CHANNEL PARTNERS — Blake Wetzel, vice president of sales for the Qwest Business Partner Program (QBPP), has landed the title of Channel Executive of the Year 2011.
Wetzel earned the designation after receiving the most votes in Channel Partners magazine’s annual Channel Executive of the Year poll. He, along with nine other finalists, was recognized Sunday at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, and also will be featured in the April issue of Channel Partners. Wetzel has held his current position for almost two years, worked for Qwest for 11 years and been in the indirect channel for four years. Wetzel said partners play “an increasingly important role" in the success of Qwest’s Business Markets group and that he aims to strengthen the relationship between the company’s direct and indirect sales teams. Wetzel is credited with reversing some unpopular channel policies and also with instituting several positive changes in the QBPP during his brief tenure.
“Every day, I arrive at the office and ask one fundamental question, ‘what if?’ By constantly asking ‘what if,’ I’ve found new and creative ways to be successful, broken down barriers, and hopefully delighted Qwest’s partners and customers along the way," said Wetzel.
Larry Lannon, publisher of Channel Partners, said the magazine is proud to honor Wetzel as the first Channel Executive of the Year of the new decade.
“The channel is at an exciting stage for growth, thanks to cloud technologies, unified communications and the other services end users are hearing about but need help implementing," Lannon said. “Partners’ majority votes for Wetzel cited his desire to push the channel to new heights."
Channel Partners magazine readers cast their ballots in a contest that considered nominees’ leadership, longevity, innovation and contribution to the indirect channel. To be eligible, a candidate must have been the top person in the company’s channel operations – at the executive level of vice president or higher – at a telecom vendor (network operator/service provider/manufacturer). The other finalists were: Tim Basa, vice president of sales and marketing for Nitel; Dan Sterling, vice president of indirect sales for Windstream Communications, winner of 2010’s Channel Executive of the Year title; John Cunningham, president of McGraw Communications; Dale Kammerich, vice president of channel sales for tw telecom inc.; Donna Wenk, senior vice president of PAETEC; Greg Plum, director of business development for The Conference Group; Chuck Piazza, senior vice president of Smoothstone IP Communications; Steve Kaplan, manager of agent sales for TouchTone Communications; and J.R. Cook, vice president of alternate channels for EarthLink Business.