Phillips Exeter Academy ’98
Georgetown University ’02 - Bachelor of Science, Finance and Accounting
President and CEO, FrontPoint Security Solutions, Inc.
Chris Villar’s earliest lesson about thinking big and not to be afraid to challenge himself was initiated by an SCDS science project. As a seventh grader, he undertook a project about videoconferencing; which was, believe it or not, a new technology at the time. After some coaching from SCDS faculty members David Cole, Philip Nix, and science teacher (now retired) Claudia Lyons, Chris wrote to the company marketing the leading videoconferencing technology. He did so in a big way, addressing his inquiry to the president and CEO of Intel, Andrew Grove. The response was amazing.
“I received a box in the mail from Dr. Grove with a bunch of literature and a videoconferencing demo system. I incorporated everything into my science project and when it was completed, I sent Dr. Grove a copy of the project,” he said. The follow-up to that note was even more impressive.
“Dr. Grove invited me to meet with him,” Chris said. “My parents took me to San Francisco and we met after his keynote speech at a technology conference. That meeting led to a six-week internship in his office. I think Dr. Grove was intrigued by understanding the perspective of a relatively young person on videoconferencing technology.
“While at Intel for the summer, I remember a time during one of his think tank sessions where he called me out and said ‘Chris, what do you think?’ That experience was pivotal because it helped me learn I could think big, consider all the possibilities, and strive to make the most of them,” Chris said.
Despite this early exposure to the tech world, Chris chose business for his higher education. After graduating from SCDS, he continued his schooling at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire (one non-business accomplishment was composing “The Hymn of Phillips Exeter”) and Georgetown University, where he worked for the Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union, the largest student-run federal credit union in the U.S. While unpaid, the credit union experience was well worth the investment in time.
“The credit union experience really prepared me for life after college,” he said. “I worked there for four years, sometimes as much as thirty to fifty hours a week, beginning as a teller and winding up as CEO during my senior year. It ignited my entrepreneurial passion and got me hooked on the excitement of being hands on in running a business.”
After graduating from Georgetown with a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting in 2002, Chris worked for Goldman Sachs, where he led an investment team specializing in alarm companies. In 2007, Chris, another Goldman colleague, and a longtime industry consultant decided to start their own alarm company: FrontPoint Security based in McLean, Virginia. Chris is president and chief executive officer. The business, the fastest-growing GE Security alarm company in the country, has taken off in two years, growing from the three start-up partners to over forty employees and has thousands of customers across all fifty states and Canada.
In a return to leading edge technology that sparked his interest while at SCDS, Chris has led FrontPoint to become a leader in next-generation home security technology. And in a tribute to his eighth grade science project, Chris uses videoconferencing every day to collaborate with the FrontPoint development team in Utah.