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Ingram Micro Hires Paul Hager As Services VP

Wade Tyler Millward

New Ingram Micro VP Paul Hager comes from Gordon Flesch, a member of CRN’s 2022 Solution Provider 500.

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Paul Hager will become Ingram Micro’s new vice president of services for the United States in September, leaving his role as director of solutions at one of the Midwest’s largest service providers to help create a services portfolio and team at Ingram and support sales and vendor channels.

Hager told CRN in an interview that he took the job to help the distributor’s managed service provider (MSP) customers and bring more MSP influence to Ingram decision making.

“Them bringing me on is a clear indication that they’re ready to listen and we’re going to shake some stuff up and we’re going to make a difference,” Hager told CRN in an interview. “And because that’s what I want to do. I took the role to make a difference in the industry.”

[RELATED: INGRAM MICRO HIRES ‘TECHNOLOGY SUPERSTAR’ CHRIS WARD TO HEAD UP GLOBAL CLOUD TECHNICAL SERVICES]

Who did Ingram Micro Hire?

CRN has reached out to Elevity IT, the company Hager is leaving, and its parent organization Gordon Flesch Co. – No. 157 on CRN’s 2022 Solution Provider 500 – for comment. The companies are based in Madison, Wis. Hager plans to relocate closer to Ingram Micro’s Irvine, Calif., headquarters.

Hager has been director of solutions at Elevity IT for more than two years, according to his LinkedIn account. He came to Elevity with the 2020 acquisition of Information Technology Professionals (ITP) by Gordon Fleisch. Hager was CEO of ITP at the time of the acquisition.

His history with Ingram goes back more than 10 years and includes serving as council president of the distributor’s small and midsize business (SMB) alliance community.

Bill Blum, president and founder of Alpine Business Systems – a Bound Brook, N.J.-based partner of Microsoft, SonicWall, Dell – is an Ingram SMB Alliance Council member.

Blum told CRN in an interview that he’s known Hager for almost 10 years. The incoming vice president brings technical skills, communication skills, business acumen and an understanding of the market as a longtime MSP executive, Blum said.

A Pivotal Time In Distribution

This year has been a pivotal time for distributors, with increasing competition for 40-plus-year-old Ingram from the likes of a recently merged Tech Data and Synnex, recently merged OpenText and AppRiver, upstart Pax8 and other players vying for MSP customers.

For Microsoft partners, for example, distributors have been a resource during the adoption of the vendor’s “new commerce experience” partner program changes rolled out this year and for preparing for upcoming partner capability scores launching in October.

Blum said he’s stayed an Ingram customer because of its responsiveness to his business’ needs, the support it offers MSPs and the quality of its employees.

The challenge for Hager as he enters his role is building a professional services business that meets the needs of partners of different sizes in different markets with different industry specialties

“Although Ingram is an incredible partner, I look forward to him enhancing and building the services side of that business to better serve the MSP market,” Blum said. “There is a lack of focus on the small and medium (business sizes) in the MSP market2. And I think Paul will bring a lot of his experience and expertise in how to provide those services and craft those solutions and offerings to Ingram.”

Hager will report to Kirk Robinson, an Ingram executive vice president and president of North America.

“He‘s been in the shoes of our partners, he knows how to grow business and he knows the pain points of the services world,” Robinson told CRN in an interview. “So what we’re doing now is looking at how do we grow organically by bringing in the right talent.”

Hager said that distributors have an important role for channel partners today, helping support partners.

“Distribution can help be that space between the giants like Microsoft and a change like NCE and the partner – helping them understand (it), train (for) it, enable it, provide additional resources to do it,” he said. “So I do think it‘s a critical time for distribution to have more resources.”

One of Hager’s missions in the role will be to show partners that a distributor can be more than how partners buy laptops and other goods, he said. Ingram helped Hager on major deals and boosting his Microsoft practice.

“I can still remember one of the biggest seven-figure deals that we ever sold,” Hager said. “And Ingram’s financing made that possible. I have these memories of where, when our business really needed it, they were there as a strategic partner in whatever that meant. Maybe that meant enablement. Maybe that meant financing. That’s what‘s kept me loyal is all the stuff that’s above and beyond.”

Wade Tyler Millward

Wade Tyler Millward is an associate editor covering cloud computing and the channel partner programs of Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat, Oracle, Salesforce, Citrix and other cloud vendors. He can be reached at wmillward@thechannelcompany.com.

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