The channel is contributing more and more to Granite's success, says the company's VP of channel and wholesale distribution.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

November 16, 2020

6 Min Read
Top Gun 51 CP CF 2020 Main Colors

Granite Telecommunications is now raking in upward of $250 million in revenue each year, according to Charlie Pagliazzo.

Pagliazzo, Granite’s vice president of channel and wholesale distribution, spoke about his company’s growth in a recent interview with Channel Partners. The company has bolstered its customer base this year, signing partnerships with Wanify and 128 Technology and winning a deal with a popular master agent.

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Granite’s Charlie Pagliazzo

Pagliazzo himself has enjoyed some attention this year. A panel of analysts, distributors, master agents picked Pagliazzo and dozens of other channel executives to the Top Gun 51 list. The award recognizes leaders who advocate for the indirect channel. Pagliazzo, for example, led Granite to expand its regional channel manager team. And the Granite Channels division has registered a faster growth rate in 2020 than ever before.

Pagliazzo answered several questions from Channel Partners about Granite, the telecom channel and his career. We have edited the transcript for clarity.

Channel Partners: You’ve been at Granite for some time now. Looking back on when you started with the company, how has the company changed?

Charlie Pagliazzo: That’s a question that could take quite a while to answer. Quick summary? The change has really been all about growth. The number of clients we support, the number of people both in our organization as well as those with whom we’re privileged enough to partner, and finally, the phenomenal growth in the products and solutions we offer. I’m fortunate in that I was tasked with establishing Granite Channels when the company was starting out as a regional provider to businesses in the Northeast; for a short time we were known for being a nationwide POTS line aggregator. That’s still true, but the explosion of technology solutions in the telecom industry has seen Granite become one of the top 10 largest telecom providers in the country, with over $1.5 billion in annual client revenues.

Now, Granite offers a suite of solutions that range from, yes, POTS consolidation, to access services, digital voice offerings, network architecture options such as SD-WAN and MPLS, managed services, mobility voice and data, and infrastructure design/build capabilities. I’d be remiss to not point out the significant impact the channel has had on Granite’s growth. Today, a great team and the partners that we are fortunate to work with every day are leading the way in revenue growth at Granite Telecommunications.

Granite’s Charlie Pagliazzo is part of Channel Partners/Channel Futures’ 2020 Top Gun 51. This program recognizes today’s channel executives who build and execute channel programs that drive partner, customer and supplier success. See the full list.

One other note: The results of Granite’s longtime commitment to helping others has changed in that it has grown as well. Our organization has raised over $220 million for charitable organizations, with $35 million specifically for cancer research over the last seven years. I love that our partners have participated in that; there are some great pictures out there showing many of us shaving our heads for cancer research at Channel Partners in Vegas. Very gratifying to be part of that.

CP: It’s been a crazy year. What are you most proud of Granite accomplishing during this time?

Pagliazzo: It sure has been. The ability of the Granite team to support our clients and our partners during the pandemic has been a source of pride for us. The reality is that many of our clients have faced extraordinary hardship both financially and operationally. Granite stepped up in a big way to make sure our clients had a path to get through those financial challenges, leveraging our financial stability to assist them with terms they could manage. Operationally, our expanded product offerings allowed us to provide solutions that enabled our clients to operate in a remote fashion as they had never done before. Installing circuits in home offices and rapidly deploying wireless devices to their employees allowed our clients to continue functioning as efficiently as possible.

I appreciate how our partners were motivated to find ways to ensure their clients we’re as well cared for as possible — increasing the cadence in which we interacted with our mutual clients was well received. Shout out to our Granite team as well; 1,500 of our 2,000-plus employees work out of our headquarters campus. Many made the commitment to meet our responsibility as a utility to ensure we were staffed 24/7 and ensure our clients’ services were up and running.

CP: Tell us a bit about your career. How did you come to work in the channel?

Pagliazzo: I’ve been in telecom for nearly 30 years despite only being 42. OK, maybe a little older. Prior to these past 17 years at Granite, my responsibilities included direct sales management, international wholesale distribution, and data center operations with a CLEC. The opportunity to …

… establish a channel program at Granite to augment the company’s sales efforts has turned into a great experience professionally and personally. You meet so many people in the channel and I’m fortunate to have learned from many, and the relationships established have led to long-term friendships that mean a lot. I’ve also enjoyed seeing the professional growth of my teammates. Granite Channels was once me and a part-time admin; today we’re nearly 60 people committed to the success of our partners, from channel managers, partner support, sales ops, marketing and solutions development. I really enjoy being part of this team.

CP: What must the modern channel program do to support its partners?

Pagliazzo: For Granite Channels, it’s making sure that our partners have access to not only all of the solutions we provide, but also the support services that are needed to ensure that prospects who become clients are satisfied. When those clients recognize the value that their consultant brings, it leads to long-term engagements with the client, affording the partner the opportunity to expand the number of solutions they recommend. Obviously we hope that those recommendations center around Granite solutions whenever that makes the most sense. Simply, it’s on us to execute to ensure our partners aren’t simply being seen as doing a transaction; instead, they are positioned to be the trusted consultant that drives digital transformation and other operational efficiencies in the telecom and networking space.

In addition, with technology continuing drive changes in our industry at such a rapid pace, the ability for Granite Channels to continually offer training and solutions development assistance will play a big part in our mutual success. At Granite, we’re fortunate to be able to continually grow our team of subject matter experts: network and sales engineers, channel solutions development managers, and our channel managers leveraging content from Granite’s internal training programs at Granite University. GU offers technology and career tracks that enable all our teammates to enhance their knowledge and skill sets. Making that more available to our partners is a near term goal.

CP: What advice would you give to partners reading this?

Pagliazzo: That the explosion of technology in our space has created an unlimited opportunity to earn a client’s trust. Whether it’s due to internal budgets affecting IT staffing, or the wave of new solutions that need to be understood, most organizations need the guidance and expertise that consultant partners offer. Simply, despite this hopefully, temporary pandemic challenge, it’s never been a better time to be in our space. Whether you operate independently or make the decision to benefit from working with outstanding master agent firms, accessing the best solutions, support and – not to be overlooked – most financially stable providers to grow your business with, will be the foundation for long term success. Providers should want their partners to succeed. Partners should expect that.

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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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