New chairman, partnership spurs new market growth at company

Thursday, September 1, 2005

SAN ANTONIO--Two recent developments at MDI--a new chairman and a new business partnership--will jump start company efforts to break into new markets, said Chief Executive Officer J. Collier Sparks.
MDI, a provider of open integrated access control and alarm management products, named Jim Power chairman of its board of directors in August. A board member since January 2003, Power succeeds Carlo Loi. Loi will become vice chairman and concentrate on new European business opportunities for MDI.
A principal partner in J.W. Power & Associates, an industry consulting firm, and current chairman for video security company Axium Technologies, Power has served as president and chief executive officer of Martec/SAIC and Pinkerton Control Systems, and in executive and leadership positions for Cardkey Systems, Nitrol Corporation, TRW Data Systems, National Semiconductor and Citicorp.
Sparks said he will tap Power's financial deal-making and technical know-how as well as his impressive black book of contacts.
In a separate August announcement, Sparks said a successful partnership with Hummingbird Defense Systems of Phoenix positions the company to break into industries such as non-airport public transportation, banking, finance and healthcare.
MDI helped Hummingbird, a developer and integrator of command and control systems, develop a product for use at airport checkpoints.
This product, which the companies refer to as a dashboard, will be used in an undisclosed number of airports in a phased-in pilot project funded by the U.S. Transportation Security Agency.
The system is already operational in two airports, one in Beijing, and the other in undisclosed United States location. Other airport installations are in various stages of completion and the likelihood of additional projects is possible, Sparks said.
Hummingbird called upon MDI to customize its signature product, SAFEnet Open Systems Integration Platform and develop a completely touch screen version of the product, said Hummingbird Chief Executive Officer Steve Greschner.
The dashboard may be customized to the security needs of an airport and it's easy for airport security personnel to use, he said. A number of alarms--silent or audible--can be set to alert security personnel under any number or conditions. The dashboard can be integrated with an airports' existing security equipment, such as X-ray machines, video or bomb detectors.
"We've started the implementation, it's a proven concept. Now we'll take the concept and apply it to other markets," said Mike Garcia, vice president of communications for MDI. "Our experience in securing many different types of government facilities--from the highest classified to the lowest--over the past 15 years, gives us a platform to take to the commercial market," Garcia said.
MDI has been in business for 25 years. In the past few years, it's consolidated and reorganized the business and its leadership as well as relocated to San Antonio. Sparks, with the company since 2001, was named to the top spot in 2004.