Do You Have What It Takes To Make The Leap To Channel Partner?

CJ9. This episode of Channel Journeys features Gary Lowe.  Gary is an adventure seeker, a channel pro, and now he’s the CEO of his managed services company called Think IT Ai. He earned his channel chops at the value-add distributor Tech Data where he worked with leading vendors and hundreds of partners.

Gary tells why he decided to make the leap to becoming a channel partner and the lessons he’s learned along the way.  He shares some unique tips for handling the pressure of running the entire show and learning new skills faster.  And Gary provides newcomers to the channel some career tips for navigating their channel journey.


  • Working for an IT distributor is an excellent way for someone starting their career to get a crash course on the channel. You learn how to “talk channel” and hear the perspectives of both the vendors and the partners.
  • When deciding your career path, picture yourself as a man or women at the end of your days. Think about what you want that person to say about your life and the things you did that really mattered.
  • When you’re feeling knocked down, you can re-energize by learning something completely new and different
  • Apply the 80/20 rule to learning; figure out the 20% that gives 80% of the results and focus on learning that first.


[3:00] Gary is an adventure seeker but has learned to go after the adventures that advance his goals in life.

[5:40] As a distributor, Gary got to help channel partners grow their businesses. Loved helping people, but realized he was helping other people reach their dreams, but not pursuing his own dream.

[8:00] Talking with a partner opened his eyes to the possibility of becoming a channel partner by launching his own IT managed services company. Named his company ThinkIT-AI because of the opportunity to build AI into their service offerings.

[10:00] As an MSP, ThinkIT-AI remotely monitors and manages clients end-points and acts as their clients virtual CIO. They charge by the person, not by end-point. Sweet spot is smaller companies with between 5 and 25 employees.

[13:00] Gary’s mentor is channel titan Pete Peterson who brought him into Tech Data.

[16:00] Gary recommends everyone get a chance to work with a distributor to learn channels from some of the largest and best in the industry.

[19:00] Channel speak is a universal language. Working at Tech Data taught Gary how to speak Channel with any company.

[21:30] Gary still follow’s his dad’s advice when trying to decide what career path to follow. His dad said to imagine the man you want to be at the end of your days. What do you want this man to say about your life and all the great things you’ve accomplished?

[22:00] Following Tech Data, Gary joined Syniverse, a communications company with the world largest private network, understand their business, their market, their customers. Working on introducing Syniverse to indirect channel sales by becoming their first channel partner.

[26:30] Biggest realization now that he’s sitting in partner owner’s seat is how much is on his plate having to think about every aspect of the business. Now sees why partners aren’t always as interested in distributor and partner program elements as you’d expect.

[29:00] When confidence shakes, he has no option but to push through. Sees failure as a learning apparatus.

[31:30] Advice to other startups, no matter what you’re going through it’s not that bad. You can push through. Follow your instincts. Use that grit. Stick with it.

[32:30] When knocked down, Gary re-energizes by learning something new. Now he’s learning to play the ukulele. He gains the benefit of moving forward in an area outside of where he’s getting beaten down.

[36:00] Gary applies the 80/20 rule to learning. By discovering the 20% that gives 80% of the results, he accelerates his learning by focusing on learning the 20%.

[39:00] The three things Gary wants to do in life is to be a good son, a good husband, and good father.