Valentine's Day Extreme Partner Crush - An Interview with John Thome, President of Chi Corporation

Valentine’s Day is a time to express our love for the people we hold dear. For the Extreme Partner Team, it’s also an opportunity for us to share some love with our incredible partners. 

Based in Solon, Ohio, Chi Corporation has been a stalwart partner and outstanding performer for more than 15 years. We wanted to spotlight this incredible organization and highlight the things that underly the most successful partnerships: Leaning into each other’s strengths, working towards common goals, supporting each other, and demonstrating loyalty and respect.

Chi Corporation offers a variety of solutions and technologies. How does the partnership with Extreme and our product portfolio fit into Chi Corporation’s overall business strategy?

We all know that a good network is the backbone of any successful business and organization. Without a good network, nothing else runs the way it should, and businesses suffer because of it. So, when we discuss pain points with our clients, one of the first things we ask is: What are you doing with your network? Extreme’s product portfolio is a great complement to the rest of Chi’s offerings and allows us to offer a complete technology solution to our customers.

Chi Corporation is a one-stop technology shop. In addition to networking, we also resell security, storage, backup and recovery, and virtualization products, along with engineering services.

How would you describe your experience as an Extreme partner? What motivates you to go out there and crush it with Extreme?

We’ve been an Extreme Partner for about 15 years now and I can honestly say Extreme is our strongest vendor partner. They have great networking products and I really like the direction they continue to go in with their technology.  And it’s very evident that the people at Extreme are excited about what they do and are so great to work with.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have served on Extreme’s partner advisory council and I make the effort to go to all the partner conferences so I can engage with Extreme’s leadership. Unlike other large tech companies whose C-level people seem to live in an ivory tower, Extreme’s team wants to be on the ground with their partners. They want to know what’s working and what needs to be improved.

Do you have any callouts to the people you work with at Extreme?

I’ve sent emails to CEO Ed Meyercord and COO Norman Rice on several occasions and they have always responded right away. While I’m sure I may be a pain in their backsides sometimes, they never make me feel that way.

But as with any successful organization, it’s the people behind Ed and Norman who truly drive our relationship. Our channel and account managers are phenomenal. I consider Glenn Mitchell, Jeff Sabella, and Kim Kleintz good friends – not just colleagues. They are in touch with our team several times a week and giving us the resources we need to serve our mutual customers. We work closely together so our users can be assured they’ve got the right solutions in place to help them accomplish their business goals. 


“Unlike other large tech companies whose C-level people seem to live in an ivory tower, Extreme’s team wants to be on the ground with their partners. They want to know what’s working and what needs to be improved.”

―John Thome, President, Chi Corporation


What kind of support from Extreme does Chi Corp appreciate the most as it relates to sales or marketing?

Chi probably represents over 30 different technology vendors and manufacturers and I tell every single one that the key to being successful with Chi is to stay in front of our sales and support team. If you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind. Extreme is one of the few that takes this advice to heart and truly makes the effort to reach out to our team on a regular basis.

Whether it’s Glenn Mitchell reviewing E-Rate deals with our sales team, Kim Kleintz making sure our certifications are up to date, or Leah Broadway showing us the newest go-to-market email campaigns, someone from Extreme is always making sure Chi has all the information we need to succeed and deliver the best possible outcomes for our customers.

What’s your secret ingredient to succeeding in your core markets?

Chi Corporation has been selling technology for over 55 years, having started as a graduate project at Case Institute of Technology (now Case Western Reserve University). Our longevity is directly tied to our ability to quickly adapt to changing tech environments; being loyal to our clients, communities, and roots; respecting and appreciating our amazing Chi team – some of whom have been with us for 25 years ― and keeping watch for the newest technology coming down the road. 

Chi Corporation isn’t just talking the talk, they’re walking the walk ― on the treadmill they won at a raffle during Ignite last August in Boston.

Much love to everyone at Chi!

About the Author
Lorna Pierno Headshot
Lorna Pierno
Director, Global Channel Marketing

Lorna Pierno is a global award-winning and innovative marketing professional at Extreme Networks, the leader in cloud-networking.

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