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Sharon Norwell | CEO | CounterTrade Products, Inc

CounterTrade Products: Transforming the Globe with Standout IT Services

What if there was a readymade solution to any problem you came across? What a world that would be!

While that may not be true for every problem, it is, fortunately, true for a company’s technological needs. Every organization has certain hardware and software necessities according to the services they provide or applications they use. In such a case, a solution provider would develop customized hardware and software solutions that will solve all the client’s technological problems.

One such solution-providing company is CounterTrade Products, Inc. Its objective is to solve and modernize its customer’s technology needs with customized solutions built for their specific missions and budgetary requirements. The company’s philosophy embedded within its logo, “Service measured not by Gold, but by the Golden Rule,” underlines its commitment to serving its clients. It promises this commitment by ensuring that the best decisions are always made for the customers and the employees.

The company began as a family-owned and operated business in 1985, founded by Marlene and Joe Calabria, Jr. as a barter/broker business dealing with end-of-life products. This changed over the years as the industry changed and the company grew to provide leading-edge technology solutions and IT consulting to meet the unique needs of government procurement requirements.

Moving ahead in 2016, Sharon Norwell took over CounterTrade Products as its CEO. Since then, the company has improved its productivity, decreased equipment costs, and introduced the latest technology to agencies and government organizations across the globe, and the list may go on!

Sharon opines, “As a WBENC certified Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB), CounterTrade can act quickly to ensure that the best business decisions are made for our customers by our employees. Our executive team has created a business that is financially strong, and we have developed a direct relationship with OEMs to meet our clients’ goals and objectives.”

A Quality Goal

CounterTrade is built entirely around modern program management supported by multifaceted contracts. They have made significant investments in people and systems to support and manage large government contracts. They recognize reseller capabilities as one of the most important factors in subcontracting. The goal is to increase Federal clients’ access to high-quality technology and expertise.

To that end, CounterTrade is certified for ISO 9001 and 20243 Quality Management Systems which allows them to consistently meet challenging standards and drive quality with performance for their clients.

Sharon describes their goals for quality, “Our goal in developing the QMS was simple, we focused directly upon providing first-rate customer service. The QMS was designed to provide support for large-scale IT procurement contracts that guarantee our federal clients receive consistent and quality service from their first order. Additionally, CounterTrade has successfully demonstrated compliance with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) controls, as verified by official third-party attestation. This compliance ensures that we adhere to all cyber security controls and processes to adequately protect Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) and ensure a trusted supply chain.”

Offering a World Class Service

“CounterTrade is proud to work with our customers across a multitude of needs knowing that even the smallest decision can affect the mission. CounterTrade ensures that we are in lockstep with partners like Dell Technologies to provide technology road mapping and data analytics, like Live Optics to assist customers to create a forward-thinking plan on actual facts,” notes Sharon.

CounterTrade’s focus is datacenter modernization and IT transformation that requires a combination of advanced infrastructure technologies together with cloud management and orchestration to automate operational processes, service delivery, and end-to-end lifecycle management. The company together with Dell delivers on this combination, time after time with VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail.

CounterTrade has substantial knowledge in managing large-scale multiple purchase contract vehicles such as NITAAC, CIO-CS, and ITES-SW2 to name a few; and is the primary contractor of some of the largest government-wide acquisition contracts (GWACs) in the country. Currently, the company supports 20 unique NASA SEWP V Agency catalogs, including a DHS-sponsored Law Enforcement Sensitive Technologies catalog. They have also gained expertise in SATCOM and theatre rugged technologies to support US missions across the globe.

Solving Challenges

Like all other companies, CounterTrade is also facing supply chain issues due to longer lead times, transportation problems, and increased costs. This is making it harder to source products and ensure timely delivery. Technical talent is also getting harder to find as more businesses need technology architects, engineers, and technicians. To overcome this obstacle, CounterTrade has invested in multiple technical training and certifications for their employees.

Emphasizing on the proactive approach that the company takes to adapt to a changing market, Sharon expresses, “By studying technology innovation we are able to stay a step ahead of competitors’ actions and offerings. By listening to our customer’s needs, we can work with them to design a plan that works for them. Through our partnership with Dell, for instance, we can offer a one-of-a-kind platform, APEX Flex on Demand Storage as a Service; that allows the customer to pay a minimal up-front fee, leveraging opex vs. capex operating budgets, but still receive scalable storage on a consumption-based need.”

Innovations Lead the Way

CounterTrade has developed a proprietary state-of-the-art E-Procurement web-based portal. It is a secure password-protected website that their Federal Clients use to view and select all equipment available for purchase for any contract scenario. Referred to as “Storefront” this system allows for easy ordering of all available products, provides a secure approval process, the tracking of all orders, customizable reporting, and secure payment methods.

Additionally, CounterTrade has transformed its onsite data center and modernized it with Dell products using them to demonstrate their capabilities in servers, storage, and networking in an environment that allows the customers to actually see the product working.

A Community Mindset

Sharon speaks about the importance of community giving, “I developed a philanthropic outlook from my parents, who taught me the gift of self through personal service. I value family and community and helping to build communities is important. I am personally grateful for the school communities I have been blessed to be a part of and contribute to. Over the years, CounterTrade has given millions of dollars to multiple schools from kindergarten through college.

Community is also an important part of our company culture. We are very family oriented and offer flexibility to our employees to work within their family needs. CounterTrade has been able to provide hundreds of jobs over the years and is proud to say we have wonderful longevity from our employees. We always look to promote from within our organization. We believe our employees are the key to success, and therefore will never cap compensation.”

Constant Evolution

CounterTrade has strategic relationships with OEMs that offer it cutting-edge technology in data center & storage. They also have a strong, direct partnership with Dell Technologies that enable the company to offer creative, custom solutions from Dell while also providing client and data center technology.

Sharon shares, “CounterTrade’s evolution is never at a standstill. We are currently focused on building a strong Cloud Solutions Practice and strengthening our supply chain management from raw material to final delivery.”