Name: Frederick Barnes
Profession: CEO, TAC Integrated Solutions, a national security technology and information solutions firm.
One Word That Describes You: Determined
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
It means a great deal to be honored as one of the Men of Distinction. For me to be showcased among several distinguished and successful African American men that are making positive impacts in their sphere of influence and doing it their way, is truly an honor. I like how Black Enterprise is using this platform to dictate the narrative on how black men are portrayed. Well done!
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
Most college graduates encounter their first real ‘struggle’ when they cross the stage with a diploma in hand without having landed that career-occupation that starts the week after graduation (maybe that was just me?) Degree in hand, ‘college graduate’ as a title, and working at a job that did not match my career ambition was my early struggle. Transitioning from college student to college graduate, life had just got real for me. I had big dreams and I knew I had to find a way to accomplish my immediate career goals, but how? As a criminal justice major, my first aim was to be a federal investigator. Realizing I did not have the requisite experience necessary to land the job I wanted, I chose to enter the military (U.S. Navy) to gain experience, exposure, and additional education. After four years of service, I walked away not only gaining another degree, but gained exposure to a new world and experience as a Cryptologist – something I would never have even known about if I had stayed the normal course. That initial struggle has led me to multiple successes in my professional career. And yes, I eventually became a federal investigator (Special Agent).
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
LOYALTY. The way I see it, there is no relationship, business or personal, without loyalty and commitment.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
One project that has become my passion project is something I started a few months ago. As a graduate of a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), attending homecoming has become an annual ritual for me, as well as many other alumni. I enjoy the black college homecoming scene so much that this past October (2015) I decided to hire a camera crew and film the entire weekend of homecoming activities at an HBCU in North Carolina.
So what started as a fun idea is now being developed into a short documentary. The documentary aims to tell the story of how an annual, week-long event compels people to travel from coast to coast, year after year to attend homecoming and how the tradition is passed from generation to generation. The plan is to feature one HBCU each year in a short documentary. The first short documentary is slated for release, via YouTube, on Memorial Day weekend 2016. Additionally, I plan to develop the website (www.HomecomingHBCU.com) into a news and entertainment source for all things black college homecoming. The project is named: HOMECOMING: The HBCU Experience. Of course, my primary project is building my business: TAC Integrated Solutions.
What is the best advice you ever received?
Pay yourself first. I heard this advice from my mother at a very young age (she said it quite often in fact). As a young adult it was easily understood, but difficult to implement. It took me a few years into my adulthood to truly appreciate the concept. I realized that I was paying everyone else except me! The utility company was getting paid; the cable company was getting paid; the mortgage lender was getting; everyone, but me! That had to change. I was fortunate to learn that an aggressive savings and investment strategy, coupled with compound interest makes for a potent mix for generating wealth.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Don’t feel as though you have to follow a traditional path to get to where you want to go. Figure out what your passion is and go after it with reckless abandon. Once you are operating in your chosen lane, you eventually develop influence. Influence allows you to make a difference.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
Research. Research. Research. Maybe it’s my investigative background, but I feel as though I need to know everything I can about a situation prior to walking into a meeting and/or event. Of course it’s not always possible, but I try. I find great pride in developing information that no one else has or no one would think I know. It pays to be well-informed. And prior to going to certain types of meetings or events, I also like to listen to what I call ‘motivational’ music. For reference, I would classify a few Rick Ross tracks as motivational.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
Believe it or not, my last few vacations I have noticed a common theme – I sleep all day the first day. My vacation choices are always influenced by a body of water. The typical vacation for me is somewhere with sun, sand, and water sports (eg. jet ski, fishing, etc.). If it has sun and sand, I’m in.
My favorite vacation spot is a tie between Abaco, Bahamas and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. My wife and I traveled to Abaco mid-summer one year and we had the entire resort practically to ourselves. One of the resort representatives explained that their busy season is during the fall and winter months because that’s when people from the Northeast travel to the island. I played 18-rounds of golf and didn’t see anyone until the 17th hole. For 2 days, my wife and I only saw one other couple on the beach. It was like we had our own private island resort. If you’re going to Cabo San Lucas, the Marlin fishing is exceptional from August – December. The fishing experience is a must!
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
ANTARCTICA! I have stepped foot on every continent in the world, EXCEPT Antarctica. I need to get to Antarctica so that I can finally say that my travels have afforded me the luxury of visiting each of the seven (7) continents in the world.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Success isn’t the result of hard work, it’s the result of the right thinking. Positive Thinking! Faith is complete reliance and trust in the power and goodness of God, and absolute trust that whatever you conceive with conviction will manifest into reality.
Thus, the aforementioned statements form the equation for my life: Thought + Faith = Creation.
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