Navigating networks

Navigating networks

Netgear’s Ryan Parker took over as country manager 18 months ago after spending several years working with the networking vendor’s retail, channel and carrier partners. He spoke to ARN about his love of testing new products, rally car driving and his management strategy.

What’s been your focus for the last 18 months?

It’s really about consolidating the team and making sure we are looking after our resellers. In the last 18 months, the networking space has become more competitive: Linksys has come into the equation, for example. We needed to make sure our reseller relationships were right and that we had the right programs to support them. We have been more focused on pushing our message online, and in retail we’ve been more aggressive in promoting our end products, been involved in catalogues, and ensured coverage in all mass merchant retailers. With the general channel, it’s been about building a team and changing the model a little in the way we look after resellers. Previously, we were regionally based; now we’ve built up an internal team to support our channel base.

I haven’t made any massive changes – it’s been incremental and from a management point of view, about allowing my staff to be fairly autonomous.

What was your first job?

I started screwing PCs together on the Sunshine Coast working for a computer company called Future Group. In its heyday, it had 11 branches in Queensland, covered the coast and Mt Isa and had a big focus on the education space. We did have shop fronts but services attached. We were a Toshiba dealer and one of the first Cisco regional partners.

Did you study IT at uni?

In a very convoluted way – I started with aspirations of doing programming, then fell into a networking-type degree and ended up coming out with a Bachelor of Business majoring in management and marketing.

Where did you go from there?

I was with Future Group for seven years in three or four different roles. I became very familiar with the reseller business because I started building PCs, then went into the procurement side before taking over management of the regional offices. I built the teams to be the point contact for the regional outlets. I ended up looking after the services team, which was exciting – at the time we had about 40 engineers, which I was managing.

I then had a very brief stint at Tech Pacific as a networking business development manager when the company was building up a team to focus on the networking space. Through my efforts on that front, Netgear came knocking at the door. Linda Pifat [Ingram Micro point-of-sales division manager] was one of the key members of the networking team at that time. I still work very closely with Ingram.

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