HP VAR Nth Generation Names Ex-HP Exec As President


Gonzalez, a 25-year veteran of HP, Compaq and Digital Electronics Corp. (DEC), last served as vice president of enterprise storage and server sales at HP and left the company in March.

Gonzalez joins Nth, a San Diego-based solution provider and one of HP's major storage and server partners. Rich Baldwin, who has served as president and CEO since Nth was founded about 20 years ago, retains his CEO title.

The hiring of Gonzalez is quite a coup for Nth, which until now has grown slowly but steadily, said Baldwin.

"This is the next stage of growth for Nth," he said. "It's taken me 20 years to build a $40 million business."

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What that next stage is, neither Gonzalez nor Baldwin would say.

However, Gonzalez dropped a few hints. "There are three ways to grow," he said. "We can grow organically, something that Nth has done excellently for 20 years. We can bring in different product lines. And we can acquire different companies. We're looking at all three. We have a very aggressive growth plan."

For Gonzalez, moving from running a $7.5 billion business to running a $40 million business represents a real opportunity.

"We've got some great plans with Nth," he said. "I'm not only bringing in a great relationship with HP, but I'm also bringing in a lot of customer relationships."

Gonzalez said that Nth has the right infrastructure in place to grow much more quickly than in the past. For instance, it has a $5 million lab and a series of one-day to three-day regular customer symposiums.

Nth is also the first partner worldwide certified by VMware for virtual desktop computing, and is one of only two VMware value-added consultants in Southern California. Nth also has seven of HP's 56 master SAN architects in the entire country, he said.

Baldwin and Gonzalez have known each other for at least seven years. Because of their close relationship, Gonzalez, who has been in discussions with a number of storage vendors about employment possibilities, turned to Baldwin as a reference.

However, Baldwin surprised the both of them by sending Gonzalez an e-mail recently asking him why not consider working at Nth.

Shortly thereafter, on Saturday, Sept. 20, the two met in San Diego for 10 hours and came to an agreement. "We talked about our vision, and made sure we were compatible," Gonzalez said. "We made sure we were in sync."

By the following Tuesday, Gonzalez, who currently lives in the Dallas area, had looked at 22 homes in Southern California, and expects to close a deal on a house within the next couple of days.

Gonzalez, who is well-known among HP's solution provider community, said he expects other HP partners to be "ticked" when they learn he is now the president of Nth.

"They'll say, 'I didn't know you would be interested in doing something like this,' " he said. "But I wouldn't do this with any other partner. I have a lot of history with Rich. It's like a marriage. There's a level of trust between us."

The hiring of Gonzalez, in addition to helping Nth grow, is also the next step toward helping the company develop plans to ensure it continues to prosper after Baldwin and his wife, Jan, who serves as chief cultural officer, eventually retire, Gonzalez said.

"We want to create an organization that lasts long beyond any of us," he said. "We want to create something like Hewlett and Packard did. They started with a vision, but created something that is bigger."