Scenes From Varnex: VARs Do Mardi Gras

Synnex Meets Mardi Gras

Synnex recently held its spring Varnex conference in New Orleans, allowing Bob Stegner, senior vice president of marketing, North America, to break out the beads.

Coach Wanted

Teams comprised of Varnex members, vendors and Synnex employees competed in a mini Mardi Gras float building competition at the opening reception of Varnex Spring 2012 Conference. This group decorated their float in the theme of the New Orleans Saints, who were looking for a coach to replace the suspended Sean Payton.

Buckeye Bashing

Neil Hartney from Business Technology Center, a friend of Stegner's since the 1990s, took the opportunity to goad Synnex’s Stegner, a very passionate Ohio State Buckeye fan, with his Florida Gator pride.

Getting Ready

From left, Scott Kuehn of Synnex, Kelly Rodriguez of Driven Technologies, Kelli Tolzman of SMTi and Patrick Buending of Tripp Lite get ready to start painting their float.

The float-building event got people working together, Stegner said. "People were not just standing there. But we didn't know there would be this much paint," said Synnex’s Senior Vice President Marketing, North America.

Building Alliances, Too

VARs built more than floats at the opening reception -- better business relationships were also under construction. Here, Eddie Franklin, Synnex's vice president sales for public sector and Steve Gay, Varnex Advisory Council member and president of Strategic Sourcing, pose for a photo during the Varnex Spring 2012 Conference opening reception.

"We continue to see more and more VARs want to bond. It's gone beyond getting together for a drink. They talk about business and they're asking questions," said Synnex's Stegner.

Into The Swing Of Things

Synnex's Stegner and Peter Larocque, the distributor's president of U.S. distribution, do-si-do on stage at the opening session of the Varnex Spring Conference in New Orleans.

Business Time

After some entertainment, Stegner got down to business, updating Varnex members on the organization's goals and programs for 2012. Among the topics was Synnex's OneIT initiative.

Solv-ing Problems

Synnex's Larocque detailed the progress the distributor has made with its Solv-branded initiatives, a number that now reaches a dozen. Stegner said CloudSolv was an especially big hit among Varnex attendees. "We're seeing a tremendous sign up for it and that will continue as we add other vendors on it," Stegner said.


Open Road

Eric Martorano, senior director of Microsoft's U.S. SMB channel group, tells Varnex members about their exciting "Open Road" promotion.

VAR's View

Mike Brogan, president of Erb's Technology Solutions and president of the Varnex Advisory Council, tells the audience what the advisory council is doing on their behalf.

School's Open

Mike Schmedlen, director of worldwide education segment for Lenovo, talks about solution provider opportunities from the vendor in the education market.

Cloud Building

Ryan Morris, principal consultant from Morris Management Partners, teaches Varnex members how to build a real cloud-based business right now.

Beginning To End

Steve Jow, Synnex senior vice president of sales, shares how to leverage the end-to-end sales process to Varnex members.

HP Update

Frank Rauch, vice president and general manager of Hewlett-Packard's ESSN Channels, Americas, shares HP's solutions, channel enablement strategies and alignment with HP field resources, which he said can help drive more profitable growth through new account acquisition for Varnex reseller partners.

Channel Chiefs

Synnex's Stegner, left, hosted a panel conversation with three HP Channel Chiefs: Frank Rauch, Mike Parrottino and Scott Dunsire. It marked the first time the three HP execs answered VAR questions together, according to Synnex.

Gridiron Great

Former NFL quarterback Archie Manning, and father of Super Bowl winning quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning, was a keynote speaker at Varnex and talked about how to be a leader. He also had a humorous response to a question about the bounty system that the Saints allegedly used for several years. "I'm pretty sure the bounty when I played the game was to keep me in the game," Manning said.

Feeling A Little Short

Mary Ellen Grom, center, vice president of U.S. marketing at Synnex, poses with the stilt walkers at Mardi Gras World at the closing night celebration.

Having Fun

Judy and Michael Wendt of Laser Tech, an El Paso, Texas-based VAR, enjoy the evening at Mardi Gras World.

New Orleans' Finest

Kelly Rodriguez of Driven Technologies poses with the police escort that took Varnex attendees through New Orleans to Mardi Gras World for the Closing Night Celebration.