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GTT's Newly Minted Channel Chief, Robert Westervelt, On Taking The Channel To 'The Next Level'

GTT promoted Robert Westervelt to channel chief, and the experienced tech executive plans to aggressively build on the enterprise communications provider’s double-digit channel growth.

GTT Communications promoted telecom pro Robert Westervelt to channel chief, and the longtime tech executive believes that the channel is a significant growth opportunity for the enterprise communications provider.

Westervelt, now senior vice president for channel sales for GTT's Americas division, has served as GTT's vice president for channel sales for its East region since 2017. His vision is to continue to aggressively grow GTT's organic revenue via the company's indirect channel.  

"From 2017 to 2018, we grew four-fold in the channel and saw double-digit growth, so there's been a lot of opportunities," Westervelt told CRN. "That's why we want to put the resources in place to take the channel to the next level."

[Related: GTT Communications Expands With $40M Access Point Acquisition] 

GTT acquired Cary, N.C.-based Access Point in October 2018, a nearly 100 percent channel-focused communications service provider. GTT's channel sales account for a smaller percentage of the company's overall revenue, so Westervelt wants to leverage the strengths of Access Point's partner-facing back office to build in more support for all GTT partners.

"We want to help partners price things out and put together proposals quicker, so I'm looking to revamp the back office as my first priority," he said.  

McLean, Va.-based GTT has about 200 partners today, including master agents and telecom subagent partners. Westervelt wants to grow GTT's partner community to upward of 600 partners that are selling into midmarket and enterprise accounts.

To help accomplish this growth, GTT has added a new marketing staff member dedicated solely to channel partners. This will mean more visibility for GTT at industry events, and it will give partners better access to marketing funds, he said.  

GTT offers voice and connectivity services, as well as WAN and managed networking and security services. SD-WAN, Westervelt said, is one of the hottest technologies in its portfolio and a great add-on opportunity for the channel today.

"For customers that are more global in nature, SD-WAN is a great fit, especially with our footprint and density we have now, thanks to our acquisition of Interoute," he said. GTT completed its acquisition of Interoute, a large fiber and cloud networking provider based in Europe, in May 2018.

Westervelt has more than 25 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and has done his fair share of managing channel relationships. Prior to his appointment with GTT in 2017, Westervelt served as vice president and general manger of global solutions for NTT America, senior vice president of indirect sales for Broadview Networks, as well as holding several positions at XO Communications, including president of alternate channels.

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