CRN Exclusive: Avant Taps Industry Vet Shane McNamara To Add Cable Practice, Boost Next-Gen Tech Sales

Master agent Avant has brought in channel veteran Shane McNamara to kick start a brand-new cable practice for partners and to help Avant become a "one-stop shop" for partners, the master agent told CRN.

McNamara, who has worked for both carriers and VARs, will now be joining the master agent community. McNamara will serve as executive vice president of channel sales for the Eastern U.S., sharing responsibilities with Jen Gallego, executive vice president of channel sales who will now handle the West territory for Avant.

The self-proclaimed "born in the cloud" master agent doesn't have a cable practice today. But cable providers today are a great, low-cost broadband option for business customers employing emerging technologies, such as SD-WAN. McNamara built a successful cable practice while at his last employer, Qology Direct, that included reselling Comcast and Spectrum services. He will be bringing those relationships to Avant, he said.

[Related: Master Agent Avant Expands SD-WAN Portfolio For Solution Provider Partners]

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"Cable is commonly thought of as a small business option, but with [technologies like] SD-WAN that you can layer on top – that serves medium businesses and enterprises," McNamara said. "Having a cable practice gives partners a one-stop shop, and another reason to bring their business to work with Avant."

Having been focused on next-gen technologies, the cable business was an interesting prospect to Avant because cable can serve as a strong, cost-effective "on-ramp" to the network to reach services such as SD-WAN or the cloud, said Ian Kieninger, Avant's co-founder and CEO.

"Selling coax circuits for $100 a month was not that attractive to us. But, some of the newer technologies require strong, cheap bandwidth, and we think some of the winners in that game are going to be the cable providers," he said. "Knowing how to source the right connectivity is key, and [McNamara] has that background."

Having worked as a channel chief for a carrier, as well a VAR organization, McNamara is uniquely qualified to help partners, Kieninger said.

"He really has a 360-degree view of what this channel is about, and those experiences are going to be big for Avant, but huge for our partners," Kieninger said.

McNamara most recently served as the senior vice president of business services at Qology Direct. Before that role, he was the channel partner vice president at XO Communications and, earlier, he was the general manager for carrier sales at CDW.

Prior to McNamara's appointment with Avant, executive vice president Galego was serving Avant partners across the country. Avant's recent growth has prompted the need for another channel resource, according to Kieninger.

"In the past year, we basically doubled our partner base, partner revenue, and in-field channel resources. He said. "Now we doubling our channel leadership to support the growth of our partners because we don't want to break at the seams or not be able to answer those day-to-day calls."

In addition to telecom agent partners, McNamara plans on helping Avant target more VARs and MSPs who want to grow their recurring revenue streams.

"We want to recruit the right partners and help them grow. VARs and MSPs are on the agenda, as well as the traditional partner base of agents." he said. "If you want to sell cloud services, which is where the future is going, Avant is the place to bring your business."