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COLUMN: The Passing Of An Industry Icon

Bruce Geier, who passed away last month after a long battle with cancer, was a force in the channel community well beyond his herculean accomplishment building TIG into one of the top global solution providers.

Bruce Geier, the founder and CEO of Technology Integration Group, No. 86 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, put all his heart and soul into helping build a better channel community.

Geier, 68, who passed away on Sept. 11 after a long battle with cancer, was a force in the channel community well beyond his herculean accomplishment building TIG into one of the top global solution providers.

Geier helped build what has become the modern strategic service provider channel model. That’s because Geier spent so much time mentoring colleagues and driving what he called his partners—which included vendors, distributors and end-user customers—to build a rich and vibrant channel ecosystem. Geier brought a life-affirming joy to the business of providing technology solutions to customers. He had a big heart and a sense of community that made him a force of nature. He was also a fierce competitor who was resolute in his drive and determination to deliver breakthrough technology solutions to customers through what he called the TIG experience. But he was also a voice for building the channel business model by pushing everyone to realize that it was only when solution provider, vendor, distributor and customer all worked together that the channel was successful.

Kirk Robinson, chief country executive at Ingram Micro, which has counted TIG as a top partner for more than 30 years, credited Geier with playing a key role in building the channel ecosystem. “Bruce learned early on the more you give the more you get,” he said. “Bruce didn’t mind being that mentor for many, whether it was other partners, vendors or distributors. ... He was a big voice in the Ingram partner network and a friend with many of us at Ingram.”

Big voice indeed. Geier cared about building a better industry. His passing leaves a void that cries out for others to fill. That means being part of the conversation and not being afraid to tackle tough issues aimed at driving the channel forward.

Geier was the best of us, always stepping up to help others. What is infuriating is that many in the channel ecosystem today refuse to be part of the conversation. Those executives live in their own bubble, ignoring market realities. They refuse to engage in fruitful conversations, either at industry events or one on one, resorting to sterile prepared statements and fluffy social media comments. That “I, me, mine” mentality is the exact opposite of Geier’s “let’s work together to build a better channel” philosophy.

But you cannot get to the legend that was Geier without focusing on his heart, humor and the sheer joy of spending time with him. Victor Gallego, who knew Geier as a close friend before taking a job at TIG two years ago as senior vice president of field sales, will always cherish the many international trips and sporting events he got to attend with his friend, including 17 Super Bowls.

Gallego said Geier never forgot his roots and the strong work ethic instilled in him by his parents. “Bruce was very giving, generous and wonderful to be around. That generosity had a life-changing impact on many TIG employees,” he said. “Bruce was very old school in terms of maintaining strong and loyal friendships with his TIG employees.”

When Geier was first diagnosed with cancer about two years ago, he was only given six months to live. “He was a Japanese warrior who battled to the very end,” said Gallego. “Bruce was a loving and loyal friend who was always there for his family, friends and his TIG employees. We all loved him so much. It’s heart-breaking to say goodbye to him.”

Well said, Victor. Well said.

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