And the Winners Are…

Annual Channel Lifetime Achievement Awards recognize individuals for their contributions to the IT channel community.

By T.C. Doyle

A pioneering channel partner and mentor to fellow practitioners. A longtime industry professional and advocate for indirect sales. A thought leader and innovator of go-to-market strategies. These are the qualities that embody this year’s recipients of a 2023 Channel Lifetime Achievement Award.

At the Channel Focus conference this week in Universal City, California, Channelnomics and Channel Focus joined forces to honor three technology channel professionals:

  • Arlin Sorensen, vice president of Ecosystem Evangelism at ConnectWise
  • Bill Cate, vice president of marketing and channels at Zebra Technologies
  • Cheryl Cook, senior vice president of global channel marketing at Dell Technologies

The awards are the brainchild of several technology companies — AchieveUnite, Channel Focus, Channelnomics, and 360insights — that pooled their collective thinking to identify and validate standouts in the IT industry who’ve made meaningful and long-lasting contributions to the development of go-to-market strategies and business models.

More than 2,100 ballots with nearly 6,000 nominee votes were cast in 10 days. The winners were selected from 25 nominees and 12 finalists through a two-phase process involving peer nominations and community voting.

“The winners represent the best and the brightest IT professionals in this crucial tech sector,” said Larry Walsh, CEO and chief analyst at Channelnomics. “Their vision and commitment to partner success have transformed the channel time and again.”

Take Sorensen, who helped define and shape the managed service industry in the early 2000s. After nimbly building Heartland Technology Solutions into a Midwest powerhouse with seven offices spanning five states, he founded HTG Peer Groups to connect IT business leaders. Under his guidance, HTG grew to over 600 member companies worldwide, united by a model of collaboration and community. In 2018, ConnectWise acquired HTG. Rather than retire, Sorensen opted to lead the MSP communities, which now span the globe.

Sorensen’s dedication to partners is matched by that of Cate, whose career spans four decades. He began his career at IBM in the late 1970s, supporting new product launches and customer training, and quickly gained expertise in bringing new solutions to market through effective partner engagement.

Cate took his strategic vision to Harris Corporation and OpenConnect Systems in the 1980s, leading teams to drive complex data center solution sales through the channel. He spearheaded initiatives that motivated partners and opened new opportunities. Cate’s imprint on the industry began when he transitioned into channel leadership roles at Sun Microsystems in the 1990s. There, he played an instrumental role in introducing disruptive data center technologies to market through partners. His innovative programs laid the foundation for Sun’s future channel success.

After Sun, Cate joined Motorola Solutions and Zebra Technologies, where he continued to foster award-winning partner programs as channel chief. He’s admired for his collaboration with sales in strengthening partner relationships and engagement.

Then there’s Cook, a visionary leader who’s spent her three-decade career transforming channel models, empowering partners, driving channel success, and advancing women in technology. Cook has held channel sales and marketing positions at several high-profile companies, including NCR, Sun, and Nuance Communications. In all of her roles, she’s been a staunch ally of the channel.

In 2011, Cook joined Dell, where she now serves as senior vice president of global channel marketing. In that position, she’s responsible for spearheading long-term partner marketing strategy and driving critical engagement with Dell’s extensive partner ecosystem. Under her leadership, Dell’s global channel business has steadily expanded from just one-third of Dell’s total revenue to more than 40%.

Through her tireless advocacy, Cook has helped countless partners thrive by providing them with cutting-edge marketing tools, invaluable training, exciting events, and vital MDF programs. In addition, she’s been a passionate advocate for women in the channel, dedicated to developing the next generation of female leaders in business and technology. As the founder and executive sponsor of the Dell Women’s Partner Network, she has helped unite, inspire, and accelerate women across the IT channel.

Channelnomics is proud to help honor all three of these individuals, whose success extends well beyond their own organizations. We work with talented, inspiring, and dedicated professionals every day. This year’s Channel Lifetime Achievement Award recipients are standouts whose contributions will have a lasting impact for years to come.

T.C. Doyle is the vice president of strategic content at Channelnomics. Connect with him on LinkedIn at

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