Seventeen years ago, The Channel Company CEO Robert Faletra inducted technology industry giants Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and William Hewlett and channel pioneers former Ingram Micro CEO Chip Lacy and ComputerLand founder Bill Millard into the IT Hall of Fame at the very first Hall of Fame event.
On Tuesday night, it was Faletra himself being inducted into the IT Hall of Fame at a ceremony held at industry association CompTIA's Annual Member Meeting at The Rancho Bernardo Resort in San Diego.
Faletra, a fierce advocate of the solution provider business model for 30 years, was honored for his role in helping to shape the modern IT channel first as a journalist, then as an editor of CRN, and now as CEO of The Channel Company, leading the charge for the channel in the cloud computing-mobility-social networking era.
Frank Vitagliano, a 30-year channel veteran, CompTIA board member and Dell vice president of channel sales, gave the formal induction remarks, joking that Faletra dreamed as a young boy of some day being inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame alongside Boston Red Sox greats Ted Williams and Carl Yastremski. Unfortunately, Vitagliano said, Faletra was simply not a very good baseball player. "He had nothing else to shoot for but the IT Hall of Fame," said Vitagliano, "and he made it right next to people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, [Compaq channel legend] Ross Cooley and [IBM channel titan] Dave Boucher."
Faletra's most notable accomplishment, said Vitagliano, was his unbending commitment to building the solution provider business with news, information, research, events, and software and tools, all aimed at helping partners grow the business working hand-in-hand with vendors and distributors.
"At the end of the day, Bob was the guy that always put the solution provider first in everything he did, whether it was as a reporter, senior executive or now as CEO of The Channel Company," said Vitagliano. "At the same time, he was able to maintain an influential relationship with the entire vendor and distributor community and the rest of the industry. He made his mark. A lot of what he fought for has led to the industry we are in today."
Ultimately, Faletra's impact has had a "profound" effect on how the channel has developed and matured into a business model that is at the heart of the sales growth enjoyed by thousands of technology companies, said Vitagliano. "If Bob didn't champion the cause of solution providers through all of these years, I am confident that somewhere along the line the channel voice would have been lost. At the end of the day, the group that he has most impacted is the solution providers. By helping them and being a voice for them, it enabled and strengthened them so that they could get their business models to the point they are at today where they have become significant partners for vendors in terms of how we go to market. Bob at this point is viewed more as an advocate for the overall business and the industry. He has impacted the entire industry."
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