Passion for Security - As a kid, Matt Barnette got shuffled around the country as his father would relocate his family for career opportunities in the technology field.

Industry Professional

Passion for Security

Barnette climbs ladder of success as president of AMAG

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 customer service.

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,” Barnette said.

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.

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