Windstream Names Fusion Connect, Birch Alum Channel Chief

He has more than 20 years of experience in the communications industry.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

October 19, 2020

4 Min Read
Channel Chief Nameplate

Windstream Enterprise partners have a new channel chief as Matt Milliron has left the company to join Dobson Technologies.

Brad Smith joined Windstream eight months ago as vice president of indirect sales. He’s now head of strategic channels. MillIron is now Dobson Technologies’ chief revenue officer.


Windstream’s Brad Smith

Windstream emerged from chapter 11 bankruptcy last month.

Curt Allen emerged from retirement in October 2017 to take over as Windstream’s channel chief. Milliron was hired as the successor-in-waiting. Allen moved to an advisory role and then became Vonage’s channel chief this summer.

Smith has over 20 years in the communications industry. Before joining Windstream, he was president of Managed Communications Group and Fusion Connect‘s vice president of alternate channels. He also had roles at Asentinel and Birch Communications.

Layne Levine is president of Windstream Enterprise. He said Smith’s promotion ensures continued momentum in Windstream Enterprise sales.

Here’s our list of channel people on the move in September.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Smith talks about how his role is expanding and what partners can expect in the months ahead.

Channel Partners: How will your role with Windstream’s channel be changing?

Brad Smith: The key difference between my previous role and my new role with Windstream will be leveraging the initiatives and partnership opportunities that have led to such tremendous growth in a regional setting, and igniting that spark across the entire Windstream channel with our partners. Channel integration is an example of a concept that started in my region on a trial basis with select partners. And [it] quickly grew into a nationwide program pulling together both our direct and indirect sales teams in coordination with our partners, and fueled an entirely new way of doing business within the channel — leading to significant growth in both volume of deals and the MRR associated with those deals.

CP: Why did you want to join Windstream Enterprise last spring?

BS: I saw a compelling strategic vision that aligned very well with my experience and talents. Windstream Enterprise is leading the way in the strategic adoption of cloud-based solutions like UCaaS and SD-WAN, which constitute the next frontier for our partners to leverage a new wave of revenue opportunities. With the help of our partners, Windstream Enterprise has seen phenomenal growth and migration to these strategic solutions. And with the recent exit from restructuring and strong balance sheet we are just getting started.

CP: What do you want partners to know about your new leadership as channel chief?

BS: We are an organization committed to listening to and responding to the needs of our partners and our customers. Our goal as an organization is to not only make it easy for our partners to quote and sell our solutions, but to have …

… incentive programs that make it worth their while and a customer experience our partners can count on when recommending Windstream Enterprise as their cloud-based provider of choice. We will continue to innovate in the marketplace by investing in technology that will drive our business forward.

CP: What’s at the top of your to-do list?

BS: My first priority will be to ensure that all of our partners not only understand the vision of where our business is going, but to truly feel the passion and energy that I know all of our employees have about the opportunity ahead. This is a time in the industry like no other, poised for explosive growth and change. And Windstream Enterprise is in the pole position for leading the way as we redefine how our customers do business.

CP: What sort of feedback have you been receiving from partners in terms of what they want from Windstream?

BS: They are looking for guidance about how to operate in this complicated landscape of technological change during these unprecedented times. Windstream has the subject matter experts, solution set, network and capital structure to not only guide our partners through the challenges of 2020, but well beyond. We take each customer engagement as an opportunity to identify a sustainable and forward-thinking approach that will deliver value and efficiency to our clients for years to come while at the same time engaging our partners in those conversations as an extension of our team.

CP: Will your previous experience in the channel come into play in this new role? If so, how?

BS: Absolutely. Throughout my 18-plus years in working with the channel in this industry,​ the one constant has been a focus on driving growth in the programs and teams that I have managed. We have already seen results of this focus during my initial tenure at Windstream Enterprise. And I look forward to realizing an accelerated movement in my new role.

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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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