Luck of the Draw
- By Sydny Shepard
- May 01, 2017
If asked, Kurt Takahashi, president of AMAG, would tell
you he was brought to the security industry by “luck of the
draw,” but just talking with Takahashi would make you believe
he is right where he is supposed to be.
Takahashi’s journey into the security industry isn’t necessarily
a conventional one, as he explains it. He never thought an out-of-college
entry level position would turn into a career.
“I went to Cal State Long Beach and I had a couple friends that
graduated a couple years earlier than me and they were working for
a company called Sensormatic, which is the company that makes
the tags you see on clothes,” Takahashi said. “As I was heading into
my last semester of school, they asked me if I wanted to come work
So, he interviewed and was hired immediately as a salesman.
“I remember I had the Beverly Hills and Melrose area,” Takahashi
said. “I would stick hundreds of brochures and cards in my bag and
every single store I saw I tried to sell them something. I was pounding
the street and getting rejected, and that’s how I learned sales.”
After his stint at Sensormatic, Takahashi started working in the
national account division of ADT, which eventually ended up buying
Sensormatic just three years later. It was through ADT that Takahashi
began his career in software.
“At the time, ADT purchased a software company called Proximex,” Takahashi said. “Our president asked me to build a team to
drive business for Proximex, and that’s how I got into software."
It was this opportunity with Proximex that got Takahashi really
excited about software and the scope of solutions that these new
technologies could offer customers on an enormous scale. This realization
is what eventually brought him to Quantum Secure where he
worked as the head of global sales and marketing.
With Takahashi’s list of accomplishments and skills, it didn’t take
long for AMAG, a G4S company, to seek him out for a position in
the company. Within just two years of his time with AMAG, he was
promoted to president of the company.
“I have always been amazed by how much technology AMAG
has that really complemented the access control platform,” Takahashi
said. “When I first got here, I felt like nobody knew about it.”
It quickly dawned on Takahashi that the industry and its customers
still viewed AMAG as an access control company despite
the fact that they are “so much more than that.” Takahashi made it
his vision early on to create a way to market AMAG as more than
just access control.
“We have all these incredible tool sets that all talk together and
when you actually compare it to our peers, we are the only ones that
do what we do with all our own technology,” Takahashi said. “Why
aren’t we talking about that?”
In an effort to change public perception, Takahashi spoke about
how AMAG will begin to view customers and their problems first,
before selling them a solution. This new approach helps AMAG to
sell broader solutions using all of their technologies.
“This is more about gaining an understanding of what the problems
are so that it can lead us to the right kind of technology for the
customer,” Takahashi said. “We can give a customer the best system
in the world, but if it isn’t optimized and their officers cannot use it
correctly, then it is not worth anything.”
It was because of his experience at the various companies before
that Takahashi knew to seek out the bigger solution rather than just
“My experience at Quantum Secure was huge because it really
helped me understand the value of the operational efficiencies and
the automation of how you move people throughout the organization,”
Takahashi said. “And then through my days with Proximex, it
really helped me to understand the value of seeing the whole picture
of data and understanding from a situational awareness perspective
how to create success for the customer.”
However, for Takahashi, his experience in the beginning stages of
his career will always be the most important.
“It’s been a great ride the whole way,” Takahashi said. “I always
go back to the days where I first started selling, carrying a bag and
walking up and down the street just trying to make my goal of one
hundred cold calls a day. Understanding the discipline of sales has
really carried me through my entire career.”
This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of Security Today.