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WTG Chooses Long-Time Channel Vet as First-Ever Strategic Alliances Director

WTG's new director of strategic alliances will be a high-level overlay position for its LECs.

Edward Gately

December 8, 2017

8 Min Read
Strategic alliance

Master agent WTG has hired channel veteran Tom Gorey, formerly with Integra and XO Communications, to fill the newly created role of director of strategic alliances.

WTG announced his hiring during this week’s Hawaiian Holiday event in Palm Springs. He most recently was a consultant with Evernex and Channel2Go.

Vince Bradley, WTC’s CEO, tells Channel Partners that Gorey’s role will be a high-level overlay position for the master agent’s LECs. He will make sure “we are driving the message, driving the sales and then more importantly than all is to support on the highest level,” he said.

“It’s exciting times right now in the channel and so for us that position was really necessary and it was really about finding the right person, and we couldn’t be happier with Tom,” he said.

WTG has 150 providers and 3,000 agents, VARs and MSPs, and offers traditional telecom services such as local and long-distance, telephony circuits, wireless and internet connectivity, and an expanding portfolio of cloud computing services.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Gorey talks about his goals for the new position and shares insights about the channel and the numerous changes that have occurred in recent years.

Channel Partners: Why did you want to take this position with WTG?

Gorey-Tom_WTG.jpg

WTG’s Tom Gorey

Tom Gorey: I’ve known these guys for about 20 years now, and they’re just a good group of people, they’ve got a good mission, they’re always thinking about what’s going on next in the future and I wanted to be a part of that.

CP: What’s your take on WTG’s current channel strategy? Any changes needed?

TG: We’re in a technology industry so there’s always going to be an evolution, there’s always a change. And we’re also going through this at a time of tremendous change with our partners. We’ve got mergers and acquisitions going on all over the place, and as they redefine how they go to market, that’s going to cause changes in the distribution channel. I love change. We will adapt to it.

CP: Are there a lot of challenges ahead?

TG: I wouldn’t call them challenges so much as opportunities because it gives everybody a chance to reset and think. When things are status quo, everyone’s just happy doing what they’ve been doing, and when they see changes in the market they have to figure out how do they react to that. So that causes everybody to take a step back and pause, and say OK, what am I going to do with this now? And while they’re making those decisions it…

…gives you an opportunity to reset what you’re doing and how you’re going to support the new environment, and to offer those perspectives on how you think you can make that easier for people. So it’s a great time for this.

CP: One of the big topics at this event has been the Internet of Things (IoT) and all of the opportunities. What are your thoughts on IoT and the expanding role it’s going to be playing with WTG and its partners, providers, etc.?

TG: In one sense IoT seems to be kind of common and boring because we’re talking very simple things, very simple devices. We’ve talked about how very simple devices and things can be combined in an aggregate and to allow you different perspectives, different ways for you to monitor, measure and understand the environment, and that’s interesting because it brings the whole analytical side into it. But the other piece … is the explosive growth because all of these things require bandwidth to be able to communicate. And just the sheer volume of these devices, and how and where they will be deployed is going to drive bandwidth … similar to the growth of the internet experience. So it’s another piece on top that the normal business growth would not have accommodated. So this is going to be a huge driver.

CP: There’s been lots of talk about opportunities presented by IoT, but still questions persist about how you get started.

TG: Part of that is because you’re talking about people who have largely grown up in this industry by selling networking solutions, and that means the lower end of the OSI stack. When we’re talking about IoT, they’re specifically addressing things at the opposite end of the application layer and most of these people are not specialists in that area. So if we provide them bundles and solutions that are prepackaged, they’ll be able to drop that in and it will make sense. And if not, it’s going to be a longer education for them.

CP: So making it easy for them is the key?

TG: Let me put it like this. If you’re going to go out and buy a car, you’re not going to go out and buy tires and buy an engine, buy a frame and all these pieces. You’re going to go out and buy something that…

…people have assembled, and you’re going to look for a solution that delivers what you need. You start to make those decisions and then you buy something that people have assembled for that. As an industry, if we come up with that type of thing, then this group will be able to sell it, and then to monetize it would be a no-brainer. But if they have to go back and figure out how they put pieces together, that’s a different group of people, that’s not necessarily the people that are in this distribution channel today.

CP: What are your goals in your new position for the first six months to a year?

TG: We’ve got a new program that’s being launched from Verizon to the channel and a new one being launched from AT&T to the channel starting the first of the year … and some of these are still in active contract negotiations, so my goal is to make sure that we understand that, that we make sure the company is aligned to take advantage and that we can support partners because that’s what this is all about. It’s supporting partners so they can deliver the right solutions to the end client, the guy that pays all the bills. So my goal is to make sure that we have set up the right support structure on the back end so we can support our agent community and that we can help them grow their business, and we would naturally grow along with that.

CP: What are the biggest issues and challenges for WTG and its partners, and what will be your role in addressing those?

TG: The big challenge is always maintaining relevance so that you become a distribution channel of choice, and you do that by making sure that you create the right value for those partners. And obviously one of my roles is going to be to open up more lines of communication so that we understand the needs of the community better and that we can communicate what we’re doing to help support that and make sure that this all works within the environment the vendors understand as well so we can listen to their support along the way.

CP: How will you be making use of your extensive experience in the channel in your new role?

TG: I’m a builder. I like to build things from scratch and if they’re not there then I’d like to take it into the next level. I’ve been fortunate in my career in that I (was) involved with the building of the GTE VAR channel initially, which got me into this business and out of the computer industry. I was in…

…the beginnings of the Qwest business partner program where we also built up VARs and I launched the integrator channel there. I did the rebuild out of MCI, that was when they were in bankruptcy and came out, and they had to open up a whole new partner program. And then I was involved in rebuilding an XO infrastructure that had seemed to have lost its purpose, and we grew that into one of the role models in the industry and now that’s a part of what Verizon’s rolling into their new program. So it’s just a matter of the sum total of experience of having done this several times in the past and just doing it for the carriers, and I can do it in the distribution channel now.

CP: What sort of changes have you seen in the channel and what are we likely to see in the coming years?

TG: The changes are interesting because the technology goes from things that people are familiar with and relatively simple, to things that have many more options for how you can do more things, you can deploy more things, and it requires a different type of perspective on the industry. The potentials were really simple before, take what we’re doing and do more of it, and now it’s take what we’re doing and figure out more ways that you can do more things. It adds another dimension or two.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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