Big Blue Decrees Its 2023 IBM Champions
January 30, 2023 Alex Woodie
IBM this year celebrates a bumper crop of IBM Champions, those technology experts who also display “extraordinary advocacy” for IBM products. In total, there are 839 IBM Champions hailing from 60 countries around the world, while in our little neck of the IT wood, there are about 90 members from the global IBM i community who gained the honor.
IBM launched the IBM Champions program in 2008 as a way to honor IBM customers and business partners who not only are subject matter experts but who also are active in the community. Today, there are 11 categories for the IBM Champions program, including AIOps, business automation, cloud, data and AI, hybrid cloud, IBM zAnoints, integration, Power, security, storage, and sustainability.
IBM looks to its Champions to be leaders in the respective IBM product communities, and also a source for new ideas and product direction. In return for their contributions to the community, IBM Champions are given special access to IBM software and services, as well as training and networking opportunities.
According to IBM Champions program director Libby Ingrassia, about two-thirds of the IBM Champions in 2023 are returning Champions, while the other third are newly named. Thirty IBM Champions have been named Lifetime Champions. All told, about 60 percent of the IBM Champions are business partners, while the rest are customers or participate in the community in some other way.
IBM Champions are chosen for contributions they make beyond the scope of their job, although sometimes their advocacy is affiliated with their company, Ingrassia writes in a blog post on January 19.
“For example, they may advocate for educate on IBM products or solutions within their organizations,” she writes. “Other IBM Champions write books or articles or blogs; some share their knowledge by speaking at conferences or other events. Most are involved in community, whether here at the IBM Community or by helping to run user groups. Most of the IBM Champions share their feedback to help make IBM’s products and offerings better.”
By cross-referencing the IBM Champion roll and the LinkedIn profiles of the 130 or so IBM Champions for Power revealed 87 folks who can be considered members of the IBM i community. The number is a bit mushy, as some IBM Champions do not share much information about their specific expertise on LinkedIn.
“I am thrilled and humbled to be named a returning IBM Champion for 2023!” wrote former COMMON president Larry Bolhuis, who tweets under the handle @DrFrankeni and is an engineer at iInTheCloud, which was sold to Service Express last year. “It is truly an honor, Thank you!”
“I re-upped :)” wrote Jack Woehr, who tweets under the name @JackWoehr.
“Thanks to IBM for recognizing my work to promote IBM i and naming me an IBM Champion again for 2023!” writes Richard Schoen, owner of MobiGoGo and tweeter from @richardschoen.
“#IBMChampion,” tweeted first-time IBM Champion Robert Berendt, an IBM i administrator who is active in the community.
“I’m honored to once again be named an IBM Champion, for 2023!” writes Steven Wolk, who tweets under the handle @SWolk. “It’s a privilege to be associated with such an amazing group of talented and dedicated people!”
“Pleased to announce that I’m an IBM Champion once again,” tweets Maxava’s Ash Giddings, who tweets from @AshleyGiddings. “it’s an honour.”
“Honored to be an IBM Champion and happy to work within this professional and friendly community!” the folks at the French security company Resiliane tweeted on behalf of IBM i security expert Guy Marmorat, who was named an IBM Champion for the first time.
“I am beyond excited and honored to be named a #IBMChampion for 2023!” tweeted COMMON board member Marina Schwenk from her Twitter account, @MarinaSchwenk26.
“It is an honor to be named an #IBMChampion again in 2023! Thank you, and congrats to all the other IBM Champions!” tweeted Brian Nordland (@BrianNordland), the Power HA and Robot HA product manager at Fortra (formerly HelpSystems).
“Really excited about being an #IBMChampion again this year!” tweeted Simon Hutchinson, who tweets from @RPGPGM.
All told, there are about 32 IBM Champions from the IBM i community in the United States, eight from Germany, five from France, five from Denmark, five from the UK, three from Spain, three from Italy, two from Belgium, two from the Netherlands, two from the Czech Republic, two from Canada, two from Sweden, two from Japan, two from Argentina, and one each from Mexico, Poland, Ireland, Austria, India, and Luxemburg.
You can find the complete list of IBM Champions for 2023 at developer.ibm.com/champions.