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Van Wagenen: FirstLight drives value through local presence and support

FIERCE TELECOM – January 23, 2014 – On the Hot Seat with Kurt Van Wagenen, CEO of FirstLight

Van WagenenKurt Van Wagenen, CEO of FirstLight, sees that the service provider’s value lies in its local approach and its ability to tailor “customer solutions that meet their needs.” The service provider has been expanding its presence in both its upstate New York home and in northern New England via a mix of organic growth and purchasing other regional fiber-centric providers such as TelJet Longhaul. It has been seeing growth serving a mix of enterprise and wholesale carrier customers, particularly wireless operators. Van Wagenen took over the CEO helm last October from company founder Kevin O’Connor, who retired from the company. Sean Buckley, senior editor of FierceTelecom, recently spoke to Van Wagenen about his first days on the job and his views on growing opportunities in wholesales and business services.

FierceTelecom: Kurt, you have been in the competitive telecom industry for a number of years, having previously run NEON Networks, now Lightower, and more recently FiberTower. Can you talk about your first days on the job and how FirstLight compares to that previous experience?

Kurt Van Wagenen: I have been on the job for just about three months and I am very excited particularly about the growth potential for FirstLight. I have a 100-day plan and I am executing against and then heavily focused on getting out and meeting our customers and other stakeholders. I am also spending a lot of time just learning about FirstLight and how it operates and how our value proposition resonates in the marketplace. At the same time, I worked closely with this team; it’s a very talented FirstLight team. Moving forward I will be focused on making sure we have the processes and discipline necessary to continue to provide high quality services that support our customers and also focus on really continuing the growth trajectory for the company.