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FCW : September 15, 2014
September 15, 2014 FCW.COM 31 I’ve had a long career, so there is a lot of history there. But foremost in my mind is that I got to work with some of the earliest pieces of the Internet and helped make that a business reality. I was part of NSFNet, and that was just a government research intranet and internet, but at MCI, we made that into a product and got the corporation to support that product. That’s something I’m very proud of. At CenturyLink, we are leading the pack in doing cybersecurity for the gov- ernment. We are one of two Enhanced Cyber- security Services providers. [ECS is a Department of Homeland Security program for sharing information among owners of critical infrastructure.] Winning Networx was huge. A lot of folks said we weren’t going to win a seat at the table with Networx Universal, but we did. I’m very proud of that. How did you get the company in a position to do that? Was it infrastructure investments? New hires? It was getting the commitment of the CEO and chief operating officer of Qwest at the time and getting the funding. [Qwest was later acquired by CenturyLink.] It sounds like you were as much an internal salesperson as you were an external one. That’s a big piece of the job. When I came on board, the Networx RFP was already out, but there was no corporate commitment to go after it the way we needed to. There was a team at Qwest that had been working on it, but they had only made the pre- sentation at the [vice president] level. Then the guy who ran all of chan- nel sales left, so I was lucky that I was new and my boss was new, so we went together to the CEO and pressed for what we needed. When we were acquired by Centu- ryLink, we had to do the same thing and get the commitment again to continue to make progress in cyber- security. What has been the biggest surprise? The trend that surprised me and everyone in the industry is the emergence of Google in the telecom space and Amazon in the data cen- ter space. While they didn’t come out of nowhere, those nontraditional play- ers were much more powerful when they emerged than people thought they would be. Globally, we are one of the biggest data center providers out there, and Amazon is a huge competitor. But I think if you asked five or six years ago, I don’t think we would have seen them as the pow- erhouse they are today. Obviously, you’ve loved your career. Why? The challenges and puzzles that we have to solve make a dif- ference in the world. You have to want to solve those puzzles the govern- ment has. You have to enjoy those challenges, and the challenges are tremendous. When you win something like DREN, you know the science that can happen across that infrastruc- ture and you are part of that. Or, when you are running command and control networks, it is important and critical, and you feel proud of your success. It’s a very different environment than you’ll find in corporate America. I could probably do it for another 10 years, but those grandkids want to spend time with me. ■ DRAGUTINCVIJANOVIC You have to want to solve those puzzles the government has. Yo u have to enjoy those challenges, and the challenges are tremendous. This interview first appeared in Washington Technology, an FCW sister publication that is the definitive source of news on federal government contractors and partners. For more industry coverage, go to washingtontechnology.com.
September 30, 2014
August 30, 2014