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A Tribute to Dad
By: Jade Whatley


While the rest of the world is applying for the PPP loan Dr. Russ Barnes has been perfecting his Purposefully Profitable Program. Systro Solutions’ Owner/Founder Russ Barnes is a native of Long Island, NY with a rich family history. No, I am not referring to rich as in finances, I am referring to family values, education and an untethered love for each other. Russ is one of 8 children, yet according to him, at times he felt lonely. His family moved from the Bronx to Long Island in 1963. ‘‘‘

This reminds me of the sitcom “The
Jefferson’s”. They moved on up, they
had a house, their own bedrooms, and
they literally built everything around the
house. Russ’ Father, Mr. James A. Barnes
Sr. was a Truck Driver and during that
period, it was not common for Truck Drivers to return home daily. Truck Drivers were known for “dipping, not being around, hanging out with the fellas”. This was not Russ’ father; his father was very meticulous and methodical in raising his children and being dedicated to his wife whom he
met and married at age 17. Russ stated, “people would say they could set their watch on when his

dad went to work and returned from
work.” This was very uncommon in this
day, many Truck Drivers left home and
never returned, but his dad came home
daily like clockwork.

During this interview we quickly began
to realize some similarities
between Russ and his Father.
Russ recently graduated with
his PHD and no, he did not
seek it out for the glory of
having D.R. in front of his
name. It was all about
being intentional, staying
the course, remaining
faithful to your family
and being purposeful
in everything you do,
much like his father.

“I never pursue
education for
the status of the
education, when
I got my Bachelor
Degree, I was in
ROTC, I received
my Masters
because it was
required to do so
for the next rank,
when I Retired I
never wanted to
work for anyone,
the PHD was
for me to learn
I needed to
create the
systems process
and framework
in serving the
small business
Russ retired
from the Air Force achieving the rank of Colonel.

He received his bachelor’s degree from
Manhattan College (NY), his MBA from
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University,
his Master of Science Degree in
Strategic Studies from Air University and
his PhD in Organization Development
from Benedictine University.

Although highly educated and
accomplished he wanted us to know
that “education is not the secret to
success”. He has often found that
his educational status has slightly
hindered his attempt to serve the
customers he seeks to serve. None the
less he prevails.

Dr. Barnes’ pursuit for education
was all a part of his master plan, it
had a purpose. Upon retiring from
the Air Force he began his plight
into Entrepreneurship. He purchased
a local franchise and again begin
learning. “The faster I could figure
it out, the more effective I could be
as a leader”

The lessons he learned from the
franchise opportunity has changed
his life far beyond the glossy floors
of the institutions he once attended.
He learned invaluable lessons about
systems and processes, but more
importantly how to solve problems.

This was the beginning of the birth
of Systro Solutions. Systro is a play
on three words, Systems, Strategies
and Organizations. During his time
with the franchise, he began to see

that various franchisees were not as profitable, yet they were business owners. However, there was nothing he could do as he himself was still a franchise owner.


However, when he began Systro Solutions he developed the Purposefully Profitable Program (PPP) a program designed to bringing strategy development and design for businesses in the pre-profitability
stage. “I learned you do not have to be a technical leader you just have to know what the big picture should look like, you have to be able to guide the organization.”

Systro collaborates with CEOs to add a focus on Organization Development, specifically the design aspects of strategy and organization. Their mission is quite simple to help the business owner use strategy and organization to be intentional and purposeful in building a profitable


As stated earlier, Dr. Barnes is likened
to his father, he has never left his
family and continuously returns
home to his first love, the military.
As a Director of Education for Action
Zone, an organization serving Veterans
and preparing them for business
ownership. Dr. Barnes gives of himself
constantly looking to improve the lives
of others around him so that they can
“move on up”. For more information
about Systro Solutions and Dr. Barnes

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