MetTel has doubled its federal team staff and tripled its Washington, D.C., office space in the fourth quarter of 2017 to accommodate the service provider’s growing presence in the federal government space it has reached by winning a seat on the GSA’s EIS contract.
Led by former MCI and CenturyLink federal government leader Diana Gowen, Met Tel has brought on executives and advisors from Verizon and NATO.
Harry Squire, who worked with Gowen at MCI’s Federal division, has taken on the position of VP of sales for MetTel Federal and will run all sales management operations for the MetTel Federal team. Previously, Squire served as Area Vice President for the Verizon-Public Sector team for nine years, aligning Verizon services to address public sector customer needs from large-scale contracts like GSA Networx.
Gowen, who formally joined the MetTel team in October, told FierceTelecom that now that MetTel has firmly established a federal services practice, it needed to have the necessary staff and support.
“From a sales perspective, you need to populate the seats quickly, especially when you look at the competition and they have been around for a long time,” Gowen said. “Our first order of business was to get a sales leader and he worked for me at MCI.”
Dr. Curtis Levinson will serve as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for MetTel as well as its Federal team. Levinson will oversee all IT security for MetTel and the EIS solutions it provides to Federal agencies. Having worked as a strategic consultant providing cybersecurity guidance to a range of clients for more than 30 years, Levinson continues to serve as U.S. Cyber Defense Advisor to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
MetTel has secured a range of new positions in security, sales, management and engineering, including key executives in charge of information security and sales management.
“We have begun to fill out the sales force and I have added two more people since late last year and two more coming on in mid-February,” Gowen said. “The next order of business since we have won business is to populate the program management and customer care side of the house so we have been adding people there.”
Task order tsunami looms
By ramping up its sales and support team, MetTel will be able to better deal with a ramp in orders from government agencies off the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract.
Joining AT&T, CenturyLink and Verizon, MetTel is among a group of 10 companies to secure a seat on the General Services Administration’s (GSA) 15-year, $50 billion EIS contract.
Gowen said she expects the task orders to come in very quickly throughout the first quarter and needs to have the staff to support these requests.
“While the tsunami has not descended upon us yet, I expect it to come in the first quarter of this year,” Gowen said.
To support the current orders and service procurement inside the federal division, the group had been using commercial sales engineers and commercial customer care employees from the larger MetTel organization.
Gowen said as the federal business grows, “we will move those employees over into the federal group.”
Additionally, the federal group has grown out of its current space so it has been knocking down walls to make it bigger, including building war rooms.
“When you have a tsunami of federal capture of proposal activity you need to have things like that,” Gowen said. “Those are some of the reasons for building out and when you add these people you need to have space for them.”
GSA published a calendar of when agencies expect to release their task orders. Social Security Administration has already begun while others have not released a schedule yet.
“We have seen lots and lots of requests for information and everybody’s been working those to influence them,” Gowen said. “We expect of GSA’s calendar is correct to begin seeing things in mid-February and the beginning of March.”
SD-WAN shows potential
While the service provider has not revealed any specific government customers yet, MetTel is seeing growing interest from federal agencies for SD-WAN services.
MetTel's SD-WAN service leverages its wide array of interconnection agreements with other domestic and global carriers. To provide an optimal service experience, the service provider takes on the responsibility of managing these relationships, billing and service maintenance.
One of the selling points for business customers -- particularly those that currently have existing MPLS contracts -- is that they can immediately access the benefits of SD-WAN through MetTel's Layer 3 backbone network connections. Traditionally, businesses would have to wait until the end of a contract to benefit from this new technology.
“We had incredible interest from the federal government for SD-WAN,” Gowen said. “I am just amazed at the interest there and we’re about ready to launch 2 pilots.”