Q&A: Clint Heiden, President of Intellifiber

Clint Heiden, President of Intellifiber--which had been officially re-launched last year as a subsidiary of Cavalier Telephone--made his first order of business reshaping the carrier as a responsive solution provider for its carrier and enterprise customers. Heiden says that what enables Intellifiber to achieve those goals is the fact that while the company has the nimbleness of a small company, they also have the capabilities of a larger service provider with 17,000 route network miles. FierceTelecom caught up with Heiden recently to talk about his first year on the job and how he sees the business growing in 2010 and beyond.

FierceTelecom: Intellifiber, while having a 12-year history, was effectively re-launched last year. To start, can you reflect on the first year as a re-launched company? What lessons did you and your team learn so far?
Clint Heiden, President of IntellifiberHeiden: The idea was that these fiber assets that the company had purchased over a 10-year history would be more valuable as a standalone fiber infrastructure and putting the focus behind that we could drive more value in the marketplace. We couldn't be absolutely positive of that prior to the re-launch. When we were doing the re-launching, one of the things we were going to focus on very hard was getting back to basics and treat customers as partners. At that point we were providing mostly wholesale and a small sliver of government services. We were going to make it easy to do business with us and be the carrier I always wanted to work with when I was out in the industry. We would also be responsive and educate the market on the assets and what we could do to help their business and that would be a strength and advantage for us. That seems like such a simple philosophy, but that proved to be a very valuable and a sustainable thing that customers were looking for: ease of doing business with someone that's nimble and flexible yet very large in terms of its network footprint. If you look at Intellifiber, in one way we are a very small company with fewer than 100 employees, but in another way we're an extremely large company in that we have 17,000 route miles. You get the ease of doing business with this small and nimble company that owns and runs a large network that can impact your business. I call that the blocking and tackling.

From there we started to work on relationships with things that would help us develop more of a partnership with them. Then, we got into what I view is more innovation. This was what else could our network do that would bring more value to the marketplace?  That's when we got into low latency and Ethernet over Copper (EoC).

FierceTelecom: You talked a lot about both your wholesale and retail operations. What is Intellifiber's mix between retail and wholesale services?
I'd say carrier/wholesale is our predominant market vertical. The government group we began a couple of years before the re-launch so we were actively going after that. The government group has probably gotten up to 15 percent of the business. If I look at recent bookings numbers, it's probably closer to 30 percent. The bookings that we're experiencing today are still growing with the government group, so that revenue mix will be higher down the road.

On the Cavalier side, we have a small to medium sized business (SMB) enterprise focus that's quite large, but we never had that at Intellifber. We launched a group last September with reps in Chicago, soon one in  New York, Philadelphia and in Washington D.C. It's a very small team that's very focused on financial services and large custom solutions for Fortune 500 companies. That revenue base is very small. It's in the single digits and its accounting for bookings probably is about 10 percent of bookings right now.