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Atrion’s Paul Cronin Looks Forward to Carousel Acquisition

James Anderson**Editor’s Note: This is one of a series of profiles featuring Channel Partners advisory board members. Meet Cronin and the rest of the board by attending the Spring 2017 Channel Partners Conference & Expo. Learn more here.**

The job of an IT services provider, or anyone in technology for that matter, should go far beyond simply fixing computers.

Paul Cronin, senior vice president of strategic alliances and vendor relationships for the managed service provider Atrion, has dedicated much of his career to the idea that IT that should help enable and accelerate business instead of merely doing maintenance. He says this is one of the biggest challenges for an MSP in the current age – empowering the IT department to expand its vision.

“We’re doing a lot more in the consulting area to be able to help our clients – particularly IT – extend out into the business, understand the business, understand the technology that can help solve the problem [and] enable the business wherever it is,” he said.

Another development keeping Atrion busy is Carousel Industries’ plan to acquire the company. Cronin said the deal is expected to close later this month.

“Even today prior to the acquisition taking place, we’re still teaming up to win business and to provide clients more options than either of us could have done before the acquisition,” he said. “We’re transacting business as partners. We’re collaborating as one to create something great once this transaction takes place.”

Cronin said teaming up with Carousel made sense in light of Atrion’s goal to expand nationally.{ad}

“When we look at the potential of scaling and becoming more of a national presence, the most logical solution was to do something with a company that’s already done it, and that was Carousel,” he said.

Cronin said the goal is to bring “the best of both companies” to the table. Both have relationships with vendors like Microsoft and Cisco, and Cronin said Carousel will help extend Atrion’s efforts in the call-center space. He said the acquisition will help “enable the mobile workforce” and provide a more nuanced concept of security.

“[Security] is not just about building a deeper moat around business,” he said. “It’s really about doing a lot more … in the security area around governance, around policy procedure. It’s around securing data – unstructured data particularly.”

Cronin has spent the last 14 years at Atrion, in addition to serving on various boards of directors, including CompTIA and the National Systems Contractors Association. He began his career in technology services as a technician, where he said he discovered …

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… the multi-faceted nature of his job.

“I really figured out it wasn’t about fixing computers or even being the best technological genius that’s out there working on equipment. It really is your ability to communicate, look at things in ways that you can assess them, and then can you come up with solutions through collaboration …” he said.

He uses the phrase “agent of change” to describe how members of IT can help transform a company for the better.

“I know it’s important that they understand the technology, but more importantly, it’s that they understand business, that they want to make an impact in their lives, and that they’re willing to grasp new concepts, collaborate and willing to have the attitude, the ambition and the aptitude to develop themselves,” she said.

Cronin said as Atrion was trying to figure out how to break the $50 million bubble, it decided to get certifications in the Leadership Challenge and start hosting workshops for its employees on how to become better leaders.

“We needed to help enable individuals within our organizations lead and to be better leaders, and that that it shouldn’t just be around the company,” he said. “It should be around leading in their home, leading in their community, leading in school, leading at work.”

But those workshops have extended from employees to clients and finally to vendors, and Cronin said they have helped flip the paradigm for IT personnel.

“Today, if we look back, we see people that could have just been in a regular IT role, doing their normal thing, fixing broken stuff or installing it, but now we see them in different types of roles, leading teams, engaging in conversation[s] with clients that they may never have even had the technical background [for], but they’re so confident and so engaging that they can lead something even if they’re not the expert,” he said.


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