Celebrating Excellence: The CRN Channel Champions Awards7:10 PM EST Fri. Mar. 12, 2010
Welcome to the 20th anniversary of the CRN Channel Champions Awards, held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles March 10. The awards ceremony was held on the last evening of Everything Channel's annual XChange Solution Provider conference, with three days of keynotes from industry leaders, vendor executives, one-on-one sessions, and a Solution Pavilion that paves the way for productive networking and long-lasting partnerships. The Channel Champs ceremony recognizes the most innovative, reliable and channel-friendly vendors as voted on by solution providers. Everything Channel executives and editorial staff handed out awards to the winners, whose technical innovation and product quality surpassed the competition and drove increased revenue for channel partners. Here are some highlights from the evening.
Everything Channel Executive Vice President Dan Dignam kicked off the Channel Champs awards ceremony, announcing significant changes to come for the company. One of the biggest changes, Dignam emphasized, was that the company is bringing back Comdex as a vrtual event, slated to take place Nov. 16-17 in a virtual Las Vegas. Dignam said that Comdex Virtual is the only show designed exclusively for the global technology sales channel, where attendees can come to see products and technologies that can be delivered to customers wrapped around services. "It will redefine virtual events as we know them today," Dignam said.
Nancy Hammervik, senior vice president and managing director of Everything Channel events, told the audience about a community project that aimed to help beautify and upgrade school technology and computers for an underprivileged Los Angeles elementary school. Everything Channel joined forces with local nonprofit LA Works to help improve the technology used by the young children at Dayton Heights Elementary School. The endeavor, part of Everything Channel's Channel@Work initiative and dubbed "Technology Makeover: School Edition," was a collaborative effort on the part of Everything Channel; LA Works; sponsors Microsoft, AMD, Samsung and Juniper; as well as solution providers Bob Nitrio of Ranvest Associates and Jessica DeVita of Uber Geek Girl, who formed a group of volunteers to assess the school's computers and then put together a plan so that the students had access to necessary equipment that would keep it competitive.
"Let me be frank. This school was really working without any modern technology to help students, and both educators and parents were growing frustrated. After all, this is a school that has the largest population of special needs children in the L.A. area, where 95 percent of the student body is under the poverty level and where resources are scarce," Hammervik said. As a result of the volunteers' hard work, Dayton Heights now has a computer lab, six new workstations in the library, mobile AV carts with projectors and flat panels, and up-to-date printing solutions -- as well as decoratively painted hallways -- all in time for the school's 100th anniversary.
Everything Channel Senior Vice President of Strategic Content Robert C. DeMarzo unveiled Everything Channel's launch of its Premium Executive Content Sessions, which featured content demanded by solution providers on how to better manage their business. During the sessions, which were held on Thursday, attending channel partners heard from experts -- executives and industry veterans who have built channel businesses -- on subjects such as fiscal fitness, marketing, managing growth and leadership. "It is quite an impressive lineup of speakers and content and a sign of our investment in content designed to make our events even better," DeMarzo said.
Everything Channel Vice President and Editorial Director Kelley Damore welcomed the audience and underscored the 20th anniversary of the Channel Champions Awards. Damore invited the audience to take a trip down memory lane by asking them to remember what they were doing in 1990, when the first Channel Champs Awards were launched. To help jog their memory, images of Everything Channel editors from 20 years ago were displayed on big screens over the stage during the award presentations. Damore noted that 20 years ago, she was working at PCWeek as a staff writer, sitting next to now Everything Channel News Editor Steve Burke.
Thomas Miller, Trend Micro executive vice president, stepped up to the stage to accept the Channel Champs award from Everything ChannelVice President and Editorial Director Kelley Damore in the areas of Technical Satisfaction, Financial Performance and Overall Winner in the Network Security category. Trend Micro, a global leader in Internet content security, pioneered the effort to provide integrated threat management to businesses and consumers alike. "Without their technology, we'd have a lot more spam, a lot more viruses and a lot more attacks on our systems and networks," Damore said.
Fernando Quintero, McAfee vice president of North Americas channels, accepted an award from Everything Channel Vice President and Editorial Director Kelley Damore. The award was presented to McAfee for taking the subcategory of Network Security Support Satisfaction.
Laura Mahoney, APC channel marketing and programs (r.), accepted the Channel Champs award from Everything Channel Vice President and Editorial Director Kelley Damore. APC, a leader in power management, has turned some heads in the industry for its efforts in efficient power management and energy-saving initiatives.
Everything Channel Senior Editor Andrew Hickey (l.) congratulated Eric Thompson, Intel director of channel and distribution, who accepted a Channel Champs award on behalf of Intel for Overall Winner in the category of Processors. The chip giant has received critical acclaim for its leadership in silicon innovation and technology development.
Everything Channel Senior Editor Joseph F. Kovar (r.) presented the Channel Champs award to Frank Vitagliano, Juniper senior vice president of worldwide channels, whose company garnered wins in Technical Satisfaction, Financial Performance, and Overall Winner for Network Security Appliances; and Financial Performance in the category of Enterprise Network Hardware. Juniper's high-performance network infrastructure has gotten noticed in the industry for creating a responsive and trusted environment for deploying services and applications over a single network.
Doug Smith, senior director of global partner sales (r.), accepted an award for VMware in the category of Virtualization, presented by Everything Channel Senior Editor Andrew Hickey. VMware received the top nod for its effort to lay the groundwork for virtualizing IT environments that changed the IT infrastructure paradigm. VMware is recognized for its drive to create and establish the virtualization market and propel a new set of VARs and business models.
Everything Channel Senior Editor Joseph F. Kovar (r.) presented a Channel Champs award to Greg Davis, Dell vice president and general manager. Dell cleaned house as the Overall Winner, as well as best in Technical Satisfaction, Support Satisfaction and Financial Performance in the category of Enterprise Network Storage. Dell has recently received critical acclaim for successfully integrating a SAS/SAN offering into the mix through acquisition.
Cindy Bates, Microsoft vice president of the U.S. partner group, accepted the Channel Champs award from Everything Channel News Editor Steve Burke. Everything Channel recognized Microsoft as the Overall Winner, as well as subcategory champion for Best Technical and Best Support Satisfaction in the category of Data and Information Management. The software giant has built its business and been an ardent channel supporter for more than 30 years.
Judson Althoff, senior vice president of worldwide alliances and channels (l.), came to the stage to accept a Channel Champs award from Everything Channel News Editor Steve Burke on behalf of Oracle and its MySQL/Sun division for top honors in the category of Financial Factors/Financial Performance in the category of Data and Information Management.
Joe Martin, Seagate marketing manager (r.), accepted the award for SATA Hard Drives, as well as the subcategories of Best Technical and Best Support Satisfaction, from Everything Channel Senior Editor Andrew Hickey. Seagate nabbed the award for its advances in storage that enable businesses to keep their systems running efficiently and securely.
Holly Downs, Western Digital channel manager, accepted the Channel Champs award from Everything Channel Senior Editor Joseph F. Kovar for earning the top score in the subcategory of Financial Factors for SATA Hard Drives.
Nancy Reynolds, senior vice president of corporate sales (l.), accepted the award from Associate Editor Stefanie Hoffman for the company's Overall win in the Client Security Software category. Lately, antivirus company Kaspersky Lab has been taking some of the biggest security companies in the industry head on, using the channel to evangelize its message. "They are the leaders in threat management and VARs agree," Hoffman said.
Associate Editor Brian Kraemer (l.) bestowed the Channel Champs award to Lexmark, accepted by Craig Raisor, district manager, for the company's win in Financial Factors/Performance in the Multifunction Devices category. Lexmark was recognized by Everything Channel as a leader in providing robust printing solutions to the market.
Chris Frey, Lenovo vice president of commercial and consumer channels, stepped up to the stage to accept the Channel Champs award for Technical Support and Satisfaction, Financial Performance and a tie in Overall for Volume Servers from Associate Editor Stefanie Hoffman. Lenovo was recognized, in part, for its ability to "access information anywhere with their mobile and notebook devices -- probably for some a blessing and a curse," Hoffman said.
Xerox Vice President of Channel Operations Gary Gillam (r.) accepted the Channel Champs award from Associate Editor Brian Kraemer. Xerox was recognized as Overall Winner in the Workgroup Color Printer category as well as the subcategories of Support Satisfaction and Financial Performance. The printer giant received accolades for its leadership in developing, manufacturing and supplying printing and imaging solutions with a mission to make it easier for businesses and consumers to move information between the paper and digital worlds.
Krystian Thyregod, (center), vice president of global channel marketing and global distribution, and Brian Raposo, district manager (l.), happily accepted the award from Associate Editor Stefanie Hoffman for EMC's overall sweep of Storage Management Software/Data Protection Software. EMC received top honors for its outstanding data storage, protection and management products as well as an array of comprehensive solutions spanning the data life cycle.
IBM garnered wins in the categories of Middleware, Midrange Servers and the subcategory of Support Satisfaction for volume servers less than $25,000. Accepting for IBM was Sandy Carter (l.), vice president of IBM Software Group Channels, and Rick Adams (r.), IBM director of business development, high volume sales, who received the award from Everything Channel Vice President and Editorial Director Kelley Damore. The hardware giant is coming up on its 100th anniversary, and, among other things, was recognized for its "staying power," said Damore.
Networking giant Cisco cleaned house with a bevy of Channel Champs wins that included all three subcategories for Unified Communications/VoIP. Cisco also received the nod in the subcategory of Support Satisfaction as well as Overall Winner for Networking Hardware and landed top honors in the subcategory of Support Satisfaction for Network Security Appliances.
Everything Channel News Editor Steve Burke (center), handed out the Channel Champs awards to Edison Peres (r.), senior vice president of Cisco's worldwide partner organization, and Susan Don, director of security business development for worldwide channels (l.). Cisco was heralded as an industry bellwether whose success or failure could have ripple effects on global economic markets. The company was also lauded for providing the necessary and critical infrastructure demanded by much of IT today, beginning in networks and extending to voice and security.
HP walked away with a host of awards that included Technical, Support Satisfaction, Financial and Overall winner in Flat-Panel Displays and SMB Network Storage, Technical Satisfaction winner in Workgroup Color Printers, Technical Satisfaction and Overall Winner for Volume Servers less than $25,000, Financial Factors winner in Notebook/Mobile Computers as well as a tie in the Overall category, and the Technical, Support Satisfaction, Financial and Overall winner for SMB Networking Hardware with its ProCurve line.
Everything Channel Editorial Director Kelley Damore and News Editor Steve Burke handed out the awards to Tom LaRocca, vice president of marketing and strategy for the Americas Solution Partners Organization, Stephen DiFranco, vice president and general manager of the Americas Solution Partners Organization, and the rest of the HP team.
HP, which started from a Silicon Valley garage in 1939, is now the world's largest IT company at $115 billion with a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure.
Comedian Adam Ferrara entertained the audience with a lively and eclectic routine about his Catholic upbringing, his engagement and impending marriage, and Kentucky workplace romances. The celebrity entertainer, who is best known for his role as Chief Needles Nelson in the show "Rescue Me" and his role as Sergeant Howard in the film "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," ended the night by leaving much of the audience in stitches.