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Longtime Ace Computers Exec And HPC Expert Marc Fertik Dies

‘I learned so much from him,’ says John Samborski, CEO and founder of Ace Computers. ‘He had a lot more experience than I did, particularly in federal contracting. I came more from the straight system builder side, and as we’ve become much more of a federal contractor here, he was kind of like my big brother that I never had.’

Marc Fertik, a longtime high-performance computing executive at Ace Computers known by colleagues for his generosity, candor and deep industry knowledge, died Nov. 19. He was 62.

Fertik was based in New Jersey and served as vice president of technology solutions at Des Plaines, Ill.-based Ace Computers, where he helped build out the system integrator’s public sector business and led the company’s HPC, workstation and server business during his 12-year tenure at the company.

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“I learned so much from him,” said John Samborski, CEO and founder of Ace Computers, ranked No. 244 on CRN’s 2021 Solution Provider 500 list. “He had a lot more experience than I did, particularly in federal contracting. I came more from the straight system builder side, and as we‘ve become much more of a federal contractor here, he was kind of like my big brother that I never had, in more ways than one.”

Fertik graduated from Colgate University in 1980 with a bachelor’s in computer science and information studies. He immediately put that education to good use, starting out as a software and systems engineer and Rockwell and eventually becoming a leader and expert in public sector sales over his 41-year career.

Dwayne Llewellyn, vice president of sales at CloudScale365, said he got to witness that deep expertise firsthand when his previous employer, Miles Technologies, hired Fertik in the late 2000s as a consultant to help the company build out its public sector business.

“He had just a wealth of knowledge, just because for 30-some-odd years, that’s where he lived,” Llewellyn said. “He lived in that space and was open and giving and he was always paying it forward.”

Harrison Parks, a senior account executive at Skyptap, said he first met Fertik at a Supercomputing conference several years ago, where he first got to experience Fertik’s sense of humor and “no-nonsense” attitude before working together on customer deals with his previous employer, 2CRSI.

“His sense of humor was very engaging and refreshing,” said Parks, adding that Fertik “was definitely cut from the New Jersey cloth.”

Parks said Fertik’s knack for working on request-for-proposals issued by federal agencies is what helped Ace Computers build a significant business in the public sector.

“The RFP business is very, very competitive, but if you know how to play the game, it can be very lucrative, and I think they found the formula for doing that,” Parks said.

Ken Wineberg, senior manager of federal business development at San Jose, Calif.-based server vendor Supermicro, said Fertik had a natural inclination to help and teach others about the ways of the industry, and he considers himself a beneficiary of Fertik’s knowledge and generosity, thanks to Fertik hiring Wineberg at Ace Computers and educating him about the HPC space.

“When I needed to move positions, he recruited me and gave me a job, and it led me to where I am now with Supermicro,” he said. “That‘s because he gave me the foundation of high-performance computers.”

Wineberg said it was typical for Fertik, when meeting new people or bringing on new employees, to bring them over to Supermicro’s booth at the annual Supercomputing conference and show them the ins and outs of different systems.

“He was very much an educator along with a doer,” Wineberg said.

Fertik’s knowledge in the HPC space was immense, according to Wineberg, which allowed Fertik to take the lead at Ace Computers in tackling complex configurations for cluster designs.

“He really knew how to build systems, to get the most out of them,” Wineberg said. “And he had knowledge that most people can‘t comprehend because it’s so complicated. And he could just do it right off the top of his head, so he was always learning.”

When it came to matters where Fertik had a strong opinion, he didn’t hide it, according to Wineberg, but he also had an underlying warmness.

“I’d say he was a mensch,” Wineberg said. “He could be very stern and very to the point and put you in place, but then turn around and give you advice and find out how your family’s doing and everything else.”

For those reasons, Wineberg called Fertik “an icon in the industry” but said Fertik was also a family man.

“He worked many hours, but he found great joy in spending time with his children,” Wineberg said.

Among the other things Wineberg will miss about Fertik is his distinctive voice.

“All you had to do was hear one or two words, and you knew it was Marc,” he said.

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