Keith Hall, CEO, Globecomm
In December, Globecomm was purchased by Wasserstein & Company, becoming a privately‐held company again. What has happened since the acquisition, and what is the overall state of the business?
It certainly has been a busy few months. We have a great partner in Wasserstein, one who understands our vision and strengths and wants to help us grow. Globecomm has a very strong foundation of capabilities with a solid customer base. Over the last 10 years we have been able to re‐invent ourselves as a managed network services provider where 75% of our annual revenue is now derived from recurring services. We have also been able to diversify our customer base to better handle the ebbs and flows of markets, especially the government sector.
As we continue to enhance our value proposition we see the market opportunity growing for us. It is vital that we do not stand still. We must continue to adapt. With that in mind, we took a hard look at three areas: our specific go‐to‐market strategy based on the vertical markets we want to service, our cost structure, and our organizational structure to make sure it is aligned with our go‐to‐marketvision. One area we are very focused on is building out a customer‐facing, proactive sales and marketing front to complement our engineering and operational capabilities.
You were appointed CEO in February, succeeding the founder, Dave Hershberg, who retired after many years. Tell us about yourself.
I am truly honored to carry forward the torch that Dave lit at Globecomm. The contributions Dave made to Globecomm and this industry are too many to list. He taught many of us a lot about business and about life and to successfully go forward.
I have been at Globecomm for nearly two decades and have been fortunate to learn the many different functional areas of the company as we grew from a satellite systems integrator to a global communications solutions provider. These experiences have been priceless in helping me understand and lead a global workforce.
My background is engineering. I worked as a systems engineer for several years and then played roles in Program Management, Business Development and eventually became Vice President of Operations for our new services business. In 2002, I was given the opportunity to help take the company from being a pure systems integrator to a managed network services provider. One of the keys to Globecomm’s success over the years has been our ability to reinvent itself in an ever‐changing technology environment. We were successful in building this services business both organically and through acquisition into a $200M per year business. I am proud to say I was part of that.
It’s been a great ride and I feel we are at a new beginning.
Globecomm has always been known for its innovation and ability to enter new areas of communication in all corners of the world. What is your plan for Globecomm over the next 12 months?
Globecomm prides itself in providing broadband services anywhere to any device around the globe and we will continue to do so. Innovation is the key ingredient to our value proposition.
Applications will be a focus area as we look to become more than a transport company in the services world and there will be an emphasis on our data management capabilities. End‐to‐end data management, from data acquisition, to storage, monetization, transport and security are all fundamental capabilities we will provide as we use our engineering talent and innovation process to continue to provide more bits per hertz per dollar spent in value for our customers.
As the new leader of Globecomm how have you looked to build your executive team?
I learned early on that fundamental to any success is surrounding yourself with the best possible people. We are very fortunate to have a talented, diverse, and deep base of executive talent within Globecomm.
Many of these executives have developed and progressed together at Globecomm and are hungry to take the company to the next level. What I have always liked here is that we have a true team that works well together and is not afraid to wear the many hats that are required in this environment. The team most certainly wants to retain the entrepreneurial spirit that has gotten them here.
Because of our growth and new ownership, we will look to bring new skills and experiences to the executive team. I will have more to say on that as it happens this year.
Will Globecomm enter or exit any vertical markets or lines of business? Will it concentrate in any specific service areas?
Globecomm will continue to service both the commercial and government sectors and continue to provide end‐to‐ end communication solutions globally.
We are currently focused on five market verticals: enterprise, government, media, maritime, and wireless. From complex system design and integration to managed network services, we will continue to add value leveraging our core value proposition which, as I have said, is our engineering skill, innovation and our global platform. I do not envision us leaving any of our core lines of business.
The communications landscape seems to change every 18 months. What do you think will be the most significant changes ahead?
Every expert I speak with says what I also believe, which is that we have moved pretty fast into a seamless environment for communications. Here we know that voice, video and data content distribution are no longer limited by the transport medium or even the device. From our end of the communication chain, we need to enhance the expertise of being able to design and utilize a hybrid approach – satellite, public internet, MPLS networks, 4G/LTE networks, etc. – for solutions.
Mobile communications is really the platform that is providing the final link to the ubiquitous Internet. Cisco and others now talk about as ”The Internet of Things,” which incorporates Machine‐to‐Machine (M2M) communications where billions of connected devices are enabling this blanket of total access to the media a customer needs. In our case it is a customer, such as broadcaster or telecommunications provider, which needs to provide it. We are getting ready to design and implement in a seamless environment and have a pretty good start. The new owners understand this and the market is looking to us because this is not going to be easy. But we prefer to do the hard stuff.
They say software is “eating the world.“Automation of manual processes is becoming common practice, the virtualization of previously hardware‐specific functions is evolving and pushing the shift from CAPEX to OPEX business models to take center stage. Applications development will also accelerate and change, not every 18 months but probably every 18 minutes. That is why our parking lot at headquarters is going to be full and our teams busy.