100 People You Don't Know But Should 2014 (Part 1)

Under The Radar

Hidden behind the shining stars on vendors' channel management teams are lots of people who work just as hard toward the success of partners. These behind-the-scenes players may be the driving force behind a partner's new recurring revenue strategy, a high-level channel executive at a lesser-known company, or they may not even be part of channel management, but someone who is still creating a strategy or technology vision that impacts solution providers in the field.

Here we present Part 1 of 100 People You Don't Know But Should, CRN's annual look at the individuals building channel programs, designing special incentives, educating solution providers and evangelizing hot technology.

Also, be sure to check out Part 2 of 100 People You Don't Know But Should for more of CRN's look at the unsung heroes behind successful channel partnerships.

Ron McNab, AireSpring

Senior Vice President Sales

McNab is bringing next-gen telco and communications services and products to market through solution providers, including the company's recently launched AireContact call center platform, which is sold exclusively through partners. Partners have been seeing an "astronomical" close rate on the product because it "meets all the needs, not most of the needs" of customers.

Anita Pandey, AirTight Networks

Vice President of Global Marketing

AirTight has beefed up its channel focus with the launch earlier this year of a new partner program and a string of recent channel management team hires, including Pandey, who joined the wireless company a year ago. She helped launch the EZ Street program, which aims to offer partners new opportunities around managed services, social media and big data analytics.

Leslie Vitrano, APC by Schneider Electric

Director of Channel Marketing and Communications

A five year APC veteran who has been recognized with internal awards for driving brand loyalty and customer satisfaction, Vitrano is leading the charge to help partners succeed in the cloud with a new generation of demand-generation tools as the company boosts its focus on software, such as its StructureWare energy performance optimization platform.

Jack Laskowitz, AT&T

Director of Product Development, AT&T Emerging Business Markets

Laskowitz played a major role in opening up AT&T's mobility suite -- including the telco's data and voice plans, plus the mobile devices that run on its networks -- to IT solution providers by bringing them into the company's AT&T Partner Exchange Program this summer, the third portfolio to be opened to partners after its networking and cloud services offerings.

Rick Reed, AT&T

Senior Marketing Communications Manager

Partners are flocking to AT&T's Partner Exchange Program thanks in no small part to aggressive marketing from Reed, a technology veteran who knows how to translate partner power into telecom gold. The program has expanded recently to include not only networking and cloud services but also a full range of mobile offerings, including data plans, voice plans and mobile devices.

Tim FitzGerald, Avnet Technology Solutions

Vice President, Cloud Solutions, ATS Americas

FitzGerald is a vocal advocate for driving cloud solutions into the hands of Avnet solution providers and making sure they have the tools they need to solve customers' business challenges in the cloud. FitzGerald is also focused on expanding the distributor's portfolio of cloud offerings and incorporating them into integrated, packaged solutions to cut partner costs.

Phillip Privett, Avnet Technology Solutions

Vice President, Technology and Solutions, Converged and Data Solutions, ATS Americas

Privett leads the charge for Avnet's pre-sales technical design teams, field technical consultants and the development of converged solutions for key Avnet technology vendors, including Cisco, EMC, Hitachi and NetApp. The result of the work he's doing as that solution providers can get trained on how to sell and deliver a converged architecture quickly with strong end-user value.

Kieran Hannon, Belkin


Hannon is changing the face of the small business landscape with next-generation products including video surveillance, Linksys networking and its WeMo home automation offerings, which are planting an early stake in the emerging Internet of Things marketplace, leading Belkin to a premier position as an SMB IT vendor solution providers can count on for innovation.

Aaron Courdy, Bluebeam Software

Senior Channel Manager

Courdy and Bluebeam's channel team are actively recruiting solution providers to sell its PDF markup and collaboration software and are also in the midst of a partner program update aimed at creating more lucrative sales opportunities for partners. The company is hoping to increase channel sales to 60 percent of its business, up from 40 percent today.

Rahul Shah, Boardshare


Not only is Shah the CEO for IT services provider Katalyst Technologies, he has come up with Boardshare's breakthrough portable smart board offering, which can turn any flat surface into an interactive, collaborative tool, and is turning to solution providers to help reel in a red-hot education market opportunity via a partnership with D&H Distributing.

Jarrett Miller, Bromium

Vice President of Global Channel Sales

Endpoint security startup Bromium emerged from stealth mode two years ago and has since brought on over 100 channel partners. Miller is prepping a continued North American channel expansion for 2015.

Dan Waldinger, Brother International

Director of Marketing, Solutions and Services

Waldinger is laser-focused on getting partners on board for a new line of channel-exclusive Brother printers that are winning over partners with innovative features, blazing speed and outstanding value. The 16-year printer executive veteran is also getting the word out on a robust partner program that includes deal registration.

Steve Benvenuto, Cisco Systems

Sr. Director, Business Development, Cisco Channel Partner Programs

Benvenuto is leading the charge around Cisco's new Solution Partner Program, which aims to expand relationships with ISVs, showcasing their Cisco-validated applications and bringing them together with traditional Cisco channel partners. He says matchmaking between VARs and ISVs ensures that Cisco partners can sell potential customers on business outcomes rather than speeds and feeds.

Faisal Hanafi, Cisco Systems

Vice President of Strategy and Partner Experience

Hanafi is driving the overall business strategy, planning, transformation and partner experience for Cisco's Worldwide Partner Organization, working hand-in-hand with executives from Cisco and the partner community to help guide and shape the direction of Cisco's partnering business, including what the company's business portfolio should look like and where it should be placing its long-term bets.

Susie Wee, Cisco Systems

VP and CTO of Networked Experiences

As Cisco pushes to recast itself as a software-focused company, it's Wee who is responsible for cultivating relationships with developers who want to write software for Cisco platforms. In July she spearheaded the launch of Cisco's DevNet, an online community and resource center that counts over 80,000 registered developers among its members. She aspires to grow that to 1 million by 2020.

Ryan Gruening, Code42

Director of Channel Sales

The buck stops with Gruening when it comes to strategy and execution for the security vendor's Summit Partner Program, which celebrated its one-year anniversary in August. Over 700 partners have signed up for the program thus far, and Gruening has pledged to continue strengthening the program, which he calls "integral" the company's success with large enterprises.

Kenneth Rotman, Curvature

Director, Global Strategic Alliances & Channel Development

One of the driving forces behind a major transformation that refashioned Network Hardware Resale into Curvature, Rotman is responsible for kick-starting the company's channel efforts. The rebraned company is bringing game-changing economics to partners of all stripes with NetSure Maintenance, its services offering for gear no longer supported by Cisco.

Greg Axtman, D&H Distributing

Director of Purchasing

Axtman oversees vendor relationships within D&H's accessories and attachment categories, including Logitech, APC by Schneider Electric and Kensington as well as networking products from vendors such as Netgear, D-Link and Belkin. Altogether those relationships make up a good percentage of the distributor's computer products business, its largest division.

Dave Siles, DataGravity

Vice President of Channel and Alliances

Siles points to the EqualLogic pedigree of DataGravity's founders as evidence the company has channel nurturing in its DNA and says that's the reason the startup has built a channel-only sales strategy. The company came out of stealth mode in August, launching its product and opening Siles' channel program in the same breath. Early reviews from partners and customers have been raves.

Darren Fedorowicz, Dell

Executive Director, Dell Financial Services

Fedorowicz is leading the charge for Dell Financial Services, surely one of the vendor's most prized assets for driving channel sales. Credit Fedorowicz for coming up with aggressively priced offerings that cover even smaller deals for partners. His channel savvy has sparked a 40 percent rise in channel financing deals.

Alan Fenton, Dell

Executive Director, Distribution & Business Transformation

Fenton has been a key contributor when it comes to rolling out and expanding Dell's PartnerDirect solution provider program since the company opened up indirect sales in 2007. He is credited with launching and leading Dell's North American distribution channel, integrating sales in the wake of the SonicWALL acquisition and leading the vendor's overall channel merger and acquisition team.

Michael O'Brien, Dell

Executive Director, Global Channel Programs & Training

A 20-year channel veteran, O'Brien holds the reins of Dell's PartnerDirect Programs, Training and Enablement teams as well as its global systems integrator business development team. His contributions include bringing alignment, new offerings and resources to Dell's channel program to help partners expand their solution selling capabilities.

Roger Egan, Docker

Senior Vice President of Sales and Channels

Egan left Red Hat this summer for super-hot startup Docker and its open-source Docker Project, whose container technology is quickly turning the virtualization market on its ear. Egan is bringing his considerable open-source experience to bear as he builds Docker's go-to-market strategy and expands the company's partner ecosystem.

Bart Giordano, Egnyte

Vice President of Business Development

Giordano is tasked with growing and strengthening Egnyte's base of channel, technology alliance and developer partners. He's banging the drum for the company's enterprise file services, which offer recurring revenue opportunities and white-label options for partners.

The company has made strides this year with significant investments in channel programs and personnel.

Chad Sakac, EMC

Senior Vice President and Global Systems Engineer

Sakac, whose basement has more EMC gear than most enterprises, is renowned for his quick wit and snappy product demos. A popular blogger, he's currently starring in EMC's "Area 52" product demo video campaign and also finds time to manage EMC's specialty technical teams focused on Oracle and Microsoft technology.

Joseph Hoban, FireEye

Senior Director of Worldwide Channel Development

Hoban is working spread channel religion and bring more solution providers into the FireEye fold. He joined the company via its acquisition of Mandiant earlier this year and is helping merge the companies' channel efforts into a unified front to tackle the red-hot security market with FireEye's Threat Prevention Platform.

Matt Goulet, Globalscape

Vice President of Sales

Since Goulet joined a year ago from Kaspersky Lab, Globalscape has doubled its investment in its channel activities and lead generation. He is also building out a new two-tiered channel program to fuel growth in an increasingly competitive market for secure managed file transfer platforms. The company also recently rolled out a new deal registration program.

John Keagy, GoGrid


A pioneer in Internet infrastructure and founder of IaaS company GoGrid, Keagy wants to take on the big boys, especially Amazon Web Services. In the spirit of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," Keagy aims to build a coalition of technology vendors (many of whom are rivals to each other) around an open-source orchestration engine that helps customers avoid "Amazon lock-in."

Brian Goldfarb, Google

Head of Cloud Platform Marketing

Goldfarb takes umbrage at critics who assert that Google is new to the channel, pointing out that the company has thousands of existing enterprise partners spanning the globe for all its major businesses and strong relationships with global system integrators. He says Google is "doubling down on the channel" by hiring channel-savvy execs and helping partners build successful enterprise practices.

Patrick Eitenbichler, Hewlett-Packard

Director of Marketing, PartnerOne Strategy

The channel professor, nobody knows more about PartnerOne and what buttons solution providers need to push to be successful as they make the transition to the cloud computing business model than the 21-year HP veteran. Eitinbichler understands what makes partners tick and is making sure that translates into best-in-class channel program metrics for HP.

Chris Ogburn, Hewlett-Packard

Vice President of Channel Marketing, Enterprise Group

With over 20 years of channel marketing experience, Ogburn is on the front lines working with partners to make sure they have all the ammunition they need to deliver game-changing solutions. Ogburn has been instrumental in making sure partners understand the need to sell solutions optimized for specific customer workloads.

Efrain Rovira, Hewlett-Packard

Vice President, Cloud Channel

With HP's Helion cloud offensive kicking into high gear via the Eucalyptus acquisition, Rovira is making sure partners are building out a no-holds-barred Helion practice. The veteran tech executive's channel and cloud computing know-how already has partners embracing Helion. Rovira's steady hand is going to be critical as partners move quickly to take advantage of HP's cloud designations.

Katherine Russ-Hotfelter, Hexis Cyber Solutions

Director, Channel Marketing

Russ-Hotfelter's been busy developing a self-service Partner Store to provide co-branded marketing for the company's channel partners. She's also pushing Hexis toward its goal of growing its channel base to 50 solution providers by the end of this year. The company also recently inked a partnership with D&H Distributing around the new Hexis NetBeat monitoring and network access control products.

Greg Knieriemen, Hitachi Data Systems

Technology Evangelist and Strategist

Engineering-focused storage presentations can be boring, but not when Knieriemen, pulls out his pen and talks about its business and strategy. A former solution provider, he's now tasked with delivering the vision and application of HDS's technology to a global audience, with special focus on hot topics such as cloud computing, big data, virtualization, storage and converged infrastructures.

Glen Ziegler, Huawei

Senior Director of Channel Strategy, Enterprise

A channel veteran of HP and 3Com, Ziegler joined Huawei earlier this year to lead the U.S. enterprise divisions channel efforts. At the top of his to-do list is partner education and recruitment, as the Chinese networking giant works to gain a foothold in the U.S. market. He started off with a bang by offering steep 30 percent discounts on competitive quotes against gear from rivals such as Cisco and Juniper.

Julie Heeg, IBM

IBM Sales & Distribution, Global Business Partners & Midmarket

Since 2006, Julie Heeg has been rolling up her sleeves and working with the IBM channel building a reputation as a trusted, knowledgeable, and passionate leader. She has earned her reputation over the years, first working in channel sales and then as a business partner client rep. Now she's putting solution providers first as she drives IBM's midmarket partner sales and distribution strategy.

Jamie Mendez, IBM

Director, IBM PartnerWorld

As director of the 140,000-strong community that makes up IBM’s PartnerWorld Program, Jaime Mendez is seen as IBM's secret weapon for keeping the channel trains running on time. But her channel management chops don't stop there. Jaime also is director of IBM's PartnerWorld Leadership Conference, an annual event that brings partners together with IBM leadership teams to collaborate on market opportunities.

Judy Smolski, IBM

VP of Cloud Service Provider/Managed Service Provider group, IBM Sales & Distribution, Enterprise, Vice President, General Business Mid-Market, IBM Americas

If you're a midmarket partner, Smolski is a friend you need to have. Responsible for North America midmarket hardware, software and services sales, Smolski is known for her steadfast partner support and for giving the midmarket IBM channel the same level of attention as IBM's largest players. The longtime IBM-er, has built a reputation among partners as one of the channels biggest advocates.

Bill Brandel, Ingram Micro

Senior Director, Advanced Computing Division

Described by his peers as a work-hard, play-hard kind of guy, Brandel's mission is to help partners move up-market by building strategic relationships with vendors such as Eaton, EMC and VMware, all of which have given Ingram Distributor of the Year awards during his tenure. He is also credited with playing a strategic role in building out Promark GSA Schedule and Ingram's new VMware Federal distribution relationship, bringing new opportunities in the public sector.

Eric Kohl, Ingram Micro

Senior Director, Advanced Technology Division

Kohl is Ingram's go-to-guy for networking and security, where he is credited for achieving higher-than-average year-over-year growth with channel-focused vendors in those spaces. He is known as a relationship builder who keeps the business focused on partner enablement, all while delivering flawless execution. A 15-year channel veteran, Kohl is a trend spotter who knows the ins and outs of the market.

Shannon Poulin, Intel

Vice President and GM, Datacenter Group

Intel is more than PC and server processors, and Poulin is making sure the world knows how much it depends on Intel in the data center as the building blocks for technologies such as cloud, big data and high-performance computing. He sets Intel's overarching enterprise data center strategy, with influence on the hardware roadmap and Intel's plans for building a software ecosystem.

Frank Raimondi, Intel

Worldwide Channel Alliance Manager

With over 25 years in the IT channel, Raimondi taps strong relationships with vendors, distributors and partners to drive partnership marketing and strategy development. He is responsible for working with a wide variety of hardware, software and services companies to improve the profitability and viability of the Intel Technology Provider partners around the world.

Dan Wilson, Intel

Channel Marketing Manager, Intelligent Systems Division

There are channel managers, and then there is Wilson. The long-time Intel channel expert is helping partners make broaden their business horizon by exploring the multitude of industry vertical market segment solutions offered by Intel and its ecosystem. To know Wilson, and get involved with Intel's Intelligent Systems Division, is to keep your business on its toes.

J.R. Cook, Intelysis

Senior Vice President of Business Development

Cook joined Intelisys in June and is serving as the master agent's first-ever SVP ofb development. In his new role, Cook is responsible for hunting down new opportunities for Intelisys' supplier and indirect channel partners, and for guiding the company through the on-going convergence of the IT and telecom channels.

Aaron Dun, Intronis


Since stepping into his role in July 2013, Dun has worked to turn up the volume on the company's go-to-market strategy and accelerate partner success. In that time his team has launched a slew of channel campaigns, including Intronis Data Loss Gremlins, the new Intronis EchoPlatform and the Intronis U2 Pricing Plan for unlimited, flat fee pricing.

Matt Hurley, Juniper

Vice President Worldwide Partner Marketing

Though he's only led Juniper's partner marketing organization since April, Hurley has wasted no time revitalizing the networking vendor's channel marketing strategy. Under a new program called Partner Marketing for Business Growth, Hurley has consolidated multiple Juniper partner marketing programs into one, is currently running a string of Partner Marketing Academies, and helped grow Juniper's MDF investments by roughly 10 percent this year.

Brian Heeren, Kensington

National Account Manager

An SMB technology sales guru with over 25 years' experience in channel sales and marketing, Heeren knows how to get partners pumped up about the vendor's Agent K partner program. He's always pushing the latest breakthroughs in product innovation, like the vendors KeyFolio Thin X3 for iPad Air keyboard case with a built in battery for charging your phone.

Don Frame, Lenovo

Director, Enterprise Systems Group Product Marketing, North America

As Lenovo moves to integrate the newly purchased x86 server line from IBM, Frame is responsible for driving product marketing and management for Lenovo's SMB-focused ThinkServer line. He's leveraging over 20 years' experience in technology development, technical marketing and product training to make sure Lenovo partners find success.

Shayne Skaff, MaintenanceNet


A former distribution executive, Skaff is a partner advocate with far-reaching ties throughout the IT channel whose mission is to help manufacturers and their channel partners turn service contracts into recurring revenue gold. Some of the industry's top channel sales executives rely on Skaff and his team to deliver big data expertise and analytics to help power their recurring service revenue practices.

Richard Bowman, McAfee

Senior Director Global SaaS & MSP Sales

McAfee is hot on upping its MSP business, and Bowman is leading the charge, responsible for setting the SaaS and MSP go-to-market agenda. So far, he's been meeting with success: McAfee's MSP bookings in the third quarter were up 120 percent sequentially and the company has grown its MSP partner base to more than 350 globally, with nearly 30 distribution partners.

Lang Tibbils, McAfee

Sr. Director WW Channels Marketing & Communications

Tibbils is the maestro who has transformed McAfee's Partner Portal content and partner demand generation efforts and has been instrumental in growing McAfee's social media presence. He also manages the company's annual Partner Summit, attended by more than 500 partners worldwide, as well as its multi-million dollar global MDF program.

Check out Part 2 of 100 People You Don't Know But Should for more of CRN's look at the unsung heroes behind successful channel partnerships.