In no other year in recent memory has the ability to serve as a difference maker ever meant so much in our personal lives. The unique event that has dominated our world in 2020 and sent us scrambling to the comfort and safety of our homes has served as a reminder to the value and need of people who can make a positive impact on our lives.
As we turn on our televisions each night to an onslaught of news surrounding coronavirus and the toll it has taken from a physical and emotional standpoint, we are heartened by the tales of good deeds. Nurses, doctors and first responders are risking their lives in order to shoulder the burden of new cases, hospitalizations and, as of May 1, nearly 65,000 deaths.
That doesn’t take into account the thousands of people who serve as volunteers or in essential roles to ensure our quarantined lives include food on the table and electricity in our homes. The depth of their support is immeasurable, and their role in making a difference in our lives must not go unheralded.
We are also reminded of the people who, through their words and deeds, carve out their own niche as difference makers in our professional lives. And that is the foundation of our annual ENX Magazine Difference Maker program. This year, we honor 55 individuals from throughout the imaging technology universe who have left an indelible impression by serving their clients, companies and business partners while bringing calm to calamity and resolution to disarray.
Every walk of professional station is adequately represented on this year’s list. But whether they have a corner office or a small cubicle, the bond among this year’s honorees is a willingness to do those things not listed in the job description, or necessarily within the bounds of the 8-5 day, in order to ensure an optimal outcome.
We would like to thank all of our readers who took the time to nominate the individuals selected for this year’s class, and offer a hearty virtual handshake to the honorees themselves. Here are their stories:
Why Patrick Adesso is a difference maker:
Adesso is a nine-year veteran of the imaging industry with a background rooted in aviation—he holds a commercial pilot certificate with multi-engine and instrument ratings. He has been writing software since the 1990s and turned that passion into a profession in 2004, when he developed software to support operations at airports throughout the United States. Adesso transitioned to DEX Imaging in 2011, where he furthered the development of its proprietary managed print system to support rapid company growth. He was also charged with securing intellectual property protection for DEX’s technological assets, for which more than 10 U.S. and international patents have been issued. Adesso now leads the DEX Imaging Information Technology Services group, building and supporting solutions that rapidly integrate acquired entities and streamline the daily operations throughout DEX’s distributed footprint. The Florida Institute of Technology product enjoys video game development, Tampa Bay Lighting hockey and auto racing in all forms.
“A rising star in our industry. Patrick is one of the finest minds in our industry, and he is making a huge difference for our dealers and the channel. He will become more and more visible and certainly more influential. Patrick is brilliant, personable and someone who is changing the face of our industry!”
—Michael Stramaglio, President, MWA
Why Giuseppe Alleva is a difference maker:
Affectionately known as “G,” Alleva has fashioned a 31-year career with Coast to Coast Computer Products while wearing various hats. He serves as both vice president of HP sales and a sales team leader, not to mention overseeing a list of his loyal clients. His Coast to Coast HP Advantage Program has been instrumental in cultivating the company’s relationship with HP. Fueled by Alleva’s motivation, desire, training and assistance, the Coast to Coast registered hundreds of five-year agreements in less than six months for HP OEM toner, monitoring and service. Executives within HP have praised Alleva for his efforts, and his career has been dotted by numerous sales awards. He has also been recognized by many motivational speakers for his enthusiasm, training and continued success. An avid music lover, Alleva formed the Coast to Coast NAMM team and found a way to poise Coast to Coast as the HP provider to the music industry.
“Giuseppe can get anyone fired up for success! His patience, demeanor and enthusiasm not only helps our sales team, but has also helped him to retain customers for 20-plus years. I have worked with G-Sep for 21 years now and am proud to have seen him continue to grow his team, his sales and his education in the industry. He is ingenious in continual business development, personal growth development and in growing successful salespeople in our company. Most importantly, he is really just a big, sensitive teddy bear!”
—Melissa Sevatdjoo, Technology Sales Manager, Coast to Coast Computer Products
Why John Beard is a difference maker:
In his role with LEAF Commercial Capital, Beard oversees risk management for office products. In a hypercompetitive market, the need for thorough credit assessment has to be carefully considered against high service-level expectations with quick turnaround times, and he deftly balances both. Beard is a champion for premier service delivery combined with a finely developed sense of risk and a deep appreciation for the value of a hard-won sale. Beard brings all three to the table, making him an extraordinary asset not only for LEAF, but the office technology industry as a whole. As the business community grapples with an unprecedented business environment, Beard’s crisis management skills can help dealers and their customers navigate through the uncertainty and challenges.
“As a key influencer in the equipment finance industry, John has progressive views on underwriting, and has made a significant and lasting impact by simplifying the process to benefit dealers and drive sales. With his vast experience across companies of all sizes and business cycles, John has an intimate understanding of business credit profiles and knows how to get business and office technology dealers to achieve effective outcomes through the use of creative financing structures. In any situation, John is always proactive in developing solutions to help both dealers and customers meet their day-to-day challenges. His commitment to excellence and professionalism are second to none.”
—Miles Herman, President and COO, LEAF Commercial Capital
Why Charles Bethel is a difference maker:
The mark of a true business leader is ensuring that team members reach their full potential, and Bethel certainly fits that description. Backed by more than 20 years of leadership experience, Bethel has amassed an extensive skillset in building high-powered sales teams, improving operations and delivering state-of-the-art solutions to customers. In his current role as regional vice president, his focus centers on Cannon IV and FTG of Greater Ohio. Bethel continues to demonstrate an unparalleled ability to assemble and foster high-performing teams geared toward achieving exceptional business outcomes. The Wake Forest University product also spent 11 years with IKON Office Solutions as a marketplace business unit leader, where he was responsible for a $130 million state-based operation. Prior to becoming a vice president at Cannon IV, Bethel spent 10 years at Ricoh USA. He was initially vice president of strategic sales for the southeast region, then became vice president/managing director, with full responsibility for Florida operations.
“He is genuinely passionate and cares deeply for the company he works for and the employees under his direction. Charles gets involved in the process and focuses on helping every person succeed. Not only does he epitomize the definition of a leader, he has a clear vision on how to get the job done and energizes those around him. He knows how to develop strong teams and deliver business results. Charles’ ability to look at a situation and come up with fresh and innovative ways to solve a client’s business challenges from an executive point of view make him a valuable asset for any organization.”
—John Byxbee, President, Flo-Tech
Why Dan Boehmer is a difference maker:
Ensuring the best possible customer experience is a hallmark for product and service providers, and this is just one area where Boehmer shines for Supplies Network. He came aboard at the onset of 2013 as a dedicated and disciplined sales representative for the business development region and quickly ascended within the organization. In 2014, he transitioned to account manager for the central region, working with managed print services customers to increase operational efficiencies for Supplies Network’s resellers. Boehmer then was promoted to sales manager two short years later before attaining his current role of sales operations manager in 2019. His firm grasp of Supplies Network’s CRM and order management systems helped launch him into sales operations. Boehmer is a four-time recipient of Supplies Network’s President’s Club award that recognizes the company’s top sales performers.
“Our business is becoming increasingly complex with manufacturer programs, reseller authorization and contractual requirements. Add to that our own recent distribution center expansions, and it can be a bit intense at times. Dan is the epitome of the expression ‘keep calm and chive on.’ His proactive, disciplined planning and collaborative approach ensure our sales operations team maintains a consistent, industry-leading customer experience.”
—Karen Donnelly, Director of Sales Operations, Supplies Network
Why Betty Bollinger is a difference maker:
Serving the government, education and medical (GEM) field as a sales manager calls for a particular set of skills. Bollinger is the Liam Neeson of the office technology dealer space and Smile Business Products’ resident expert. She can handle it all, from government bid language and senate bill numbers to replying on a bid or reading a contract. Bollinger has spent the last 10 years of her 27-year career with Smile, helping build a dedicated and knowledgeable team that exemplifies her commitment to employee development and customer satisfaction. She has been a key cog in Smile’s ability to maintain the dealer’s contract with the State of California. Bollinger’s background includes three years as a government account executive with Sharp Electronics and 14 years with Toshiba America Business Solutions/Stringer Business Systems in various roles.
“I have worked with Betty for the past 10 years, and her hard work and dedication have been an integral part of our success. Her attention to detail is impeccable and she never forgets a thing! She will work tirelessly on a bid to make sure we don’t miss a key component or make a costly error. When it comes to tracking an order, she knows where the equipment is at all times, and nothing is slipping through the cracks. She works closely with her team on a daily basis, lending a hand when needed. Smile is so lucky to have her on our team.”
—Patsy Cutler, Marketing Manager, Smile Business Products
Why Valerie Briseno is a difference maker:
While she provides valuable insight and support to the members of the Business Technology Association (BTA) Board of Directors in their management of the association’s strategies and objectives, Briseno also has a hand in BTA’s website maintenance, email marketing promotion, trade show management and various day-to-day marketing activities. BTA’s marketing director and a member of the staff since 2006, Briseno has tackled tough chores in a number of areas, including three major revisions of the content in the association’s FIX: Cost Management for Service manual. She also manages the Select Dealer Group peer group, vendor membership sales and support, and database management. Anyone who has ever attended a BTA-sponsored trade show, dealer meeting, educational seminar, conference, board meeting or special event can instantly recognize Briseno handling registration and other functions to help make them a success. She’s always seeking a better, faster, more economical way to maximize the value of a BTA membership. Prior to joining BTA, the University of Central Missouri graduate worked for an ad specialty distributor, provided marketing for an electronic cable tester manufacturer and served as a loan officer. Briseno recently obtained an MBA from Western Governors University.
“Valerie always seems to be saying ‘Yes, I’ll take care of that for you.’ While speaking on the phone, she always has a smile in her voice. If you frequently attend BTA events, you’ll recognize Valerie as the do-everything lady sitting at the registration table. Or she may be talking with hotel management, or the catering department requesting more hors d’oeuvres at the reception, or taking a last-minute reservation for the evening entertainment for a BTA member. She also played a key role in the planning of the event, determined the budget, negotiated the discounted hotel pricing, updated the BTA web page, managed the design and printing of the daily itineraries and prepared the name badges. She is always enthusiastic and ready to do whatever is necessary to make a BTA event run smoothly.”
—Ronelle Ingram, Senior Instructor, Business Technology Association
Why Jim Cerkleski is a difference maker:
There’s no denying that Jim Cerkleski is an entrepreneur who enjoys the challenge of starting from scratch to attain multimillion-dollar success. In fact, he’s done it three times. Cerkleski founded Superior Office Products and grew the business to $15 million within five years before selling it to U.S. Office Products. Not long after, he founded Superior Wireless to capitalize on the then-developing wireless market. But it’s his current venture, as executive chairman of the board for Clover Imaging Group, which capped off his trio of conquests. In 2000, he purchased 60% of Clover’s stock, then steered the company from a local imaging supplies remanufacturer to a global leader in the aftermarket imaging supplies and recycling services space. He fronted the separation of Clover from its debt-laden 4L Technologies parent, purchased the assets of bankrupt LMI Solutions and launched a Silver Bullet program that counteracted manufacturer attempts to undercut pricing—all in 2019 alone.
“Jim Cerkleski has faced many challenges competing against the powerful OEMs and the Chinese new-build industry. His steadfast leadership has allowed Clover to win against the odds. Today, Clover is unleashed and Jim is taking the company to new heights. His experience and leadership in the document imaging channel is needed and appreciated by many.”
—Ray Stasieczko, Founder/CEO, TEASRA, The Innovation Channel
Why Cathy Chambers is a difference maker:
Chambers boasts 20-plus years of operational accounting experience with mid- and large-sized companies in full growth mode. Blessed with a relentless work ethic, she values corporate loyalty and effectively uses employee resources to achieve optimal performance and results. A key cog in Imagine Technology Group’s organization since 2015, she embraces the philosophy of shaking things up in order to be competitive. A graduate of Simpson College with a BA in accounting, Chambers spent nearly four years as an auditor with DoubleTree Hotels in Phoenix before moving on to Enterprise Rent-A-Car, where she was an accounting manager for 14 years. Just prior to joining Imagine Technology Group, Chambers was the director of finance/controller for Marcolin USA, an Italian-based fashion eyewear distributor. A lover of all things outdoors, she enjoys spending her free time hiking, running, mountain biking and camping.
“Cathy has enjoyed a great deal of success inside of our industry and has carried her tremendous leadership, financial skills and remarkable business acumen to Imagine Technology Group, helping them to enjoy significant year over year growth. Cathy is a finance director who demonstrates the rare combination of fiscal responsibility and business sensitivity.”
—Michael Stramaglio, President, MWA
Why Michele Cockins is a difference maker:
An infectious smile, voluminous knowledge driven by 29 years of experience at Toshiba and a passion to help others succeed have been the calling cards for Cockins. As Toshiba Business Solutions’ director of subsidiary sales, she is the ultimate company ambassador, and her ability to connect with clients helps position the company ahead of its competition. Cockins provides training for sales managers and reps, strategizes on and attends significant deal presentations, and runs sales contests nationwide. A “force multiplier,” Cockins takes great pride in elevating colleagues and preaches to new recruits that “people buy from people,” and has that knack for providing the type of one-on-one counsel that leaves people feeling as if she is dedicated to them alone. Prior to Toshiba, her early career included stints with Xerox, Exxon Office Systems and Ricoh.
“Consummate professional sums up my daily interactions with Michele. As an industry veteran, she consistently manages the business processes belonging to subsidiary sales. She is very adept at coordinating the services provided by our independent dealers and value-added resellers. Her focus has always been on customer satisfaction, regardless of channel or product line. Never hesitant to roll up her sleeves, Michele is highly responsive to the newest sales rep all the way up to senior executives. Trust and experience come to mind when working with Michele.”
—Ted LeBlanc, Vice President of U.S. Dealer Sales, Toshiba America Business Solutions
Why Joe Contreras is a difference maker:
Blessed with an engaging, congenial personality that makes colleagues feel as if they’re chatting with a dear friend, Contreras’ energy when he talks about Epson’s foray into business inkjet printing solutions is infectious. As commercial marketing executive of office solutions, he oversees portfolio management, strategic partnerships, software integration and support, and sales and marketing programs behind the business inkjet endeavor. Backed by nearly 20 years of successful strategic and creative marketing experience, Contreras has implemented and sustained an ecosystem of third-party ISV partners to support business inkjet product sales. Prior to joining Epson in 2019, the Texas A&M University graduate was vice president of product and solutions marketing for Toshiba American Business Solutions, where he was responsible for U.S. and Latin America marketing strategies, channel programs, strategic partnerships and business development for the company’s product portfolio.
“Epson wanted a recognized industry leader who could bring significant change to the dealer community. Joe is the driving force in leading and motivating a cohesive, focused and agile team to meet our business inkjet market growth goals and bring radical change to the commercial print industry.”
—Mark Mathews, Vice President, North America Commercial Sales and Marketing, Epson America
Why Venetta Diesel-Varney is a difference maker:
The sales game is not for everyone, as it requires high levels of energy, enthusiasm and charm at all times. Diesel-Varney has an endless supply of all qualities at her disposal, deftly developed during her 25-plus year professional career. As vice president of sales and marketing for Millennium Business Systems, she guides her team to help clients reduce their printing and copying expenses while providing solutions that improve and simplify their document output. Diesel-Varney’s overarching goal is to provide clients with optimal customer service while acting as a trusted partner and resource. The holder of a BA in communications from the University of Cincinnati, she previously served roles with the Cincinnati Park Board and ITT Industries. Just prior to joining Millennium, Diesel-Varney spent nearly 11 years with Palmer Promotions as a sales and marketing manager.
“Venetta’s abilities and dedication work overtime in creating success for Millennium. She is extremely task-oriented and her customer service skills and attention to detail are second to none. Quite simply, she thinks like an owner and does whatever it takes to ensure the success of her customers. We are thrilled to have her as a resource at FTG.”
—Steve Behm, Vice President of Professional Services, Flex Technology Group
Why Jeff Dotzler is a difference maker:
One of the great differentiators in the office technology dealership space is the ability to not only solve business challenges, but to help clients optimize workflow, performance and data security. That ability to transform a client is what makes Dotzler so special. He joined The Gordon Flesch Company in 1999 and helped the dealer become a major player among business technology providers in the market. Based in Chicago, he served as a sales representative and national account rep prior to becoming sales manager of the firm’s downtown office in 2006. Three years later, Dotzler moved to Madison, Wisconsin, to assume the role of director of professional services. In 2018, he was tasked with leading the organization through a period of growth, acquisition and new technology offerings. Backed by Dotzler’s guidance, GFC has expanded into managed IT, managed print and enterprise content management. Earlier this year, he helped lead the acquisition of Information Technology Professionals, a managed service provider, and guides the company’s continued growth in technology solutions in Wisconsin and the upper Midwest.
“As the vice president of GFConsulting, Jeff Dotzler is an aggressive leader who has helped GFC expand quickly but skillfully. For example, he helped lead the recent acquisition of Information Technology Professionals (ITP), a managed service provider, which will make the GFConsulting Group one of the largest and most-capable technology solutions providers in the Midwest. And under his leadership, GFC has expanded into exciting new areas, including AI, with the AskGordy application, which helps organizations turn their unorganized data into useful business intelligence. But above all, Jeff is a great colleague who cares about his people and his customers and has helped us earn our reputation for honest and friendly service.”
—Patrick Flesch, President, The Gordon Flesch Company
Why Mindy Erickson is a difference maker:
Erickson has logged 33 years in the office furniture and equipment industry, mostly with McShane’s, having cut her teeth as a switchboard operator in 1987 for her childhood neighbor’s business. McShane’s grew significantly in size when it was acquired by Pulse Technology, and Erickson’s role has grown substantially in the process. The company quickly leveraged her organizational and multitasking skills—she oversees purchasing, customer service, accounting, marketing, leasing and contracts, and also serves as the human resources point of contact for the growing company’s Indiana operations. As Pulse Technology expanded its footprint, CEO Chip Miceli tapped Erickson to help run the Indiana operation. She has helped the company integrate offerings including furniture design and sales, office products and supplies, making her Miceli’s “right-hand person.” In her role, Erickson oversees a staff of 12, but her influence extends far beyond, as she is viewed as a catalyst for current and future growth at Pulse Technology.
“Mindy is the Pulse Technology go-to person for all things Indiana. From the design of furniture to the ecommerce site and coordinating the integration of new offerings into the Indiana market, Mindy is the one who gets it done for Indiana.”
—Jim Farrell, President, PRFirst
Why Bob Evans is a difference maker:
As the head of an office technology dealership, the key to longevity is not only evaluating the current business landscape, but anticipating changes and demonstrating a willingness to adapt accordingly. Perched at the helm of Function4 of Sugar Land, Texas, Evans resembles a top-flight surfer, using agility and reading the changing waves to maneuver his way through sometimes-turbulent waters. Unassuming and easily accessible, Evans previously logged 13 years as a manager for Lanier Worldwide, then Danka Office Imaging. He’s a true friend to the dealer community, having become an officer in the Business Technology Association’s Mid-America district in 2013 before assuming the role of national president in 2019. He has also served on the BTA’s national board for the past four years, adding insight and value to the organization.
“I have enjoyed working with Bob these past seven years. As those who have had the privilege to work with him are well aware, he is a down-to-earth person. Bob’s leadership style works particularly well for BTA; he is held in high regard by his fellow BTA board members and the BTA staff. During his time as a volunteer, I have enjoyed seeing Bob’s dealership continue to advance, with an ever-broadening array of IT services becoming a key focus of Function4. This, while, along the way, facing the many challenges presented by Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, which was particularly devastating to the Houston area. Function4 persevered and Bob never missed a beat in his BTA volunteer duties.”
—Brent Hoskins, Executive Director, Business Technology Association
Why Dale Evens is a difference maker:
Evens is a prime example of an organizational ladder-climber, having begun his career with Marco as a service technician 29 years ago. He has since scaled the ranks in the copier service division of the company and within the technology industry. Evens was instrumental in elevating Marco’s copier service department by helping the dealership establish parameters for optimal performance. This was accomplished by defining expense buckets and implementing policies that increased technician accountability for the machines they work on. Evens also helped integrate 27 companies into the organization, working with each one to improve margins and attain Marco’s profitability and customer satisfaction benchmarks. Evens offers his expertise to industry colleagues by participating in service advisory councils for Konica Minolta, Sharp and HP.
“Dale Evens has provided tremendous leadership in Marco’s copier service division over the past 29 years. His unique ability to collaborate with technicians, sales representatives and customers has made him a key difference maker as Marco has become one of the top copier/print dealers in the United States.”
—Jeff Gau, CEO, Marco
Why Dan Fink is a difference maker:
It’s not that Fink was born to become a performance analyst, but in 30-plus years in the industry, he has developed an advanced understanding of the toil behind the analytics. He broke in as a copier technician for Minnesota-based Metro Sales in 1988, and during his 22-year journey with the firm, Fink held roles including sales, field service supervisor and field service manager, overseeing branch service operations. In fact, he was a facilitator of BEI Services (NEXERA) programs from the customer standpoint. He joined NEXERA in January of 2011, managing major accounts and manufacturers that are using NEXERA’s services while supporting and training current customers. Having been a customer himself, that real-world experience enables Fink to share a unique perspective with clients. He exemplifies the integrity that is a hallmark of NEXERA, and his commitment to excellence helps set the bar high for everyone within the organization.
“When I worked with Dan as a customer, I got used to calls where he was asking `why are you doing this?’ Oftentimes, the best answer I could come up with was `because we’ve always done it this way.’ His persistence taught me to look at each customer request and each product totally differently. So when the opportunity came to add him to our team, I simply couldn’t let that pass us by. He has made us a better company, and I can’t imagine NEXERA without him. He works tirelessly on behalf of his team and our customers to ensure they are getting the most from their investment in our solutions.”
—Wes McArtor, President, NEXERA
Why Frank Gaspari is a difference maker:
Every business industry boasts its share of mavericks, and in the office technology dealership universe, Gaspari embodies that designation. A 30-year veteran of the industry, he founded FlexPrint in 2005 in the hopes of crafting an unparalleled, national service-oriented managed print services business model. But the birth of Flex Technology Group has exceeded all expectations and cast the organization as arguably the leading M&A model in the country. In the process, Gaspari has been able to build a national group of high-performing dealers that can service major accounts throughout the United States, backed by more than 1,000 employees. His leadership has yielded 10 consecutive Inc. 500/5000 designations and nine “Best Places to Work” awards. Earlier in his career, Gaspari was the CEO of Column Office Technology in the Chicagoland area and a division president for then-Global Imaging Solutions in the Xerox direct operations.
“Frank is unrivaled in his ability to turn bold ideas into effective and profitable initiatives. The amount of energy he brings to this organization on a daily basis is incredible. His serial entrepreneurship may fuel the company’s growth, but it’s his passion for people that makes this organization a true success.”
—Dan Reilly, President, Caltronics Business Systems
Why Felipe Godoy is a difference maker:
A master of multitasking, Godoy’s dedication to service and excellence have enabled him to build a team at RingByName that prides itself in supporting dealers and agents at the highest levels. A former U.S. military officer and United Nations Ground Forces Peacekeeping Operations commander, Godoy graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government with a master’s degree in international relations and security. Upon leaving the military, he founded a technology start-up focusing on satellite-based disaster recovery for government and enterprise entities. He consulted for Cisco Government Systems and Panasonic, followed by five years at Hotwire Communications, where Godoy developed the company’s IP-based smart home and security products and eventually started their security products division. He joined RingByName in 2012 and in that time helped create the company’s channel partner program while holding multiple roles. Godoy has also served as a keynote speaker at national and international industry events, including ITEX, ChannelPro, the International Security Conference and NASA Social.
“Felipe is a well-liked and talented person in the company. Without him, we would be missing an important factor in the company that enabled us to be as successful as we are today.”
—Kooi Lim, CEO, RingByName
Why Rick Goe is a difference maker:
Relentless with a passion for operational excellence, Goe brings 30-plus years to the table for Supplies Network. A former director of fulfillment for AOL who also spent time with SP Richards and U.S. Office Products, Goe joined Supplies Network in 2003. As manager of the logistics and supply chain, including all of distribution and inventory management, Goe has kept up with the high demand driven by significant company growth, while also exceeding operational expectations. In the process, Supplies Network has more than doubled its distribution footprint during the past five years. In the last year, the company has brought three new facilities online, with each featuring the latest in automation and robotics technologies. Goe has been highly instrumental in that success, driven by his expertise and leadership.
“When Rick joined our company over 17 years ago, our rapidly-expanding distribution footprint was about a third of the size it is today. As of this April, we’ll have replaced three of our distribution centers within eight months, which could not have happened without Rick’s leadership. He works tirelessly to maintain the highest operational standards possible and stays abreast of the latest industry technologies and trends to ensure our company delivers on its promise.”
—Sean Fleming, CEO, Distribution Management
Why Bob Goldberg is a difference maker:
If the office technology industry boasted its own currency, it’s safe to say that Goldberg’s picture would be on one of the highest denominations. It would be difficult to attend any event, Business Technology Association or otherwise, without bumping into Goldberg, the BTA’s general counsel and go-to person for all things legal. A membership to the BTA provides a virtual, prepaid retainer for Goldberg, who offers a vast repository of knowledge, guidance and perspective on the laws that impact the dealer community. Whether it’s dealer/manufacturer disputes, dealer contracts, employment matters, industry documentation, legislative issues, sales tax matters, fraudulent telemarketing, business valuation or general industry and business issues, dealers and resellers can receive the necessary insight to dictate their decision making. And in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Goldberg has been the voice of calm and rational guidance to help businesses navigate the uncertain times. Having Goldberg a phone call or an email away is one of the biggest value propositions behind a BTA membership.
“Bob is truly the independent dealer’s most-powerful advocate. He seems to know every BTA dealer and vendor rep by name. Bob is a highly sought-after and entertaining speaker. Once off the stage, he seems to have a private connection and humorous story about everyone he encounters. Bob makes everyone feel special and cared about.
“He can mesmerize a group of OEM chieftains or mom-and-pop dealers with real stories of personal and business triumphs and disasters. No names are ever mentioned, but there is always a strong moral to think about and the realization of ultimately having to take responsibility for your own actions. All too often, I hear dealers and vendors retort `If only I had taken Bob’s advice’ or `Bob Goldberg just saved us a million dollars and a jail sentence.’ In these times of great world confusion, Bob stands tall as a trusted industry advisor, BTA confidant and my friend.”
—Ronelle Ingram, Senior Instructor, Business Technology Association
Why Joe Green is a difference maker:
Following 30-plus years with Applied Imaging, Green will be calling it a career in 2020. Green has left his mark on the service division, not to mention the numerous people he trained and mentored during his successful career. A service manager at the onset, Green later became vice president of service, during which time he coached and developed service directors and managers. He also has oversight of the entire service department, which consists of more than 160 hardware service team members, as well as NetSmart Plus—the company’s managed network services division—the parts department and Applied Imaging’s connectivity teams. Green enjoys participating in various fundraising endeavors, including Kids Food Basket and Jeans Day, among others. In retirement, Green will be able to feed his collecting passions, which include vinyl records, t-shirts and Chuck Taylor high-top sneakers.
“Joe Green genuinely cares about everyone at Applied Imaging. Not a day goes by that his office is not packed with people—visiting, being coached, strategizing and laughing. He will truly be missed. He’s a great leader at Applied Imaging and we are all making the best out of this last year with him!”
—Sheila Keller, Marketing Strategist, Applied Imaging
Why Greg Gumpright is a difference maker:
As director of service and support for Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America, Gumpright manages the manufacturer’s service and support team for its channel partners. He joined Sharp in 2018 and quickly revitalized some of its service programs; for example, reinventing the Master Technician Competition and Platinum Service programs for Sharp’s dealers. Relationship building is one of his strong suits—he has focused on augmenting rapports with Sharp’s authorized dealership service leaders. Gumpright also developed a Dealer Service Advisory Council, which has furnished invaluable ideas and suggestions for Sharp to improve processes. Gumpright’s 32-year tour of the industry includes stints with Toshiba Business Solutions, Northern Business Systems, Engle Business Systems and IKON Office Solutions. A Six Sigma Black Belt, Gumpright has leveraged those tools and methods to create or modify business processes to function more efficiently.
“Greg is devoted to making sure Sharp is taking care of its dealers, and he has built a quality team that reflects that goal. Greg is constantly working to foster open communication with Sharp’s dealers so that we can work more closely together. I know Greg has made a difference in how All Copy Products works with Sharp, and I am very glad he has brought his ideas to Sharp and has been able to implement them.”
—Dale Scheuerman, Director of Service, All Copy Products
Why Tarek Hafiz is a difference maker:
Selling copiers runs in the family for Hafiz; his father sold them in Kuwait. It’s safe to say the younger Hafiz has taken the practice to another level. He is president of a dealership in CBE Office Solutions that has more than held its own in a competitive Los Angeles market and stretched its influence well beyond the copier to include managed services, document management, phone systems, security cameras and mailing equipment. Prior to CBE joining the Flex Technology Group family of companies in 2019, Hafiz worked some M&A magic of his own, expanding to five locations. His organization flourished to employ 200, with more than $23 million in annual sales fueled by both acquisition-based and organic growth. Behind Hafiz’s leadership, CBE has been recognized with numerous appearances on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies and numerous Best Places to Work designations by the Orange County Register.
“Tarek and CBE recently joined Flex Technology Group and it’s easy to see that he runs a successful business. CBE’s success is driven by Tarek’s leadership, ambition and industry expertise. What you might not see at first glance is his compassion and ability to build relationships. CBE is a family and Tarek has never lost sight of that. He always puts his people first, which speaks measures about what they’ll do for their customers.”
—Mike McGuirk, President, ProCopy
Why Melody Harris is a difference maker:
In her role with Milner, Harris oversees business operations with an eye toward revenue goals and budgets without sacrificing efficiency and customer satisfaction. She brings a wealth of operations and logistics management to the table, and has a proven track record of achieving cost savings and meeting revenue forecasts year after year. Her project management and logistics experience dates back 15 years, to a position in which she supported all phases of construction and related real estate projects for retail operations. This provided Harris with a strong foundation in the details of a successful project, from initial inquiries through completion. Her background includes 12 years with United Technologies, where she served as director of customer operations and manager of North America hospitality projects. Previous to Milner, she was director of signage services for Benson Integrated Marketing Solutions.
“Melody is a brilliant project manager who interacts with a variety of people inside of the industry. She was recruited by Milner a few years ago to provide the necessary leadership, skills and experience to guide the company through their digital transformation. She has proven to be an extraordinary influence inside and outside of Milner. I can attest to her ability to drive success and do it with enthusiasm. She is a brilliant and unique professional!”
—Michael Stramaglio, President, MWA
Why John Hines is a difference maker:
A results-oriented professional during his nearly 30-year career with Copiers Northwest, Hines relishes industry involvement. He has been a past president of the BTA Western Region, a member of the national BTA board and actively involved with the CDA peer group. In his role with Copiers Northwest, Hines coordinates with the operations aspect of the business and supervises several departments. He boasts an excellent grasp of the marketing function and what drives revenue and profitability. Hines previously served a six-year stint in the U.S. Navy, and later began his career with CNW when it was a $3 million business operating out of a small rented office. Hines played a pivotal role in building the business to $50 million, with 11 branches in two states. An avid biker and ardent supporter of Washington Huskies athletics, Hines spends his free time mentoring finance and accounting students at the bachelor’s and master’s levels.
“I’ve known John for over 20 years and admired his ability to not just understand marketing but participating in the process by inserting his ideas and creativity into various campaigns. It’s always impressed me that despite his successful career, John consistently strives to enhance his knowledge and skills and was a longtime member of Vistage, the world’s-largest CEO and key executive organization.”
—Ian Crockett, President, ICE Advertising
Why Brent Hoskins is a difference maker:
A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Hoskins began his career as a reporter for the Blue Springs (MO) Examiner. However, in late 1986, he found his professional home with the Business Technology Association (BTA). He was hired as a writer for what is today Office Technology, the association’s monthly magazine that provides information on industry trends, management issues and the latest technology for the workplace. Three years later, Hoskins was promoted to the position of editor of the magazine—a role he’s served in for more than 33 years. While he remains editor of the magazine, in 2006 Hoskins was named executive director of BTA. In that role, he works with staff and BTA national and district dealer volunteer leadership to maintain an optimum level of guidance, support and resources to the independent dealer channel. He also manages various initiatives at BTA, such as its monthly Building My Business webinars, Dealers Helping Dealers resource and the association’s PRO Dealer Group.
“In his own right, Brent Hoskins has become an industry leader. He has proven his integrity, knowledge, acumen, insight and forward thinking. OEM presidents willingly accept his calls. He is continually invited to attend dealer and OEM special events. He continues to share his observations and guidance through the strength of BTA and his journalism. Brent Hoskins truly has made a difference in leading the BTA trade association to become an educational beacon, unifying, respected voice of the dealer community and guiding light in our ever-changing business community.”
—Ronelle Ingram, Senior Instructor, Business Technology Association
Why Michelle Kaufman is a difference maker:
Kaufman has a unique perspective on the world of IT, as she burst on the scene in the mid-1990s at the dawn of the internet revolution. Upon graduating from Indiana’s Goshen College in 1995 with a BA in computer science, she served as a consultant with Cornerstone Solutions Group. There she provided guidance around web-based initiatives for Supplies Network. That proved to be a valuable stepping stone for Kaufman, who joined Supplies Network’s IT department in 2003 as a development team leader. She climbed the ranks and in 2013 was promoted to vice president of information technology. Blessed with a bottomless arsenal of technology savvy and a commitment to excellence, Kaufman has responsibility for all IT software development, technology infrastructure and support. Her exceptional leadership has helped cultivate an IT organization at Supplies Network that many of its executives feel is a critical, value-added differentiator for the company.
“Michelle’s commitment to our organization is unwavering. She is a key contributor to the success of not only our comprehensive range of solutions, but to every facet of our business including navigating today’s challenging landscape of security and compliance, which is increasingly mission-critical. She brings a wealth of expertise, commitment and a forward-thinking approach every day to her role in leveraging technology for the benefit of our organization, our customers and their customers.”
—Sarah Custer, Vice President of Services and Solutions, Supplies Network
Why Debra Anne Kellogg is a difference maker:
Not many people can stake claim to impacting their company on a global basis, but Kellogg is certainly among the select few. In her joint role with Toshiba America Business Solutions and Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions, Kellogg oversees the company’s communication, learning and performance portals, which include a communication-driven performance program she conceptualized and developed. This program is leveraged across several business units globally by more than 6,000 employees in 28 countries. A dynamic and creative problem solver, she enjoys facilitating strategic sessions among her peers, while also helping enhance the cumulative knowledge and skill set of the company’s geographically diverse workforce. Outside the office, Kellogg dedicates time to champion, inspire and share her leadership expertise with non-profit organizations and the people they serve. Kellogg is a graduate of Toshiba’s Six Sigma certification program, and holds multiple industry accreditations from The Ken Blanchard Companies, Alessandra & Associates, Achieve Global, Harvard, and the California Institute of Technology.
“Debra is a dynamic and creative problem solver with diverse leadership expertise. She’s driven by her contagious passion for learning and helping others. She’s often telling her students “Life is perfectly imperfect!” and “Anything is possible when you set your mind to it!” But my favorite is when she challenges others with “Let’s forget what we know and let’s brainstorm what is possible.”
—Joan Maesky, Vice President of Human Resources, Toshiba America Business Solutions
Why Allison Kern is a difference maker:
One of Kern’s primary objectives is collaborating with counterparts around the world to ensure Konica Minolta’s global mission of creating value for society is supported and executed at a local level. In her current role managing CSR and internal engagement activities, she focuses on developing programs and initiatives that help Konica Minolta create value for employees, customers and society. She has also spent time working at Konica Minolta’s global headquarters in Tokyo, assisting with global CSR programming and reporting. Kern is known as a cornerstone for the company’s philanthropic endeavors, rallying branches from across the country to give back to their local communities. As a result, Konica Minolta and its employees have provided significant contributions in areas such as education and literacy, food security, health and wellness, and environmental sustainability, among other aspects. Kern has a passion for art in all of its forms and also enjoys music, photography and the great outdoors.
“Allison’s efforts make a difference every day. Her dedication and enthusiasm are unmatched; she tirelessly organizes new and fun ways for employees to get involved. Through the sheer volume of drives and clever fundraising tactics—including raffling off the CEO’s parking spot to increase donations for the National Kidney Foundation—Allison finds something that appeals to everyone. And I’m proud to say our employees embrace every opportunity to assist those in need, donating both time and money to support worthy causes.
“Her efforts also include internal communication and working with our MarComm team to incorporate a focus on philanthropy into campaigns, trade shows and more. She works alongside human resources to promote Konica Minolta as an employer of choice, utilizing our global branding campaigns and aligning to corporate communications tactics to support general internal engagement and recruitment. As a result of Allison’s hard work, Konica Minolta is seen as a true partner in improving and strengthening the community.”
—Stacey Sujeebun, Director, Marketing Communications, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A.
Why Jason LaComb is a difference maker:
In a career spanning nearly 25 years with Toshiba America Business Solutions, LaComb has held a number of managerial posts. A creative thought leader who persuasively produces data-driven decisions, LaComb also develops scalable systems and processes that help achieve his financial targets. He has guided Toshiba’s supply chain operations for the past five years, demonstrating a passion for customer service while excelling via efficient and repeatable processes. A Six Sigma Master Black Belt who is recognized by customers for taking care of business, LaComb has successfully led many enterprise resource planning implementations, and is an expert at systems and automation. A confident communicator with excellent analytical and organizational skills, he’s able to move from strategic to tactical in articulating a vision, establishing operational goals with visible metrics, and building high-performing project, planning and execution teams.
“Jason has a deep knowledge of supply chain and the systems supporting an efficient supply chain. Throughout the last few years alone, he has implemented process improvements in demand forecasting and asset management while eliminating excess inventory. The results enable Toshiba to get the right product to the right place at the right time as efficiently as possible. Jason’s vision, integrity and passion are all a tremendous asset to Toshiba.”
—Steve Tungate, Vice President & General Manager, Service, Supply Chain Management and Innovation, Toshiba America Business Solutions
Why Rick Lambert is a difference maker:
A fifth-round draft choice of the Edmonton Oilers in 1984, Lambert was fresh off a 51-point performance for Henry Carr of the MJBHL, playing alongside future National Hockey League veterans Scott Mellanby and Paul Cavallini. But after his tour of Canadian Junior hockey was finished, Lambert opted to attend the University of New Hampshire instead of the NHL and played four years of hockey for the Wildcats. He joined Xerox out of college and was named the Rookie Sales Rep of the Year in Canada. This catapulted him into a career that included stints with London Photography and IKON Office Solutions. In 1998, Lambert struck out on his own with selltowin.com, bringing lively speaking engagements to companies that have helped transform sales professionals, backed by his vast experience as a salesperson, sales manager and vice president of sales. His new AskTheCoach YouTube series provides tips and tricks to help sales professionals elevate their game, and in 2018, he launched the selltowin.com eCademy, an on-demand video sales training platform that embodies the spirit of his live sales coaching presentations. In 2006, he rolled out the IN2communications digital marketing agency, which he supplements with THE SMARKETING SHOW, a YouTube series airing every Thursday. Lambert specializes in helping managed service providers combine award-winning digital marketing and on-demand video sales coaching to generate more leads, win more deals and make more money.
“Rick Lambert is one of the most selfless people I know and an all-round excellent human being. Rick is an unsung hero of the imaging channel and is always ready to give you his time and resources backed by personal and business integrity that is second to none. Over the past seven years, I have worked with him and his team at two companies and he has become a trusted partner and friend who has always helped steer me in the right direction. I get a lot of compliments about our `great marketing’ and `thought leadership,’ which I find hard to accept, because I know secretly that Rick and his team are the ones that do all the heavy lifting!”
—Christian Pepper, President, Channel Partner Division, LD Products
Why Janet Langerak is a difference maker:
Behind every successful company is a Janet Langerak. Hired as a receptionist 32 years ago at a fledgling Applied Imaging, she was one of only 13 people on staff, and that meant her duties stretched well beyond answering phones and transferring calls. Before long, Langerak was billing for meter readings, helping salespeople with client quotes, ordering equipment and collecting on invoices. But she was truly drawn to service dispatching and the challenge of setting up multiple maintenance contracts based on how the salesperson designed them. Langerak has grown in tandem with her company, rising through the ranks to become Applied Imaging’s vice president of operations. Now, as her career draws to a close, Langerak can take great satisfaction in knowing that she was an instrumental force for a company that has grown to more than $100 million in revenue with 450-plus employees. An avid golfer, reader and gardener, she will be greatly missed by her Applied Imaging teammates.
“I’ve known Janet for close to 20 years now and whoever said nice people finish last never met Janet. Applied Imaging has always been envied by customers, suppliers and rivals for what’s labeled as Applied Chemistry, the driving force behind the company’s unique culture. Janet has combined her personality with her team-building skills and industry knowledge to be one of the key figures in developing and communicating that culture to those both inside and outside Applied Imaging. She is very much a winner in life.”
—Ian Crockett, President, ICE Advertising
Why Kevin Leary is a difference maker:
Upon graduating from Bridgewater State University, Leary’s early career saw him embark on a tour of duty with three industry manufacturers—Canon, Xerox and Konica Minolta. During an eight-year stint at Canon in several executive roles, he led a turnaround of the lowest-performing region, catapulting it to the top spot in 2006. Leary then brought his turnaround prowess to Xerox, where he was tasked with revitalizing a struggling business unit. That unit was able to grow revenues from $17.8 million to $23.9 million, and nearly tripled managed services revenue in the process. With Konica Minolta, Leary guided the OEM’s New England operations with a turnaround strategy that enabled it to finish third out of 41 markets. In his current role with Flex Technology Group, he is tasked with developing an enterprise team for the firm’s eastern operations. An outstanding leader who inspires his team through example, Leary fosters positive energy, creativity and productivity.
“Kevin’s knowledge in the industry is more than complemented by his leadership skills. He leads with inspiration and knows how to get the most from his people. We can attribute much of our success to him and his team.”
—Bill Glos, Vice President of Leasing, Flex Technology Group
Why Rasmus Lukunka is a difference maker:
Accountable, hard-working and achievement-oriented are just a few of the adjectives that describe Lukunka’s ability to excel in the world of sales. He joined Supplies Network in 2013 and quickly earned a spot in the organization’s President’s Club among the top performers. Within three years of his arrival, Lukunka was promoted to regional sales manager, where he continues to produce beyond desired outcomes. Relentless with an eye for detail, Lukunka has a passion for helping his sales team achieve its goals, and is relentless in his desire to do so while exceeding customer expectations. Prior to his arrival at Supplies Network, Lukunka held various managerial roles with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Wireless Vision and Bank of America. He holds a BSBA in international business and marketing from Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, Missouri, where he also played for the men’s soccer team.
“Rasmus is the kind of guy who shows up early and leaves late, making sure he gives his very best every day. One of the things that really sets him apart is his attention to detail, going to great lengths to make sure he and his team are uncovering every opportunity to add value to the customer relationship. His recognition is well deserved!”
—Ted Gruener, Vice President of Sales, Supplies Network
Why Bob Madaio is a difference maker:
While Madaio was an industry newcomer when he joined Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America (SIICA) as vice president of marketing in 2018, he brought 20 years of IT marketing prowess courtesy of his work with Hitachi and EMC (now Dell). With SIICA, Madaio is helping guide the company’s brand and presence within the technology industry and smart office market. A master of bold strokes, Madaio immediately put his skills to work as a major cog in the Sharp Momentum Roadshow series, the Own IT 2020 dealer conference and various channel communications that have helped promote SIICA’s smart office solution platform. He’s also known to thrive on the give and take with technical experts, leaders and sales teams across the company network and its dealership community. In his spare time, Madaio is an unabashed soccer fan and world traveler. He touts a BA in economics from the University of Delaware along with an MBA from Rutgers Business School.
“In the short time that Bob has been with Sharp, he has implemented his extensive knowledge and previous experience from the IT sector. He has merged this with his new knowledge of the office technology industry to provide a fresh perspective and different approach. Bob has presented this view to both internal and external customers through in-person meetings, social media, dealer meetings and more.”
—Deanna L. Flanick, Chief Revenue Officer, Buyers Laboratory, LLC and InfoTrends, Inc.
Why Brent Martin is a difference maker:
An industry veteran of nearly 30 years, Martin entered the distribution game with Carolina Wholesale in 1998. One of his greatest contributions to the company was setting its marketing direction following the acquisition of Carolina Wholesale Group’s distribution brands. In 2019, Martin was a guiding force during the rebranding of the three distributor brands—Carolina Wholesale, Arlington Industries and Digitek—as ARLINGTON. This included a monthly webinar series hosted by Martin that featured special guests and vendor partners within the industry. His current focus is on emerging marketing methods, solutions, and closing the gap between the dealer community and distribution to grow business in partnership. Previously, Martin spent five years with catalog retailer EduCALC Corp. in various managerial roles. A diehard baseball fan, he is also committed to serving and supporting foster children at The Children’s Hope Alliance and the homeless community with Hope Vibes ministries in the Charlotte, North Carolina area.
“Brent cares about ARLINGTON and about ARLINGTON customers. He enthusiastically tackles responsibilities with innovation and joy. I am so thankful for Brent’s leading our marketing efforts at ARLINGTON. He has a keen awareness of what dealers need in order to make doing business more affordable and successful.”
—Larry Huneycutt, President, ARLINGTON
Why Mike Martos is a difference maker:
Martos certainly qualifies as an industry veteran. He’s spent nearly 40 years leveraging his technical service expertise for organizations including Chicago Office Technology Group (COTG) and AOE/Danka in roles ranging from service manager to divisional vice president and vice president of service. During that period, he provided service leadership and direction for implementations, installations and service support while driving high levels of customer service. During his time at COTG, he held a secondary role with parent company Global Imaging Systems (Xerox) as vice president of service employee development. He then joined Flex Technology Group in 2016 as vice president of technical services. He has executive ownership of a geographically dispersed technical team that is passionate about offering outstanding service. Martos’ expertise enables Flex Technology Group to continuously innovate and improve its service offerings, internal processes, and workflow to enhance end-user experiences and drive improved results.
“Mike is a rare combination of the experience of an industry veteran with the creativity and ambition of someone who has no concern for `how it has always been done.’ That makes him a great partner for someone in my role and an invaluable asset to our family of companies.”
—Chase Cabanillas, Chief Information Officer, Flex Technology Group
Why Ben Meth is a difference maker:
Some individuals, by virtue of their nature, have a predisposition toward certain vocations. Suffice to say, Meth is a man who was born to sell. Instilled with an infectious persistence and a swag of confidence, he landed with Brother International in 2014 as an entry-level sales associate. He soon transferred to Denver to help Brother expand its dealer presence within the Pacific Northwest, aided by a determined customer-centric approach. In 2017, he moved to Chicago and took the lead in supporting IT solutions provider/reseller CDW. Meth quickly realized 22% growth while revamping partner programs and implementing new creative structural success. He did all this while also generating CDW’s pipeline for the Brother field team, which comprises more than 50% of their business and 61% of net-new opportunities created in 2019. Meth not only supports his resellers with sales opportunities, but also aids in the development of their own MPS programs, regardless of whether or not they sell Brother equipment.
“When we talk about difference makers, we usually mention existing C-suite executive level influencers. I want to nominate a C-suite executive in the making. If Ben is the future of this industry, then we are in good hands. His vision, his conscientiousness and, most importantly, his drive for results have already made him a success at Brother, having been promoted three times in the last five years. As this industry evolves, I have no doubt that Ben will be leading the charge. I am honored to be his colleague today and would happily work for him tomorrow.”
—Brian Healy, Senior Manager, Consulting and Managed Print, Brother International
Why Dan Meyer is a difference maker:
A product of Denison University in Granville, Ohio, Meyer is the president and co-founder of Impact Networking, the Lake Forest, Illinois dealership he founded with Frank Cucco in 1999. In the span of a little more than 20 years, the duo has grown the company from zero to $140 million on the strength of 27% year-over-year growth. In the process, Impact Networking has evolved from an office technology dealership into a multi-solution managed services provider. Meyer oversees the company’s growing sales force across four states and 17 branches. But his contributions are hardly limited to black ink in the business ledger. Cultivating a winning culture is a passion for Meyer, who follows the mantra “Build the employees, they’ll build the business.” Meyer reaps the most satisfaction from cultivating the success of young professionals and watching them become tomorrow’s leaders and partners.
“Dan is undoubtedly one of the top sales executives in our industry and most definitely the best sales executive in Chicago. He thoroughly understands the metrics and statistics behind sales and uses that knowledge daily to ensure Impact’s continued success. He is also one of the very few that can go into new markets and build branches and teams from scratch.”
—Frank Cucco, CEO, Impact Networking
Why Chris Miller is a difference maker:
Armed with a degree in computer systems networking and telecommunications, Miller has spent the last nine years with Pacific Office Automation, He initially came on board as a sales manager in Phoenix, and was promoted in 2017 to director of IT sales and solutions. Miller has a bevy of industry experience, having spent 13 years with CTX Copytronix, A Xerox Company, as a sales manager. He plays a pivotal role as a frequent contributor in peer groups across the country, providing valuable insight into a variety of topics related to sales and IT. At Pacific Office Automation, he has built a well-respected team that is the envy of the channel when it comes to the dealer’s reputation for delivering best-in-class managed IT services. That team has been integral in fostering Pacific Office Automation’s consistent growth over the last decade. Employing a team-first mentality, Miller takes great pains to ensure his charges have the necessary tools and guidance in order to be successful.
“Chris will be quick to admit that while individuals may receive some accolades, it’s the team that deserves all the credit. As a tireless professional himself, he demands the same of his team and it’s all for the same cause so that the POA customer experience is at the highest level possible. Chris creates an environment that challenges his team for excellence so that the team can achieve their career goals, while POA achieves its goals of a customer-first organization with best-in-class offerings.”
—Michael Amiri, Senior Director, Continuum
Why Ron Nielson is a difference maker:
A graduate of Harvard Business School who studied executive education, Nielson boasts three decades of executive sales leadership for major industry players including IKON Office Solutions and Ricoh. An accomplished senior leader with Fortune 500, private equity and Global 1000 experience, he has had responsibility for a $1.1 billion dollar division with multiple business units. He joined Flex Technology Group in 2018 as vice president of sales—adding marketing to his oversight less than a year later—prior to becoming president of Marimon Business Systems (a Flex Technology Group Company) this past February. Nielson was onboarded to enhance the company’s customer-centric approach to creating innovative, value-based solutions. The embodiment of transformative sales leadership, his outcome-driven mentality and focus on employee development have supported the company’s success during its period of exponential growth.
“I’ve worked with Ron at two different companies over more than a decade, and no matter what the assignment, Ron has excelled. He has a strong focus on developing his employees and achieving business goals. At FTG, Ron has developed strong programs with our vendor partners and has implemented strong sales and marketing programs across our group of companies. With a long track record of leading companies to success, we are excited to now have Ron leading our Texas operations.”
—Tom Callinan, President, Flex Technology Group
Why Mike Pietrunti is a difference maker:
Driving business growth has been a constant for Pietrunti, an industry veteran of more than 30 years. He currently spearheads Xerox’s multi-brand dealer channel as senior vice president, charged with expanding the OEM’s business in the BTA sector. He took the reins in May 2019, and in the first seven months, he enabled the business unit to achieve 20% revenue growth for the year. In 2011, Pietrunti joined Global Imaging Solutions (now Xerox Business Solutions) as senior vice president, with responsibility for acquisitions, corporate service and marketing. During his eight years in that role, he added more than $400 million of acquired dealer revenue and continued to successfully manage those companies post-acquisition. Prior to joining Xerox, Pietrunti served as president and CEO of Kyocera Mita America Group and was responsible for the North, South and Central American markets. His background also includes 13 years with Sharp Electronics Corporation, where he served as vice president, Network Office Systems Group. Pietrunti is an avid cyclist, reader and opera enthusiast.
“One of our dealers, Scott Stebbing with Imaging Concepts in Utah, said it best: Mike brings a wealth of expertise to help his dealers grow. He understands the inner workings of dealer operations top to bottom and provides objective guidance to help us optimize our business and identify new growth areas. His practical advice is steeped in real-world experience, which really does help us keep our eye on the ball, invest in proven opportunities like production print and avoid profit-draining distractions. More importantly, Mike acts with integrity in all he does, making him one of the best in the industry.”
—Aaron Smith, Vice President, Western Region U.S. Dealer Channel, Xerox Corporation
Why Chris Polek is a difference maker:
Polek & Polek has etched out a name for itself as a wholesale distributor for the imaging industry, not to mention a champion of the independent dealer. Chris Polek is certainly the face of the organization, having spent 32 years with the family-owned company, the past 19 as CEO. He freely admits the actual number of years is much higher but doesn’t want his company to retroactively run afoul of child labor laws (it was the 1970s, after all). But like most top executives, especially those of family-owned businesses, Polek refuses to take credit. He cites Polek & Polek’s supporting cast—many of whom have been with the organization for 20-plus years—for driving its success and following the company’s long-held objective to “fight for the freedom of the independent dealer.” Whether history judges Polek as a freedom fighter is moot; he’ll settle for building loyal customers by furnishing high-quality parts and supplies while also bolstering dealer profitability.
“Over the years, I’ve admired Chris Polek’s dedication to the imaging industry, but what I most admire is his dedication to the dealer channel. His involvement in dealer events and dedication to office equipment dealers has been outstanding over the years. Chris is always available to take your calls and often shares valuable knowledge with others. Chris, keep up the excellent work!”
—Arthur Post, CEO and Founder, Print4Pay Hotel
Why James Rouse is a difference maker:
As Brother International’s senior manager, consulting and managed print services, Rouse enables partner resellers to develop best-in-class consulting and managed print practices. He also collaborates with them in the field when engaging their end-customers. Rouse admonishes that a one-size-fits-all approach to MPS is legacy thinking—he works alongside customers to understand and solve their specific document management needs. Before joining Brother, Rouse, a certified CDIA+ and Project+ professional, spent 16 years with Ricoh, supporting the managed services division, and also worked for Danka and Kinko’s. A University of Virginia graduate and diehard supporter of the Cavaliers’ men’s basketball team (he proudly cites the program’s first NCAA title in 2019), Rouse enjoys camping and reading, as well as serving as an elder at his church.
“James is a huge reason Brother has been a pillar of stability amid a sometimes-unpredictable industry environment. His years of experience and calm demeanor have led him to become a friend and advisor to dozens of our dealers and partners, and internally he is one of Brother’s go-to resources for the implementation of solutions to help our customers reduce document-related costs and increase efficiencies. From the biggest projects to the smallest requests, James’ recommendations have been essential in building and executing the strategy that has propelled Brother’s managed print services program to the front of the pack. I would also add that, personally, I’ve found James to consistently exemplify leadership, as he seems happiest when helping colleagues develop professionally.”
—Dan Waldinger, Senior Director, B2B Marketing, Brother International
Why Oscar Sanchez is a difference maker:
Not many executives can stake claim to having an international MBA and a law degree, which is what casts Sanchez into rarified air. A major global player for Kyocera since 1996, he’s served the company in various managerial capacities in Spain and the Netherlands (where he was executive vice president of the sales and marketing division), challenging the status quo while continuously seeking out avenues to innovate. In the process, he was able to deliver exceptional results via major strategic initiatives. He came to the United States in September of 2018 as president and CEO of Kyocera Document Solutions America. Tireless in his dedication toward this latest role, Sanchez has evolved the focus from traditional copiers and printers to document management solutions via professional services, business process optimization and IT services. His passion, loyalty and commitment has set an example for the company to follow.
“I have learned much from Oscar. His values and leadership have been an inspiration to me from the onset of my career in Europe, and I am very enthusiastic about the opportunity to continue to work with him, again, in America.”
—Jose Estebanez, Senior Director, Integrated Marketing Communications, Kyocera Document Solutions America
Why Steve Sharkey is a difference maker:
Like fellow honoree and NEXERA performance analyst Dan Fink, Sharkey has an utterly thorough knowledge of the service aspect of the business, backed by 40 years of experience. During the past 18 years, his focus has been on helping dealers and manufacturers improve their service delivery effectiveness. Sharkey is highly cognizant of the specific, wide-ranging needs of any organization and has successfully guided departments through challenging circumstances. Imparting knowledge is the most gratifying aspect of the job for Sharkey, and enhancing the operating efficiency of a client’s operations is a source of great satisfaction. He credits the vision and skill of NEXERA’s teammates in helping to foster that success while making his job easier. Prior to NEXERA, Sharkey spent nearly 21 years with Allied Office Solutions, where he was a vice president of service and had oversight of a staff of 75 people.
“You can’t win them all. Steve was supporting a client that, by the numbers, could have doubled its operational efficiency. Many of the client’s employees knew this, but management was short-sighted and set in their ways. Steve would not give up his efforts and approached the challenge over many months in a number of effective ways. Unfortunately, management could not envision the very fact-based course of action. Will that client survive in this new economy? No. Yet Steve’s attitude is one of not to lose.”
—Greg Moseley, CEO, NEXERA
Why John Sheehan is a difference maker:
This isn’t the first time that Sheehan’s prowess has been recognized. He was recently named one of the channel’s most-influential leaders by CRN magazine, based on his proven success in growing Sharp’s B2B document channel business. Sheehan took over his current role last October, and is tasked with leading Sharp’s document channel and professional AV B2B regional dealer sales teams, government account sales teams and channel service solutions training teams, helping the business evolve to serve the integrated smart office. He has also led the effort to strategically align teams in order to gain better market reach, and helped the company adapt to quickly changing market forces while increasing marketing ROI. Sheehan’s acumen and direction have been instrumental in Sharp’s solid growth in the MFP market space. Sheehan formerly led sales organizations at LG Electronics and NEC Display Solutions, where he enjoyed success in creating and implementing sales strategies, increasing marketing ROI and driving revenue growth.
“John has consistently demonstrated a commitment and enthusiasm for developing profitable programs for our channel partners. Ever since he assumed his role in sales leadership, he made an immediate impact on the business. As a result, we’ve been able to show outstanding growth in our market share and reseller base. We’re proud to have John on the team and owe much of our success to his great work.”
—Mike Marusic, President and CEO, Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America
Why Ray Stasieczko is a difference maker:
Outspoken and visionary, Stasieczko has garnered a reputation for pulling no punches on the subject of the future direction of the imaging channel. An industry fixture for the better part of 30 years, he has owned dealerships, served in senior leadership roles and offered consulting services to dealers. A forerunner in both managed print and managed IT service deliverables, Stasieczko has expanded his visibility by contributing nearly 100 articles to industry publications. He can often be found as a speaker at industry events—he has given presentations at the RT Media Summits in Cairo, China and South America. His 2019 ITEX presentation on the Staples-DEX Imaging merger, the type of deal he had predicted a year earlier, was well received by a standing room only crowd. In 2017, he predicted the A4 machine would replace a majority of current walk-up devices. His “End of the Day with Ray” video series can be found on YouTube and LinkedIn, where he has nearly 19,000 followers. Stasieczko’s 200 videos and nearly 200 blog posts continue to inform and challenge the status quo.
“Ray’s ability to forecast industry events is uncanny. The reason I became a fan of Ray is because he’s always pushing the envelope for our industry as to what the imaging channel can do better or what the channel needs to change. Ray’s enthusiasm in his YouTube videos reflects his dedication and desire to keep our channel from becoming the status quo.”
—Arthur Post, CEO and Founder, Print4Pay Hotel
Why Lonnie Swisher is a difference maker:
It didn’t take long for Swisher to establish himself as a bona fide star in the Supplies Network family. In fact, he joined the organization as a member of the purchasing department not long after graduating from Central Missouri State University. Two years later, he became a sales representative and subsequently held various leadership roles. He joined the management team in 2011 as a central region sales manager, leaning on his experience and deep understanding of reseller needs to foster win-win relationships between his sales team and its accounts. In 2018, Swisher was named to his current position as strategic accounts sales manager. A results-oriented performer, he routinely exceeds his annual sales quota, garnering him recognition in Supplies Network’s President’s Club. He most recently captured the award in 2019, marking the fifth time he had earned the honor.
“Without question, Lonnie is a difference maker for our organization, as well as all the industry partners he serves. His dedication to his team and his customers is self-evident and I consider him a key contributor in achieving our mutual goals. On top of all that, Lonnie is an overall great person to be around, which makes working with him all the more enjoyable.”
—David Concors, Senior Vice President of Sales, Distribution Management/Supplies Network
Why Billy Turner is a difference maker:
A 20-year veteran of Milner Technologies, Turner has guided the company’s thriving managed IT services division, which enjoyed significant growth during the past five years. In fact, the division represents a healthy portion of the company’s gross revenues, and Turner’s group manages thousands of IT devices among customers across the southeast. A product of American InterContinental University in Schaumburg, Illinois, he is considered a well-respected voice among peer groups within the imaging channel member groups. In previous roles with then-Comsquared Systems, he served as account manager, sales engineer and partner development manager. Turner also earned an associate’s degree in computer engineering from Keiser University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
“Billy has crafted a simple motto for himself and his valuable IT services team for what’s important at Milner: One, do what’s best for the customer; two, do what’s best for the company; and three, do what’s best for your team. These principles have created a foundation of success and resulted in strong customer support sentiment across thousands of customer relationships during many decades of service. Billy is always willing to share helpful ideas, suggestions and best practices to others across the imaging channel and is viewed as a difference maker by the industry. Therefore, he fits perfectly on this list.”
—Michael Amiri, Senior Director, Continuum
Why Nikolay Velinski is a difference maker:
A native of Bulgaria, Velinski has carved quite a niche for himself in the world of software development. A freelancer for more than 10 years, he joined the Y Soft team as managing director and director of cloud services for Y Soft Latin America, where he quarterbacks the company’s cloud strategy for North and Latin America. When implementing the company’s cornerstone YSoft SafeQ in the cloud, he designed its Edge devices to be able to support any architecture a customer may need. Prior to joining Y Soft, he worked in Peru for eight years as a system administrator for a Canon representative. An entrepreneur, Velinski founded and directed technology companies in Bulgaria, Peru and the United States. His background includes a stint in the Bulgarian army and five years as a drummer in a band. He studied process automation at the University of Chemical Technology and Metallurgy in Bulgaria.
“Niko is leading Y Soft on our cloud-first journey to help transform YSoft SafeQ into a cloud-first solution. He has customized the Y Soft Cloud architecture so that it can support 2D and 3D printers, be deployed within a private or public cloud, and can be single-tenant or multi-tenant. His optimistic attitude that most problems only lack focus from a different perspective inspires many of us at Y Soft to roll up our sleeves and take a second look at roadblocks that we might have in our jobs.”
—Stephanie Kennard, Executive Vice President Sales NALA, Y Soft
Why Larry Weiss is a difference maker:
Few people would argue that Weiss has obtained celebrity status in his 45 years in the industry. After initially embarking on a career with Xerox, he made his most-pivotal move in 1982. It was then that he rescued a largely unknown Atlantic Photocopy from bankruptcy, building it from a five-person operation to one of the industry’s biggest players with more than 400 employees and 20,000 customers. Embracing a customer-first mentality, coupled with an altruistic approach to business helped put Weiss and Atlantic, Tomorrow’s Office on the office technology dealership map. Philanthropy has long been a driving force in his life, as evidenced by the company’s annual budget of $1 million earmarked for not-for-profit organizations. Weiss has selflessly donated his time and efforts to many worthy organizations, and sits on the boards of the National Kidney Foundation and St. Christopher’s Inc. A 20-year member of the Screen Actors Guild who has had minor roles in television and film, Weiss most recently appeared in an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (season 10, episode 8).
“Larry Weiss is a generous philanthropist and a successful entrepreneur who realizes that people who can, should give back for the well-being of others. In the spirit of being selfless and putting others first, he regularly takes time out of his busy schedule to support those in need. Larry’s involvement and major contributions benefit the community he sells to, including The National Kidney Foundation, The Make-A-Wish Foundation, The Jillian Fund, Kaplen JCC on the Palisades, Parker Jewish Institute, Unique People Services, The Fresh Air Fund and many more.”
—George Gorman, Executive Dealer Business Manager, Ricoh USA
Why Jeff Wilson is a difference maker:
So much of Flex Technology Group’s success can be traced back to the thought leadership and business acumen of the firm’s executive stars, and Wilson has risen to the occasion in both regards. He focuses on the company’s enterprise business development and national accounts and develops long-term customer relationships by differentiating the company’s collective business units from industry competitors. His understanding of the market and ability to motivate the company’s national sales teams is fueled by his 20 years of experience. Previously, Wilson served 10-plus years as vice president of business development for FlexPrint National Managed Print Solutions. Before landing at FlexPrint, he was a regional sales manager for Print Inc. of San Diego, covering the Phoenix and California markets.
“Jeff is a true difference maker at Flex Technology Group. A visible leader in the organization, his motivational techniques and relationship-building initiatives encourage consistent results from his sales teams. He absolutely plays a major role in the transformation and growth taking place at FTG.”
—Mike Phipps, Vice President, Caltronics
Why Kerstin Woods is a difference maker:
It might not be altogether inaccurate to refer to Woods as the industry’s resident rocket scientist. After all, she boasts a mechanical engineering degree from Stanford University and spent time designing rockets in the aerospace industry. These days, as vice president of product and solutions marketing at Toshiba America Business Solutions, Woods is creating and implementing successful expansion strategies for Toshiba’s e-STUDIO multifunction printers, thermal barcode printers, network document solutions, point-of-sale products and the Ellumina digital signage line, as well as third-party hardware, software and print-as-a-service offerings. She most recently served as senior director of channel product marketing at Oracle, with a focus on accelerating its cloud software revenue within the global channel ecosystem. She has 20 years of experience forming global partner alliances, as well as product and solutions development and partner/product marketing for small-to-large startups and Fortune 500 companies. In addition to mechanical engineering, she studied psychology and business at Stanford, where she also played Division I lacrosse for the Cardinal. Woods is a community volunteer for several organizations in Orange County, California.
“Since joining our team, Kerstin Woods has been instrumental in implementing successful marketing programs resulting in measurable impact for our direct and dealer channels. She is delivering fresh insights and perspectives for new marketing initiatives, as well as product and solutions introductions. Kerstin is a collaborative team member with energy and enthusiasm to further expand the ambitious objectives we are setting for ourselves.”
—Bill Melo, Chief Marketing Executive, Toshiba American Business Solutions