Avigilon New COO James Henderson Profile

By: Brian Karas, Published on May 23, 2017

It has been nearly 2 years since the infamous Bryan Schmode 'resigned' as Avigilon COO.

Now, Avigilon once again has a COO, promoting James Henderson into the position.

The Avigilon COO title has previously been a last-stop for senior executives. The last two, Andrew Martz and Bryan Schmode were both rising company executives, who moved into the COO role only to resign from the company entirely after less than 2 years.

Can Henderson break the Avigilon COO streak? IPVM spoke with Henderson about his new role, what he sees for the future of Avigilon and the security industry, and his strategy as COO.

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Comments (14)

Having worked under both Schmode and Henderson, I would consider this a good move for Avigilon. Henderson is a bit more focused on building a profitable business and less focused on blue suede, glitter shoes (AVO alumni will understand).

This shift seems to signal a maturing of the company away from hyper growth at all costs to a more consistent, stable and purposed growth strategy, that aligns with Henderson's personal style. While there has been a recent rash of, leading sales personal jumping the AVO ship, I do believe we will see further settling of the culture over the next 12-18 months.

less focused on blue suede, glitter shoes

Speaking of which, can you someone fill me in on the Avigilon dress code? Is it a formal policy to wear suits and $500 shoes or?

Our rep doesnt wear designer shoes or $1000 suits, but does dress professionally.

The Schmode era AVO culture was a unique animal to say the least. The stories I have about wearing the wrong thing at the wrong time...

In general, the dress code was suit and tie and professional business attire for women. The exception to this rule was for those working in more rural territories, the RSM had freedom to adjust as needed. Obviously, some integrators hated that we were always dressed "as bankers". However, I often received comments about AVO having the best dressed RSMs in the industry.

(I think for me personally, in my territory specifically, I had a major competitor that was known for being horribly dressed and looked like "he slept in his cloths". Partners hated bringing him to end-user meetings. This may have played factor to the dress code/expectation in my territory)

In the offices, Dallas or Vancouver, the expectation was a bit more relaxed. Unless you had a meeting with a customer, than one needed to be fully dressed up.

This was not a formal policy, it was an unwritten rule that was passive aggressively enforced.

As for the suede, glitter shoes... Schmode had a more eccentric style. There where indeed RSMs that had the custom made, $2000 suits and some that had the Jos A Bank special, by one, get one, in two different shades of gray.

As I was making my exit, there was a starting shift away from the suit and tie culture to a more relaxed dress code. I attribute this to Henderson, with less of a focus on superficial perception. I would argue that there was a noted culture shift that was driving the change in dress code expectations.

Suit but no tie, that's what I prefer and for field demo's, like all day today, smart casual and comfortable. Dress according to who you are meeting and to their expectations, it's all about mutual respect. James is a great guy who has already introduced many small changes which might hardly be noticeable to the 'outside' but to AVO employees they are very clear. With him it's about AVO, no so much about himself. With his predecessors you sometimes wondered. The 'culture' is changing and I like it a lot. There is always room for improvement and I would like to see some of the leadership coming from a more European background. But hey, you never know what the future may bring ;-)

The Schmode era AVO culture was a unique animal to say the least. The stories I have about wearing the wrong thing at the wrong time...

And supposedly even the Avigilon Party Girls could run afoul of Schmode by wearing the wrong thong at the wrong time.

In my time there, the formal policy was suit and tie. However, we did what we felt appropriate in the territories. There were plenty of meetings where I had people in from above me in the food chain and asked them to pack business casual clothes, golf shirts, whatever. It was never an issue.

I'm happy for James. He's smart and level-headed, and also a likable person. I think he can break "the streak"!

Something about this company and it's culture is strange. I interviewed for a position there through a recruiter. The junior level employee who was my first interview apparently felt that not only was I not a suitable candidate, but that he also needed to disparage me personally to the recruiter. An amazingly stupid thing to do in this industry, especially for a bottom rung employee. It will be classic if I or somebody I know well end up with a job supervising him.

It was a bit strange. Again there has been a shift from the old era to the new era under Henderson.

As for interview process... I had a similar experience with Axis, believe it or not. My first interview was with a brand new HR girl, who's previous experience was as a greater at TGIF (no joke, true story). I asked a bunch of questions about where Axis was going and she felt I was not 'excited enough' to work for them. Once my head-hunter found out, he set up an interview with the hiring manager directly and he offered me a job, site-unseen on the first call. My point, we need to be careful not to judge a company by the actions of one employee.

While your statement does have truth, things where changing for the better as I was making my exit.

My first interview was with a brand new HR girl, who's previous experience was as a greater at TGIF (no joke, true story). I asked a bunch of questions about where Axis was going and she felt I was not 'excited enough' to work for them.

Lol, I can't resist this clip from Office Space:

Yes, perfect! I thought the same thing.

"My point, we need to be careful not to judge a company by the actions of one employee."

If the company's first meeting with a position-seeking seasoned industry veteran (like you or UD4) is being vetted by some low-level HR flunky at first contact, well, I would maintain that this one person could tell you a lot about that company.

As someone who worked for Avigilon and Bryan Schmode their "entrepreneur" philosophy is what created high turnover. All Schmode did was take it to the next level and create a "strictly business" environment where you knew at any time you might be cut for lack of sales or anything else. After meeting with several of their western sales guys at ISC West this year it seems as though they have a different culture that was needed to create a stable business.

But let's be real. Although Schmode did go off on me a few times and create a crazy work environment he got the job done. Meaning, he made himself and Avigilon a lot of money. It's actually an amazing story. A guy that was a Sales Engineer at Verint just a few years before he rose to COO at Avigilon. Sometimes the guy was a magician the way he sold systems.

At first i hated on Bryan. But in the end I realized he accomplished what he wanted. Not only was he able to retire but he left his mark on the industry as the Infamous Bryan Schmode. Although I couldn't hang in the Avigilon environment I still considered Bryan a friend that I could chill with outside of work.

I guarantee that if you asked Alex Fernandes, he would hire and support Bryan again if he could. One thing I will say about Bryan is that he worked hard to accomplish what he did. Although I wouldn't want to work for him again I learned a lot from his methods and applaud him for what he accomplished. Although he did burn some bridges many people hate out of jealousy.

But hey, that's just my opinion. Like they say don't hate the player, hate the game. Although Mark Zuckerberg burrned bridges to start Facebook many think he's a genius. One man's genius is another man's misunderstanding.

NOTICE: This comment has been moved to its own discussion: He Left His Mark On The Industry As The Infamous Bryan Schmode

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