President & Chief Executive Officer

Kurt Van Wagenen has been the President and CEO of FirstLight Fiber since October 2013 and serves as Chair of the Board of Directors. Prior to FirstLight, Mr. Van Wagenen was President and CEO of FiberTower Corporation from 2008 until 2012. From 2001 to 2007, he held executive positions at NEON Communications, including President and CEO from January of 2007 until NEON was acquired by RCN Corporation. He also served as President and COO of Globix Corporation. Mr. Van Wagenen began his career at Verizon Communications and its various predecessors, holding positions of increasing responsibility.

Mr. Van Wagenen earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is a Chartered Financial Analyst. Mr. Van Wagenen serves on not-for-profit Boards of Directors as follows: INCOMPAS as Vice Chair, A Better Chance, Pathways to College and the Gold NorCal Chapter of YPO. He is also a member of the School of Engineering Leadership Council for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


Chief Development Officer

Mr. Coughlin joined FirstLight in February, 2013 and currently serves as its Chief Development Officer, where is he is responsible for leading all aspects of corporate development, including M&A, business development, market expansion, corporate strategy and innovation as well as marketing and product management on behalf of the organization. He also serves on FirstLight’s Board of Directors as well as the Vermont Technology Alliance (vtTA) board. Previously, he served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Fibertower. From 2005-2009, he served as Vice President of Sales at RCN Metro (formerly NEON Communications and Globix Corporation), where he was responsible for sales and marketing for the entire U.S. and oversaw a sales team comprised of 55 people. Prior to that position, he served as Senior Director of Sales at NEON from October 2001 until December 2005. Mr. Coughlin also served as a Senior Account Executive with NEON and other telecommunications companies, including AT&T and USTelecenters, during which time he was recognized for being a leading sales contributor for major accounts.

Mr. Coughlin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.



Chief Financial Officer

Sean Socha rejoined FirstLight in September 2017 and holds the position of Chief Financial Officer. In this role, he is responsible for all aspects of financial management as well as corporate development and management of the Advanced Technologies Group unit. Prior to FirstLight, Mr. Socha was CFO for Finger Lakes Technologies Group, Inc. from 2013 until 2017. From 2011 until 2013 Mr. Socha was CFO for FirstLight. He also served as CFO for two other companies and has had global financial responsibilities for several companies in the public sector. Mr. Socha began his career at KPMG Peat Marwick in 1991.

Mr. Socha earned a BS in Accounting from Saint John Fisher College and is a Certified Public Accountant.


Chief Operating Officer

Doug Derstine joined FirstLight in July of 2020 as the Chief Operating Officer, where he is responsible for leading all aspects of Sales, Customer Operations, Network Operations, Construction Services and Outside Plant.  Mr. Derstine brings more than 25 years of extensive telecommunications senior management experience including over 10 years at Windstream/PAETEC where from 2015 – 2017 he served as President, Market Development Group, from 2012 – 2015 he served as President Integrated Solutions Group and from 2006 – 2012 he served as President of Wholesale Markets–Managed Services. Prior to that, he was CEO/Founder of AMLL Acquisition Corp. DBA American Long Lines which he sold to PAETEC.

Mr. Derstine holds a BS from Moravian College in Business Management. In the past, Mr. Derstine has served on the Boards of the New Jersey Technology Council, the Ronald McDonald House of SNJ as well as the Moravian College Leadership Council.


Chief Revenue Officer

Mr. Jancovic holds the position of Chief Revenue Officer for FirstLight. In this role, he is responsible for sales management and results and leads both direct and indirect sales teams. Prior to joining FirstLight, he was EVP Sales & Marketing, Chief Revenue Officer for Oxford Networks, which was acquired by FirstLight in 2017. He began his career by launching an Internet company while still in college.

Mr. Jancovic has a BA in Economics from Colby College.


Chief Information Officer

Len Camara joined FirstLight in March, 2019 as the Chief Information Officer. He brings more than 20 years of experience leading IT teams implementing systems, processes and capabilities which ensure the security of digital assets, drive operating efficiencies and enable effective data mining, all focused on improving the customer experience and maintaining the integrity of systems and IT platforms. Prior to joining FirstLight, Mr. Camara held senior management positions, including most recently as the Chief Information Officer for Energy Federation where he oversaw the digital transformation of the organization, as well as senior IT roles at Bright Horizons, TNCI, Polaroid and GTE Internetworking.

Mr. Camara holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Information Systems from Bryant University and a Juris Doctor from New England Law.



Chief Accounting Officer & Treasurer

Bruce Skellie is the Chief Accounting Officer and Treasurer for FirstLight. He started with FirstLight in October 2012 as Controller. Prior to FirstLight, Mr. Skellie was the Controller at Fiber Glass Industries from 2009 through 2012. Mr. Skellie began his professional career in Public accounting for about 7 years in roles of increasing responsibility with the most extensive time spent at Bollam, Sheedy, Torani & Co. CPA’s in Albany NY which is now SaxBST.

Mr. Skellie earned a B.S. in Accounting from Le Moyne College in Syracuse NY.



Chief Legal Officer

Jill Sandford joined FirstLight Fiber in June of 2015 and currently serves as its Chief Legal Officer. Ms. Sandford manages all aspects of legal, regulatory, compliance, safety, and human resources. Ms. Sandford has over twenty-five years’ experience in the telecommunications sector. From 1995-2001, Ms. Sandford served as a section chief in the New York State Attorney General’s Office Bureau of Telecommunications and Energy. From 2001-2014, Ms. Sandford held legal roles at Metromedia Fiber Network, AboveNet and Zayo each with increasing and broad responsibilities.

Ms. Sandford earned a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University and a Juris Doctor from Albany Law School.



Chief Services Officer

Jeremy Hotchkiss joined FirstLight in September 2017 and holds the position of Chief Services Officer. In this role, he is responsible for all support and implementation services provided by the company for its enterprise and business customers. Leading a management team whom is responsible for customer implementation, services, repair, and billing. Prior to joining FirstLight, Mr. Hotchkiss was Chief Operating Officer for Finger Lakes Technologies Group, Inc. since 2013. Mr. Hotchkiss has held other positions of increasing responsibility while at Finger Lakes Technologies Group beginning in 2006 as Controller, Vice President of Operations, Sr. Vice President of Operations. As a twenty year veteran of telecommunications, Jeremy brings a disciplined, detailed, and measured leadership approach for our rapidly growing company. He is responsible for operational excellence often measured by our customers experience from project implementation through our day to day service and support.

Prior to joining Finger Lakes Technologies Group, Jeremy was employed by Frontier Corporation (a Citizens Communications Company) for 10 years in a variety of financial and accounting positions including Sr. Financial Analyst, Manager of Revenue Reporting, & Manager of Regulatory Reporting and Compliance.

Jeremy earned an M.B.A. from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York and holds a B.S. in Accounting from St. John Fisher College.



Principal Member of Technical Staff

Brian Kurkowski has been with FirstLight Fiber and its predecessor companies since its inception in 1997. During this time he has held the senior technologist position as Chief Technology Officer and now the Principal Member of Technical Staff. He is responsible for strategic technology direction, network architecture, and large customer initiatives. Prior to FirstLight Mr. Kurkowski served in the United States Navy for 11 years as a submarine Reactor Operator. Concurrent with these roles he has owned and operated various enterprises engaged in utility construction, software development and real estate management.

Mr. Kurkowski earned a B.S in Engineering from the University of Florida and a B.S. in Human Resource Management from the New School for Social Research.


Chief Network Officer

Brandon Peyton is the Chief Network Officer for Firstlight. He joined FirstLight in 2017 and is responsible for all Network Engineering & Planning, Core Operations, Data Center, IT, Outside Plant Engineering & Construction and Project Management. Previously, Mr Peyton held senior management positions with Sovernet Communications, MCI WorldCom and UUNET. Through more than 20 years working in the United States, Australia, and across the Asia Pacific region, Brandon has held senior management positions in Network Engineering, Network Operations, Service Delivery/Provisioning, Planning, Corporate IT&T, Carrier Management, and Vendor Relations. In these roles he has developed strong teams locally and regionally, to work with him in delivering solid, reliable, scalable network infrastructure and the ability to implement significant structural change to the organizations, resulting in measurable financial improvements, service quality availability, and realization of company objectives.


Chief Marketing Officer

Maura Mahoney is responsible for leading all aspects of Marketing and Product Management at FirstLight Fiber including Public Relations, Marketing Communications, Brand Management, Product Management and Development as well as Event Planning. Ms. Mahoney has more than 20 years of experience in the communications industry holding Sales, Marketing and Business Development roles of increasing responsibility with companies such as Sidera Networks, RCN Communications, NEON Communications, Bell Atlantic and its various predecessors.

Ms. Mahoney holds a B.S. in Finance from Bentley University, an M.B.A. from Boston University and a certificate in data communications from Northeastern University.


Chief Construction Officer

Todd Warmingham joined FirstLight Fiber in 2019 as part of the acquisition of Todd Cable Construction. He currently serves as FirstLight’s Chief Construction Officer, where he is responsible for all Outside Plant and Construction Service operations. Prior to joining FirstLight, Todd started in the Telecom industry in 1992 as a cable installer, learning the craft of cable installation. Honing his skills over the next few years, Todd soon started working as an independent installation contractor, setting the foundation for what would later become Todd Cable Construction, LLC. Serving as its President and CEO over the past 20 years, Todd continued to amass a construction firm that has the capability to install Fiber optic cable in virtually every type of terrain.

His grass roots construction knowledge coupled with his successful business background provides FirstLight and its customers a unique turn key solution for all of their fiber optic cable needs.

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