Basketball Player, Coach, Entrepreneur and System Integrator: An Interview with Joe Colelli

Extreme Hero Joe Colelli Blog Hero

Meet Joe Colelli of Harbor Networks, Extreme’s Champion of the Quarter

You’ve been working with Harbor Networks for two decades. How would you summarize the evolution of your role in the company?

As I end my 20th year at Harbor, the company has changed significantly – more employees, partners, clients, geographic reach, etcetera. However, my role really hasn’t changed that much over all these years. I still provide consulting services to our client base with a focus on acquiring new clients and strategic partners. I’m very fortunate to be part of a group and management team that is so focused on growing the company and adding partners that help solve and address our clients’ problems and business needs.

Which specific values, capabilities, and advantages provided by Harbor resonate with your customers the most and help you win new deals?

Over the years, Harbor has been able to evolve into a very unique service business for the current business environment. We’re not a small services and consulting company, but we’re also not a huge international organization, either. We’ve found our sweet spot in the market by being large enough to guarantee a high level of expertise yet small enough to provide a very customized and personal approach to sales, support, and customer service. Plus, we offer high-level services for voice, cyber security, networking, firewalls, Wi-Fi, and more. There are not many organizations out there, especially at our size, that can provide such a range of services.

You’re the type of partner that is able to sell the big vision behind Extreme solutions. As a matter of fact, your involvement has been critical to some recent new logo wins with Extreme, all leveraging ExtremeCloud IQ.

Harbor has been fortunate over the past few months to win some large projects where we leveraged Extreme Networks. We were able to pitch Extreme Networks to our customers due to the resources trained on Extreme solutions that we’re able to provide at Harbor. Without those resources, we wouldn’t be able to do anything for these clients because we would never have been invited to the table. These new clients also appreciated the fact that we could provide in-house site surveys, network assessment, and design services before even engaging Extreme. Once the customers were engaged and comfortable with Harbor, Extreme was the perfect fit with the feature set around ExtremeCloud IQ and Extreme Fabric Connect.

What do you personally feel is the most compelling aspect of the partnership with Extreme – both for you as a salesperson and for your business as a whole?

Our first joint endeavor with Extreme took place about a decade ago. Speaking from a sales perspective, it’s always encouraging to see such amazing growth and evolution from a manufacturer like Extreme. Plus, Extreme has some extremely friendly, helpful support personnel who are always willing to go above and beyond to help us win a new project or assist in resolving a current client issue. We spend so much time hyping up our partners that it’s nice for a change to be the one who is getting some recognition back.

Colleges and school districts represent an important customer group for Harbor Networks. How do you personally see the future of technology in education and what role do you think that networks will play in turning that vision into reality?

For schools, having a fast, reliable, and secure network is as important as ever. However, the biggest challenge we see in the education market is the lack of funding or knowledge on how to acquire it and the resources needed to provide service and support for school networks.

For colleges and universities, with their high costs today, it is expected and required to have top-of-the-line wired and wireless networking experiences for students, staff, family, alumni, and guests. Plus, it’s a competitive advantage to have high-quality service. Like schools, security is of the highest priority for colleges and universities today. Ransomware and cyber attacks seem to happen daily, and the fact that we have such a unique story with Extreme really helps Harbor Networks differentiate us when we meet with new customers from the educational sector.I think Extreme is just the right partner to team up with in these opportunities.

You played competitive basketball in college, right?

Indeed, I spent many, many hours playing on the varsity Division 3 basketball team. We were a nationally ranked team, and I was a two-time captain during my junior and senior years. Today, I try my best to live a healthy lifestyle and enjoy exercising and trying different training techniques to keep my body and mind fresh. I turned out to be a better golfer than a ball player, as I have gotten older. Today, I don’t have as much time for sports as I used to, but have found that it’s as fun sharing hobbies with my family, and I spend lots of time coaching my kids and their youth sports teams.

What keeps you busy when you’re not out winning new deals and delivering excellent solutions and services to customers?

I’ve been happily married since 2011 to an extraordinary wife, Lindsey, and we have a very busy family. We have four young children, Olivia (10), JoJo (7), Alex (3), and Eliana (10 months), all with more energy than they know what to do with. They keep us on our toes daily. My wife also provides a nice balance to my business world as she is a stage and screen actress and also does some teaching at a local college.

If it weren’t for the networking industry or tech sector as a whole, is there anything else you would like to do?

My family started a small, niche, vending machine business with healthy snacks that we currently own and operate in and around Medway, Massachusetts. I was also once very close to jumping into the coaching world when I left Babson College. Other than that, I’m just trying my best to juggle my family and work, and I’m very grateful to work with a group like Harbor and partners like Extreme Networks.

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About the Author
Kilynn Sommer
Vice President Global Channel Marketing and Partner Programs

Kilynn is a bilingual marketing leader with a proven track record of driving growth and organizational effectiveness. She leads our global channel marketing and partner programs.

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