General Business

CMA Names New President

CMA, a full-service communications, marketing and association management firm, names Christian Amato, COO and chief business development officer, as its new president. Current President and CEO, Jeffrey Barnhart, will transition from daily management of the firm and continue as the CEO and Founder.

“CMA has prided itself not only on providing its clients with award-winning and proven results for more than 30 years, but also on its innovation and growth,” said Jeffrey Barnhart, CEO and founder of CMA. “This transition will assist CMA in continuing with that vision. During Christian’s time at CMA, he has demonstrated strong passion, leadership, teamwork and business acumen, which are critical skills needed to continue to take CMA where it’s going as an organization, as we pursue acquisitions and expand.”

Amato, of Woolrich, NJ, joined CMA early in his career and returned in 2016 as COO and Chief Business Development Officer. In that role, Amato led the execution of CMA’s strategic business plan, with a focus on profitability and growth. He also shaped the company’s overall business vision, analyzed expansion opportunities and delivered growth. As President, Amato will continue to explore those opportunities, in addition to overseeing the daily operations. They include the marketing and association management business units, as well as human resources, finance and business development.

With more than 20 years of business and executive experience, Amato has worked in a broad range of industries encompassing financial services, disaster recovery, resiliency planning, residential building, in vitro fertilization and lighting manufacturing. He has served in roles including vice president of finance and U.S. general manager for CooperSurgical. He also was the Chief Financial Officer for Brite Star Manufacturing Company.

“It’s an honor to take on the role of President, said Christian Amato, president of CMA. “I’m especially grateful to Jeff for his belief and trust in me. I plan to continue his innovative vision and build on the firm’s strong foundation, with the same passion and focus on CMA’s core values and superior client service.”

Barnhart founded CMA in 1987, to help companies grow and achieve their strategic imperatives through innovative marketing and communications. Shortly after, Barnhart expanded services to include a full-service association management business unit. He grew the agency into the thriving business it is today, with 41 employees.

One of Barnhart’s most significant accomplishments at CMA was creating, branding and launching the International Card Manufacturers Association (ICMA), in 1990, when he realized there was a void and seized an opportunity in the transaction card industry. Today, ICMA is known as the “voice of the transaction card industry,” boasting 240-member companies and serving the global card industry.

In addition, Barnhart was instrumental in introducing the EPA Green Lights program. It was the first voluntary government program that advocated using new lighting technologies to reduce electricity demand—the precursor to the current Energy Star program.

Prior to founding CMA, Barnhart had an extensive career at Philips Lighting as the Director of Marketing Communications. Barnhart played a pivotal role in the integration of marketing and sales, through three company mergers and the launch of one of the first energy-efficient, environmentally-beneficial lighting products in the U.S. market. He has created brands, launched companies, generated new programs and introduced new products for a variety of companies from Fortune 100 to startups.

Barnhart was named Small Business Person of the Year by the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, appointed to the Small Business Council of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and was a regional finalist for Inc. magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year award. He also received the American Red Cross Richard B Mack award for communications excellence and Rider’s Leadership Legacy Award for the development of leadership skills. Respected for his outstanding career and many accomplishments since graduating high school, Barnhart was inducted into the Hopewell Valley Distinguished Graduates Hall of Fame. Moreover, he served two terms as President of the American Diabetes Association Central Jersey Chapter, leading many of the Chapter’s fundraising activities.

CMA has been recognized with more than 350 awards for client work in marketing and communications excellence.

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