Meet Chris Gaskin from PC Solutions and Integration – Extreme’s Hero of the quarter
I’ve heard that several Extreme systems engineers from the U.S. southeast say you are long due for this recognition. How does it feel to be named an Extreme Hero?
I am honored. It’s good to know that your hard work is recognized by your peers and colleagues.
In 2020, PC Solutions won the well-deserved Extreme Networks Breakout Partner of the Year Award. How has your company’s partnership with Extreme evolved over the last few years?
Our company’s deep knowledge of our customers’ needs has helped us translate their goals into solutions from Extreme. With the assistance of Extreme’s sales and support teams, we’ve been able to design network solutions that meet our customer’s expectations.
Please tell our readers a little bit about your background.
I started my career in IT in 2000, working for the University of Central Florida’s telecommunications team installing cables and assisting in deployments of Siemens phone systems. After several years, I moved to the network team to work on the residential dorm RESNET network. There I began learning how to deploy network switches and eventually moved to designing and managing network equipment deployments. These included a new wireless network for the dormitories and other specialty applications for the university as a senior network engineer.
In 2014, I switched from being an Extreme customer to an Extreme partner, going to work for PC Solutions. I shared my experiences in the university and college market and also learned about other network topologies. Ever since joining PCS, I have been exposed to different types of equipment as well as a variety of customer needs and markets.
You’ve been working together with Extreme quite a lot over the past three years. Can you recall your first experience with the purple equipment? Was it at the University of Central Florida?
That’s correct, we were in the process of upgrading the residential network switches and were looking to try out different vendors. We ended up choosing the X460-G1 series and it was an interesting deployment, to say the least.
Trying to learn a whole new syntax, deploy new equipment, and complete testing prior to students returning from summer break was really challenging. After some trial and error as well as several calls to support, we where able to complete the upgrade successfully. The university eventually also deployed Extreme in their network core.
Which Extreme solution or product do you particularly like to work with?
Now that I have had more experience with Extreme equipment, I appreciate the ExtremeXOS syntax. I find it more user friendly than other vendors solutions and it’s also integrated with Extreme Management Center which makes things easy to deploy.
What are some notable deals you’ve helped to win? How did you help solve the customer’s pain points?
We have been able to land many county and public safety deals to evaluate their existing networks and provide them with solutions that allow more control and insight into their equipment and network performance. Solutions like Extreme Management Center allow them to view their network more efficiently, down to a localized level, to improve critical up-time.
PCS has a strong focus on the K-12 education market, not only in Florida but in other states as well. What challenges does PCS face in this market?
One of the biggest challenges with K-12 is being able to provide the solutions that fit an institution’s requirements with the available funding through the E-Rate program. In addition, RFPs from K-12 customers often have requirements that are too generalized or too restrictive, which make finding an optimal and comprehensive solution also challenging.
If you are an Extreme partner and would like to become an Extreme Hero, click here to learn more.