The Canadian channel community has lost a high-profile leader. Dan Sottile, chief marketing officer of Calgary-based Long View Systems died suddenly last week during a trip to the company’s Houston location. He was in his early 50s.
Sottile, a 13-year veteran with Long View, was based out of Phoenix, but spent a great deal of time at Long View’s Calgary location, as well as other growing markets for Long View, including Houston.
“He was shepherding along Houston, which will someday be one of our largest businesses. He was there helping them through a bunch of opportunities they’re working on,” said Gord Mawhinney, CEO of Long View.
Mawhinney declined to discuss the cause of Sottile’s death, other than to say it was a “sudden passing” and that an official coroner’s report is still pending.
Sottile held a variety of titles during his time with Long View, including senior vice president, chief revenue officer, and most recently, CMO. But there’s a much bigger role that never appeared on his business card, that of inspiration for a little Canadian solution provider that dreamed big, and then lived that dream, rising to prominence across North America on the strength of its managed services and other offerings.
“I like to say that if [founder and chairman] Don [Bialik] is the reason that Long View exists, Dan is the reason it’s as big an substantial as it is. He’s been focused on growing the company since day one,” Mawhinney said.
That focus was evident the first time the two executives met as co-workers. Although Mawhinney and Sottile had met prior to the former joining Long View, Mawhinney said his most impactful memory of Sottile is that of the first time they met after Mawhinney came on as CEO. Still trying to develop his sense of Long View’s vision, he walked into the office Sottile called home while in Calgary, and asked him about his vision.
“He pulled out this creaky old whiteboard at some 45-degree angle, and proceeded to take me through his vision of Long View,” Mawhinney said. “Even though I took a picture of the thing when we was done, I still haven’t been able to decipher all the details.”
But those ideas, the CEO said, will be one of Sottile’s greatest legacies for Long View. The ideas were so forthcoming, he said, that “we still probably have about 900 ideas from him that we’ve yet to figure out how to implement,” but that will, eventually, find their way into practice at Long View.
“That first encounter with him was five years ago, but a lot of the elements of that vision are what I’m using to push the business forward,” Mawhinney said.
Mawhinney said the other key aspect of Sottile’s legacy at Long View is the growth the company has seen under his leadership, and the strength of the leadership team currently in place, much of which was assembled under Sottile’s careful watch.
“One of the aspects of a great leader is that he leaves something behind that will move forward in his absence,” Mawhinney said.
Along with services this week in Phoenix, Long View intends to hold a celebration of Sottile’s life at its Calgary headquarters next Wednesday. Mawhinney said the company will also look to set up “some endowment pieces” in Sottile’s name and honor.