thought process is to
continue the tradition of honesty, integrity and exceptional
There have been challenges, but that is only to be
expected. Not long ago, AMAG announced its own
camera line of products. Admittedly, it has been a
struggle, but the camera market has been evolving
quite quickly; new products are making their way
to North America from the Asian markets. It also
means there is a learning curve for the sales team, and
AMAG is finding that customers want an end-to-end
solution. “Customers are clamoring for a seamless solution,”
Security has been an adventure for Barnette, and
he points to AMAG’s Symmetry CONNECT as a
launched product that makes a difference in the security
world. It provides the end user the opportunity
to provide automated ID management. It also allows
disparate access control systems to talk to each other.
The product has been a game changer for the company,
and for Barnette.
Being president of a company obviously has its
perks, but for Barnette, his travel schedule is about 20
percent lighter, though most of his trips are a long
distance from his California office. He also said that
being part of a company that is growing is an exciting
part of the job. AMAG, he said, has shifted from
a company packing and shipping boxes out the back
door, to a company that provides meaningful solutions
and exciting products. It gives him and his staff
reason to interact with customers even more.
Barnette has seen the IP migration over his 12 year
career, though he had the practical experience in the
IT world long ago. He said making the conversion is
not as easy as people think, and in fact, some end users
have struggled to make the transition. He also said
that companies making the transition to the IP world
might not have the proper infrastructure, so their capacity
to integrate may be stretched pretty thin.
No matter what, Barnette wouldn’t change a thing
about his security career, and as far as that economics
degree is concerned, he’s probably using more of it
than he ever thought he would.
This article originally appeared in the January 2016 issue of Security Today.