Ask anyone in the VAR market to name their top business concerns, and you’ll probably hear things like: staying up to date with technology, winning new business, recruiting and retention, and keeping an eye out for managed services opportunities. For Ed Jones, senior vice president of DLT Solutions, a value-added reseller of IT products and services in Herndon, Va., it’s all in a day’s work. Recently, Jones shared the latest developments at DLT — the introduction of a corporate business development unit, along with expanded reach into the intelligence community and state and local business — as well as insights on how his team brings fast, flexible response service to its vendor partners and public sector and higher education customers.
What led you to DLT?
Ed Jones: Besides the 20-plus years that I spent in the Marine Corps, I also have extensive experience in the aerospace, defense and information technology industries. I was with Rockwell International, an aerospace company, before joining Operations Research, Inc. (ORI), a small Washington-based consulting firm. After a few acquisitions and mergers, I became president of Atlantic Research Corporation, which was acquired by CSC in 1994. Then I cofounded my own company, EMSI. After 12 years of consulting in the public sector, EMSI was acquired by one of our top clients, DLT Solutions, Inc. And here I am now, senior vice president of DLT Solutions, Inc.
What are your biggest challenges in the VAR business?
Ed Jones: The ever changing IT landscape within the public sector. Every government agency — federal, state, local — is trying to become first-class IT providers to their constituencies. And technology is moving fast, making it harder for agencies to keep up. As part of our mission, we try to stay ahead of it so we can translate it to our government customers and therefore, be fast, flexible and responsive to their growing needs. Doing all of that and helping our government customers stay within their tightening budgets is challenging.
What are you doing to stay competitive as an IT provider?
Ed Jones: Web 2.0 is an area that the government is using to meet their constituents’ needs. We have new partners who are dedicated to offering products and services to make the transition to Web 2.0 easier for our customers, making government more interactive with the people over the internet. That’s exciting. We also are expanding our open source architecture practice. We were already the largest government partner to Red Hat, the largest enterprise Linux provider. Now, we are adding partners such as Zenoss, which provides an open source IT management solution.
What’s something most people are surprised to learn about DLT?
Ed Jones: I think all of our partners are pleasantly surprised by our marketing capabilities. We’re a lead generation machine with the statistical data to show results from every angle. Like many sales organizations, our marketing team generates leads. We have hundreds of marketing activities with millions of customer touches that lead to thousands of opportunities. Those opportunities become thousands of qualified prospects, who then become hundreds of quotes and ultimately millions of dollars in wins. All traceable back to the original marketing event. I think also that our partners and our customers are always impressed by our back-office: our order management, contracts and accounting functions.
How has your Marine background helped you in business?
Ed Jones: That’s a good question. My Marine Corps background helps me in everything I do, in my business and personal life. It gave me discipline, focus and the ability to work as part of a team. Being part of the Marine Corps meant you were among the best. Since then, I have learned how to recognize the best companies and have sought to become a part of them.
What’s something most people don’t know about you personally?
Ed Jones: I spent a lot of time in the Far East early in my business career. I was in Beijing when President Carter announced the normalization of diplomatic relations with China. On the day it was announced, I met with Deng Xiaoping, then the de facto leader of China. We had a magnificent day, and we became old friends.
What’s the best part of your job at DLT?
Ed Jones: Working with our young workforce. It is really fun to work with these young, bright people. We learn a lot from each other.
Interview with Ed Jones was conducted by JD Kathuria
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