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While many people like to talk about what the channel should be doing now or what they might do someday for the channel, not everyone actually follows the rhetoric with action. So it’s important to recognize and appreciate the people in any given year who actually put what they preach into practice.

With that in mind, The Channel Insider, sister news site of eWeek Strategic Partner, this month debuted our first annual Twelve Who Made a Difference List, recognizing the executives who put strategies in place that brought material benefits to the channel in the form of new programs or initiatives designed to help solution providers
evolve their business models. The people on the list aren’t necessarily
channel chiefs or big-time CEOs but, rather, individuals who have made a real
tangible difference in the channel.

The channel feels good about its prospects for 2007. Click here to read more.

Here is the list and brief descriptions of the accomplishments that earned
these individuals their place on the list:

Bill Botti, president, Alternative Technology
By selling the specialty distributor to Arrow Electronics, Botti has created
the potential of taking high-profit, high-end technology to a wider market.

John Callies, general manager of IBM Global Financing
In light of the rising costs of doing business, Callies primed the channel with
cash in the form of loans to users through partners, including a $3.4 billion

Justin Crotty, vice president of services for North America, Ingram

Crotty has set the distributor apart by launching a host of services, including
managed services and maintenance contract offerings, designed to increase solution
provider profit.

Mike Cullen, vice president of sales, N-Able Technologies
Cullen has been at the center of the managed services evolution with programs
such as N-Able University, MSP Start-up and Velocity, which aim to assist VARs
making the transition to MSPs (managed service providers).

Gary Gillam, vice president of North American channel sales for Xerox
and chairman of the CompTIA’s board of directors

Gillam prodded CompTIA to refocus on boosting member companies’ fortunes
with programs such as an initiative to transform VARs into high-margin, solution-focused

Steve Houck, vice president of sales, EMC Insignia
In one year, Houck created small and midsize business storage opportunities
for the channel with solid marketing and support programs that attracted 1,300
new partners to the vendor’s SMB-focused line.

Taylor Macdonald, executive vice president for channel and sales operations,
Sage Software

Taking the partner support role to a new level, Macdonald is investing in partners
with hard dollars to train solution providers in selling the software more profitably.

Edison Peres, vice president for advanced and core technologies for
worldwide channels, Cisco Systems

Peres put Cisco’s muscle behind efforts to make partners more proficient
and profitable in specific technologies such as security and unified communications.

Michael Ross, area vice president for North American channels, RSA

Ross pioneered a pricing scheme for MSPs that matches the way they sell product
to customers over a three-year life cycle.

John Thompson, vice president and general manager for workstations,
Personal Systems Group, at Hewlett-Packard

Thompson worked to bring stability to a tumultuous period in HP’s relationship
with channel partners through programs such as Attach Plus and revisions to

Shirley Turner, American channel marketing director, Intel
Turner worked aggressively with channel partners to create a market for Intel’s
new technology profit-generating functions on its dual- and quad-core processors,
rather than just waiting for OEMs to do all the work.

Charles Weaver, CEO, MSP Alliance
Achieving what once seemed impossible, Weaver has championed managed services
and made alliance membership a must for any provider adopting the model.

For the full Twelve Who Made a Difference report, visit