John Birch
Chief Operating Officer
John Birch
What is your role at VSO?

I serve as the Chief Operating Officer of VSO. In this capacity, I am responsible for Sales and Delivery functions-with a particular focus on profitable revenue growth. I am the Executive Sponsor for VSO relationships with SAP, Kaiser Permanente, and Stanford Research Institute.

What experience did you have before joining VSO?

I started my career as a Project Manager for imaging, workflow, and document management contracts with the US Gov’t. After a brief stint as a Network Architect at Nortel Networks, I joined Novus Consulting Group and, when Novus was sold to IBM in 2007 I was the Managing Director of major accounts. Inside IBM, I ran Storage Services Sales for North America, and then left IBM to start an IBM channel delivery organization for Glasshouse Technologies. At Glasshouse, I grew a sales and delivery organization in both the US, UK, and Ireland. In 2014, I became a partner in Xceed Group, a UK company, and became CEO of FIMS, which was a subsidiary of Xceed. During my time at FIMS, I grew the organization from zero to $10M in 2.4 years. The focus of FIMS had been IBM outsource subcontracting. The organization grew to include 12 outsource contracts and approximately 125 staff.

What brought you to VSO?

While at Xceed, I tried an experiment: to get my engineers to train military vets, like my brother Duke, for careers in IT. This worked so well that Xceed eventually hired almost 50 veterans, and at the same time cut their cost of delivery by 42%. Seeing this success, I wanted to double down on this method and build an organization that was 75% vet-delivered while aiming at a more diversified customer base and focused on hybrid cloud managed services. The investment to make this change was too much for my partners at Xceed. Having worked closely with Steve O’Keefe at Novus, I shared my vision with him, left Xceed, and together we started VSO.

What is something you love about VSO?

Well, I love VSO because this firm is indeed for me a labor of love. I feel that VSO is the culmination of 15 years of work. At Novus I’d begun honing the skills to sell and delivery managed services through a channel like IBM. At IBM, I found out how things really work inside a large corporation-until IBM changed their approach to project and outsource alignment. At Glasshouse, I built a thriving business on two continents and 3 countries-with all the local challenge and nuance that that entails-until Glasshouse overleveraged itself and went out of business. At Xceed, it seemed I had all the components, but my business partners were too remote, and lacked understanding of what I saw the business becoming. At VSO, I found a partner in Steve that agrees with me on the important things but differs in approach enough to make sure I’m still learning every day. We’ve assembled a team that humbles me every week with their hard work, genius insights, and innovative ideas. We are blessed to have grown faster than any of my previous firms and are already a highly diversified company, striving towards our vet mission, and delivering hybrid cloud services. With the right team, you can do anything!

What keeps you busy outside of VSO?

The last couple of years both of my kids have been in college. I spend a lot of time working with my wife to maintain our property and improve spiritually and physically. I’m an avid reader and have recently begun working on a couple of books.