May 4, 2020
Whitaker is channel program chief for managed connectivity solutions (MCS). He was Kore’s vice president of channel partnerships, IoT enabler and cellular connectivity.
Sierra Wireless’ Chris Whitaker
“I am grateful to be able to come back and pick up where I left off,” Whitaker said. “Seems my work is not done here.”
Whitaker first joined Sierra Wireless in December 2015. Before that, he spent nearly nine years at Comcast Business.
Sierra Wireless is aligning its hardware and service channels under David Chu, global vice president of channel. The company wanted a single leader to better support all partners.
The IoT solutions provider combines devices, network services and software. In February, it announced an expanded mobile broadband portfolio and new IoT applications.
In addition, Sierra Wireless hired Dante White, previously with RingLogix, to manage the West region for the services channel team. Whitaker and White join Diane Mercer, Northeast channel manager; Lorrie Powell, South channel manager; and Ben Dunn, solution architect, as the channel support team.
Here’s our list of channel people on the move in April.
In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Whitaker talks about why he wanted to rejoin Sierra Wireless and his plans for the master agent channel in the months ahead.
Channel Partners: Why did you want to take this role with Sierra Wireless?
Chris Whitaker: I was the channel leader that launched this part of the business with Sierra back in 2016 and had a year break in service with another role. When I had the chance to go back to the team I was familiar with, it was a no-brainer. Not often does an opportunity like this happen in your career.
CP: What all are you responsible for in this new role?
CW: I will drive service channel strategy with our signed master agents. I will oversee our corporate relationships and program management. In addition, I’ll be our partners’ liaison with product, marketing, finance and legal.
CP: What’s your take on Sierra Wireless’ channel strategy? Are any changes needed?
CW: We have a strong team and offering, but I plan to enhance it by bringing in more IoT offerings for the channel and enhancing our current offerings. Like any program, we can always do better. We have over 20 years’ experience in this space and are unique in that we are the only hardware manufacturer bundling in connectivity and managing the connections.
Room for Improvement
CP: Will you build/expand/enhance any channel programs?
CW: I plan to; [I’m] evaluating now. As a cellular technology manufacturer, we are in a good spot to be the leader in this space for the services channel. I see some gaps in the overall channel and plan to fill them. [I] can’t reveal the gaps now; that will be for a future article.
CP: What are the biggest issues Sierra Wireless partners face and what will be your role in addressing them?
CW: The market is becoming crowded with all sorts of offerings, some good and some not so good. As we know, when it looks too good to be true, buyer beware. We are on the brink of many technology changes, so having a partner that can help navigate the maze is critical. My role is to be the channel’s inside resource, ensuring we add value to each engagement.
CP: What do you hope to have accomplished a year from now?
CW: My goal is to be the industry’s “go to” provider of cellular solutions. In addition, [to] be the education resource for all our partners on IoT and cellular data offerings.
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