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AVANT's World Class Engineers

Niko O'Hara

Niko O'Hara

Senior Director | Head of Engineering Department

When I'm not working with the best engineers on the planet, you can find me at home with my wife and two French Bulldogs, watching Marvel movies, playing PS5, hosting game nights, or shooting hoops.
As the first engineer at AVANT in 2013, Niko was truly born in the cloud. He uses his technical background in Electrical Engineering to dissect complex technologies like SD-WAN/SASE, Backup/DR, and Security.
Bill Franklin

Bill Franklin

FSE / Senior Director | Cloud, Security

The pace of change is happening faster than ever before! The SE team is built to stay in front of trends and market shifts. We are the best in the business.
Bill has 10 years of pre-sales engineering experience across a variety of specialities including IaaS, SD-WAN, Security and Whiteboarding. He’s held previous roles as a Senior SE EMC at NetApp and Pre-Sales Lead at EMC and CDW.
Stephen Semmelroth

Stephen Semmelroth

FSE / Senior Director | Security

Coming to Avant allows me to roll up my sleeves and truly build the industry. This is an opportunity to grow the security program and allow TAs to be there when customers need them, and to build a plan that turns fear into rational planning and execution.
Stephen is a vCISO, CISSP, and Army Ranger who led cyber teams and infantry platoons in Afghanistan. After retiring from the Army, he founded and sold a cyber recruiting company.
Brent Wilford

Brent Wilford

FSE / Director | UCaaS, CCaaS

I knew I wanted to be an SE while working in a technical sales role at Nextel. Our Sales Engineer impressed me with the questions he could answer with ease, and the trust he built immediately with the customer. I asked him to mentor me, and 20 years later here I am!
Brent has 21 years of SE experience across UCaaS, CCaaS, Cellular Networks, Distributed Antenna Systems, Enterprise Sales Process, and Proof of Concept Design. He’s held previous roles as a Senior Sales Engineer at Fuze and T-Mobile, and Sales Engineer with Nextel and Sprint.
John Paullin

John Paullin

FSE / Director | UCaaS, CCaaS

The best part of being an SE at Avant is that I learn something new EVERY SINGLE DAY. Whether it’s a new vendor’s offering, an update from one of our long-time partners, or a challenge by a Trusted Advisor’s customer, there is never a dull moment in this role.
John has 14 years of industry experience in UCaaS, CCaaS, SD-WAN and Conferencing/Collaboration. He’s held previous roles as a Solutions Engineer at Stratosphere Networks, as well as a Sales Engineer and Web Collaboration Specialist with InterCall.
Chris Brennan

Chris Brennan

Field Sales Engineer | UCaaS, CCaaS

Working at Avant as an SE is a breath of fresh air. Using our deep industry knowledge, experience, and research to be an agnostic advisor is an awesome challenge. We take great pride in assisting Trusted Advisors, prospective clients, and internal employees.
Chris has an extensive background at service providers, including Talkdesk, NICE/inContact, Intradiem, Mitel, and Windstream/Paetec. He is a bonafide CCaaS expert, with both sales and technical experience.
Neil Farnsworth

Neil Farnsworth

Field Sales Engineer | UCaaS, CCaaS

I enjoy solving problems and learning new ways to meet requirements. That is why I love being an SE at AVANT. Always learning and using that knowledge to add value for our vendors, Trusted Advisors and customers.
Neil brings passion and enthusiasm to the EMEA side of the Sales Engineering team. He has 20 years of experience in communications from a technical sales perspective, specializing in UCaaS, CCaaS, and networking for the last nine of those.
Peter Callowhill

Peter Callowhill

FSE / Director | WAN, Colo

As an AVANT engineer, I get to be an integral part of an amazing team of highly knowledgeable professionals, dedicated to helping clients make best decisions, and supporting TAs to win a lot of business.
Peter has more than 25 years experience with specialties in Connectivity, Colo, Mobility, and Telecom Expense Management. Before AVANT, Peter founded a CLEC (carrier) and TEM provider.
James Christian

James Christian

Field Sales Engineer | WAN, Security

When I discovered my love for technology and passion to help others, I knew I wanted to be an SE. At AVANT, I enjoy the rapid pace of client engagements, allowing them to deliver quickly and transform their businesses.
James Christian comes to us as a former Director of IT, which provides instant credibility when he speaks to customers. He completed numerous IT projects, including 60 acquisitions, a network refresh at 200 sites, and a NIST security assessment.
Chip Hoisington

Chip Hoisington

FSE / Senior Director | WAN, Colo

My colleagues would describe me as a story teller who uses analogies to simplify complex subjects. People say that I love to teach. When not working toward global domination, you can find me near the water fishing and teaching other people to fish.
Chip brings more than 25 years of technology, engineering, and sales experience to the AVANT team. While he specializes in connectivity, global wide area networks, colo, TEM, and Mobility, Chip also holds certifications in Security, Data Science, and IT Support.
Dane Menke

Dane Menke

Senior Sales Engineer | Cloud, Security

As a former sysadmin, troubleshooting is in my nature. There’s nothing I enjoy more than digging in with a customer on a complex IT initiative to craft a solution unique to their needs.
Dane brings 13 years of industry experience to AVANT with an emphasis on Cloud, IaaS, Security, and Backup/DR. His previous roles include Solutions Architect at Singlehop and INAP, and Systems Engineer with Hipskind and in the military.
Dave Watson

Dave Watson

Senior Sales Engineer | UCaaS, CCaaS

When not assisting Trusted Advisors with opportunities, or sharpening my craft with peers and providers, you can find me competing in pickleball or racquetball, or somewhere in the Caribbean 60 feet below water.
Dave has 25 years of experience in the industry, selling, installing, and maintaining UC Platforms and Contact Centers. Prior to joining the team, Dave was also a Trusted Advisor. This depth of experience gives him the ability to see deals from several perspectives.
David Bjerke

David Bjerke

Sales Engineer | Cloud

When I'm not helping Trusted Advisors or honing my cloud expertise, you can find me agonizing about another disappointing season for a Wisconsin-based college/professional sports team, and subsequently trying to find the appropriate Spotify playlist to help me cope.
David has been in the industry since 2013 and specializes in Cloud, IaaS, DaaS, and Backup & DR. He’s held previous positions at AVANT in Operations, Commissions, and IT.
Sarah Arnstein

Sarah Arnstein

Sales Engineer | UCaaS, CCaaS, WAN

The best thing about being on the SE team at AVANT is the caliber of people I get to work with. These are some of the most intelligent, clever, and helpful people I know.
Sarah has been in the industry since 2018 and specializes in UCaas, CCaaS and SD-WAN. She has held the previous roles of Patent Engineer at Hanley, Flight and Zimmerman and Mechanical Engineer with the Ford Motor Company.
Joe Colletti

Joe Colletti

Sales Engineer | WAN

Every day, this team positions itself on the cutting-edge of IT, and works together to source the best solution for every customer's needs.
Joe Colletti’s background as a research analyst allows him to manipulate data and spot trends that no one else can. He maintains AVANT’s Dynamic Matrices, Ninja Notes, and Pathfinder Analytics, in addition to his role as an SE!