The IT Services Report is pleased to announce The Top 25 IT Managed Services CEOs of 2019. The awardees selected were evaluated based on depth of expertise, caliber of organization, longevity in the IT field and leadership track record, among other factors. IT Managed Services is a critical part to the overall business economy as hundreds of thousands of businesses rely on such services to operate on a daily basis. The companies providing IT managed services and their CEOs form the backbone of our tech ecosystem. Please join us in recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments of this year's awardees.
1. Pamela Maynard, Avanade
There’s only one purpose: to make a genuine impact on human lives. That’s Pamela Maynard’s driving force. The Avanade CEO is committed to the company’s vision of being an innovator as a leading provider of digital and cloud services—and for the company’s more than 4,000 clients to be riding along on the latest technology.
Maynard started her career at Avanade and moved through several roles, including general manager of the UK division and product and innovation. She is also a supporter of diversity and women’s rights and serves as the executive sponsor of the company’s Women’s Employee Resource Group, a unit that encourages connections to drive personal growth and development within the company. As executive sponsor of the company’s Technology for Social Good initiative, she works to bring Avanade’s cloud and digital technology skills and expertise to non-profit organizations to help accelerate their social impact.
2. Tony Thomas, Windstream
A 20-year veteran in the communications industry, Tony Thomas is the perfect fit as CEO of Windstream. In fact, the company has only expanded since he’s been around. He was instrumental in the development of Windstream’s real estate investment trust (REIT) spinoff and served as president of its operations since October 2014. He first joined the provider of advanced network and technology services back in 2006 and prior to becoming Windstream’s CEO in 2014, he served as the company’s president, REIT Operations, and CFO, completing seven acquisitions totaling more than $5.6 billion.
Perhaps the key to Thomas’ success has to do with his organizational skills. In a recent interview with ISE, he said that he’s most proud of organizing smaller teams within the company that are empowered and accountable for results. “The power of the small teams to drive the business forward no longer surprises me,” he said. “It is the new normal.”
3. Joe Mertens, Sirius Computer Solutions
Joe Mertens began his career with Sirius in 1984 where he was responsible for sales and operations of the company’s wholesale and distribution divisions. In 1997, those divisions were sold to Western Micro and renamed Business Partner Solutions (BPS), which he was appointed president and CEO. In 1999, BPS was consolidated into Savoir Technology Group and Mertens became the company’s president and chief operating officer, responsible for all sales and operations in North America.
In 2000, Avnet Computer Marketing purchased Savoir Technology Group and Mertens was named executive vice president and general manager of the IBM Business Unit. After moving to a consulting role for Avnet in 2001, he returned to Sirius in 2002 as executive vice president, and was named president in 2008. In 2011, Mertens was named CEO of Sirius. Mertens has a BBA in Marketing from the University of Texas at Austin. He has received numerous awards, including the prestigious IBM Lifetime Achievement Award.
4. Todd Croteau, All Covered
For nearly 20 years, Todd Croteau has been with All Covered. Now president, he oversees all aspects of day-to-day operations, but within the past two decades he’s held various corporate (including CEO) and field positions within the company since first joining in 2000. Croteau has executed more than 40 acquisitions for All Covered and helped increase the company’s IT employee head count to more than 1,000 under his leadership.
Prior to joining All Covered, Croteau held key positions with IBM, EKW Technologies, and HDR Engineering. He says that staying true to the company’s core foundation and not overextending itself with products and services that aren’t complementary to its core competencies or to clients’ requirements and expectations is key. “It’s an easy trap to fall into,” he said in a recent interview, “especially considering the increasingly competitive environments providers find themselves in.”
5. Jeff VonDeylen, Ensono
Building successful companies comes naturally to Ensono’s CEO Jeff VonDeylen. Prior to taking the reins at the hybrid IT services provider, he served as chief financial officer and president at Savvis (now part of CenturyLink), and grew the company from $200 million to $1.4 billion before its acquisition.
As leader of Ensono, VonDeylen, who holds a B.S. in accountancy from Miami University, already has plans to increase the workforce by 600 in the next few years. The company’s acquisition of Wipro’s managed hosting business not only led to a nearly doubling of staff but added Wipro’s existing customers in Europe and the U.S. VonDeylen is looking into more acquisitions that will bring specific capabilities like consulting and security to Ensono.
6. Jeff Gau, Marco
Jeff Gau has been in the technology game a long time, and has been with Marco since its humble beginnings. As CEO, he transformed what was once a small typewriter dealer in 1973 into a leading technology company. In 2015, he was awarded Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year for Upper Midwest, but that was not the first of his accolades. Fresh out of high school, Gau enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and received numerous, prestigious promotions during his service. Upon graduating from the University of North Dakota in 1984, he landed his first sales position at Marco.
His secret weapon: keeping the workplace fun and being in tune with clients. It seems to work since Gau is “famously” known for his friendly demeanor. In 2016, he was even named Most Admired CEO by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.
“Spend some time with Jeff and it’s clear that Jeff has a presence about him,” said author Bruce Miles in his book “Looking Out for #2.” “His spirit is engaging and his leadership is inspiring. He’s honest, genuine and not afraid to expose his faults. When he walks into a meeting, people notice. But it’s not because he holds the title of CEO. It’s because he knows how to listen, quickly build consensus and, when needed, make the hard decisions.”
7. John A. McKenna Jr., ConvergeOne
John McKenna Jr. served as CEO of ConvergeOne since 2008. IBM is where it all started for McKenna, but prior to joining ConvergeOne, he spent 8 years as CEO of Siemens IT Solutions and Services and CEO of ENTEX Information Services.
As leader of ConvergeOne, which offers unified communications solutions—including email, voice, presence, chat/text, and video technologies, and seamless connection of Wi-Fi enabled devices—for U.S. enterprises, McKenna has grown the company through a series of acquisitions and organic initiatives.
He serves on ConvergeOne’s board of directors where he leverages his extensive knowledge of the company’s history and comprehensive background in the IT space. John holds a BA in history from Trinity College.
8. John Pennington, TEAM International
After serving nearly a decade at the Sydney, Australia-based Boral Industries, John Pennington relocated to Lake Mary, FL to join TEAM International as CEO in 2015.
At Boral, he was responsible for the tech company’s IT services for five U.S. businesses with nearly 100 locations. Prior to Boral, Pennington spent 20 years in the applications development and consulting industries and held various positions with Oracle, DuPont, and Westinghouse. He also founded Absolutions Inc., which provided Oracle applications in the commercial government sectors.
A graduate of Augusta State University with a degree in computer science and math, Pennington has nearly 30 years of experience in IT applications development support, consulting, and senior level management.
9. Jim Sullivan, NWN
Nearly one year in his role as CEO of NWN, Jim Sullivan has jumped in with both feet and is laser focused on bringing analytics and management solutions to the company’s 1,300 customers. “It's about what's the customer challenge, how do you deliver the business outcome, how do you grow the business,” he said in a recent interview. “How do you grow with those customers?”
Hybrid cloud solutions—including an NWN offering built around Amazon—are a key area of focus for Sullivan as he moves the company forward. He’s also looking at select acquisitions that would further their growth.
Prior to joining NWN, Sullivan served as president of Actifio, a data management software company. Taking the helm at Waltham, MA based NWN, he succeeds former CEO Skip Tappen.
10. Tim Britt, Synoptek
Everything started for Tim Britt at Synoptek back in 2001. That’s when he first joined the consulting and IT outsourcing company. As CEO, he brings more 30 years of experience in management consulting to the company and, moving ahead, is fully focused on the company’s corporate development and global strategy.
Throughout his career, Britt has provide IT services and strategic management consulting to large companies. He holds an industrial engineering degree from Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University.
Based near company headquarters in Irvine, CA, Britt makes it a point to get out in nature by hiking, biking, and skiing. He is also involved in several philanthropic endeavors related to education and conservation.
11. Terry Swanson, OneNeck IT Solutions
Terry Swanson has been CEO of OneNeck IT Solutions since 2017. His tenure with the company started back in 2011 when he joined as Senior Vice President. Working out of the company's Eden Prarie, MN office, Swanson is leading a seasoned management team focused on custom IT solutions.
Collectively, he has more than 30 years of experience working with leading technology companies. Prior to joining OneNeck, Swanson held several leadership roles at tech firms. He started his career at IBM back in 1985. From there, he moved on to Cisco Systems, Foundry Networks, CDW, and prior to joining OneNeck served as Director of Business Development at Sirius Computer Solutions.
When Swanson isn’t holding court at OneNeck, he’s an avid photographer and serves as an affiliate for the charitable organization WorldPix.
12. Andy Jones, MCPc
Andy Jones has served as CEO of the Cleveland-based tech company MCPc Inc. since 2016. Jones began studying leadership early on. An Army veteran and paratrooper, he earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Morehead State University.
He first joined MCPc, which provides IT and cloud solutions for businesses, in 2010 as vice president of sales before his promotion to president in 2014. Jones first made his mark at the company by playing a key role in creating the business model around the company’s flagship technology logistics center near Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
Jones is a certified flight instructor and pilots his own plane, occasionally offering his services to charitable fundraisers.
13. Jason Asbury, Digitel Corp.
Jason Asbury is president of Atlanta-based Digitel Corp., a communication and networking solutions provider for small- to mid-sized businesses in the Southeast. He has nearly 20 years of experience serving the information technology industry and has worked across various verticals including insurance, banking, education, and legal. His expertise in cybersecurity and compliance space has been a key asset for Digitel.
Asbury officially took the helm of Digitel in early 2019 when it was acquired by NXTsoft. Prior to joining the company, he worked as a systems engineer for Science Applications International Corporation and as an operations executive in the managed services and project implementations consulting division at Jackson Thornton CPAs.
14. Raul Vega, Auxis
As founder and CEO of Auxis, his objectives are pointed towards (but not limited) growing the company’s IT managed services, robotics process automation, cloud computing, and accounting outsourcing offerings. His main focus is giving clients the operating platform and strategies necessary for enduring growth and profitability. While now U.S.-based, Vega has worked in many different cultures across the globe, over the years he’s spent considerable time in 15 countries.
A graduate of the University of Florida, where he received his MA in accounting, Vega spent more than two decades with Auxis since its inception in 1997. He first served as co-founder and CEO of the company’s Coral Gables division before taking on the company’s chief operating officer role, a position he held from 2000 through 2010. Earlier in his career, Vega held positions at Price Waterhouse and PepsiCo International.
15. Ben Carlsrud, Network Center
Ben Carlsrud started his career as a service technician at Network Center (NCC) in 1997. He was promoted to president seven years ago and since then he has more than doubled NCC’s workforce. In a recent interview, Carlsrud said that he wants NCC to stay relevant in the industry and to customers, and that there are challenges ahead.
“Being the president is not caviar dreams and champagne wishes,” he states, “I have a lot of flexibility, but for the most part, every day is ‘roll up the sleeves and dig in.’ As my family will attest to, there are many nights and weekends that go into this. Oh, and what’s a vacation?”
16. Bill Wosilius, NexusTek
This fall, Bill Wosilius took the helm at NexusTek as CEO. He brings more than 20 years of experience to the company, a managed IT services provider for small- to medium-sized businesses. Wosilius has an impressive track record of building IT solutions.
Prior to joining NexusTek, he served as Vice President and General Manager of Global Technology Management Solutions for Optiv Security where he delivered business solution to more than 5,000 clients and executed 1,400 cyber technology projects per year.
He also served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Operations at CoreSite, where he was responsible for the company’s tech infrastructure, service delivery and other business applications. Under Wosilius, the company grew to become a leader in the wholesale data center industry.
17. Mark Theoharous, Burwood Group
CEO Mark Theoharous founded Burwood Group in 1997. He has more than 30 years in consulting and technology with specific expertise in systems architecture, networking, and security. He believes the secret to his company’s successes is quite simple: selecting and developing the best employees.
Under his leadership, the Chicago-based IT consulting and integration firm had revenue of up to $500 million in 2018. The company was also named Inc.’s Best Workplaces in 2017 and 2018.
Outside of Burwood, Theoharous serves on the Advisory Board for the CMP Media Institute for Professional Education Division’s Channel Elite MBA program. He earned his B.S. in engineering from Michigan State University and an MBA from Indiana University.
18. Nick Lantuh, Fidelis Cybersecurity
Nick Lantuh has more than two decades of proven start-up, sales and market leadership expertise. He has served as CEO of Fidelis Cybersecurity, a leading automated detection and response provider, since 2018.
Before joining the company, Lantuh served as Executive Chairman of eSentire, where he provided both strategic and operational leadership to support the company’s market expansion. He also previously founded and served as president of NetWitness.
Lantuh believes enterprises are challenged by the complexity of managing many disparate security tools, which ultimately means threats aren’t detected early enough, putting sensitive data at risk. That’s where the Bethesda, MD-based Fidelis has the upper hand, according to Lantuh in a recent statement: “The continued growth potential of Fidelis is extremely high as the company protects data for many of the world’s largest brands and government organizations by automating detection and response across networks, endpoints and cloud environments.”
19. Darin Brannan, ClearDATA
Darin Brannan is passionate about technology, and so far he has a pretty good track record to prove it. Prior to joining ClearDATA, he founded Web.com, a leading Cloud Computing/SaaS provider, where he raised $65M from top VC firms, grew the company to 700-plus employees, and achieved an IPO exit valued at $2 billion. Prior to Web.com, Darin founded Verio, which he helped grow to $325 million in revenue. Darin also helped launch VIANet, which was valued at $3.5B when it went public.
At ClearData, Brannan has turned his attention to healthcare, an area he holds particularly dear. He stated, “Growing up in a family with doctors, I had a firsthand look at the challenges healthcare practitioners face in treating patients using outdated technology,” further adding, “It made me painfully aware of people who die each day as a result of medical errors long before it became national news…Believing that healthcare is less of a science problem, and more of an information problem, I decided to become actively involved in removing the technical obstacles to patient safety.”
20. Mike Danson, Natilik
Mike Danson has been a key contributor to Natilik since 1996, when he first joined the company. Many years later in 2010, he led a management buyout and took over as CEO, He has since developed and grown the business. Previously, he held several leadership roles within the company, which included international stints including the UK.
When he reached his 20 year milestone with Natilik, it was evident his enthusiasm was far from diminished. “It takes huge amounts of energy and enthusiasm, from everyone involved, to build a truly great company and as I reach this milestone the most important question I’ve asked myself is ‘Am I still up for it?’ the answer is ‘Hell Yes!’” He continues, “My drive, my ambition and my desire to succeed and build a business that is No.1 in its market is undiminished. I’ve never been more excited about the impact technology can have on businesses and I’ve never been more proud of everyone in our company, of the incredible level of service we can deliver to our clients and the positive impact we can make.”
21. Ron Dupler, GreenPages
In 20o4, Rob Dupler took on the roles of President and CEO of GreenPages. During his tenure, he has transformed the technology company’s solutions model, working with tech partners, clients, and employees to enhance their services in the hybrid cloud computing sectors.
Prior to GreenPages, Ron led a national technology solutions provider through a period of dramatic growth resulting in a 600% revenue increase from $63 million to $380 million over a five-year period. Under Ron’s leadership, GreenPages has received broad industry recognition. He is also a past recipient of VMware’s Partner Executive MVP in the Americas and a VAR 500 Executive of the Year.
The digital era is accelerating at lightning speed, and GreenPages wants to be right there, according to its CEO. “The big challenge today is the pace of change is ramping up dramatically,” further adding, “This change can be exhilarating and invigorating. It can also be really threatening and demanding.”
22. Doug Schneider, 2nd Watch
“Leadership is less about what you say and more about what you do.” Those are the words Doug Schneider lives and works by as CEO of 2nd Watch. Schneider joined the company in late 2014 with a focus on building it into something that truly made a difference for its clients.
“Throughout my 25-plus years of leading both small and large technology enabled-services companies, I have always found that the most fundamental “P” is People,” he said. “While this is obvious in many ways, it is also one of the most elusive “Ps” to consistently nail throughout an entire company.”
Prior to joining 2nd Watch, he worked on building companies including Cellular One and Verio in the early wireless and internet days.
23. Alex Rodov, QA Consulting
As Founder and Managing Partner of QA Consulting, Alex Rodov is well underway in transforming the testing industry. Already a leader in the software quality assurance and testing industry, Rodov is thinking next level.
His deep global experience in software development has put him at the lead of some of the largest quality assurance projects in North America, including the development of new processes that eventually became the backbone of global financial institution Citi. Earlier in his career, Alex managed BearingPoint’s North American Test Center’s quality assurance practices.
24. Jason Waldrop, CWPS
When CWPS was acquired by Red River in the fall of 2019, Jason Waldrop moved into a new role after more than 23 years with the company. CWPS was folded into Red River’s Managed Services organization, and Waldrop took over as the division’s President.
Founded in 1980 as a computer reseller with only three employees, CWPS ultimately grew into an advanced managed IT and cloud computing solutions provider with a 24-7 network operations center. It has an extensive presence across the U.S. with offices in Virginia, Texas, New Hampshire, and California.
Waldrop’s father and one of the company’s original three employees, Gerald Waldrop, purchased CWPS in 1994 and eventually passed the reins to his son, an industrial engineering graduate of Virginia Tech, in 2003.
25. Jim Anderson, Switchfast Tech
In 2005, Jim Anderson joined Switchfast Technologies as CFO. Today, he’s CEO of the IT solutions provider, a position he’s held since 2010. Under his leadership, Anderson has helped steadily grow the company. Additionally, he led the company’s implementation of the EOS system, a central piece to Switchfast’s evolution. Previously, Anderson held various leadership finance roles at General Electric.
His passion for encouraging employee engagement, improving business practices, and client satisfaction are the basic fundamentals to his success. Anderson states, “I believe in achieving results the “right way”—honesty and transparency are the foundation of my approach,” further adding, “I strive to be humble and to learn. I believe progress comes with determination and patience, not silver bullets or quick fixes. There is a place for visionary idealism, but I believe the bulk of our time should be focused on the effort that goes into achieving aggressive goals and significant wins for everyone involved.”