We recently found out that a pretty high ranking member of EVGA’s team had switched over to Sapphire, and that person was none other than Wade Shelley. I have known Wade since before I entered into this industry when I was a mere teenager on EVGA’s forums learning about hardware and helping out others. Wade was EVGA’s Sales Marketing Manager and Sales Director for nearly a decade and is more than well known across the industry as an EVGA pointman, so when I heard about Wade’s departure this came as shocking news. He left EVGA only a few weeks ago and has already settled into his role at Sapphire as he started with Sapphire in February.

Wade originally moved from Australia to the US back in 2000 and quickly developed an interest and passion for building computers as well as gaming, purely by learning from hands on experience. Eventually he became a very active member of EVGA’s forums, much like I did, and eventually he landed a sales job with EVGA in 2004 to develop their system builder and etail business channels. He was able to not only grow, but maintain EVGA’s #1 market leadership with all of the leading system builders including Velocity Micro, VoodooPC, Alienware, Falcon Northwest, Gateway, Maingear and many others. He also managed leading etailers like NewEgg, Amazon and TigerDirect/CompUSA.

So, naturally, it comes as no surprise that he would take his expertise and efforts to Sapphire who is basically the AMD equivalent of EVGA in Nvidia’s world. Sapphire is the world’s #1 Radeon partner worldwide and is also their exclusive Global Partner for AMD FirePro graphics. Yes, some of you may have forgotten, but AMD is going to do what Nvidia does with their Quadro cards (PNY) and sell them through one of their board partners. Joining the company as Sales Director for Sapphire’s USA operation, he will responsible for managing and growing Sapphire?s AMD FirePro Professional Graphics Solutions segment and supervising the USA Radeon sales channel teams.

Considering his wide connections with all of the major channels in the computer hardware industry it will be interesting to see how much of an impact he will have on Sapphires and AMD’s sales in North America. What is even more interesting is that someone like Wade has left a company like EVGA, which is Nvidia’s clear #1 partner so abruptly and suddenly after a decade of loyalty. I honestly had no idea that Wade could ever leave EVGA, let alone Nvidia as a partner, but I certainly look up to the guy because we both got our starts in the computer hardware industry through EVGA’s forums. Knowing Wade, we can probably expect some really interesting things out of Sapphire in North America and hopefully he’ll be just as successful as he was with EVGA, we wish him all the best.

The real question is, what are Sapphire and AMD preparing that they are able to steal away one of Nvidia’s, if not the biggest, board partner sales guys? Or could this be a sign of EVGA’s #1 leadership with Nvidia possibly ending? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.