A 30-plus year telecom veteran, Ken Folderauer, Vice President-Public Sector, tw telecom (Nasdaq: TWTC), has spent the majority of his career serving federal and state governments and the higher education community.
After serving in various government service divisions at both Verizon (22 years) and Qwest (eight years), Folderauer came to tw telecom in 2008 to run its public sector division.
Folderauer believes what sets tw telecom's approach apart from the rest of the service provider industry service the public sector is a "deep rooted customer first mindset that goes from the CEO Larissa Herda down through the rest of the company."
This customer first mentality is complemented with a strategy that helps mitigate risks for them and their public sector customers.
"My analogy is that our company is a yard wide, but we are a mile deep," Folderauer said. "What that means is we know exactly what we need to focus on and exceed the responsiveness that's necessary of premier service providers and we stick to that task when we serve the government."
Recent public sector wins include Peterson Air Force Base and Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.
As a competitive service provider, tw telecom takes a three-pronged approach to serve public sector customers.
This strategy includes business development directors that head up civilian agencies, defense agencies and those that are responsible for national security. This enables tw telecom to best tailor a solution to meet the needs of that specific agency.
"By aligning my most senior staff with those various branches (it) allows them to focus on their unique missions," Foulderauer said. "As we all know, telecommunications is complex, but as you peel this onion back you'll find that each of these agencies have unique requirements and they have unique procurement methodologies they are comfortable with."
Government's use of contracts is a continuing focus as civilian agencies are using the GSA Networx Enterprise and Universal contract, while defense is using DISA direct and the intelligence community is focusing on leveraging systems integrators.
tw telecom works to sell services directly to agencies via direct contracts through regional GSA LSAs (Local Services Acquisition contracts) and working with 8 (a) suppliers.
No less important are the relationships tw telecom has established other larger service providers--namely those that serve large contracts such as GSA Networx Universal and Networx Enterprise. In that process, tw telecom not only engages with the prime contractor but also the end-user to better see how their offering fit with their needs with their deep set of complementary network assets.
"What the government does understand is that no one provider or one prime has every answer," explains Folderauer. "They need to seek partners that can help them differentiate their solution, which is why you see such large partner teams on the Networx contract."
One prime example of where the service provider partnership mentality makes sense is to maintain continuity of operations (COOP) with diverse communications sources.
By maintaining that customer first mentality, it's likely that tw telecom under Folderauer will continue to find success in the public sector vertical.