Meet Clint Vaughn, Regional Sales Executive at STEP CG and our Extreme Champion of the Quarter.
Congratulations to you and your colleagues for taking home Extreme’s Cloud Revenue Partner of the Year and Enterprise & Growth Partner of the Year – U.S. titles last fall. STEP CG’s tagline is: “Where innovation meets execution.” What kind of support from Extreme do you value the most in sales?
It’s obviously an honor for us, a relatively small company with just over 100 employees, to win an Extreme Partner Award.
From my perspective, I can’t identify one area of support that I appreciate the most. We tackle some big, and often complex, projects together and Extreme is always there as an extension of our team. Whether it’s the local sales, engineering, or the leadership team, Extreme is always ready to jump in the trenches with us to make sure our customers are successful. Without that kind of partnership, and ultimately support, it would be difficult for us to act upon our tagline and truly execute.
You’ve been instrumental in setting up STEP CG as a top Extreme partner in the U.S. and you’re one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the Midwest. What is STEP CG vision? Where do you see new business?
I’ve been lucky enough to be on an unbelievable team that has worked together to grow to where we are today. We have some lofty goals as a company, and Extreme is an integral part of that plan, but with the engineering talent we have on board the ceiling is extremely high.
One area that really sets us apart and I think will be huge for us over the next 3-5 years is in the 5G space. We’ll continue to grow in traditional networking and security, but we have a level of expertise around cellular networks as well that not many of our competitors have. With the adoption of 5G, companies will be required to integrate those technologies with the traditional networking solutions that Extreme offers, and we’re one of the few companies―if not the only company―that is prepared to take that on today.
What’s your secret ingredient for succeeding in your core markets: Government, Healthcare, and Education?
The secret ingredient to my success is having the best engineering team in the business, hands down. Many of our engineers have a background in the markets we serve, giving us a leg up when helping our customers solve problems and meet initiatives quickly.
Speaking of winning in the education sector, STEP CG has had a quite a run in the first half of the fiscal year. You’re currently managing some of Extreme’s largest E-Rate customers in the country. What can you tell us about these projects?
These are projects that we’re really excited about as a company, and they feature some of Extreme’s most innovative solutions. Our founder, Rob Huff, is not shy about his passion for education and helping kids – especially in our home state of Kentucky. Knowing these projects will have a positive impact on students and how they interact and learn is gratifying and the feeling is shared throughout our leadership.
Schools are now challenged to quickly alternate between online and hybrid learning while also increasing their use of technology. STEP CG is all about helping reduce complexity for your customers. How do Extreme’s solutions and technologies help you achieve this?
To help combat the challenges we all faced over the last couple years, many school districts introduced or accelerated 1-to-1 initiatives where every student has a device for hybrid-learning. As we all know, whenever new technologies are introduced, there are often complexities that arise. In this case, the number of devices that now rely on each school district’s wireless network has increased significantly. Extreme’s suite of wireless solutions—like Wi-Fi 6 access points and ExtremeCloud IQ — and our engineering principles have helped prepare our education customers for when students re-enter the classroom with both their new, district-owned devices and their own personal devices.
We know future-proofing K-12 matters to you for reasons other than business, too. How has your life changed since the birth of your first child?
My son Bode is 16 months old. He has definitely introduced a different kind of mindset and a greater motivation than what I had prior to his birth. I’m also lucky that STEP CG values family and makes sure that they come first, so I can spend time with him and my wife while working towards the goals I have for myself professionally.
What do you do to stay active after hours? We hear you’re a former college athlete.
I definitely like to stay as active as I can and go to the gym or just outdoors. Pretty much any athleticism I have left has been reserved for golf. I enjoy getting out and playing whenever I have time.
What life advice would you give your son that you’ve learned in this business?
I think I would make sure he knows that it’s hard to be successful on your own. Lean on your team and surround yourself with others who will push you and make you successful.