The longtime distribution leader is the company's new chief commercial officer.

Jeff O'Heir

April 5, 2023

4 Min Read
distribution
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Marty Bauerlein has spent 30 years in distribution, including long stints at Ingram Micro and Tech Data. He wanted his next job to be his last and was looking for the perfect fit. He says he found it in the newly created role of chief commercial officer at D&H Distributing.

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D&H’s Marty Bauerlein

“It’s all about the people, and that’s not just Dan and Michael,” Bauerlein said, referring to the Schwab brothers who run the company as co-presidents. “That goes for everyone I talked to through this entire process. Every box got checked for me, which was awesome.”

In the new role, Bauerlein will focus on expanding the D&H Cloud Marketplace, the Modern Solutions Business Unit and other initiatives around managed, professional and integration services. The types of investments and commitment the Schwabs have made to those areas, along with all things cloud-related, were among the boxes Bauerlein was looking to check.

“It’s all about their vision and execution,” said Bauerlein, whose last job was head of North America VAR channels and commercial distribution at AMD.

Why D&H Hired Bauerlein

The Schwabs got to check off a few boxes of their own in hiring Bauerlein. D&H had made a handful of investments in its infrastructure, supply chain initiatives, professional and cloud services, sales teams and other areas during and since the pandemic. They needed someone with deep experience to manage and oversee it all.

Here’s our list of channel people on the move in March.

“Marty stood out above the rest in terms of his acumen, his experience, his channel knowledge and channel relationships,” Michael Schwab said. “We really did look for a best-in-class leader who could take all of those resources and bring them all together.”

On top of that, Bauerlein will focus on helping MSPs improve their productivity and profitability through distribution.

“With MSPs, it’s always bill vs. buy,” he said. “At D&H, we’ve invested in our logistics and integration capabilities because, at the end of the day, the VARs and MSPs are trying to look at how they can take costs out of their model. They can leverage companies like D&H to help them run as efficiently as possible and focus on their core business. The VARs and MSPs that figure it out have a huge advantage because scale in this business equals exponential growth.”

Bauerlein to Drive MSP Growth

Solution providers are beginning to look at AI as a potential growth area. D&H has yet to include any comprehensive AI software solutions in its marketplace. But that should soon change.

“I imagine if we’re having this conversation two quarters from now, there’ll be an offering or a type of solution perhaps from Microsoft and others that will become part of our go-to-market strategy,” Schwab said.

Comprehensive AI software solutions may not yet be fully baked for the general solution provider community. But some are gearing up to develop the technology in other ways. On his first day on the job, Bauerlein was with one of D&H’s presale engineers who was helping a VAR compile “a huge, massive, high-performance computer deal” that will be used for AI development.

“You need speed. You need efficiency. We are at the center of those opportunities,” he said. “When you’re building an AI solution, the VARs come to us to help them with the benchmarking. They leverage our expertise for a specific solution. We work with our OEMs, we look at their white papers, we look at actual use cases. Then we go back to our customer and connect them to the vendors that we think can solve their AI solution.”

While MSPs and other solution providers take time to develop AI knowledge and customer-facing solutions, there are sill plenty of opportunities to drive sales and profitability — especially through distribution, Bauerlein said.

“There are a lot of growth and opportunity left in this business,” he added.  “Distribution is like the mutual fund of IT. Everything comes through distribution. For me, this is where I belong.”

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Jeff O’Heir or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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About the Author(s)

Jeff O'Heir

Jeff O’Heir is a journalist and editor who has spent much of his career covering the business leaders, issues and trends that define the IT and consumer technology channels. His work in print, online and on stage has showcased, educated and connected small and large solution providers, MSPs, channel pros and vendors. During his career, Jeff has also covered engineering technologies and breakthroughs, crime, politics, food and the arts.

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