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The Human Facet of Digital with Robert Hessel of Supply 1 Options

In at present’s digital age, expertise can typically overshadow the human aspect in enterprise. However what if the important thing to success lies in placing folks first? Be part of Carrie Charles and Robert Hessel, CEO of Supply 1 Options, for a thought-provoking and fascinating dialog on the position of human connection in driving enterprise success. 

On this episode, Carrie and Robert talk about the worth of partnerships, buyer loyalty, and attracting and retaining expertise within the new world of labor. With over 25 years in enterprise administration, Robert’s management technique focuses on robust enterprise relationships to remain aggressive within the digital world.

Don’t miss this inspiring episode concerning the human aspect of digital and its affect on enterprise success. Tune in to the complete episode to be taught extra about Robert’s journey into expertise, and to find the people-first methods that grew Supply 1 Options from a small startup to a worldwide enterprise.

Hearken to the podcast right here


The Human Facet of Digital with Robert Hessel of Supply 1 Options

I’m very excited to have you ever with us on this episode. I’m much more enthusiastic about our visitor, Robert Hessel. He’s the CEO of Supply 1 Options, and my neighbor right here in Tampa, Florida, type of. We’re not too shut. Welcome, Robert. I’m so excited to have you ever on the present.

Thanks for having me. You might be proper. We’re not too shut. It’s all the way in which throughout one bridge. It’s about 5 miles lengthy, and also you’d by no means appear to have the ability to discover your means on this aspect of city.

Robert, I’ve all the time had a lot respect for you ever since I met you. I’d love to listen to about your skilled journey to the place you at the moment are and possibly some classes you’ve realized alongside the way in which.

Like many individuals from Florida, I didn’t develop up right here. I grew up in a small city in Northern Michigan, virtually in Canada, by way of the highest of Michigan. There are some advantages of rising up in a small city, particularly now as a father. At the moment, there have been numerous disadvantages to the world I grew up in. It was a really seasonal sort of place until you had been knowledgeable like a physician or a lawyer. I feel there was one physician’s workplace in my city if I’m not mistaken. Until you had been a physician or a lawyer, you had been just about both working within the vacationer business or the development business or one thing like that. I wasn’t in love with faculty although I used to be an excellent student-athlete.

After a 12 months of making an attempt to fake that I preferred faculty, I joined the US Navy, and the US Navy is what introduced me to Florida. I completed off in Jacksonville, Florida. I keep in mind I used to be going to maneuver again to Michigan and it was this time of 12 months. I used to be driving from the Mayport Base to NAS Jacksonville, the air base. I used to be in a Navy truck. I had the window down, a short-sleeved shirt on with my arm out the window. It was a beautiful day. I believed concerning the climate in Northern Michigan and I made a decision shortly that that was a nasty thought. I ought to attempt to discover my means right here in Florida. I finally moved to Tampa.

After I bought out of the navy, I bought into the well being and health enterprise. The one motive I picked that was that they had been hiring and I wanted a job. I began out as a coach there. The supervisor of the gymnasium after I first began working there confirmed me how they do a tour. On a Monday evening, it was extremely busy and this very impatient buyer got here in or a possible gymnasium member got here in. Whereas I used to be making an attempt to get him to attend for the membership director, he didn’t need to wait anymore. I may inform he was pissed off and going to go away so I made a decision I’d take him on a tour of the gymnasium because the supervisor took me on the day earlier than. I just about did every little thing verbatim, together with as this man pushed me much more as a result of he’s in a rush.

I went by way of the pricing for the lifetime membership. That is again within the late ‘90s. That was when males’s and girls’s golf equipment and lifelong memberships with two-hour renewal charges and all these items. I bought him to comply with the paid-in-full possibility on his bank card with a lifetime renewal or wherever it was. I keep in mind going over to the supervisor and saying, “This man desires that lifetime factor and he desires to pay by bank card.” He checked out me with a clean stare and walked over. He stated, “I need to just be sure you perceive every little thing.”

The man bought impatient at the moment as a result of he wished to enroll and go wherever he was going. The supervisor appeared on the paper and he stopped for a minute as a result of he may inform I did every little thing precisely as he had jugged me the day earlier than. I didn’t even speak about the rest. From that day on, I used to be in gross sales. I quickly turned the assistant supervisor, after which I turned the overall supervisor of a membership inside six months.

He’s the one who introduced me down right here and bought me into expertise. I got here right down to Tampa as a result of he left the health enterprise and labored for Lucid Applied sciences at the moment, which is now often known as VIA. He introduced me right down to Tampa and I bought a job in gross sales. I went to their coaching. That’s how I bought launched to expertise. I got here out of my coaching class and made the primary sale two days after I got here out of coaching. I used to be the golden boy. I didn’t make one other sale for the remainder of the 12 months and I ended up resigning so he didn’t have to fireplace me. I used to be terrible at it. Through the years, I stayed in expertise and quick ahead skipping by way of working for different corporations and dealing my means up by way of the ranks introduced me to the place I’m now, which is the CEO of Supply 1 Options, which I began again in 2011.

Please inform me the story of Supply 1. What was your why behind creating it? I do know that you just had a really fascinating path into expertise. Additionally, speak about what you do and who you serve.

I wrestled backwards and forwards. I used to be a companion in a earlier firm, and I wasn’t actually a companion. I feel your viewers most likely can relate. There are many folks that may relate to that. I had a nasty relationship and I break up with that firm. I made a decision with plenty of teaching from mates that I’m going to try to give this a go by myself. Whereas I used to be in Key West throughout the mini-lobster season, I lastly decided. My CFO presently, was not my CFO at the moment, was a very good buddy that was going to assist me out if I made a decision to do that to handle my books as a result of I didn’t know finance. I referred to as him. I informed him to register the title and he determined that he was coming to work for me on the similar time.

Rapidly, I had overhead. It wasn’t perfect, however I began Supply 1 out of the backseat of a Toyota Camry again in 2011. To start with, it was like several startup. You offered something that you just knew the way to promote to get cash within the door and preserve the cashflowing. The corporate has made shifts in what our focus was however by way of time, I bought some good enterprise teaching. I understood the place the worth was for Supply 1 and the place we may generate income. I bought extra narrowly targeted on that as an IT-managed service {and professional} providers firm.

Whereas I used to be working with Avaya, one other companion alongside the way in which, one factor that I’d all the time observed was, for probably the most half, the territory restricted you when you had been a certified companion. It was alleged to be a good enjoying area, nevertheless it by no means was. The massive sellers or the massive distributors for these corporations get probably the most love. Their low cost ranges are 4 or 5 occasions typically what yours are. They’ve bought deeper pockets and money. The one place I may generate income again then after I was working for different corporations and being compensated off earnings was on the providers aspect of it. These corporations additionally restricted you when you had been a certified companion. You would promote in Florida, however you couldn’t promote in Georgia and I believed that was so silly.

5TT Robert Hessel | Human Side Of Digital
Human Facet Of Digital: It was alleged to be a good enjoying area, nevertheless it by no means was. The massive sellers or the massive distributors for these corporations get probably the most love.

We began with the mindset of, “Let’s simply be a providers firm and be a subcontractor to all these nice corporations. We’ll be capable to provide providers outdoors of the territory and assist them out.” That morphed into a novel state of affairs the place a buyer referred to as and requested if we may do one thing in Brazil. I used to be in startup mode, have in mind. I keep in mind saying, “Brazil? How onerous can or not it’s? If one thing goes incorrect, we’ll ship some substitute gear down there. We’ll fly considered one of our engineers down. They’ll repair every little thing. So long as they provide us a unfastened SLA, let’s name it 4 days, we’ll be fantastic.”

One contract turned 2 contracts turned 3 and have become 10. Thank God nothing ever went incorrect, which is the upside of upkeep as a result of I didn’t take into consideration the customs points. There was no means we had been going to ship gear into Brazil and get it there. When the engineer bought there, every little thing was going to be in Portuguese. He wouldn’t be capable to learn it. None of these items even dawned on me and saying sure to the upkeep contracts led to, “We would like you to do installations for us.” That’s after I needed to be taught the worth of partnerships. I partnered with some completely different corporations. One particularly over within the UK who understood the worldwide panorama and partnerships. It taught me loads throughout that point.

That’s how we bought our begin on this complete world enterprise of doing skilled providers and assist. It was very a lot accidentally. We took plenty of lumps alongside the way in which with studying the completely different cultures and methods of getting companies accomplished. Quick ahead to now and that is going to be our twelve years in enterprise in July 2023. We have now SLA-driven contracts in 118 nations with workplaces in 3 nations. It’s been a reasonably wild journey, to say the least. There have been plenty of scary occasions. Proper now, we’re having fun with an excellent time within the enterprise over the previous few years however we realized how a lot we have to worth and admire these as a result of we’ve seen the opposite aspect of it as nicely.

You and I’ve linked over telecom. I’d prefer to know the place you serve the telecom business.

We have now a restricted quantity of shoppers. As I stated, somebody requested me to do one thing for them in Brazil, which known as the worldwide piece however SIs, we serve Programs Integrators and enormous telcos. We received’t point out any of their names, however that’s considered one of our largest buyer subsets. Our providers are offered predominantly by way of the channel. A telco will promote a big world answer, and if there are 10 duties, they may have the capabilities or need to do 4 of these. There’ll be 5 or 6 parts of a giant contract for them that they don’t need to do.

It’s not that they couldn’t do it, I assume, nevertheless it’s that they don’t need to do it. I’m not their core enterprise. We do plenty of work within the telco house round community assist. A big piece of our enterprise, which I do know is your specialty area, and why we chatted. We do plenty of DAS, Distributed Antenna work all the way in which from the preliminary design, iBwave Design, during the set up and turn-up. We’re a licensed supplier for one of many telcos. That’s how we bought into the house and the way we service the telcos. We service them throughout many nations. Our prospects are positioned in many alternative nations within the telco house.

One factor, Robert, that has all the time impressed me about you moreover your entrepreneurial spirit. I like your story and also you’re an inspiration to me, for positive, however one thing about your buyer loyalty. Your prospects are loyal. How have you ever had success right here?

Thanks for that. That’s a pleasant praise. Tradition is a phrase that will get thrown round a lot, however it’s actually vital to us and our values. From the second you enter our constructing, you’ll see our values. The posters throughout our wall are imaginative and prescient, mission, and values however our values are posted across the constructing. It’s additionally part of our story once we discuss to our shoppers and we inform them that is a very powerful factor. Worth primary is relationships over offers. To us, meaning internally. With our crew, our relationship is extra vital than the deal.

We attempt to be very versatile and really accommodating to make this an important work atmosphere, which is why we don’t have plenty of turnovers however extra so we’ll inform our prospects no for a number of completely different causes. One is we expect the ask will not be achievable, particularly once you’re speaking about world enterprise. If any person will not be uncovered to a number of the areas around the globe, by way of our expertise and our knowledge, sure issues that you just may anticipate in North America or throughout Europe should not the identical issues which might be achievable in elements of Africa, Latin America, and completely different areas of the world.

Relationships over a deal have been virtually our battle cry. What served us so nicely with our prospects is the truth that we’re not afraid to inform them, no, as a result of we expect one thing’s unachievable or we’ll inform straight up, “We’re not one of the best guys to do that for you. We may do it for you. We’ll be doing an all-right job, however that’s all it is going to be is all proper. What you need to most likely do is go to X, Y, or Z firm that we all know and we’re glad to make the introduction for you.” I’m a gross sales man from my background, and that’s a counterintuitive factor to do for a salesman however these are the sorts of deep relationships and partnerships that our shoppers search for. That’s why a few of our largest shoppers have been in our prime ten checklist for 10 out of the 12 years that we’ve gotten into the enterprise.

It’s honesty and I feel our prospects can see that we don’t have an amazing quantity of turnover right here. Lots of people had been massive on anniversaries and I’ve been gifting away so many 5-year anniversary awards and 6-year awards. Our prospects and companions can see that as nicely. That offers them a way of belief and luxury as nicely. They know that our crew should really feel safe within the atmosphere of Supply 1, which helps make them really feel safe. In the event that they really feel safe, they’re keen to throw us extra enterprise and go entice extra enterprise. It’s a easy idea, however a really efficient one. That’s been a giant a part of our success.

If the shoppers really feel safe, they’re keen to throw us extra enterprise and go entice extra enterprise.

Let’s proceed on that monitor. What methods are working for Supply 1 with attracting and retaining expertise proper now? Give us some secrets and techniques, Robert. That’s what we wish.

I want I had some nice phenomenal secrets and techniques as a result of the panorama has modified loads. For us, it’s simply consistency. This isn’t the preferred opinion proper now. We do have those who work in some distant areas and there are days that individuals do work remotely as a result of they’ve a sick baby at residence or one thing else however I’m very a lot an on-prem particular person. There’s plenty of worth in being inside the identical 4 partitions, not from the power to coach.

Let’s face it, it is a irritating enterprise, and when you’re sitting in your own home day by day getting beat up by expertise challenges and making an attempt to repair issues as a result of that’s what prospects name you for. They don’t name you to say, “All the things has been nice for the final 4 years. Thanks a lot.” They name you when one thing is damaged.

You want that vitality and the power to typically vent. Inside these 4 partitions, we attempt to make this a very enjoyable place to work. We do plenty of completely different inside occasions and we’re very methodical in every little thing that we do of demonstrating our values. I’ll provide you with an instance. One in all our values is lifting others up. It’s a quite simple worth. It might have plenty of completely different meanings, however once you come on board, you undergo the worker guide, and we speak about how we exhibit our values in writing.

For instance, your baby has a faculty play or no matter it might be. Don’t name in sick. Don’t take a trip day. Don’t inform us the morning of the play as a result of then I bought to suppose possibly your baby doesn’t have a play and also you’re simply utilizing it as an excuse. We are able to sniff by way of that however go be part of the moments that matter with your loved ones and be there for them. Come to work when you may and get your work accomplished. If meaning you’re going to get right here at 2:00, or if it means you’re going to come back in early or no matter it’s going to do, simply get your job accomplished. We’re not too apprehensive concerning the different a part of it. We’re extra apprehensive that you just don’t miss these varieties of issues.

We put our cash the place our mouth is and attempt to have a good time these moments with our crew and allow them to be there. We do plenty of work locally and all these issues are what entice expertise to us as a result of we’ve been lucky and we’ve bought some unbelievable expertise on this constructing and around the globe. These are most likely the key sauce. Additionally, the panorama has modified so recruiting is a unique beast proper now, which I do know you perceive greater than anyone most likely. It’s staying true to who we’re as an organization. Everyone is searching for a spot the place they’ll really feel safe and a spot that’s constant.

5TT Robert Hessel | Human Side Of Digital
Human Facet Of Digital: Everyone is searching for a spot that’s constant and the place they’ll really feel safe.

Is it somewhat completely different now from the challenges in tech with expertise gaps, retention, and having sufficient expert employees? Are you seeing something completely different now than a number of months in the past? Do you suppose it’s going to be completely different in a 12 months? I do know there have been fairly a number of layoffs and issues have modified a bit in tech.

There’s a scarcity of individuals, particularly within the 5G house. There may be extra 5G work to be accomplished proper now than there are folks on the planet to carry out the work, which is a superb factor, nevertheless it’s additionally a problem. That is an fascinating time. Not making an attempt to go too far off the rails, however you’ve bought plenty of nice skills which might be coming in direction of the top within the sundown of their profession. You’ve bought a gaggle of younger folks which might be developing. For the younger folks which might be developing, if I can provide them any recommendation is how do I stability work, life, and all these different issues I need to be concerned in. It’s vital to recollect what you’re making an attempt to perform.

For those that need to work proper now, I’m speaking to the youthful technology that need to completely dig in, there are every kind of corporations searching for folks which might be hungry that need to work. The trail to mentorship or management inside of those corporations or being one of many best engineers on the planet exists, and there’s an enormous alternative for it. I do suppose there’s a hole within the expertise sector. We want youthful and hungry folks coming into {the marketplace} to switch a few of these veterans which were round that know the ins and outs of every little thing, and do have that stage of labor ethic nonetheless.

Robert, you stated one thing as soon as that I’ll always remember. It’s one thing concerning the human aspect of expertise, and it appears to be a profitable technique for you. Are you able to broaden on that?

I want I keep in mind precisely what I stated. One factor that’s for positive is on this business, we’re coping with expertise and people. What may probably go incorrect? That’s somewhat cute as a result of every little thing can go incorrect. Most likely a very powerful half even round right here internally is expertise is a lovely factor, and we make a dwelling and put meals on our tables from it, however don’t lose the human issue. We’re all human beings working on this place. I get so irritated when any person sends me 4 emails they usually’re 4 doorways down. Why don’t you rise up and are available right here and discuss to me? Let’s have a dialog about issues. It’s thrilling and it’s scary the place expertise goes with AI and all these various things.

We attempt to stability all that and have an actual understanding of the human aspect of our enterprise, which is once more, why we’ve prospects for long-standing. For those that need to work with us, we perceive completely different cultures, traditions, and the completely different ways in which enterprise is completed in these areas. That’s additionally what brings the human aspect of our enterprise and understanding of our enterprise to our prospects, which I admire.

Numerous our prospects don’t perceive how issues get accomplished in Brazil, Latin America, or Asia. Not that we all know every little thing, however we’ve a reasonably good understanding, and we will carry that to them and assist them when it comes time to answer a deal. Additionally, when it comes time to handle these folks out within the area which might be working with us and for us to assist them ship and meet their buyer expectations.

Robert, you’ve all the time been capable of entice and retain robust leaders. What do you search for when hiring leaders and the way do you develop them? Do you have got a proper growth program or is it extra mentorship?

Inside our constructing, the folks which might be in senior management roles, folks which might be in key administration roles, this enterprise has been constructed over time. Actually, all these folks have been handpicked. I can consider one instance of that on a management crew. The man did work with us as a contractor. He owned his personal firm for quite a lot of years. For 3 years, I’d been speaking to him realizing, “This man, if he was a part of us, it might be nice.”

Finally, that manifested itself. The president of the corporate, I met most likely three years into this from considered one of our largest prospects who he retired from. They referred me to him. I keep in mind sitting in a gathering with him, I’m like, “We don’t have a automotive quick sufficient to drive for this man. If he is available in and tells my buyer our precise dimension versus our preventing weight, then we might be in hassle.” 5 years later, the man turns into the president of the corporate as a result of I stayed involved with him.

Our VP of operations, I courted him for 2 years. I used to be assembly him for lunches. I used to be not providing him jobs. I used to be assembly with him making an attempt to know him and what made him tick as a result of although there could be some variations in how we expect, we’ve to have the identical values on the finish of the day for the corporate to achieve success. As soon as these persons are right here, we’ve a quite simple technique for this very entrepreneurial firm. That is what I anticipate of individuals. Know what you probably did, and why you probably did it, and be keen to defend that place. If you are able to do these three issues and the end result wasn’t nice, that’s a studying expertise for us as a result of meaning you made the precise resolution as a result of all of us make the incorrect resolution.

If you are able to do these three issues, then we’re all the time going to be okay. I feel that’s the mentorship aspect of it. We don’t do plenty of formal trainings with our leaders. We’ve bought some which have come from corporations that gave them tons of formal coaching. We do make the most of that, nevertheless it’s by way of mentorships. We do plenty of studying right here and we share plenty of, “I learn this guide. It is best to learn this.” That’s the actual technique across the management aspect of issues and making an attempt to maintain an open thoughts with one another. Additionally, perceive that probably the most plausible particular person within the room needs to be the one listened to. It doesn’t imply it’s the neatest one. It means on the topic that we’re speaking about, that man or a lady has probably the most expertise and is probably the most plausible particular person on what we must always do on this.

Probably the most plausible particular person within the room needs to be the one listened to.

Robert, let’s speak about the way forward for Supply 1 Options. What’s your imaginative and prescient?

We’re going to proceed enlargement. We’ve bought a really massive presence right here in North America. We’ve bought two workplaces in Europe and we’re in very critical negotiations on acquisition in Europe to develop our European footprint. Not solely our prospects however our footprint throughout Europe. Most likely the step after that might be Asia, which can spherical out our true world enterprise.

Our prospects will be capable to transact within the area. If you happen to’re from the Asia-Pacific, you’ll be capable to transact with our Asia-Pacific workplace, and take care of not solely challenge managers, however take care of a complete enterprise unit that’s positioned within the Asia-Pacific. If you happen to’re in Europe, the identical, and the Americas, possibly Latin America, however not less than we’ve bought this right here in North America. To essentially spherical out to have the ability to give our prospects a real world footprint, not solely technical assist, however a real world footprint to do enterprise with and attempt to develop our companies with.

What about you? What drives you? What makes you leap away from bed each morning? I don’t know what time. I get away from bed at 4:35. What time do you leap away from bed?

That’s often dependent upon my daughters. They’re often those that make me leap away from bed means earlier than I need to be. In all seriousness, I like each little bit of this. It’s irritating for positive, particularly with the expansion that we’ve had. I do produce other enterprise ventures, however I get pleasure from them. I like being round folks. I like making an attempt to unravel issues and watching folks round me come up of their private lives and their skilled lives.

This has been twelve years now, and I’ve bought those who have purchased their first residence whereas they’ve labored with me. They’ve completed this or they’ve completed that or they’ve had their first baby. The truth that I get to work with them day by day, generate income with them, get pleasure from them, and watch their success might be one of the best half about it. I nonetheless love scraping day by day and getting with a buyer and making an attempt to unravel an issue. Additionally, creating an answer during to the challenges that include being the CEO of an organization. I nonetheless get pleasure from these. Even the onerous days are gratifying to me, and I assume that’s the future for me. So long as I can proceed to get pleasure from it, I’m going to need to do it.

The place are you able to be reached? How can we attain Supply 1 Options?

The web site is

Robert, I checked out my electronic mail and I’ve a notification that I’m coming throughout the bridge to see you. I’m going to be there. I’m going to make the journey. I’ll pack a bag, lunch, and dinner, and I’ll recover from there. It’s booked. I’m coming.

The flight is scheduled all the way in which throughout the bay.

This has been great. Thanks for coming to the present. It’s been unbelievable. I admire you sharing your coronary heart and your story.

Thanks for having me. It’s all the time a pleasure to speak to you and see you, Carrie. I’m excited that you just’re going to journey to our aspect of city.

I’ll see you quickly.

See you. Bye.



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About Robert Hessel

5TT Robert Hessel | Human Side Of Digital

Robert Hessel is the CEO/Chairman of Supply 1 Options. He has expanded Supply 1 Options globally to make use of full-time sources in 17 nations that serve companies in 118 nations. With +25 years of expertise in enterprise administration, he empowers channel companions by delivering world-class providers in unified communications, knowledge networking, WiFi, knowledge facilities, digital safety & community safety options.


Robert is the writer of Protected Metropolis: From Legislation Enforcement to Neighborhood Watches, which debuted because the #1 New Launch in Privateness & Surveillance in Society on Amazon. He’s additionally a 4th technology navy veteran who served within the US Navy. A state champion student-athlete in highschool, Robert is featured in “Past the Sport”, a 2020 full-feature documentary movie that follows the journey of celebrated athletes as they transition to second careers in enterprise, leisure, and entrepreneurship.


Robert and the Supply 1 crew have celebrated being honorees of the next awards:


Inc. 5000: Greatest Workplaces in America 2021

Inc. 5000: 2018, 2019, 2020,2021,2022

Enterprise Observer Prime 500: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020

TBBJ Quick 50: 2016, 2019, 2020,2021

SD & I Quick 50: 2018

Honeywell Group Service Award: 2014, 2015, 2019

Honeywell Excellent Gross sales Achievement: 2014, 2019

MSP 501: 2020,2021

TBBJ Prime Veteran Owned Enterprise: 2020,2021

Personal Titans: 2020

TBBJ Greatest Locations to Work: 2019, 2020, 2021

Inc 500 Florida #11: 2019

SMB Scorching 1010: 2020

Prime 500 Largest Firms on the Gulf Coast: 2020, 2019, 2018


*Prime 100 Enterprise Leaders 2022


As one of many prime 10 CEO’s of 2020 named by Business Period, Robert’s purpose is to empower & assist others advance, and along with his entrepreneurial spirit, ardour for expertise, understanding of world markets, and a willingness to present again to his native communities, he’s doing simply that.


“Securing and serving our neighborhoods is crucial to fulfilling neighborhood obligations. Empowering & serving to others is non-negotiable.”




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