March 28, 2018
**Editor’s Note: Click here to see which channel people were on the move in February.**
Avant Communications is investing major resources in Texas.
The master agent and technology distributor announced Wednesday that Rick Reed has joined the company as senior director of channel sales for the South Central U.S. Reed will lead partner recruitment and oversee the launch of a new BattleLab in the area. The company announced in January that its expansion would include multiple new BattleLabs, which partners use for training and to demonstrate UCaaS solutions to their customers.
Reed told Channel Partners that the BattleLab at Avant’s Chicago headquarters has been a blueprint for success.
Avant’s Rick Reed
“We want to put those out in the market and truly make that a home court advantage, not only for us, but for our partners to ultimately win more business,” Reed said. “Avant is investing in the channel, and I think it’s very evident to the channel what they’re doing.”
Reed most recently worked as the senior vice president of sales for Channel Partners, where he grew the company’s event and media platforms. He spent the previous 15 years at AT&T and helped launch AT&T Partner Exchange.
Drew Lydecker, Avant president and co-founder, tells Channel Partners that Avant has doubled its size in the last 12 months. The master agent/distributor is looking to grow in specific markets.
“We believe Texas is a massive opportunity for us, with Rick’s leadership and knowledge and experience; with what Jackie [Duffy, senior partner manager, has] been able to do to set the foundation; with the future Lab coming on board; and with us kind of redefining the customer experience, the opportunity to us is limitless,” Lydecker said.
We interviewed Reed about his decision to join Avant and his goals for his new position. The transcript has been edited for length and clarity.
Channel Partners: What led you to Avant?
Rick Reed: First of all, I want to give a big thanks to Informa and Channel Partners for a great two-and-a-half years. It’s a wonderful brand with wonderful people there. I think at the end of the day what I’m most proud about is, we grew that platform — the events and media platform for the channel. I want to wish nothing but success for all the people in the Channel Partners brand. I just wanted to say that first and foremost.
Why did I want to come on to Avant? I kind of think of this in two different answers. I knew immediately that Avant was for me and for the next chapter of my career. At a very high level, the leadership team with Ian and Drew and Shane and Alex (and I could go on and on) — [I have] nothing but tremendous respect for the leadership team, what they’ve done and what they’ve built here inside the channel. The culture that the team has created at Avant is second to none, not only internally but what you see out in the channel and at the events — I love it.
Last is the reputation that Avant has in the channel. They’re the premier channel sales-enablement leader, and that’s something that I wanted to be part of.
There is absolutely a huge opportunity in the South Central region inside the channel. If you think about it, there [are] more of the top markets that we have in the U.S., specifically in Texas —Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and Houston. Jackie Duffy, our senior partner manager in that area, has established tremendous success bringing Avant to that region and growing the partners there. That ultimately has enabled us to double-down in that market. At the end of the day, I’m going to be responsible for focusing on the growth of that existing partner base that we have in our ecosystem, bringing new partners to Avant, and what I’m really excited about – and I think the channel should be excited about is – we’re ultimately looking to …
… open a BattleLab in the Dallas area.
CP: You were on the vendor side, then the event/media side. How does it feel different now being with Avant?
RR: We’re going to be at the Channel Partners [Conference & Expo] in Vegas, and I’m going to be on the other side of the table. But you know what — I’ve been on the other side of the table. I spent 15 years at AT&T before I joined Channel Partners. Really the last three years of that was my foray into the channel, helping to launch the AT&T Partner Exchange program. I really enjoyed doing that, and quite honestly fell in love with the channel. During those years I built some tremendous relationships with our top solution providers, our top agents, and quite frankly built a strong relationship with Channel Partners.
And then my two-and-a-half years with Channel Partners enabled me to grow that network: work with the provider side, but also down to the agent and solution-provider side.
CP: What has the relationship been with Avant over the years?
RR: Obviously at Channel Partners, I did work very directly with Avant, got to know them and got to know their culture, and quite frankly got know why they are dominating inside of the channel. From afar, that’s why I really respected this brand and this organization, so when it was time for the next chapter of my career, at the end of the day it was a no-brainer for me to come on board.
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