COLUMN: A Solution Provider CEO For The Ages
With Blue Mantis CEO Ron Dupler is retiring at the end of the year, CRN’s Steve Burke reflects on the career of someone he calls the archetype of the modern solution provider CEO.
Given the speed-of-light changes in technology, ever-shifting business models and the need to constantly evolve to survive, there is little doubt that being the CEO of a CRN Solution Provider 500 company is simply one of the toughest jobs in the world.
Think of the job as the equivalent of racing an Indy500 car and trying to change out parts and tires while driving at 200 miles per hour all on a racetrack with new twists and turns on each and every lap.
Given Ron Dupler’s success navigating those twists and turns as a solution provider CEO for over 25 years, it would be hard to come up with anyone else who could match his accomplishments as what surely has to be called the archetype of the modern solution provider CEO: a technologist with 20/20 vision, a thoughtful servant leader with unmatched integrity, and someone who always—always—puts customers and employees first.
Dupler has been a CEO in the technology solutions business since 1998, the last nearly 20 years as CEO of GreenPages, which this year was renamed Blue Mantis. Effective Jan. 1, Dupler will move into a chairman role, remaining on the board of directors, while handing the CEO reins to Blue Mantis President Josh Dinneen.
Dupler has taken the Portsmouth, N.H., company from a product reseller competing on price to an advanced technology integrator with robust professional services capabilities, and then finally into a full-fledged next-generation strategic service provider, bringing customers high-level cloud computing and cybersecurity services.
Dupler is every bit a technology visionary in his own right, anticipating the major shifts in the business and successfully crossing one chasm after another. He made those big shifts by building a culture focused on always going above and beyond for customers, no matter how small or big the project, and by building deep and long-lasting relationships with customers, vendors, employees and colleagues.
“We transitioned the company a number of times and built a company that people were proud to work at—and we took great care of customers,” he said. “The thing I am most proud of is the company we built, what the company is today, the team we have in place and the environment we created. We took great care of our clients. We are known as a thought leader and a high-quality organization that always acted with integrity. We have built a great team and culture that will continue long beyond me.”
Dupler, who turns 64 in March, said he is looking forward to spending more time with his family. He just celebrated his 40th anniversary with his wife, Gail, with a trip to Italy and is looking forward to spending time with his three grandkids and his sons—Ronnie, 38, who works in the technology business as a recruiting director and Nate, 35, and Eric, 32, who together run a home remodeling business.
“When you are the CEO of a dynamic technology company, it is a huge commitment,” Dupler said. “It’s time to kick back a little and enjoy life.”
Here’s to you, Ron Dupler. Thanks for all you have done for Blue Mantis, all the customers you have served, and all the deep long-lasting relationships you have built. Wishing you all the happiness in the world as you begin the next chapter of your life.