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From Networking to Boat Building: An Interview with Pierre Guindon

Natalia Vianden Director, Global Channel Programs Published 1 Dec 2022

Meet Pierre Guindon of Netagen, Extreme’s Hero of the quarter

A lot has happened since we last spoke. For example, Combat Networks is now Netagen. What has changed from business and operations perspectives?

Netagen’s commitment to solutions-based professional services continues to move forward with a strong NG9-1-1 commitment and adapting our networking practice to current trends. Next Generation 9-1-1 is an initiative to update the 911 service infrastructure in the U.S. and Canada to improve public emergency communications services with wireless mobility.

I’m particularly excited about the new partnership with a large multinational partner in the point-of-sale market. Netagen’s legacy of exceptional customer experience and relentless pursuit of technical expertise will allow for an exceptional managed POS experience. We hope to grow this opportunity to include our customer’s partners and further develop the partnership to include other Netagen customers in the events industry. Be on the lookout for a new technology-based end-user experience coming to community venues across Canada very soon!

You’ve recently acquired the Extreme Certified Instructor certification, congratulations. What do you enjoy more: learning about new technologies or teaching others?

Recent world events have really helped us focus on the concept of a digital village. Events that take place thousands of kilometers away are affecting you and me. These are interesting times of profound change and networking technology is far-reaching not only across the globe, but also in our personal lives. This situation makes it very compelling to share what we have with others, so I enjoy teaching more because its so important.

In addition to being an Extreme Champion, you’re also an Extreme Hero, a rare breed of highly knowledgeable engineer who can excel at creating sales opportunities. That means you need to see the benefits of technology in the real world first before being convinced it’s right for your customers, right?

The way I see it, technology from a tier one vendor like Extreme Networks is a great enabler, seeing beyond and planning for the customer’s immediate needs. This allows us to bring to life new projects with some truly innovative value propositions.

You mentioned last time that the ExtremeCloud portfolio has been instrumental in the growth of Netagen’s business during the pandemic. What are your initial impressions about ExtremeCloud SD-WAN and ExtremeCloud IQ CoPilot, the AIOps solution combined with the industry’s first networking digital twin?

SD-WAN is clearly a game changer. The model is innovative yet simple. Technologies such as SD-WAN, AI, ML and AIOps allow our customers to optimize their operations, mitigate risks and bring new growth opportunities to light. Today’s networks are far-reaching and in a constant state of flux, generating huge data streams. It is our goal to help customers tap the value in such a fluid and changing networking environment.

For all of us on the Extreme team, you’re a true hero. Who have been your personal heroes?

Heroes are often the stuff of fantasy. They give permission to entertain possibilities beyond what we see as our potential. Other heroes help ground us in our humanity, showing us an attainable path and, on occasion, the flaws we may harbor inside ourselves. That said, I could not answer your question without naming Tony Stark and Alberto Salazar, other heroes at Netagen.

Last time we talked, you mentioned you’re planning to build a rowboat. Have you had the time and opportunity to follow that dream?

Let me say that starting from a planning and materials acquisition phase, this project is well underway and still a current passion of mine. Speaking of which – you wouldn’t happen to have some barn space to spare for a few months, would you?

If you are an Extreme partner and would like to become an Extreme Hero, visit our Extreme Portal.

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