Birch Moves Former Ernest President to New Channel Role

**Editor’s Note: Click here to see which channel people were on the move in June.**

Birch Communications has expanded its partner leadership team to foster further growth in the channel.

Birch's Paul MastersPaul Masters has been appointed to the newly created role of vice president of partner sales and solutions. Also, Brad Smith will serve as the new vice president of national partner development.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Masters previously was Birch’s vice president of enterprise sales and joined the company in September 2013. Prior to that, he was co-founder and president of Ernest Communications, the reseller that Birch bought in 2013.

Smith slides over from his role as vice president of indirect sales (channel chief). Before that, he was vice president of sales at Birch from 2002 to 2012, leaving for an eight-month stint as a regional sales director for Asentinel before returning to the Georgia-based company.

“Our significant growth this year in the channel has made the decision to position additional resources and add more dedication at the executive level an easy one,” said Christopher Ramsey, Birch’s senior vice president and chief security officer. “Birch has over 1,100 direct partners, through which it reaches more than 8,000 subagents. With these key leaders in place, I’m confident we will further accelerate partners’ success and the increased collaboration will better serve customers.”

Birch's Brad SmithIn his new role, Masters will oversee both the enterprise and indirect channels at Birch. He will focus on building strategic industry partnerships to develop future growth strategies for the channel.

Smith will drive the strategy and overall success of the channel through national partners. In addition, he will focus on educating and training partners on the Birch portfolio, with an emphasis on developing programs for advanced offerings, such as TotalCloud PBX, TotalCloud Data Center, TotalCloud File Storage, Metro Ethernet and Fiber, as well as MPLS.

A number of telecom agents recently told Channel Partners they were mistreated and lost their commissions when Birch purchased the assets and customer accounts from companies with whom they had agent agreements.

One of those agents, Telecom Decision Makers Inc., launched its legal fight against Birch in November 2008 and has yet to be awarded any compensation for what it contends is more than $5.5 million in lost commission payments.

As part of its increased focus on the channel, Birch has begun hosting a new series of events. The Partner Summer Tour Series, taking place in venues across the country, provides an opportunity for top-performing partners to meet Birch regional channel managers and is aimed at strengthening partnerships.

“With these events, we are connecting our partners with our sales executives and local managers to show our gratitude, and discuss our partner enablement strategy and the overall direction for the channel,” Smith said.

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