As part of a larger channel operations expansion and reorganization, Michael Fair has joined One Communications as vice president, general manager of alternate channels. Fair will be replacing Gabe Sette at the helm of One’s channel operations; Sette will stay with One and manage the indirect channel for the Mid-Atlantic region.
The partner program, which previously worked with only two regions, is now split into three – Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and New England. This reorganization, Fair said, is to facilitate closer, more localized channel management. In fact, One plans to grow its channel management team by 50 percent this year, continuing to focus on increasing density in second- and third-tier markets. Fair said the goal of this strategy is to allow for greater subagent and local partner support and teaming, which in turn will attract the nation’s larger master agents to One’s program.
Currently, about 20 percent of One’s sales are through the indirect channel, but Fair’s goal is to raise that level to 35 percent or 40 percent. In mid-February, the carrier will launch an enhanced channel program that includes commission changes to better protect master agents. “The criteria and bar to entry has been radically changed to shift focus to the larger partners,” said Fair.
One also will be adding staff in channel sales, marketing, and back-office and post-sales support. Other plans for One include an upgraded commission tool and partner portal which will be outlined at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.
“I think the main goal is to bring a program to the market that will be known as the go-to CLEC program in our geography,” said Fair. “We are what I call an ‘unpolished gem.’ The program’s been going through some ebb and flow. But, now that the company’s been integrated (there was previously some regionalization of products), we are truly One Communications. We are now just driving the programs to appeal to the larger players.”
Fair also is working on building and implementing an agent advisory council that initially will be made up of 10 members. The council is intended to provide One’s partners the feedback that they need to grow the channel program. The council members will be named at the end of March.
“One Communications values and supports its partners,” said Howard Janzen, CEO of One Communications. “We expect them to play a greater part in the distribution of our growing portfolio of business services to the market. I am very excited by Michael Fair’s addition to the One Communication’s team. His deep experience and track record of success will be key to achieving our goal of redefining an industry-leading channel program.”
Before joining One Communications full-time, Fair was a consultant to the CLEC for the past several months through the consultancy he co-founded, MarketRace. Fair will leave his day-to-day responsibilities at MarketRace, but the company will continue to operate under the management of the remaining partners. Fair spent the past eight years at MarketRace, specializing in the generation and augmentation of channel programs for service providers such as Qwest Communications International Inc., Level 3 Communications and New Global Telecom. Prior to founding MarketRace in 2001, Fair was with Qwest for five years, where he started and coached the Qwest Business Partner Program in his role as vice president of alternate channels.
Although One is headquartered in Burlington, Mass., Fair will continue to work from his hometown of Denver.