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Rebellious By Nature: An Interview with Lee Newman

Natalia Vianden Director, Global Channel Programs Published 8 Sep 2021

For this interview, you won’t need coffee because today’s guest is a walking ball of energy. Meet Lee Newman, a sales director from LAN3, and our Extreme Champion of the Quarter.

You are awakened early in the morning by a phone call. You’ve just won a contract with Buckingham Palace. What’s your reaction?

I knew getting Queen Elizabeth to attend that test flight was a great idea!

You’ve been instrumental in LAN3’s revenue growth over the last fiscal year. What’s the secret recipe to great results?

Lead by example. Work very hard and smart. Put in the hours. Always do what you say you’re going to do and surround yourself with a very competent team to help deliver outstanding results.

You spent a good portion of your time in the managed & monitored services. Before you joined LAN3 in 2010, you also worked at 3Com, where you led an experienced sales team for a decade. How did it feel to be back in the saddle?

Pretty amazing. I’ve held various sales roles throughout my career but was originally LAN3’s Service Director, helping change us from a pure reseller into a solution and managed service provider. Nearly two years ago I became Sales Director. You cannot beat the feeling of understanding customers’ requirements, closing deals, and receiving those POs.

What is different about a services-oriented business. Would you agree that NaaS ― Network as a Service ― is what the market needs right now and that LAN3 is poised for significant growth?

Absolutely. We introduced FLEX by LAN3 this year. It’s a subscription-based procurement model, with or without our managed services. This enables the customer to have flexibility in the procurement of network devices and support. They can scale up or down as their business needs change, all on a monthly payment plan, so it’s OpEx rather than CapEx.

The majority of our proposals offer customers the traditional procurement route and a NaaS alternative. I’m expecting and pushing our business to change our business model over the next three years with NaaS growth gradually replacing traditional procurement.

Speaking of NaaS, the list of your recent success stories includes St Catherine’s College, Oxford’s youngest undergraduate college, which moved its wireless to ExtremeCloud IQ with an Extreme Networks Subscription model. How would you rate the potential of Extreme’s cloud-managed solutions in the UK?

I may be a little biased, but I feel ExtremeCloud IQ is the market-leading solution right now for Wi-Fi and LAN and the potential is unlimited. Obviously, being cloud-based is ideal during these COVID-19 times where the workforce is displaced. But AI and ML-powered analytics give customers great insights into their business. Having one price per license, regardless of the device on the end, is a very compelling story, along with things like the unlimited data retention. Customers can compare stats before, during, and after we come out of the pandemic.

What’s your favorite Extreme solution? Do you believe there’s a single one that can open most customer doors?

It would have to be a Wi-Fi solution: ExtremeCloud IQ Pilot licenses. We’ll also soon be offering CoPilot licenses by the way. So, IQ Pilot coupled with Wi-Fi 6 access points, all surveyed, designed, implemented and supported by LAN3. Everyone needs Wi-Fi, it’s become as important and as expected as any other type of utility like water or electricity. People assume that it “just needs to work.” That definitely opens the door and leads to further discussions around the LAN, WAN, and SD-WAN, security, cabling, and services.

What do you value the most in Extreme as a Partner?

That they simply care about you both as an individual and as a business and trusted partner. Their partner programs are the best I’ve encountered, giving us certain targets, spiffs and milestones to reach, both in terms of sales and the growth of our technical abilities. Their Heroes and Champions programs reward individuals every quarter and there is a wide range of rebates. They also encourage us to come up with off-beat marketing plans to use our MDF which usually brings very decent ROIs. We also work very closely with their account execs to show a seamless joint approach to customers.

A special shout-out to our own account manager, Anthony Hackett, who is extremely insightful, helpful, attentive, and helps us reach our goals!

If a film was made of your life, what would be its title and who would play you?

“The Watchmaker’s Son.” And Steve McQueen, if he was still alive. I mean, come on, he was the coolest guy on Earth!

Though tea has long been the beloved drink of choice in Great Britain, you’ve decided to open up a coffee shop business in the London area. Why so rebellious?

I’ve always been a bit rebellious and risk-taking, and let’s face it, coffee is more exciting than tea. The hand-built La Marzocco Espresso machines we have are a work of art. One of the shops is also a cocktail bar, so we’re open from morning till midnight, hence the name: Fade to Black. My favorite has to be a flat white coffee in the morning followed by an espresso martini in the evening.

Speaking of British things, we always ask our Extreme Heroes and Champions from the UK which famous music artist or band they compare to Extreme to.

Maybe a bit cheesy, but I’d say Dido, as her real name is Florian Cloudde Bounevialle Armstrong.

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Read more Extreme Champion blogs here.

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