Rick Hamada knows solution providers, likes solution providers and hopes to meet more of them in his new job as president of Avnet Computer Marketing.
Hamada, promoted last week from president of Avnet Hall-Mark North America, said he will still make a point to talk to customers, even as his responsibilities increase.
"I have a mental note to talk to a customer every day. I don't quite get that far, but I talk to multiple customers every week and I will continue to do that," Hamada said.
An 18-year Avnet veteran, Hamada replaces Andy Bryant, who was promoted to president of Avnet Electronics Marketing. Bryant succeeds Brian Hilton, who is set to retire on June 30 from the Phoenix-based distributor.
Hamada does not plan to make any major changes to Avnet Computer Marketing, which includes distributor Avnet Hall-Mark and networking solution provider Avnet Enterprise Solutions.
Hamada is expected to work with Bryant during a transition period in January.
"I don't see a compelling action item that I've got to jump into," Hamada said. "Andy Bryant has done a great job here and laid a solid foundation."
With experience in Avnet's one-tier and two-tier businesses, Hamada hopes to expand manufacturer relationships on both sides and proactively seek more "creative partnering" among channel partners and Avnet Enterprise Solutions to grow the company, he said.
Hamada was pleased with the division's past financial performance and is optimistic about its position in 2002. "We felt good about the close of the calendar year," he said. "I think the economic environment is turning in our favor in 2002."
Although many channel partners have been "hunkering down" to make it through the slow economy, Hamada wants to help them "get out of survival mode and get back into foot-on-the-accelerator mode," Hamada said.
Avnet Computer Marketing will continue its "limited line-card strategy" and has no plans to add scores of new manufacturer partners, Hamada said.
No successor was named as president of Avnet Hall-Mark. Hamada is considering only internal candidates and plans to have a successor named once the transition is completed near the end of the first quarter, he said. Although he declined to reveal any names on his list, "there are several strong senior managers in the business," he said.
Hamada's promotion was well received by solution providers.
Rich Baldwin, president and CEO of Nth Generation Computing, San Diego, met Hamada in 1983 when Hamada was his sales representative.
"He worked his way up through the Avnet organization to where now he's running basically the whole computer organization, which is fantastic," Baldwin said. "[He knows this business inside and out, both the one-tier and two-tier business, because he's got both the direct-sales force and all the reseller organizations now reporting to him."