Arunas Chesonis, PAETEC: Wireline's most powerful people

What makes him powerful:

Arunas Chesonis

Arunas Chesonis, PAETEC

Arunas Chesonis, Chairman and CEO of PAETEC (Nasdaq: PAET), has never been one to back down from taking on new challenges from both incumbents and the growing cable threat in his growing network footprint.  

As a 20-plus year veteran of the telecom industry, Chesonis is not a stranger to building businesses from scratch either.

Prior to founding PAETEC--a company whose name is derived from his family that includes his wife Pam, and children Adam, Erik, Tessa and Emma Chesonis--in 1998, he served as President of ACC Corp. and led the company until it was purchased by TCG/AT&T (NYSE: T). In his formative telecom years, Chesonis worked for Rochester Telephone Corp.

One way Chesonis is bolstering his service and network strategy is through ongoing organic growth and targeted M&A initiatives.

Evidence of that trend came last fall when Chesonis moved to acquire the former Cavalier Telephone, including the CLEC's wholesale and business services division Intellifiber. Seeing the value in the Intellifiber assets--including broad relationships with federal government agencies, a large fiber network and a sizeable Ethernet over Copper (EoC) network--Chesonis kept the management team including President Clint Heiden.

But Chesonis isn't just sitting on these assets. Already, PAETEC is using them to its advantage with plans to integrate them with the assets it purchased from McLeod Communications.

Take Ethernet over Copper. This year, PAETEC plans to build out EoC to 160 new COs (central offices) and introduced a 100 Mbps EoC service. Upon completion, PAETEC will have 435 COs to reach about 400,000 buildings.

The other major drive by Chesonis and his team is building a foundation to serve the burgeoning cloud services opportunity. This ambition will be punctuated by adding 13 new data centers to its current set of seven centers, bringing it to 20 nationwide centers when the buildout is completed in 2012.

Of course, Chesonis' moves won't go unchallenged, especially by cable operators, including Charter (Nasdaq: CHTR), Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), that are making aggressive moves to bring their services to larger businesses.

Arunas Chesonis, PAETEC: Wireline's most powerful people