Cloudtech 1's Rick Beckers: From Typewriters to Cloud

From typewriters to cloud technology, Rick Beckers’ career has been a long journey of learning.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

June 1, 2016

4 Min Read
Cloudtech 1's Rick Beckers: From Typewriters to Cloud

**Editor’s Note: This is one of a series of profiles featuring Channel Partners advisory board members. Meet Beckers and the rest of the board by attending Channel Partners Evolution, Aug. 14-17, in Washington, D.C. Register here.**

James AndersonFrom typewriters to cloud technology, Rick Beckers’ career has been a long journey of learning.

“It’s been one evolution after another throughout a 35-year career, staying current and on top of things so that I can interpret it for my customers and bring them the best solutions using the technology that was available at the time,” the president of Cloudtech 1 told Channel Partners.

The Michigan-based MSP has been making a foray into cloud. The company rebranded itself from Pinnacle Technologies a year and a half ago in an effort to embrace the trend.

“It was clear at that point that the cloud, if you will, was not a fad, not a trend, and this time was actually going to come to fruition,” Beckers said. “And we wanted our name to be branded with it, because it was our intent to be the subject-matter experts on that topic in this area, at a minimum in Southeast Michigan and hopefully, over time, regionally and nationally.”

That change has been more than just in a name, he said. For Beckers and Cloudtech 1, the rebranding would have to come with knowledge and credibility in the subject matter. The company launched an educational program, Cloudtech 1 University, in order to inform business decision makers about cloud computing.

“We found that the only thing keeping business owners from embracing more cloud technology was the level of trust that they had for it, primarily in terms of how secure it is and how reliable and so on,” he said.{ad}

Beckers said there are two things holding up the mass migration to the cloud: 1) the business world’s resistance to change, and 2) Internet speeds. But the wireless capabilities that will come with 5G may change the game once again, he said.

“The sky is the limit, no pun intended, on the cloud,” he said.

Beckers said he’s always been the tech guy, even when tech looked much differently than it does now. Aptitude tests in grade school showed that he excelled at reading comprehension, which would help him consume technical expertise later in life.

“I naturally progressed to areas where I could read a manual and fix stuff,” he said. “And I was always interested in office automation and understanding how businesses work. So the two came together.”

He joined the Columbia Book Club with the intent of reading as many books about computers and electronics as he could. The books came pouring in, and it wasn’t until the 10th that he started to …


… comprehend what he was reading.

Starting very low-tech, Beckers began his career as a typewriter repairman, a job made easier by his quick typing skills.

“It led me to actually quite a lucrative career as a typewriter repairman, but as you can imagine, eventually they started going in the dumpster,” he said. “So they got replaced by word processors and then computers, and that was the beginning of my computing career.”

From there, he became a certified network engineer and advanced to the point where he was running companies. He started leading Pinnacle in 2003. In the past 20 years, Beckers’ companies have gone from VAR to MSP, to what is now dubbed the cloud service provider.

He recently joined Automation Alley, a technology association that’s working to develop businesses in Southeast Michigan. The organization voted him in as secretary of the technology committee in April.  Then Automation Alley came to Beckers with a familiar proposition.

“The COO of Automation Alley came in and tasked us with doing exactly what I’m doing with Cloudtech1 University, only doing it on a statewide level to stamp the brand on Michigan to the rest of the world that we are the place to be for cloud technologies.”

That is a point of pride for Beckers, who will tell you that education is one of the major themes of his career. Changing technologies have forced him to learn more and adapt his skills, and he says he wants to help other people adapt to the newest game changer.

“This whole educational piece that I’m involved in is quite a passion of mine,” he said. “It gives me the opportunity to pass along the knowledge that I’ve learned through a long career and as an early adaptor of cloud technologies.”

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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