There are plenty of bright minds in the SMB channel, but some shine just a little brighter than the rest. Here are ChannelPro-SMB’s picks for this year’s 20 influential luminaries from the vendor, analyst, and consulting communities, as well as 20 of the most farsighted VARs and MSPs from the SMB partner community. We call them our 20/20 Visionaries, and we’re proud to introduce them to you.
To develop the 20/20 Visionaries for 2015, the editors of ChannelPro-SMB turned an eye to the channel players and channel pros they have spoken with, listened to, and sat with face to face over the past year to compile a broad list of possible honorees. After much debate, the list of this year’s visionaries emerged. Each year this process will be reprised, with 40 honorees selected from many worthy channel candidates.
Visionary Channel Players
Senior Director, Industry Analysis, CompTIA Inc.
Some of the channel’s best research comes from membership organization CompTIA, and some of CompTIA’s best research comes from April, whose gift for clarifying complex topics makes her a go-to source for insights on IT trends.
Vice President of Sales, Reflexion Networks Inc.
Don’t let the title fool you. Barlow is every bit as passionate about supporting partners as he is about driving sales of Reflexion services. A top expert on the security channel, Barlow currently serves as a leader of CompTIA’s IT Security Community.
Lots of people say partner success is their top priority. Bellini actually means it, and legions of grateful MSPs have rewarded him for it with their loyalty. A constant source of new ideas for growing a managed services practice, Bellini has turned ConnectWise’s IT Nation conference into a can’t-miss landmark on the SMB channel’s annual event calendar.
Tiffani Bova is not only the best-known SMB channel expert among the top-tier analyst firms, but one of the most respected SMB prognosticators, period.
Vice President and Distinguished Analyst, Gartner Inc.
Bova is not only the best-known SMB channel expert among the top-tier analyst firms, but one of the most respected SMB prognosticators, period. Ignore her sometimes dire warnings about what cloud computing means for the partner community at your own peril.
CEO, SMB Nation Inc.
Look up “community” in the dictionary and Brelsford’s smiling face is likely to be the accompanying illustration. A serial entrepreneur, tireless globe-trotter, and nonstop font of events, seminars, and books, Brelsford has made arming the SMB channel for lasting success his life’s work.
Executive Director, Americas, Ingram Micro Cloud, Ingram Micro Inc.
Even people who don’t belong to Ingram Micro’s reseller network regard Bystrak as a leading authority on profiting from cloud solutions and anticipating the ever-shifting cloud market’s next moves.
Senior Vice President of Community and Business Development, Autotask Corp.
Arguably the SMB channel’s educator-in-chief, DiCostanzo taught many MSPs most of what they know about pricing and a whole lot of other topics. He currently serves on CompTIA’s Vendor Advisory Council.
Vice President of Marketing, eFolder Inc.
A respected authority on the BDR and file sync markets and an active participant in the partner community, Hulsy is currently a member of the HTG Peer Groups Advisory Council.
President, The ASCII Group Inc.
Koutavas, whose roots at the ASCII Group extend back to 1996, is a demonstrated leader in bringing channel pros together to exchange information, collect volume purchasing discounts, and leverage shared marketing tools and resources.
Want to know what new products and services you’ll be selling three years from now? Jay McBain is the guy to ask.
Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, ChannelEyes Corp.
Want to know what new products and services you’ll be selling three years from now? McBain is the guy to ask. A reliable source of sharp insights and bold predictions, he’s as true a thought leader as you’ll find in the SMB partner world.
Founder and CEO, Datto Inc.
Don’t simply take ChannelPro-SMB’s word for it that McChord is one of the most gifted young talents in IT today. The big shots at Forbes magazine, who named him to their 30 Under 30 list of “game changers, movers and makers” for 2015, recently dubbed him the industry’s “next Mark Zuckerberg.”
Owner, Small Biz Thoughts
In the words of fellow 20/20 laureate Dave Sobel, Palachuk all but wrote the book on managed services. His Managed Services in a Month, first published in 2008, remains the definitive guide to becoming an MSP, and it’s been followed in the years since by a host of other equally invaluable books, conferences, and webinars.
President, TruMethods LLC
Pica is a proven winner, and not just because he’s on this list. After building his managed services practice into a multimillion dollar business with over 7,000 endpoints under management, he has subsequently built consulting firm TruMethods into a leading source of managed services advice and education.
President, Americas, Tech Data Corp.
Always in tune with the latest market opportunities, Quaglia has been instrumental in rolling out innovative programs like TDCloud and Tech Data Mobile Solutions that combine resellable service offerings with training and educational resources.
Vice President, SPC International Inc.
Drawing on his experience as head of a pioneering managed services practice, Simpson has turned SPC International into one of the biggest providers of MSP training and consulting in the industry, with a massive library of content on everything from sales and marketing to operations and service delivery.
Director of Partner Community, MAXfocus
Who better to grow an MSP partner channel than a former MSP channel partner? Sobel was an indispensable source of savvy opinions on managed services back when he was running a practice of his own. He remains so today in his new capacity as MAXfocus’ resident channel builder.
CEO and Founder, Heartland Companies
A committed “go giver,” Sorensen has been lending a helping hand to fellow channel pros for years, most notably through his HTG Peer Groups organization, which from humble beginnings has turned into one of the partner community’s most trusted vehicles for sharing knowledge.
Senior Director of Product Marketing, Equus Computer Systems Inc.
No one in the system builder channel better understands who’s buying what these days, or can explain it with greater clarity. No wonder custom hardware leader Equus lured Swank away from Burnsville, Minn.-based Nor-Tec to join its marketing team.
President, Acumen Management Group Ltd.
Most channel pros are strangers to sales. Thoreson is a native who excels at helping newcomers master the lay of the land. A regular magazine contributor and popular speaker at industry events, Thoreson is also the founding chair of CompTIA’s IT Business Growth Professionals Community.
Most channel pros are strangers to sales. Ken Thoreson is a native who excels at helping newcomers master the lay of the land.
CEO and Chief Analyst, The 2112 Group
Rare among IT analysts, Walsh writes as skillfully—and perceptively—as he speaks. That ability, coupled with his unflinching willingness to state unpleasant truths, have made Walsh’s contributions to The 2112 Group’s Channelnomics website must-reads.