Eric Nowak, Product Manager in Manassas, VA, United States
Eric Nowak

Product Manager in Manassas, VA, United States

Member since September 13, 2019
Eric is a seasoned product leader—passionate about improving businesses at every stage. A former software engineer and analytics junkie, Eric built a $1.2 billion network/security business from scratch. He has created market leaders in new technology fields, revamped services in decline, and executed successful exit strategies for long-term underperformers. He excels at focusing a talented team's efforts to create amazing experiences.
Eric is now available for hire

Project Highlights

Expertise

Education

Employment

  • Senior Product Director

    2017 - 2019
    CenturyLink
    • Built a 15-person team overachieving $1.6 billion annual sales/margin targets (exceeding industry CAGR by 2%).
    • Launched the company’s first fully-digital (UX) VoIP offer: supporting unassisted app-initiated sales to self-service provisioning.
    • Facilitated the transformation from underdog to NG911market leader integrating new i3 technologies, expanding into new markets and successfully migrating statewide networks.
    • Served as the product owner for a $10 million agile IT investment which consisted of aligning a 200-member coalition to transform 500,000 customers to next-gen IP services.
    • Developed IoT bundles, IP-enabling controls, refrigeration, and other systems in 10,000 pharmacy/supermarket locations.
  • Product Director

    2009 - 2017
    CenturyLink
    • Grew annual internet, MPLS, and IT security revenues from $400 million to $1.2 billion in year four of a five-year plan.
    • Incubated the first major service provider offer which generated substantial SD-WAN sales as an MPLS base replacement.
    • Expanded the base by 20,000 customers/200,000 sites through new product development, virtualization, and industry-first pricing/business models.
    • Exited four under-performing businesses; closing one, migrating one, and building virtualized services to replace the other two.
    • Launched cloud security and DDoS offerings to replace traditional on-premise equivalents.
  • Program Manager, New Technologies

    2006 - 2009
    Qwest Communications
    • Incubated next-generation solutions for market delivery within 18 months by developed partnerships, conducting market trials, and creating analyst messages.
    • Oversaw a $25 million development budget and 30+person team and created new VoIP, security, and cloud services.
    • Launched federal-compliant mobility, wireless, and authentication services in support of large agency contracts.
  • Software Developer and Manager

    1990 - 2006
    Various Clients (including AOL, ANS, MCI/WorldCom)
    • Built secure OS kernel, firewall, SMTP, and DNS applications in secure C/Unix environments.
    • Developed multithreaded firewall applications to support high transaction volumes.
    • Participated in internet engineering tasks force (IETF) on various topics including DNS and Sendmail.
    • Managed development teams of three-to-ten engineers.

Project History

  • Revamping NG911 Offer to Win
    Won public safety RFPs with total contract values in excess of $100 million as the longshot candidate on each opportunity.

    I inherited an existing product team and reexamined market opportunities and credibility. (The company had previously decided to exit the business). I reversed the course by establishing a partnership with an upstart i3-compliant vendor and redefined the roles for success. I then obtained IT funding and leadership sponsorship to build a new product and develop a business unit focused on public safety. I also oversaw an agile development program to integrate third-party solutions with internal operational models and built an industry-leading metrics dashboard.

    In an opportunities bid (we were not the incumbent provider), our revamped messaging and solution architecture allowed us to displace the long-standing providers.

  • Build of the Company's First Fully-DX VoIP Service
    Serves as the product owner for the company's first fully end-to-end digital experience (DX) VoIP/unified communication.

    The challenge was two-fold: (a) build a replacement service for 400,000 existing SMB customers on traditional voice services and (b) find a way to transparently migrate them with minimal/no disruption.

    I led the core team as a product owner while championing business cases prioritized by leadership. I worked with developers and Agile tools like Rally/Jira to develop the Engage product. Along with creating and presenting messaging to industry analysts, I developed marketing content for sales and end-customers. I also held focus groups to refine the UX prior to launch and most importantly, engaged and eventually got strong support from engineering teams to solve any migration issues. Those teams had initially rejected the original vision as impossible.

  • Creation of an Innovative Pricing Model for Network Services
    Created industry-first virtual usage billing for an entire network vs.traditional method (aggregating usage by locations).

    Traditional industry billing models for network services are either (a) flat rate per port or (b) usage (95th percentile). Both models are disincentives for customers to upgrade and don't truly support a pay-for-what-you-use plan—especially if locations span multiple time zones.

    I introduced a unique concept of a virtual port (VPort), which—for the purposes of billing—allowed all locations to be consolidated into a single virtual usage meter for the entire corporate network. It creates a win-win situation for the service provider and customer who now can cost-effectively upgrade bandwidth at corporate locations. The bigger the VPort, the lower the per-Mbps cost.

    The implementation required billing and IT data collection system development and creation of new dashboards. However, the result was a differentiated model that was significantly difficult for competitors to copy due to the complexity of the internal systems to collect, rate, tax, and invoice.

  • Incubation and Launch of the SD-WAN Offer to Replace Traditional MPLS
    Launched and drove the adoption of software-defined networking as an MPLS replacement—becoming the first US provider.

    Existing private network solutions continued to be extremely profitable for service providers (SPs) but on the downside of the technology lifecycle curve. As customer comfort with using the internet to connect to public cloud resources increased, an opportunity for a software-defined network emerged. SD-WAN allowed organizations to securely use public networks to connect locations—with better economics, at higher bandwidths, with more redundancy and resiliency.

    As part of this project, I built a business case, gained executive sponsorship and prioritizations, conducted a technology bake-off, incubated solution, completed IT development, and brought the MVP to market in 15 months.

    While it seems obvious now, it was a tough sell at the time because of radical change for the service providers.

    Specific Project Challenges:
    • Integrated (brokered) connectivity from other cablecos and internet providers vs. requiring all locations to be connected to the service provider's network;
    • Required new operational models that used AI methods to manage connections from multiple providers;
    • Shifted the primary view of the network from routers and fiber operations to overlay management via software controls.

  • Development of Quick-start Services for New Installs/Disaster Recovery
    Created LTE wireless bundles to deliver same-day connectivity when primary network connection is under construction or down.

    I created an HW/SW/management bundle to connect locations to LTE internet the same day. Used as part of a DR/business continuity planning or as temporary connectivity as location is built out. The bundle included an unlimited data plan at the highest speed available at the location (could also support dual connectivity from multiple providers).

    Project Requirements:
    • Negotiated wireless access deals.
    • Sourced network cards/dongles.
    • Developed the IT system ordering, billing, and usage tracking.
    • Designed the engineering architecture as if integrated as DR/BC.
    • Developed replacement/recovery processes.
    • Created marketing program/content.
    • Messaged analysts.

  • Negotiation of FCC Directive/Dispute Resolution
    Resolved long-standing, multimillion-dollar billing disputes with other carriers.

    Tasks:
    • Investigated and created position papers.
    • Provided legal/regulatory teams with subject matter expertise.
    • Participated in negotiations that successfully resolved disputes with other telcos involving FCC and non-FCC interpretations of traffic/intercarrier compensation designations.

Education

  • Bachelor's degree in Systems Engineering and Computer Science
    1983 - 1988
    University of Virginia - Charlottesville, VA, USA

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