Ultimate Channel Insider Passes AwayUltimate Channel Insider Passes Away
The solution provider channel lost part of its heart and soul with the passing of Barbara Jane Castellano, who died March 28, 2013, after a battle with breast cancer and eventually bronchitis. She was 77 years old. Barbara was the ultimate channel insider and helped hundreds of channel professionals find employment. She sewed into their lives, businesswise and personally, and literally made careers.
April 7, 2013
The solution provider channel lost part of its heart and soul with the passing of Barbara Jane Castellano, who died March 28, 2013, after a battle with breast cancer and eventually bronchitis. She was 77 years old.
Barbara was the ultimate channel insider and helped hundreds of channel professionals find employment. She sewed into their lives, businesswise and personally, and literally made careers.
Barbara owned her own successful business, Professional Computer Placements, and worked with the channel heavy-hitters and other IT firms during their heyday including Entre and Intelligent Electronics (IE). She eventually branched out and helped other big channel companies such as MicroAge, Inacom and others.
Barbara started at Entre in 1984 and was the admin for the field support group where she handled the franchisee issues. That was how she met a lot of people, according to Jim Ciccarelli, former CEO of the Reseller Division of IE. Incidentally, Jim was just inducted into the CompTIA IT Hall of Fame for his innovation in franchising and distribution—an honor long overdue, in my opinion, but kudos to CompTIA for celebrating the individuals who built the channel and the IT industry through blood, sweat and relationships. Barbara was cut from the same cloth and there aren’t many left in business like them.
After Entre sold to IE, she went into recruiting. When IE was eventually broken up and sold, she went out on her own and was still making placements until January of this year, Jim told me.
It was through Jim that I first met Barbara. It was at an IE reseller event. From the start we hit it off—maybe because we were both from Brooklyn—and immediately realized that we can help each other tremendously by sharing information. You see, while I had access to certain industry executives on a regular basis, Barbara was in constant contact with channel professionals looking for new opportunities with stories to tell. She was always one of the first to know about a restructuring, executive hire and executive shuffle. She was my ace in the hole on many channel stories and in return I would introduce her to any executive I could get in her in front of and let her do her thing.
Barbara was real, honest and told it to you straight. She was to the point and didn’t mince words, but she didn’t have a malicious bone in her body. Regardless of my lofty titles and assumed influence, she treated me like a long lost nephew, still wet behind the ears sometimes, and never missed an opportunity to give me pointers on my email communications, phone skills and mannerisms. She just couldn’t help herself.
Jim Scheper, who worked at Entre from 1984 to 1988 and currently is vice president of Business Development at FPX, remembers Barbara keeping 25 field support reps in line, before email and voice mail. “Always a laugh. Her energy, her support, her attitude, always put a smile on my face,” he said.
Added Mark Briggs, former CEO of IE’s Reseller Network after Ciccarelli and current chairman and CEO of Premier BPO: “Barbara was a friend to all our dealers as well as IE. She was extraordinary in her ability to ferret out the right person for the right job. Barbara was part of what made the IE network the best in the computer channel. She will be missed by many people, including me.”
She was born Oct. 16, 1936, and was married in November 1956 to Nicholas Castellano. Barbara and Nick moved their family to Sterling Park, Va., in September 1963. Barbara is survived by her six children: Nicholas Castellano of Mesa, Ariz.; Rose Castellano of Sterling, Va.; Margaret von Gersdorff of Philomont, Va.; Art Castellano of Centreville, Va.; Barb Tatum of Leesburg, Va.; and Michael Castellano of Round Hill, Va.; as well as 13 grandchildren.
She was a tremendous influence on many lives, mine included.
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