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.
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