AMAX

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2012, Click to Enter The 2013 Steve Awards for Women in Business

Company: AMAX, Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
Company Description: Founded in 1979, AMAX is a trusted leader in custom server and storage solutions in North America. Headquartered in Fremont, CA, AMAX also runs multiple locations in China to service the APAC region and provides x86-based custom-branded appliance solutions to our OEM customers and innovative & scalable server solutions designed for HPC, Cloud, Virtualization, Data Center & Big Data Applications.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Female Executive of the Year – Business Services –11 to 2,500 Employees

Nomination Title: Julia Shih, Director of Strategic Alliances

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated executive since the beginning of July last year (up to 500 words):

Julia came into AMAX, whose core business has always been OEM Server Manufacturing, and was tasked with being the key handler of a brand which has always been hidden behind the global brand of its customers, some of the best-recognized names in the industry. Her objective was challenging—not only to develop and market the new AMAX-branded product lines of servers, storage and big data solutions to industries that have mostly never heard of AMAX despite being one of the best-kept secrets as an award-winning x86 hardware manufacturer with 30 years in the industry, but to have AMAX’s name stand out amongst household Tier 1 competitors such as Dell, HP and IBM.

The key was to create memorable marketing initiatives that still served a very focused purpose—get AMAX’s name out there and generate revenue through viral campaigns that would create brand recognition, core-competency/product recognition and ultimately brand appreciation. Some of her most creative initiatives were guerrilla campaigns including Project Captive Audience at the RSA 2012 trade show, in which free chair massages were offered with iPads loaded with the company's (relaxing) product presentation streamed for customers wearing noise-cancelling earphones. Feedback from attendees was that this was "genius" and many attendees would say, "I now know more about your company than any other company at this show." Other initiatives were passing out beer pints with the catchphrase, "That's a SWEET Rack!" to promote AMAX's rack server solutions in exchange for seeing product demos, and a Big Data Haiku contest which raised Facebook likes by over 1100% in a matter of weeks with the press release alone receiving 900 views within the first 12 hours, going viral on social media and picked up by bloggers the next day.

Julia’s strategic campaigns for product launches, including the PHAT Data Hadoop Cluster, have increased total sales inquiries by over 640% and led to an increased company revenue of $26 million in 2011, the majority with AMAX-branded solutions.

The most incredible thing is that Julia does more with very little marketing budget than what companies do with millions, as her marketing philosophy is based on common sense. When asked about her core approach to marketing strategy, Julia would say, “You don't need to spend millions if you truly understand your brand, your audience, and how to connect the two in a compelling story.”

Part drill sergeant, part cruise director, all heart, Julia’s passion for the company’s growth and well-being is contagious, and her belief in a healthy work/play balance, a management that truly cares, and a system that focuses on each person’s potential instead of fixed roles encourages AMAX team members to truly feel that they are a part of something, bringing out their highest potential and allowing them to showcase their unique personalities. Julia is a true leader and visionary who achieves great things by sheer vision and will, with a passionate attitude, which makes it easy for people to get behind her for a common goal.

Provide a brief biography of the nominated executive (up to 100 words):

Julia Shih has always thought outside of the box. Graduating from the University of Michigan, class of 1999, and starting her career in the film industry, she brings a refreshing, dynamic and creative perspective to the tech industry as AMAX’s Director of Strategic Alliance, targeting breakout technologies and products, and much like Hollywood deal-making, builds symbiotic relationships with leading technology partners to bring cutting-edge solutions to market. Julia is a very sincere person who brings a passionate spirit to anything and everything she touches, including the team members she works with.