2019 FierceTelecom Rising Star — Juniper Networks’ Anand Athreya

Juniper Networks' Anand Athreya (Juniper)

The FierceTelecom editorial team is proud to announce our Rising Stars series in which we’re profiling up-and-coming executives in the telecom industry. We’ve selected a slate of executives from services providers, public cloud companies and telco vendors whom we think are on the rise in 2019. We’ll be doling out the names of our winners, two per day, so that our readers have the time to enjoy reading their profiles. And next week, we’ll post a Rising Stars poll, giving everyone the opportunity to vote for their favorite top executive to watch in the FierceTelecom ecosystem. We hope you enjoy the series!

Anand “Andy” Athreya decided to pursue a career in networking because he liked the idea of connecting people and making it possible to exchange data and information.

He started his career working at Novell and then worked for a couple of smaller networking firms — Tiara Networks and Malibu Networks.

Perhaps his biggest career jump was to Procket Networks where he was the director of software engineering. Procket was founded by Tony Li, a well-known Silicon Valley engineer and developer of routing technology. Procket was eventually sold to Cisco for $89 million in 2004.

Athreya, who is currently EVP and chief development officer at Juniper Networks, is a 15-year veteran of the company. He says his biggest challenge is figuring out how to drive common software architectures across all product lines. And like many engineering leaders, he also works hard to figure out how to innovate without breaking the bank.

He says he has had success at Juniper by creating smaller teams and giving them specific problems to solve. “Smaller teams help you investigate problems and do rapid prototyping,” he said. “Once it gets to a certain mass then you make sure it can be absorbed into the bigger system.”

RELATED: Juniper CEO Rahim optimistic company can return to year-over-year growth by Q4

Athreya credits some of his success to the many mentors who helped him along the way. Paul Gacek, the then-director of engineering at Novell, was an early mentor who helped Athreya get a better understanding of people and culture. He also was assisted by Pradeep Sindhu, the founder of Juniper Networks, who became a friend and coach at Juniper.

Athreya’s advice to others is to always be authentic, try to connect with people and have empathy. “I push people hard because I try to get the best out of them,” he said.

And hard work is essential to any career. Athreya says he only sleeps three to four hours a day but he uses yoga and meditation to keep his mind and body in check.