Diana Gowen, CenturyLink

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Diana Gowen, CenturyLinkDiana Gowen, senior vice president and general manager of CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL), is a name that's become synonymous with providing telecom services for the public sector.

A 30-plus year veteran of the telecom industry, Gowen came to CenturyLink when the telco completed its acquisition of the former Qwest Communications in April 2011, a move that instantly made it a major player in both the State&Local and federal segments of the public sector.

During her formative years, Gowen sharpened her public sector and telecom skills at the legacy AT&T (NYSE: T), but later established herself in the government sector at MCI--now Verizon Business (NYSE: VZ). At MCI, Gowen served as the vice president of Government Markets, overseeing a number of key contract vehicles including the General Services Administration's (GSA) Federal Telephone Services 2001 (FTS2001), the precursor contract vehicle to Networx.   

Since coming to CenturyLink via the former Qwest in 2005 following a stint at Broadwing (now Level 3 Communications), one of Gowen's crowning achievements was developing a plan that enabled Qwest to win a seat on GSA's $20 billion Networx Universal and Networx Enterprise telecom contracts. By gaining a seat on these two contracts, the service provider can bid on various task orders.

Since achieving the Networx feat in 2007 along with fellow Tier 1 telcos AT&T and Verizon, CenturyLink has won numerous large task orders with various civilian and defense agencies, including the Social Security Administration, Defense Information Systems Agency/Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization (DISA/DITCO) and GSA.

But Gowen's efforts don't stop at Networx. Earlier this year, the service provider secured a place on the GSA's CONNECTIONS II contract, which provides complementary services, including design, installation and existing network support.  

Outside of her work at CenturyLink, Gowen serves on the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee's Industry Executive Subcommittee (NSTAC-IES), is a member of the Industry Advisory Council (IAC), the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), and the Security Affairs Support Association (SASA).  

Looking forward, the challenge that Gowen and CenturyLink face in serving the public sector come in dealing with the waves of agency spending patterns and a new administration in 2013, but she and her team are equipped to handle those issues.