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Gentleman on a Bike: An Interview with Jack Daniel

Natalia Vianden Director, Global Channel Programs Published 30 Sep 2021

 If you want to know what cycling and designing networks have in common, you need to read this interview. Meet Jack Daniel, a sales engineer from Data Network Solutions, and our Extreme Hero of the Quarter.

You are the founding engineer of Data Network Solutions, a very successful technology services company with over 20 years of experience in the market. What’s your recipe for success over such a long time?

We founded Data Network Solutions based on a simple statement that still pertains to us today. Take care of the customer first. There have been many instances where we have jumped into an issue at the customer’s request in an emergency. We did not worry about negotiating costs or timeframes. We just focused immediately on solving the issue.

Which role do you like the most – advisor, a technical resource, or sales professional?

As long as I am taking good care of the customer, I don’t think it makes much of a difference to me. The customer needs all of those things, really. But if I had to say what I enjoy the most, it’s being an advisor or coach.

What changes in the world of networking have you observed personally throughout the years?

Back when I was starting out, networking was about thick coaxial cable and vampire taps. Pushing 100 Gigabit across the wire was not a common sight.

How do you feel about Extreme’s technology vision: The Infinite Enterprise?

As a vision I think it is a great idea. Extreme Networks needs to get the word out about The Infinite Enterprise. Not just the vision but the story of how and why it is better than the alternatives. This not only needs to be presented to the tech community but to the public as a whole.

You have racked up quite a lot of ECS and EDS certifications. What do you value the most in the partnership with Extreme?

Extreme has been great at providing equipment that is stable and performs well.

What made you want to join the Hero club?

The goal really was not to get to Hero. The goal was to learn what I can about the technologies to support our existing customer base and potential new customers. Doing what I can to take care of the customer.

What’s your greatest professional success?

To me, success is maintaining the trust of customers who continually call on us to assist with new projects or troubleshoot when situations arise.

We know you never rest on your laurels, both in professional and private life. Just like one of our Extreme Champions Pierre Guindon, you’re quite a cyclist. Tell us about this passion and how it helps you stay in great physical and mental shape.

Cycling is a metaphor for life. As much as you put into the bike is as much as you get out of it. A little over 11 years ago I weighed 250 pounds and could hardly ride 10 miles without being exhausted. Now I compete in events that are generally 80 to 100 miles in length.

Any particular cycling achievements you’d like to share?

The greatest cycling event I was involved in was a multi-day event held in South Carolina called Road Titans 300. This event was three consecutive days of riding, with 100 miles and 10,000 feet of climbing each day. This was definitely the single most challenging event I’ve participated in, to date.

If you had to compare designing networking solutions and traveling the world on two wheels, what would you say?

Preparation, preparation, and more preparation is key for both pursuits. With the bike, it’s putting in the intelligent training in order to have the confidence to be able to complete the event. Preparation for designing networks requires listening to the customer’s needs, providing the necessary training, and knowing the technologies and how they apply.

If you are an Extreme partner and would like to become an Extreme Hero, click here to learn more.

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