Reselling pioneer honoured way too late

At the Cisco Partner Summit in Hawaii, the RAM Group was the only Canadian reseller to win a Global Channel Partner of the year award.

Learning this news, I could only think that Michael Schweitzer would have loved it. Schweitzer, who founded the RAM Group more than 20 years ago, was one of

the most recognized faces in the reseller community in Canada.

He lived and worked tremendously hard for this type of recognition. Schweitzer, who passed away last May, would have been in his element here in Hawaii.

Cisco played the Canadian national anthem after RAM was announced as one of the 16 winners at the Cisco Global Channel Awards banquet. All the winners were seated at Cisco CEO John Chambers’ table for dinner. I imagined the conversation between Chambers and Schweitzer, two people who are/were notorious name droppers:

Chambers: I had lunch with the Pope.

Schweitzer: Oh yeah, God told me he likes the job the Pope is doing at dinner last night.

Kent MacDonald and Richard Lichtenstein of RAM were on hand to accept the award from Ben Stein, the star of the TV game show Win Ben Stein’s Money. Stein was the host of the event and like Schweitzer, a fellow New Yorker. MacDonald said his thoughts immediately turned to his former boss.

“”Michael would have been beaming with pride with this kind of recognition. He went from starting the business from the trunk of his car to getting an award from a worldwide organization like Cisco. He would have been ecstatic,”” MacDonald said.

MacDonald added that it is a bittersweet moment for RAM employees who have been keeping Schweitzer’s entrepreneurial spirit alive in the company since his passing.

Lichtenstein said after Schweitzer’s death his brother Alan took over the company and had the wherewithal to bring in senior IT channel people to run the organization. Alan Schweitzer does not have IT experience and comes from another industry, Lichtenstein said.

Lichtenstein called Alan Schweitzer in New York the night RAM was presented with the award to tell him the good news. Alain Schweitzer said that his brother would have loved to be there and that he was looking down on us and smiling.

Lichtenstein said: “”Michael loved when his company was in the limelight. Nothing would have made him more proud. To have Ben Stein give him an award in front of several CEOs from NexInnovations, Compugen, IBM and Ingram Micro. It would have legitimized everything he had done.””

Michael Schweitzer was a workaholic and sometimes worked 20-hour days. He also challenged his staff to keep up with him. I knew Michael for several years, and he always made himself available to me and to the IT Business Group when needed. I’m happy for his team’s continued success. Here’s to you, Michael. Congratulations!

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