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MSPmentor 250 Hall of Fame

Who are the top managed services provider (MSP) experts, entrepreneurs and executives of all time? Instead of showing up on our annual MSPmentor 250 list, those MSPmentor Hall of Famers are locked away here forever -- Locked in the NOC.

Jessica Davis

December 22, 2014

19 Min Read
MSPmentor 250 Hall of Fame

Welcome to Locked in the NOC (Network Operations Center) list. If you were to build a managed services provider (MSP) business, these are the folks you'd want to kidnap and LOC in your NOC — to gather their technical, business, sales, marketing and community insights — forever.

The Locked in the NOC Hall of Fame started in 2012, and is updated with new members each year. It is separate from our annual MSPmentor 250 list, which honors the top MSP market leaders for a specific year.

Launched in 2012 and expanded in 2013 and 2014, our honorees are listed below.

Locked in the NOC: MSPmentor Hall of Fame

Derik Belair, VP Marketing, N-able Technologies

Belair joined N-able in 2000, establishing himself as one of the MSP industry's earliest marketing experts. Also a veteran of Corel, Belair is know for his worldwide travels with N-able peer Mike Cullen, rallying MSPs and technology partners in all corners of the globe.

Arnie Bellini, CEO, ConnectWise  

Bellini has successfully expanded ConnectWise into new markets multiple times. After launching an IT services business with his brother in Tampa, Fla., Bellini has spent the past decade building a software business focused on MSPs and IT service providers. More recently, ConnectWise Capital has invested in CharTec, LabTech Software and Quosal, giving MSPs more tightly integrated tools upon which to build their businesses. The ConnectWise companies are expected to generate about $100 million in revenues for 2012. Bellini has also overseen IT Nation, an annual end-of-year conference where top MSPs and IT service providers gather to compare business strategies for the coming year. When not running ConnectWise, Bellini has completed Iron Man competitions and also generated headlines by attempting to swim the English Channel in mid-2012.

David Bellini, President, ConnectWise

Bellini oversaw ConnectWise's IT services business in Tampa before shifting his focus to ConnectWise Capital and the ConnectWise software business about two years ago. Together with brother Arnie, Bellini has built one of the MSP industry's top software providers. Outside of the office, Bellini is known to hike mountains — big mountains.

Renee Bergeron, VP, Managed Services and Cloud Computing, Ingram Micro Inc.

In 2012, Bergeron spearheaded an effort that brought nearly 60 new cloud products and services to the Ingram Micro Cloud line card by midyear. Under her guidance, the cloud portfolio has grown to more than 100 solutions from 40 different vendors. Those products are available through the Cloud Marketplace, which was developed under Bergeron's guidance. The transactional website enables MSPs to procure, provision and invoice cloud services directly from Ingram Micro.

Gerald Blackie, Formerly CEO, Kaseya    

Before exiting in 2013, Blackie built Kaseya into one of the top providers of IT automation software for MSPs and corporate IT departments. His knack for building international management teams gave Kaseya extensive reach across North America, Europe, South Africa, Australia/New Zealand, Asia and more. Blackie has also inspired MSPs to embrace industry standards like ITIL in order to optimize their business best practices.

Nick Bock, CEO, Five Nines Technology Group    

Bock has built Five Nines into one of Nebraska's best-known MSPs. He's particularly active in HTG Peer Groups, helping to mentor peer MSPs that are just getting started in the managed services market. Under his leadership, Five Nines landed on the Inc. 5000 list — honoring the fastest growing privately held companies — four years in a row. Five Nines also was recognized as the Small Business of the Year for Nebraska in 2011.

Larry Bodie, President and CEO, Claris Networks

Bodie's blend of technical savvy, business practicality and visionary leadership helped grow Claris Networks from 24 employees to over 80 in three years. In addition to creating jobs and developing one of the fastest growing private companies in the US despite a flagging economy, Bodie has been recognized as one of the most influential leaders in the managed services industry and general business community by regional and national publications.

Matt Bolton, VP Product Management, Network Management Division, Quest Software

Bolton is a co-founder of PacketTrap Networks, which Quest Software acquired in December, 2009. More recently, he led the successful acquisition of BlueFolder — which is now PacketTrap PSA. Quest Software now offers both RMM and PSA capabilities to its MSP partner base.

Tim Brewer, Formerly Operations Director, Anittel    

Brewer has been providing executive leadership at some of the fastest growing managed services businesses in the world. In 2010 Brewer successfully spearhead negotiations to Merge Accord in a $60 million rollup of IT and telco companies to form Anittel. The company in 2011 was named by Deloitte and CRN as Australia's fastest growing technology firm. Brewer is a peer co-facilitator in the ConnectWise Australia & New Zealand user group. He regularly speaks at industry events and sits on a number of Global and Australian boards.

Jane Cage, Consultant, Former COO, Heartland Technology Solutions

Jane Cage served as COO of Heartland Technology Solutions for years, and has been an active community leader, most recently as Chair of the Citizens Advisory Recovery Team in Joplin, MO which was awarded the Rick Rescorla National Award for Resilience, recognizing contributions in the aftermath of the May 2011 Joplin tornados. She also serves as a facilitator for the Ingram Micro VentureTech Network. Cage has been inducted into the CompTIA Hall of Fame.


Paul Chisholm, CEO, mindSHIFT Technologies Inc.    

Under Chisholm's leadership, mindSHIFT completed its sale to Best Buy in December 2011 for $167 million. Since joining mindSHIFT in 2003, Paul grew the company to more than $100 million in revenue. Aggressive expansion continues, with the acquisition of White Glove Technologies (Texas) and the opening of new mindSHIFT offices in Chicago in July, 2012.

Mike Cooch, CEO, Kutenda    

Cooch remains Locked in the NOC not for any single move he has made. Rather, MSPmentor respects his ability to continually launch new businesses — ranging from IT service providers to marketing organizations to coaching initiatives. Kooch always comes armed to a business conversation with strong opinions and practical advice for his audience. We expect to keep learning from Cooch as he continually pushes into new markets.

Todd Croteau, President, All Covered

Croteau leads one of North America's best known MSPs and IT service providers in the SMB market. He led All Covered's sale to Konica Minolta. The IT business now exceeds $100 million and the company has acquired eleven MSPs since early 2011.

Justin Crotty, Senior VP and GM, NetEnrich Inc.

Crotty is an industry expert, influential voice and a long-time advocate for managed IT and cloud-based services. Since joining NetEnrich in 2010, he has been instrumental in building the company's channel-exclusive sales strategy and ensuring NetEnrich partners know the market rundown and have what they need to grow and scale their business in a more profitable way, while creating recurring revenue streams and added customer value. Crotty previously played a key role in Ingram Micro's cloud and MSP strategies. As the former VP of Services, North America, his focus on Ingram Micro Seismic paved the way for Ingram Micro Cloud.

Mike Cullen, Senior VP Sales, N-able Technologies

SolarWinds acquired N-able in 2013. Cullen still drives global sales at N-able, crisscrossing the world to meet with MSPs in North America, Europe, South Africa, India and Australia. For more than a decade he has helped to shape the managed services market. More recently, Cullen has established himself as an expert on IaaS opportunities for MSPs. Before N-able, Cullen held top positions at IKON Office Solutions, Canon and Pitney Bowes.

Len DiCostanzo, Senior VP, Community and Business Development, Autotask

DiCostanzo is a familiar face to the Autotask user base, having worked closely with the company's MSPs since 2008. More recently, he has been focused on strategic industry alliances, allowing Autotask to work more closely with MSP-centric software, services and cloud providers.

J. Michael Drake, CEO, masterIT

Drake has been a clear thought leader in this industry now for years. He was and still is the clear pioneer when it comes to hardware as a service (HaaS), and has now become one of the leaders in the space educating other MSPs regarding mobile device management. Drake is frequently asked by many vendors and associations (Autotask, TruMethods and others) to conduct presentations at their meetings and gatherings, and has consistently run one of the more profitable MSP businesses in the industry.

Jeannine Edwards, Director of Community, ConnectWise and LabTech Software

Edwards and her team have built one of the most successful, most engaged communities within the MSP industry. More recently, she has pushed beyond ConnectWise User Groups to help sister company LabTech build its worldwide community of MSPs. Edwards also works closely with the ConnectWise vendor community, driving software, hardware and services relationships. Her team has also positioned IT Nation, an annual conference, as one of the largest, most successful gatherings of IT service providers, MSPs and VARs.

Gavin Garbutt, Formerly CEO, N-able Technologies

SolarWinds acquired N-able in mid-2013. Garbutt co-founded N-able in 2000 and now serves as the company's CEO. He oversaw a 2011 private equity deal that has fueled new R&D and company expansion worldwide. N-able's N-central is one of the world's top managed services software platforms.

Bob Godgart, Founder and Managing Partner, ChannelEyes; former CEO, Autotask

Godgart is formerly chairman of CompTIA and co-founder of ChannelEyes, a social media network for VARs, MSPs and IT service providers that want to communicate more closely with their vendor partners. Godgart previously was co-founder and CEO of Autotask, a SaaS software provider that he grew from $0 to about $20 million. Under Godgart's leadership, Autoask helped to define business management and pro-active support for MSPs.

Jim Hamilton, VP, Member Communities, CompTIA

Hamilton built the MSP Partners community, which CompTIA acquired in 2009. He has since led CompTIA's build-out of multiple channel-centric communities for VARs, MSPs and emerging cloud services providers. His efforts to get IT vendors on the same page, while educating MSPs, have pushed the market forward.

Mike Jones, CEO, Clinic Anywhere

Jones radically changed the economics and go-to-market strategy of his company, formerly known as ETG, now Clinic Anywhere. He acquired a medical billing company and aligned with a cloud SaaS solution to capitalize on his 10-year brand equity as a medical-only managed service provider. Now, he's positioned the company as a "vertical services provider." While doing this, Jones was also able to maintain his revenue and significantly improve his gross margins and bottom line profitability.

Phil LaForge, President & CEO, TDS Hosted and Managed Services LaForge is busy building one of North America's most successful MSPs. This is a familiar theme for the LaForge. He previously helped CDW to build and expand CDW's managed services business practices. And more recently, he was a driving force at Nimsoft — the MSP software provider that CA Technologies ultimately acquired. During the early days of MSPmentor, LaForge wrote some of the most popular guest blogs ever posted on this site. His knack for understanding sales compensation plans, customer engagement strategies and pricing models earns him a seat in our NOC — forever.

  • Inducted: 2013

  • http://www.linkedin.com/philiplaforge.com

  • http://www.twitter.com/plaforge

  • http://www.tdstelecom.com

Michael Locher, CEO, Enterprise Integration

Locher, an industry visionary and forward-thinker, started Enterprise Integration to provide world-class managed services. He left a hugely successful corporate job, winning more than 30 performance awards and opened the doors of Enterprise Integration in 1998. With his insight, vision, dedication and a great team to guide the company, Locher has grown the business from zero to $24 million.

Bob Penland, CTO, TruMethods

Penland is the technology mind behind TruMethods, one of the world's most successful MSP communities. He has also held influential posts at Kaseya, mindSHIFT and start-up MSPs that went on to rapid growth. Similar to Scottie Pippen during the Michael Jordan era in Chicago, Penland works closely with TruMethods CEO Gary Pica — but he's an MSP hall-of-famer in his own right.

  • Inducted: 2013

  • http://www.trumethods.com

  • http://linkedin.com/in/bpenland

  • http://www.twitter.com/bpenland

Gary Pica, President, TruMethods

Under Pica's leadership, TruMethods has emerged as one of the top consulting firms and coaching organizations for MSPs. During TruMethods' annual member conference (Schnizzfest 2012), 140 companies, generating more than $3.3 million in new monthly recurring revenue, gathered. The Top 10 averaged more than $105,000 in new monthly MRR since joining TruMethods. Pica previously built and led an MSP that mindSHIFT acquired.

Robin Robins, CEO, Technology Marketing Toolkit

Robins is one of the IT channel's best-known marketing and sales experts. Similar to a personal trainer who can whip you into shape, Robins developed a marketing system for VARs, MSPs, cloud integrators and IT outsourcing companies. More than 5,000 IT business owners have leveraged her sales, marketing and training tools.

Raj Sabhlok, CEO, Zoho Corp. (parent of ZOHO and ManageEngine)    

Sabhlok oversees two of the world's top companies in the managed and cloud services markets. ManageEngine is one of the leading providers of IT management and automation software for MSPs. Similarly, Zoho is one of the top providers of SaaS and cloud applications.

Peter Sandiford, Formerly CEO, Level Platforms

AVG Technologies acquired Level Platforms in 2013. Sandiford shifted to VP of business development at AVG at that time. The original 2012 entry: Sandiford has continued to evolve Level Platforms' Managed Workplace platform to help the company's global partner base; those partners, in turn, are growing their businesses. With Managed Workplace 2012, Sandiford and his team introduced new Mobile Device Management capabilities that allow MSPs to monitor and secure smartphones and tablets, as well as fully integrated Network Operations Center and Help Desk Services to allow MSPs to deliver 24x7x365 remediation and support offerings. But the bigger story here involves Sandiford successfully positioning Level Platforms to build relationships with Intel, Symantec and other leading IT vendors.

David Schafran, Managing Partner, Cogent Growth Partners

Schafran has over 25 years of experience both running and consulting with IT services firms. He positioned Cogent Growth Partners as a buy-side M&A firm focused on IT services. His expertise covers all aspects of IT services, including strategy, operations, marketing, technology, HR Management and business governance.

Mark Scott, CEO, TUC Brands

Scott has pioneered numerous business models in the MSP market for more than a decade. He currently leads TUC brands — which is acquiring and integrating MSPs to build one of North America's leading IT service providers. Scott's current focus includes strategy; the company's technology roadmap; along with mergers and acquisitions. A career entrepreneur, Scott has launched three companies over the past 18 years focused on business-to-business services, including two market-defining firms in the managed IT services industry — including N-able Technologies. He also serves on the MSPAlliance board of directors.

Dan Shapero, Founder, ClikCloud    

Shapero, a Kaseya veteran, has helped hundreds of MSPs to build and shape their businesses. Most recently, he launched ClikCloud — which offers digital marketing services to MSPs. Check the speaking circuit and you'll often see Shapero on the agenda for CompTIA-oriented eduational sessions.

MJ Shoer, President, Jenaly Technology Group, Inc.    

Shoer successfully guided Jenaly Technology Group to it's 15th anniversary in 2012. The company has seen continual growth in the business year over year, most notably in net earnings over time. He is deeply active with CompTIA, ASCII Group, Robin Robins and ConnectWise. He also volunteers his time locally, chairing a local Crime Stoppers Board that serves 12 local communities. Under Shoer's leadership, Jenaly has also become one of the founding partners of TOGL, an OS33 Master MSP in the cloud services space.

Jeff Shreeve, CEO, StorageCraft Technology Corp.   

Shreeve has quietly led StorageCraft to one of the biggest software success stories in the MSP market. StorageCraft has doubled its revenues (at a minimum) in each of the past three years (2008-2011), building OEM relationships with many of the industry's top BDR solutions providers. Shreeve also positioned StorageCraft to work incredibly closely with VMware long before most MSP-centric software companies were in the virtualization market.

Arlin Sorensen, Founder & CEO, Heartland Technology Solutions & HTG Peer Groups

Sorensen is best-known for building a successful managed services business while also growing HTG Peer Groups. More recently Sorensen has been driving life-work balance awareness with an emphasis on making sure entrepreneurs don't lose site of the family lives and spousal relationships. Currently, following a successful pilot effort, Sorensen is preparing the 2013 launch of the Heartland Leadership Group –which drives solution provider success through executive coaching.

John Stewart, Father of ITIL

Stewart is one of the key people who developed ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) — a set of practices for IT service management (ITSM) that focuses on aligning IT services with the needs of business. During his time as Director Best Practice at the UK Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA), now the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), the organization developed the ITIL framework. In 2012, he received an itSMF-France trophy for his ITIL work.

  • Inducted: 2013

  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-s-stewart/45/69a/9a

Mark Sutherland, Formerly President, Kaseya    

With over 20 years of software product development experience, Sutherland guides Kaseya's product development and architecture team. Roughly two years ago he played a key role in Kaseya's push beyond on-premises software to cloud-based IT automation software. He also positioned Kaseya to aggressively push into the mobile device management (MDM) market in 2011, giving MSPs the ability to maintain Apple iOS and Google Android devices.

Phil Van Etten, Formerly CEO, Azaleos

Under Van Etten's watch, Azaleos was named the 28th fastest growing technology company in North America in 2011, and 10th fastest in its primary industry (software), by Deloitte. He grew revenues by more than 100 percent in 2010 and 2011. At last count, Azaleos had more than one million seats under management for its managed UC services across Fortune 500, federal government, and medium business customers.

Tommy Wald, Founder, TW Tech Ventures; Former CEO, White Glove Technologies    

Wald successfully sold his MSP businesses twice, but has continued to mentor and coach MSP business owners and has been leading the way in helping them adopt cloud services into their business model. He also advises technology companies as they strive to deliver their solutions to the MSP community. He currently serves on Ingram Micro's Cloud and CompTIA advisory councils.

Dan Wensley, Formerly Vice President, Partner Development and Marketing, Level Platforms

Wensley exited Level Platforms when AVG Technologies acquired the company in 2013. Original 2012 Induction Entry: Wensley drives the continuing growth and expansion of Level Platforms community of solutions providers and MSPs. As of August 2012, Level Platforms had partners in over 30 countries adopting Managed Workplace as the platform of choice for managed services. Wensley in 2012 organized a roadshow that attracted 1400 attendees in North America, the UK and Ireland. He was nominated to CompTIA's Board of Directors in 2011.

Paul Wong, Formerly CTO, Kaseya    

Wong has spent 22 years designing and developing systems and software products for the computer security and software industries. As co-founder and CTO, his former Kaseya responsibilities include all aspects of the architecture of the Web-based remote PC management system, and the software design and implementation of the client/server components of the system.


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About the Author(s)

Jessica Davis

Jessica Davis is the former Content Director for MSPmentor. She spent her career covering the intersection of business and technology.  She's also served as Editor in Chief at Channel Insider and held senior editorial roles at InfoWorld and Electronic News.

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