“Laying the groundwork” was something we heard frequently from vendors and channel partners in 2018.

Many of them acquired or were acquired. Others started rolling out new channel partner programs, while some introduced new leadership, ushering in a different set of goals for the company. It gave us a lot to look forward to in 2019, and we decided to highlight the channel leaders doing business in Canada who are most likely to make waves in the coming months.

We’re paying attention to how these leaders navigate the uncertain waters surrounding customer buying habits and emerging technology. And, of course, we’re also looking at how often they popped up in the news throughout 2018 and placing them into one of four categories (click the title to jump to that section):

  • Innovators and agitators – Leaders who brought new ways of doing business in the channel or worked with non-traditional partners
  • Movers and shakers – Leaders who were part of acquisitions, mergers, or moved higher up the ladder
  • Newcomers – New faces to the channel community or at least the Canadian region
  • Growers and winners – Leaders that helped their company earn awards and experience significant growth.

We also have our top 5 newsmakers. CDN decided to do a deeper dive into these leaders’ journeys in 2018 and shed light on what’s to come in 2019. You can read more about them to the right. Regardless of rank or category, these men and women are all helping leave a profound impact on the channel landscape and the people within it.

The Top 5

Top newsmaker #5: Shaun Maine, CEO of Converge Technology Systems

Shaun Maine is number 5 on our 2019 Top 25 Newsmakers.

18 min read

Top newsmaker #4: Luc Villeneuve, president of Benchmark

Luc Villeneuve is number 4 on our 2019 Top 25 Newsmakers.

18 min read

Top newsmaker #3: Mary Ann Yule, president and CEO of HP Canada

Mary Ann Yule is number 3 on CDN’s 2019 Top 25 Newsmakers.

18 min read

Top newsmaker #2: Brent Allison, CEO, Long View Systems

Brent Allison is number 2 on CDN’s 2019 Top 25 Newsmakers.

18 min read

Top newsmaker #1: J.D. Hupp, VP & GM, CDW Canada

J.D Hupp is number 1 on CDN’s 2019 Top 25 Newsmakers.

18 min read


Innovators and Agitators

Kevin Peesker, president of Microsoft Canada

Kevin Peesker is no stranger to CDNs’ Top Newsmakers list, having been on them consistently since 2014 and ranking in the No. 3 spot last year. Now in his second year as the president of Microsoft Canada, the Saskatoon-native and former Dell EMC president has been hard at work driving the company’s digital transformation journey and applying Microsoft’s technology in a wide range of areas to its partners, industry, and government.

Peesker told CDN last year that he was looking forward to developing Microsoft’s work across critical emerging areas such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, blockchain and quantum computing, and integrating them into their partner strategy. “A key piece going forward is applying that next level tech to Canadian companies and organizations, which will be characterized by AI or cognitive services that reside on our Azure platform,” Peesker told CDN.

And it’s been a busy year that’s seen the company invest heavily in AI and machine learning. Microsoft holds the second-most number of AI patents in the world. It not only continues to support its AI and machine learning-focused Microsoft Research Lab in Montreal, but its renewed focus on applications for Azure and its AI capabilities under Peesker is helping transform manufacturing industries (with the newly-launched HoloLens 2 and Kinect for Azure as an example) and, more recently, the medical field with its partnership with the B.C. Cancer Research Foundation that is using Azure’s machine learning to help treat and understand the disease. Peesker told previously told ITWC that he believes the company’s partnership with B.C. Cancer offers a next-generation approach to answering these questions.

Peesker has also been busy expanding Microsoft Canada’s work supporting government programs as well, announcing last year that it will be one of the 33 private sector companies backing B.C.’s Digital Technology Supercluster that will focus on applying things like data analytics, virtual, mixed and augmented reality and quantum computing to support industries such as natural resources and healthcare, as well as the industrial and energy sectors. Microsoft Canada has pledged $21 million in Azure credits to the Supercluster initiative.

All this amidst the company’s announced move to a new downtown Toronto HQ in 2020, which, it’s said, will help improve relationships and collaboration with its partners, draw top talent to the company and give it better access to tech startups and universities, among other benefits.

Additionally, if that’s not enough innovating and agitating, Microsoft Canada will invest more than $570 million in the next three years in fixed assets in Canada, and will include expansion of its R&D lab in Montreal, relocation of its Vancouver sales office, and the renovation and redesign of its Ottawa, Calgary, and Montreal sales offices.

Harry Zarek, president of Compugen

Harry Zarek, the founder and president at Compugen Inc., positioned himself as a thought leader in 2018 on the topic of the future workplace, forging alliances with technology vendors across a wide spectrum. He continued building Compugen’s Apple at Work program and also forged closer ties with Microsoft, including a company-wide rollout of the Microsoft Surface Pro at Compugen.

Richmond Hill, Ont.-based Compugen won Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) Canadian Solution Provider of the Year for 2018. It’s the largest HPE solution provider in Canada by revenue and it saw 70 per cent growth year over year in that area. Success was driven by projects involving HPE’s Synergy line of composable infrastructure.

An HP partner since 1984, Compugen is also doing well with other divisions of the vendor’s organization. It was named the 2018 Canada Partner of the Year by Aruba Networks in April for success in sales, expertise with Aruba solutions, and commitment to customer service.

Compugen was awarded for best Channel Marketing Initiative at CDN’s own Channel Innovation Awards for collaborating with school boards across Canada on its classroom contest. Titled Create, Collaborate, and Innovate, this year’s contest asked teachers and students to imagine how careers will be shaped by technology. The four winning schools get a class-set of 15 HP laptops and a all-in-one PC HP Sprout. Also, the contest generated adorable videos like this one from Simonds Elementary School, imagining the future of entertainment.

John Teltsch, general manager of IBM partner ecosystem

It’s going to be a busy 2019 for John Teltsch, who helped usher in a multitude of changes to IBM’s partner strategy in order to expand the partner footprint and become easier to work with. He was refreshingly frank with reporters during IBM’s PartnerWorld event, noting how difficult many partners found it to work with Big Blue.

But Teltsch is serious about making partners’ lives easier, which is why last month he announced the availability Seismic@IBM, a new solution that includes sales kits, sales plays, presentations, use cases and other assets from across the IBM portfolio in one place. It’s an amalgamation of the vendor’s internal sales enablement solutions for its wide-ranging portfolio. Teltsch also unveiled IBM Business Partner Connect, a Watson AI-powered platform designed to help partners connect with its global ecosystem.

There will be a lot of attention directed at Teltsch this year as he tries to rally the partner community behind IBM’s new strategy in the midst of a near-finalized Red Hat acquisition that is going to bring a bevy of new hybrid cloud solutions to the equation.

D Martin, vice-president of North America partner sales for Red Hat

D Martin played a massive role in helping develop and deploy the Red Hat Application Platform Partner (APP) Initiative in North America back in 2017. He, alongside former Red Hat Canada president Luc Villeneuve, then rolled out the program approximately a year later in Canada. It’s a huge deal for Red Hat’s Canadian business because the program, aimed at large scale digital transformation, signals a level of sophistication from partners in Canada that warrants Red Hat’s confidence in them to carry out these monumental end-to-end transformations.

“We set some very high bars at the beginning,” Martin told CDN last spring after the publication learned the APP program was rolling out north of the border. “So we decided to first make sure it works [in the U.S.], get the kinks out of it, then expand out. We actually went through that process very quickly, and I think we launched in Canada ahead of schedule.”

In addition, now that Red Hat is part of IBM, Martin will have his hands full trying to figure out how to take advantage of the two partner communities, and while executives from both companies have been adamant about keeping the Red Hat business independent, it’s hard not to consider the advantages partners on both sides of the aisle gain as a result of the merger. IBM is obviously flexing its hybrid cloud muscles and collaborating with others more than ever before, which is smart now that it has access to one of the open source giant’s biggest assets: OpenShift and Ansible.

David Farajun, CEO of Asigra

When it comes to buying backup solutions, sudden rising costs are a regular occurrence. But when Toronto’s Asigra Inc. introduced a new licensing option to address the “broken” pay-as-you-go models, according to its CEO David Farajun, it raised some eyebrows. The new licensing option allows channel partners to lock in their total licensing costs over a three-year period even if the service provider’s usage – that usage refers to an increase in capacity, virtual machines, physical machines, sockets or users – rises during the term.

But any impact on Asigra revenue stemming from negotiating license costs for three years up front doesn’t seem to bother Farajun. After the program launched in Jaunary, he said the Unlimited Use Subscription License will become the “new star” in the company’s licensing lineup.

This isn’t the first time Asigra innovated on its licensing models. In 2013, it introduced the Asigra Recovery License Model, under which Asigra charged a per-gigabyte monthly fee that was lower than the industry norm, along with extra charges for recovering data based on the amount recovered. That program is still available today.

Asigra also turned heads last year when it announced Asigra TrueNAS Backup Appliance at VMworld 2018. The new hardware, released in partnership with iXsystems, stomps out sophisticated malware that dumps ransomware on backup systems. It combines Asigra’s latest Cloud Backup Evolved solution with iXsystem’s TrueNAS storage hardware.


Back to top


The Movers and Shakers

John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry

BlackBerry Ltd. is on a roll. Not only has the Waterloo-based security company successfully shifted over to software sales, it bolstered its AI development through a key acquisition late last year, formed partnerships with giants such as Amazon to develop enterprise-grade smart assistants, and is on the forefront of helping secure connected devices.

John Chen has led the way with surgical precision decision-making, and in 2019, is poised to help BlackBerry make noise in the growing world of IoT. Smart-home devices have exploded in popularity, and so have the concerns over how to secure them. Enterprises have come to terms with the fact that these devices are making their way into offices, in addition to numerous other connected gizmos. BlackBerry is looking to become a major player in this space, which is why it announced an expansion to its BlackBerry Secure technology and licensing strategy in January. The company unveiled three new BlackBerry Secure feature packs that IoT device manufacturers can use, removing the need for manufacturers to develop the technology and cyber security expertise themselves.

The company’s new Enterprise of Things (EoT) platform, BlackBerry Spark, has gained significant traction among customers globally since it was unveiled last year. But BlackBerry doesn’t want to stop there, and is investing 23 per cent of its revenue in R&D across its 18 development centres in seven countries.

Lynn Smurthwaite-Murphy, president and CEO of StarTech.com

You know you’re doing something right when, under your leadership, the company you joined only two years prior experiences a 40 per cent growth and annual revenues in excess of $300 million. That company, London-Ontario based technology and IT connectivity firm StarTech.com, recognizing the strength of leadership that Lynn Smurthwaite-Murphy displayed to elevate the company to those new heights, put a ring on it early this year, promoting her to president and CEO. But Smurthwaite-Murphy is just getting started.

An expert in P&L management, workforce optimization and digital transformation and strategic direction, the former Westcon Comstor EVP isn’t resting on her laurels, and has embraced StarTech.com’s customer-first philosophy. “We have this tagline we like to say: ‘Your experience is our product’. And I have never seen a company that actually lives that all the way through,” Smurthwaite-Murphy once told CDN.

And she’s taking this direction to heart in her three-year growth plan for the company, which includes two key elements – heavy investment in R&D and research, and maintaining close relationships with their partners such as Intel and other chip manufacturers to stay ahead of rapidly-changing technologies so they can create products for their customers. And the company is certainly poised for further success. They currently employ 450 people worldwide in 20 markets on five continents with offices in Asia, Australia, South America and most recently Chile and Finland.

Cheryl McGrath, area vice-president and general manager for Optiv Security Canada

Last year Optiv Security Canada did a great job building on the momentum it gained in 2017 when it acquired Mississauga-based Conexsys, by growing its services revenue by 85 per cent year-over-year.

Optiv’s Canadian business also filled three key executive positions by naming Debbie Heiser vice-president of Canadian services delivery, Daina Proctor as the new regional director – specifically the Ottawa/Gatineau region and Western Canada – and Osman Baig the new regional director in Toronto. The three bring well over a decade-worth of experience in the security market to the team, and are poised to keep the good times rolling with Cheryl McGrath at the helm. Earlier in 2018, Optiv was included for the first time on the IDC MarketScape: Canadian Security Services 2018 Vendor Assessment, where it was named a Major Player.

McGrath has helped the company solidify its identity in Canada by fully embracing services and integration and becoming known as the business partner that creates clarity out of the chaos. That chaos, of course, being the exploding number of cybersecurity products. IDC forecasts global spending on security solutions will reach $120.7 billion in 2021 with a 2018-2021 CAGR of 10 per cent.

Susan Bowen, president of Cogeco Peer 1

Toronto-based managed services provider and colocation provider Cogeco Peer 1 is no stranger to M&A activity. Cogeco acquired Peer 1 Hosting in 2012 under the leadership of Susan Bowen’s predecessor, Philippe Jetté, who is now the president and chief executive officer of Cogeco Inc. and Cogeco Communications Inc. Three years later, Cogeco combined Peer 1 Hosting and Cogeco Data Services to form Cogeco Peer 1 (CP1).

Last month, Cogeco Peer 1 was sold by Cogeco Communications Inc. to Boca Raton, Fla.-based Digital Colony for $720 million, a deal that’s expected to close by May 31. Digital Colony plans to keep Cogeco Peer 1’s executive team in place – that includes Bowen – and invest to hire more employees. It will be interesting to see how Cogeco Peer 1 performs in the market with additional investments and a renewed focus on the B2B market.

“Cogeco is predominantly a B2C type business that serves retail. Cogeco Peer 1 is a diamond in the rough that we engaged in and ultimately acquired it,” according to Steven Sonnenstein, managing director of Digital Colony who spoke with CDN after the recent acquisition.

Bowen has said her main focus will continue to be on the company’s culture of customer-first innovation and maintaining the forward-thinking skills of a start-up company.

“They can come to us for that hybrid managed service. And customers get one end-to-end customer experience,” according to Bowen.

Kevin Connolly, senior vice-president, Dell Technologies, North America medium business

Prior to becoming Dell’s new senior vice-president of North America commercial sales, medium business, the former-president of Dell EMC Canada Commercial helped the multinational data storage achieve strong results. Its storage business continued to boom, with its worldwide server market revenue growing nearly 44 per cent year over year to a record $22.5 billion during Q2 last year, landing it in the number one spot in the PC, storage and server market. In Canada alone, server revenue went up nearly 20 per cent, a fact that had the already optimistic Kevin Connolly excited when he spoke to CDN last October. “Everyone was talking about how the server was dead three years ago. It was going away with VMware and virtualization. But the absolute opposite is occurring,” he said.

Connolly, who took over his new role just last month, attributes much of the recent uptick in growth to a synergy that has finally developed across the channel partner ecosystem in Canada since the Dell and EMC merger in 2017. He’s also been pushing hyper converged offerings into the smaller markets. Dell EMC’s hyper-converged infrastructure appliance, VxRail, received dedicated networking through an integration with a component of the Dell EMC Networking OS10 Enterprise Edition network operating system called Dell EMC Smart Fabric Services.

Connolly has his work cut out for him though. In addition to getting accustomed to his new role, he’ll be tasked with encouraging partners develop new skills and tap into multiple lines of Dell’s business, something Dell has been encouraging partners to do for some time now. Of course, that’s easier said than done, as many partners might be content with the performance of their hardware sales.


Back to top


Newcomers

Kyle Basset, partner at Arctiq

The relatively small Toronto-based services led solution provider has experienced significant growth since 2017, and last year, became Red Hat’s first partner company in Canada to officially be certified in the open source giant’s Application Platform Partner program. The program is designed to encourage partners to drive sales through Red Hat’s middleware portfolio. You’ll often see Kyle Basset on social media promoting Arctiq workshops that focus on container technologies, security automation, and other emerging technologies that business are desperately trying to understand in order to create more efficiencies.

Arctiq also works closely with AWS, Google, Microsoft and IBM. Big Blue’s acquisition of Red Hat, however, is a big reason why it’ll be worth following Basset and the rest of the Arctiq team in 2019. Their relationship runs deep, and at its core lies a dedication to open source and container technologies such as OpenShift and Ansible, something IBM is very likely to brandish in front of its growing list of business partners. Gartner says by 2020, more than 50 per cent of global populations will run containerized applications in production, up from less than 20 per cent in 2018.

Jonathan Spinks, CEO, Sourced Group

Jonathan Spinks has led the global cloud consulting firm through an interesting journey that started in Australia nearly 10 years ago. Sourced has been the guard rails for the most security-conscious organizations moving to the cloud, such as government agencies and financial institutions. Its first big win was the launch of the first public facing retail bank app on AWS in Australia, a feat which they repeated with a leading Canadian bank in 2017. Since then, they’ve also helped three additional banks in Canada with their cloud strategies, making the region one of the company’s fastest growing.

Sourced racked up a number of AWS certifications in 2018 and have continued to do so in 2019, adding to their long-list of more than 50. Spinks understands that enterprises moving to the cloud need a partner that is well-versed in the technology, but also capable of executing strategies with a small team. “It’s not a numbers game,” he told CDN earlier this year. “It’s about getting highly skilled people who can automate via code and help deliver code-driven outcomes. There are 1,001 ways to do something, but only five you want to do in the enterprise.”

Laura Brick, director of partners for Igloo Software 

Calgary-born Laura Brick, director of partners at Igloo Software, is a good personification of some recent trends in the channel. A digital native, her background is firmly entrenched in the software as a service (SaaS) world, previously working at Waterloo, Ont.-based education software firm D2L.

“Cloud services are multiplying exponentially. We will continue to see a proliferation of cloud-based solutions as cloud adoption continues to rise,” she told CDN in a recent interview. “Competition for market share will increase and these cloud solutions will be seeking new and innovative ways to gain market distribution. This is yet another reason why a career in the channel will continue to grow in importance.”

The 18-year industry veteran is part of the Kitchener, Ont.-based software as a service firm that was named to Deloitte’s 2018 Technology Fast 500 list, growing its revenue 199 per cent over a three-year period. The software firm sells its digital workplace solutions as a sort of next-generation employee portal that help improve productivity and employee engagement.

At the core of Igloo’s business is a software product that keeps winning praise. It was given accolades by Aragon Research and KMWorld in October, and was selected by Microsoft for feature in its Great Canadian Innovators 2018 Yearbook.

At its annual conference, ICE 2018, Igloo Marketplace was unveiled, giving the SaaS vendor its own ‘app store’ style platform. Customers can browse it to pick and choose what widgets and add-ons they want to use from Igloo and its partners, turning them on with the click of a mouse.

Brick is one of the more recent additions to the Canadian Channel Chiefs Council (C4), joining the board of directors in December. There, Brick will play a key role in helping to guide a transforming channel that’s becoming immersed in cloud-based digital transformation strategies.

Romain Le Merlus, CEO of Centreon Software Business, North America

Centreon co-founder Romain Le Merlus assumed the role of CEO, North America late last year after the Paris-based IT monitoring solutions company decided to set up shop in Toronto in order to service the North American market. Le Merlus, one of the presenters at CDN’s inaugural Channel Innovation Awards – Centreon was also a sponsor of the event – is confident there’s plenty of market share to gain in the coming years in the IT monitoring space. Gartner suggests that market is going to grow at an 8 per cent compound annual growth rate through 2021, reaching $34.1 billion.

But before Centreon can gobble up some of that market share, it needs to form partnerships. That’s why the company is expanding its partnership with TeamWork Management Inc., a certified Centreon partner that will help it build trust with new customers and partners in North America.

It helps that Centreon’s solutions, specifically its flagship Centreon EMS solution, are designed for both enterprises and SMBs, so they’re not limiting themselves when it comes to customer types.

Brendan Hannigan and Sandy Bird, founders of Sonrai Security

Including a pair of IT security veterans in the newcomers category might seem strange at first, but it’s the fact that Brendan Hannigan and Sandy Bird are launching their own service aimed at data security and management that warrants inclusion on this list.

Hannigan and Bird – both of whom have significant Canadian roots, so big props there – launched Sonrai Security with $18.5 million in Series A funding in January. The two have worked together for more than 16 years and are launching a service called Cloud Data Control that will audit the data an organization has scattered across its multiple cloud accounts. Software is being developed across a multitude of cloud environments, so it’s only logical, according to Hannigan and Bird, to identify new ways of securing those environments and tracking the content within.

Hannigan and Bird joined IBM following its 2011 acquisition of Q1 Labs, with Bird serving as IBM Security’s chief technology officer. Bird co-founded Q1 Labs, and Hannigan served as CEO. The two were based in New Brunswick where they helped establish the security intelligence and analytics company’s flagship platform, QRadar. It’s going to be interesting to see how their plan shakes out, and whether or not businesses in Canada catch on to the fact that traditional data centre technology will have diminished advantages with the rise of interconnected devices, cloud providers and edge services.


Back to top


Growers and Winners

John Witte, CEO of Carbon60 Networks

Carbon60 Networks grew its national presence significantly earlier this year after it announced an investment from M/C Partners and a merger with a similar-looking managed cloud services company from Vancouver. BC-based Gossamer Threads (GT.net), which has more than 400 customers and a physical presence in Vancouver, Toronto, London and New York, is joining forces with Carbon60 to try and lead the managed cloud market in Canada.

And the company’s growth isn’t likely to stop there. Last month CDN reported that Gillis Cashman, managing partner at M/C Partners, is open to the idea of future acquisitions to help the business – which will continue to operate under the name Carbon60 Networks – grow.

“We anticipate growing the Carbon60 platform with future acquisitions that will add capabilities and help the company expand into new markets,” Cashman said in a recent statement.

Carbon60 CEO John Witte shared his vision with CDN for 2019, noting it wants to grow its consulting services around security and develop new partnerships within the value-added reseller community. Its web content management services also sets them apart from the competition, and Witte wants to see it grow as well, telling CDN it’s a unique part of the Carbon60 business that few competitors have under their belt.

Rola Dagher, president of Cisco Canada

Rola Dagher will have her hands full this year as she tries to steer Cisco’s Canadian business towards a software recurring revenue and lifecycle model, something Cisco’s new channel chief, Oliver Tuszik, emphasized during the company’s partner summit in November.

While many of Cisco’s partners are well on their way to adopt this increasingly popular revenue model, the partner ecosystem as a whole has a long way to go. But opportunities to develop such a strategy will be aplenty, especially in the networking space. New management platforms combined with automated, intent-based networking will allow one administrator to manage a much wider field. But those systems need to be installed and maintained, and that’s where partners come in. Oh, and let’s not forget that more than 20 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020, an enormous opportunity that Dagher and the rest of Cisco is laser-focused on heading into 2019.

In December, Tech Data and Cisco unveiled the refreshed Tech Data Advanced Technology Solutions Centre (ATSC), located in Tech Data’s Mississauga headquarters. The upgraded facility now boasts Cisco Multicloud and hyperconverged solutions, meaning Tech Data can now train customers and partners across the Cisco portfolio, signaling a big win for Cisco’s Canadian business.

“We’re forecasting a lot of net new opportunities through this,” Dagher told CDN during the ribbon cutting ceremony. “In the past year and a half that I’ve been in this position, I continually hear customers and partners talking about having something like this, so the success rate for me will be high in the next 6 – 12 months.”

Roy Rivers, vice-president of sales for D&H Canada

There’s always something going on at D&H that warrants coverage in the news. The distributors latest big announcement was the appointment of Roy Rivers to vice-president of sales for D&H Canada. Rivers joined D&H Canada in 2017 as director of sales and advanced solutions, managing its vendor relationships as well as VAR sales.

CDN learned earlier this year that long-time general manager Greg Tobin will move into an advisory role focused on long-term planning.But the company’s faith in Rivers isn’t misplaced – he helped bring in HPE and Aruba solutions, the HPE Hero (Heighten and Elevate Revenue Opportunity) program, as well as Cisco’s Meraki line of wireless solutions and Driven for Cisco Meraki reseller program. D&H Canada also added Intel to its linecard late last year, capping off a year that included an 18 per cent overall growth for the company.

Mitchell Martin, president of Synnex Canada

A year after the Westcon-Comstor acquisition was finalized, Synnex Canada has fully integrated their systems and is anticipating positive results in the Canadian market – at least, that was the message delivered by the organization’s long-time leader in Canada during the Synnex Inspire 2018 conference in Toronto last October.

Mitchell told CDN that the Westcon-Comstor acquisition in 2017 dramatically improved enterprise offerings in three areas: Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC), security, and networking. Heading into 2019, Mitchell said Synnex’s Canadian business will be laser-focused on helping the U.S. branch of the business leverage Synnex Canada’s strong position as a leader in the SMB market, and doubling down on investments in services.

Synnex Canada is already off to a good start in 2019, scooping up some hardware at Insight Canada’s conference event in January. Synnex Canada was recognized as its 2018 Distribution Partner of the Year.

Bill Brandel, Country chief executive of Canada, Ingram Micro

Bill Brandel marked his second full year as Ingram Micro’s country chief executive for Canada in 2018. It was a year that saw the distributor clean up at a number of awards shows, expand its presence in Western Canada, and onboard a significant new vendor to address client’s cyber security challenges.

In May, Ingram Micro’s Irvine, Calif.-based headquarters announced the opening of a new IT Asset Disposition Processing Center in Vancouver. The second such centre in Canada, it offers clients lifecycle support services including hard drive sanitization and shredding. Brandel has said Ingram Micro intends to invest further in Western Canada in 2019.

The distributor continued growing its automated cloud platform, CloudBlue, signing up more clients to its “as-a-service” marketplace designed to accelerate digital commerce. It’s also enhanced the cloud security offerings there, building upon a late 2017 acquisition of Cloud Harmonics and its partnership with Palo Alto’s security platform by expanding the regions where it’s offered.

Brandel helped Ingram Micro stock up its trophy case in 2018 winning several industry awards from partners and vendors. To note at least a few here:
– November: Ingram Micro Canada won the Distributor of the Year for the Americas award at the Cisco Partner Summit. The awards recognize best-in-class business practices and methodologies.
– November: McAfee awards it the Distribution Partner of the Year for North America
– May: Dell EMC names it the Global Distributor of the Year.
– May: VMware names the Americas division a regional award winner.

As we learned in our 2 Truths and a Lie video with Brandel, the father of four, worked with friends to build his own home. Also, it appears his teenage daughter may have inherited some of his entrepreneurial spirit, travelling to Odessa, Ukraine and placing fourth in a business contest they expected only to be a learning experience.