Fast Growth Force Josh Dinneen Named Blue Mantis CEO, Ron Dupler To Become Chairman
“We have strong financials, strong growth, profitability and we are growing the business in an industry with continued pressure with layoffs happening across the technology sector,” says incoming Blue Mantis CEO Josh Dinneen. “We are able to navigate that because I believe we have the right market alignment, the right investors behind us, enabling us and empowering us to invest where we want and we have the right people in place to be able to execute!
Blue Mantis President Josh Dinneen, who has led the charge on a services-led go-to-market transformation that has paid off in triple-digit sales growth in key market segments, has been promoted to CEO of the SP 500 powerhouse effective January 1.
Ron Dupler, who over the course of nearly 20 years as CEO led the company on a successful journey from product reseller competing on price to advanced technology integrator with robust professional services and finally into a full fledged next generation services provider with high level cloud and cybersecurity services, will become chairman and remain on the company’s board of directors.
“Josh has been an integral force in the change and transformation of Blue Mantis since he joined the company five years ago,” said Dupler, 63, who has been working closely with Dinneen on the CEO changing of the guard succession plan for the last 18 months. “He has been a change agent who brought a growth mindset to the organization. He is a bold leader with a vision for where he wants to take this organization, building on the foundation that is in place. He has a work ethic that is second to none and is battle hardened. He is ready to take the helm and I am extremely confident in turning the baton over to him.”
Dinneen’s insatiable appetite to drive a services-led charge aimed at propelling fast growth started almost immediately after his arrival when Blue Mantis acquired the successful cybersecurity company he founded and bootstrapped, Norwell Technology Group, in 2018, where he was president and CEO.
Over the course of the last five years, Dinneen has led a cultural transformation that has moved Blue Mantis from a gross profit, cost of goods sold model to a strategic services led business aimed at driving business outcomes for clients. That changed the trajectory of Blue Mantis, sparking fast growth that has led to a five year growth rate of 405 percent for cybersecurity, 119 percent for cloud service practices and 495 percent for managed services in the midst of a 127 percent increase in the number of employees.
The fast growth charge provided by Dinneen has helped power Blue Mantis to No. 125 on the CRN 2023 Fast Growth list, up from No. 142 in 2022.
“What I am most proud of is the team,” said Dinneen, reflecting on his journey from head of strategic services to sales and marketing boss to chief revenue officer, president and now CEO. “I am a team guy. I believe that. Nobody wins alone. We have to support each other through these changes and through the excitement. I lead by a team approach. I believe culture is the underpinning of success. If you drive the right culture, the right behaviors and you support and reward those behaviors good things happen.”
Dinneen said when he joined Blue Mantis, which was then called GreenPages, he was intent on accelerating Dupler’s vision to transform the company into a next generation services led organization. That started with a transformation of the company’s sales and go to maket model backed up by big investments in modernizing systems including adding Saleforce.com, ServiceNow, Marketo, NetSuite and Uipath.
“I give a lot of credit to the folks here that really helped drive the change internally,” said Dinneen. “That is really where the rubber meets the road. We helped career paths. We helped reinvent people. We broke down silos. We had some challenges in leadership that we had to address. We did all of that. That change management wasn’t easy or popular at times but people got on board and believed in the story. All the while we were doing that we achieved greater success than we ever had, month over month, quarter over quarter.”
Dinneen said Blue Mantis has not turned its back on the value added reseller business, but is now leading with a services led approach that is winning over customers anxious for help navigating the tumultous technology terrain.In fact, he said, Blue Mantis has now moved into the upper echelon of service providers having strategic business discussions with CEOs, CIOs and CISOs.
“Once you get to that level and you are talking about risks, opportunities and where you can bring value then it is a lot easier to drive market share,” he said. “To do that you have to have credibility, be accountable for delivery and have a mind set of educating customers. We really started to drive that mentality of outcome based sales and value selling. We needed to focus on the outcome and the quality of the services we were delivering.”
As he takes the helm of Blue Mantis in the midst of economic headwinds and geopolitical uncertainty, Dinneen said the company continues to deliver growth with 46 net new customers in the third quarter, on top of 53 net new customers in the first half of the year.
“We have strong financials, strong growth, profitability and we are growing the business in an industry with continued pressure with layoffs happening across the technology sector,” he said. “We are able to navigate that because I believe we have the right market alignment, the right investors behind us, enabling us and empowering us to invest where we want and we have the right people in place to be able to execute!
The successful rebranding in July from GreenPages to Blue Mantis has had a “huge impact” on getting customers to realize the benefits of the company’s business outcome services led approach with an assess, modernize and manage methodology, said Dinneen.
“Sometimes people pigeon hole you, they type cast you,” said Dinneen. “At the end of the day we had to reidentify with the market and make sure we are advocating the value we can deliver for our customers. I think the rebranding really helped catapult us.”
Dinneen said as he looks into the future he sees even greater opportunities ahead to grow the business. That includes investments in automation aimed at providing better business outcomes and additional cost competitive services for customers.
“We are going to have more exciting, competitive offerings that aren’t cost prohibitive for businesses,”he said. “That is going to allow businsses to drive better value back to their organization. For me the opportunity ahead is tremendous.”
Among the top priorities is driving “productization” around the company’s seven practices (managed services, cybersecurity & risk management, cloud, carrier services, modern workspace, networking and data center modernization), said Dinneen. “If you do the right productization then you have repeatable processes and a product that is more consumable for your customers. So you can deliver it more cost effectively. If we do a great job productizing we can do a much better job of delivering those products to market with the speed that increases our velocity in the market.”
Blue Mantis is also leveraging generative AI with a sharp focus on securing those AI strategies, helping customers understand the risk and data governance issues, said Dinneen. “That’s a big challenge for businesses right now,” he said. “We are doing a lot with customers to help them down that path. That to me is a huge opportunity for us.”
Dinneen said there is a strong appetite for growth not only from him, his management team and employees, but also the company’s private equity backer Abry Partners.
“We have our goals to grow positively year over year,” he said. “You can see the aggressive goals we set and executed on for the last five years. That is going to continue, but growth has to be under control and with a purpose. That is our approach.”
Dinneen, who grew up in a working class enclave in Kent, Connecticut, had a strong work-ethic early on and excelled in athletics which sharpened his competitive fire. He entered the Marine Corps in 1994 and was promoted to Sargeant before beginning a career in technology sales starting with AT&T. He entered the solution provider business in 2007 as an account director for Presidio, and then became executive vice president of Corporate IT Solutions, which was acquired by private equity firm M/C Partners in 2015.
Throughout his life, Dinneen said, he has been driven to make himself better and succeed, overcoming any and all obstacles. That means “picking yourself up off the ground” and moving forward when you are hit hard and things are not going well. “Anybody that has bootstrapped a business like I have knows that,” he said. “One of my strengths and weaknesses actually is I’m always looking for the next hill to climb. As soon as a I get to the top I’m looking for the next hill.”
Key to his success, said Dinneen, 48, has been the love and support of his family, his wife, Jennifer, and his two children, Cooper, 10 and Madelyn, 8.“I have an unbelievable support system at home, an amazing wife and two beautiful children,” he said. “That is really my motivation. There is no doubt about it. I wouldn’t be here today without that support at home.”
As for the future, Dinneen said he is “confident” and “excited” about the road ahead. “I feel confident in our ability as a team to be successful and excited about the opportunity to be a part of it,” he said. “When I look at the opportunity I have as the steward of this business I couldn’t be more proud to lead the folks that we have on this team. How we can maximize the opportunity across our business with these extremely talented folks is going to be our strategy. We are not done yet. We are poised for even greater things! ”