One of Distribution Central country manager Richard Crabb’s hobbies is the property investment market in Auckland, but he is just as invested in his role with the distributor.
He manages to balance his job and the property game with looking after two young children and watching motorsport, but it is clear Crabb is positive about how he can influence the direction the company is taking locally.
“I have never been happier. The business has a very clear direction led by Scott [Frew] and Nick [Verykios]. There are 86 staff in Australia, so a lot of the systems and processes are built in Australia. I look to replicate that business model and execute it locally.”
Crabb says it was not difficult stepping into the country manager role because of his past experience, and says it was a natural progression after many years learning the IT game. In the IT world, he has worked in networking, system integration and distribution.
“I had experience at Network Pro and Expert Solutions Providers (ESP) dealing with Nortel, so when this opportunity came up I thought Distribution Central was the perfect place for me.
“Building relationships was key and also not burning any bridges. I enjoy developing new and existing business opportunities while working with a team to develop new internal processes to ensure the business runs smoothly.”
Although he has now had a long IT career, he started out as an apprentice electrician.
“I was sub-contracted out to a company called Intelligent Building Technologies which threw me into the ICT market as I was fixing switches and routers. After a couple of years within that business I moved into a sales role and was selling the solutions.”
The biggest challenge for Crabb was going from a hands-on role at Intelligent Building Technologies to sales. “The rest, I have not found difficult. When I did it, a lot of the people around me frowned upon what I was doing. It was a ‘them and us’ scenario, so it took courage and strength to do that. But I am glad I did.”
One of Crabb’s most memorable roles was at ESP. He was initially hired in a sales management role in 2004 and worked with ESP owner John King for a number of years.
He briefly left to become a sales manager for EdTech for nine months after asking King for a share of the business.
“It was made pretty clear that John [King] wasn’t interested in selling any part of the business. I saw the natural progression was to move on. Edtech was a larger company and I had more people to look after.”
However, he decided that he did not enjoy dealing with schools, central to EdTech’s business, so he returned to ESP for another two years.
Crabb had a further opportunity to invest in ESP when King became ill, but Crabb says the sale didn’t work out.
Axon co-founder Greg McKeown and Divers Group managing director Max Divers bought the company instead, and nine months later Crabb moved to Network Pro as its northern region branch manager.
ESP eventually merged with Tenet Management Group and associated firm Optimum Networks to form services firm Intellium in 2008.
Crabb also ran his own business, Cablelinks, as a distributor for Modem Pack for two and a half years before it was acquired by Tech Pacific. Prior to this, he worked in sales for Modem Pack.
He then worked at Tech Pacific, now Ingram Micro. “I was a Cisco gold partner account manager before gold partners could buy direct from the vendor. I did that for nearly three years before moving to Expert Solution Providers.”
Crabb began with Distribution Central six months ago and says he enjoys the rapid change in technology.
“Technology is always changing and nothing sits still. There are a lot of good people I have worked with over the years and continue to work with today.
“Distribution Central have all the expertise and experience to build a successful business in Australasia. My attraction [to the company] is that I have had six years within reseller land and before that I was in distribution within Tech Pacific. It is a natural step for me to go back into distribution, but at a country manager level.”
He has relished the chance to get out and meet the company’s resellers in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
“Last year we did the Avaya DC road show, which was an introduction to the change from Agile’s distribution model to ours. We would like to do a road show once a quarter because we have 13 brands in New Zealand. That gives us an opportunity to cover all of them.”
Crabb says property investment is a less expensive hobby than motorsport, which he follows from the safety of the armchair, watching Formula One and the V8 racing on television. However, given the chance he would love to race cars for a living.