Avnet appoints new GM for Canada

After six months without a leader, Avnet Partner Solutions has appointed Gavin Miller to head up its Canadian operations as vice-president and general manager.

Miller, who left Xwave Solutions three days before his official start date at APS, hopes to bring his 11 years of channel experience

to his new position. He replaces Michael Gavarkovs, former GM in Canada for APS, then known as Avnet Hall-Mark.

“”I bring a unique perspective,”” said Miller, who served in several executive positions at Xwave including vice-president of sales and, most recently, head of marketing and business development. “”I come from a VAR so I know what the business partners are looking for.

“”I also have perspective on how they’re looking to grow their business in the Canadian market. Looking at the value that Avnet Partner Solutions brings, I feel that I can talk to the business partners and help them grow their business more profitably.””

To date Miller has been busy at Avent’s Phoenix, Ariz., headquarters meeting with his U.S. counterparts, participating in staff meetings and receiving training on the company’s corporate goals and objectives for the North American market.

In his new role, Miller is responsible for growing sales of APS hardware and software brands through partnerships with value-added resellers, system integrators and independent software vendors. Major vendors include HP, Microsoft EMC, IBM, Network Appliance, Oracle, StorageTek and Veritas.

Formerly known as Avnet Hall-Mark, the North American operations of Avnet Inc.’s reseller division was changed to APS in August. The changes were made to reflect the company’s shift from a point-product to a solutions-based distributor.

Prior to joining Avnet, Miller was responsible for Xwave’s strategic partnerships with leading vendors such as IBM and HP – similar to the type of partners that Avnet is focused on, he said.

“”I believe that Avnet Partner Solutions has the tools and experience that help develop and position those solution providers more appropriately in the market,”” said Miller.

“”I like the focus that Avnet’s taken with enterprise-level systems. It’s something that I have a fair bit of experience with given the customer base I’ve gone after historically.””

Miller, who hails from the East Coast, is looking forward to living in Toronto.

“”I think that’s certainly important to the partners who have their head offices in Toronto. I’m committed to making that move,”” he said.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of New Brunswick, joined Crontek Business Centres Inc., where he worked for nearly a decade before joining Xwave.

Before joining APS, contacted Tech Data Canada president Rick Reid for advice. Miller has come to know Reid over the last several years when he was at Xwave, one of the distributor’s customers.

Reid told Miller the pros and the cons of the job. “”In his mind, which is totally his prerogative, he saw the pros as outweighing the cons and the rest is history.””

Reid added that making the transition from the East Coast to big city life will be a bit of an adjustment for Miller.

“”For someone that’s spent most of his life on the oceanfront, it’s a different kettle of fish coming to this big smoke,”” Reid said. “”If you aspire to bigger and better things in your career life, there’s certainly opportunity in the East, but limited compared to around (Toronto). I expect to spend a lot of time with him in his new role and look forward to helping him in any way that I can.””

While Avnet is more of a specialty distributor and Tech Data is more broadline, Reid said there will continue to be some overlap in terms of product line and customers.

“”Avnet has been and continues to be a very large customer of ours. It’s pleasing to know that in Gavin’s new role that he’ll continue to be a good customer of mine,”” said Reid. “”At the same time he’s clearly a competitor in certain areas. Avnet has always been a very professional competitor against us particularly in the area of enterprise storage. We don’t expect that to change.””

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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