The Spring 2006 Channel Partners Conference & Expo kicked off its ninth year in winning form thanks to a lively keynote speech by Charles Barkley, sponsored by Voila IP; a general session that exposed attendees to the latest and greatest wireless devices; and an industry address from telecom veteran Dick Jalkut, president and CEO of TelePacific Communications.
Of course, that all came before the long-awaited event of the week: the opening of the largest-ever Channel Partners show floor. The Wednesday night reception in the exhibit hall drew the masses, who experienced the new Wireless Pavilion and the most exhibitors to date alongside a variety of hors d’oeuvres and drinks.
Show participation was up nearly 15 percent over last spring’s Channel Partners event in Las Vegas. “Without Channel Partners, the industry would be at a loss; there’s nowhere that you can meet such a broad spectrum of companies. This is a necessity in the industry,” said Michael McLelan, senior vice president for PowerNet Global Communications. PowerNet has exhibited since the very first show in July 1997 and keeps returning to meet with new and existing partners.
Sprint Nextel Corp., co-sponsor of the opening reception along with PHONE+, also has a long history of participation in the event, exhibiting at the show since fall 2001. “Sprint enjoys its relationship with PHONE+ and we really like the wireless focus. As the industry evolves into a wireless-centric market, we look forward to working with PHONE+ and meeting the market’s needs,” said Fred Hamilton, regional director of partner sales.
Winning also was a common theme on the expo hall floor. And this year, PHONE+, the event’s host, got into the act. Prize winners from Wednesday’s drawings include Christopher Davidson of ITS; Karla Feye of Broadwire Networks; and Jack Barbat of Wireless Toys. Each won $100. The winner of the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Men’s/Women’s watch set was Peter Callowhill of Netgain.
The afternoon got a jumpstart with opening remarks from PHONE+ Group Editor Khali Henderson, who encouraged attendees to “make their own luck” and praised them for “being in the right place at the right time” — referring to their attendance at the show and their position in the industry. “Things are getting more complex, not less. End users are in need of total communications managements. Channel partners are an extension of their customers. They are an extension of their vendors. What a great position to be in,” she said.
Henderson also acknowledged the first graduates of the CSP Certification program — individuals who she said “are not leaving their futures to chance.”
Delegates also got a free preview of the CSP Certified certification program. Dale Stein of training company IPx Connect, and Scott Levy, director of channel sales for Telecom Solution Center, gave a full room of solutions providers an overview of The Seven Proven Methods of Prospecting.