Onvoy CEO Looks Back, Forges Ahead


Onvoy CEO Looks Back, Forges Ahead

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  November 02, 2016

Onvoy LLC is a facilities-based voice and messaging network organization that got its start in the rural local exchange market, where it still has strong customer relationships to this day. But it’s been through a lot of changes in recent years.

In 2007, Onvoy was acquired by Zayo for its fiber transport business. Zayo integrated the fiber into its own core bandwidth business and set up Onvoy as a standalone wholesale voice business unit, which operated as a subsidiary. Then, in 2014, Onvoy once again set out as an independent entity.

Since that time, Onvoy has focused on a transformational growth strategy. Through acquisition and organic growth, Onvoy has become one of the largest network-based wholesale communication enablers in the United States, and it’s expanding internationally.

INTERNET TELEPHONY recently caught up with Onvoy CEO Fritz Hendricks to find out more about the company and the man at the helm of it.

Tell us about yourself.

Hendricks: First, I am a man of faith. I have been married happily for over 31 years, and I have been blessed with two wonderful children.

Where did you go to school?

Hendricks: I graduated from Bellevue University with a Bachelor of Science, and subsequently completed the Information Networking Institute for Advanced Telecommunications at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburg.

How did your career in communications begin and progress?

Hendricks: I grew up in Omaha, Neb., where I started in the communications industry at Cox (News - Alert) Cable back in the early 80s. My first job was in the construction department where I buried cable and pulled the lashing machine, which attaches the cable to the strand. So I guess you could say I started on the ground floor.

From there, I spent the next 30-plus years of my career focused on product innovation, with a particular interest in converting new technology concepts into market-ready services.

Prior to becoming the president and CEO of Onvoy, I was the COO of Onvoy, responsible for engineering, operations, information technology, product innovations, product management, market development, and customer service.

Before joining Onvoy, I spent 17 years with USWest !nterprise Services (now CenturyLink (News - Alert)) in leadership roles focused on the development, deployment, support, and automation of next generations data services.

Tell us about the other folks on the leadership team at Onvoy.

Hendricks: Onvoy’s leadership is made up of a group of veterans in the communications and VoIP space. We have been able to attract some of the top talent in the industry, and we continue to add new resources every day. Most, if not all, have a deep technology background. Here are a few examples.

  • Surendra Saboo, the COO and general manager of Onvoy, was formerly president and COO of Inteliquent and CEO of Transaction Network Services (News - Alert). He brings 30 years of telecom experience in voice, data, messaging, and mobility. He has a passion for integrating and growing companies to achieve economies of scale. Surendra holds a PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Ohio State University, Columbus.
  • Michael Remacle is Onvoy’s senior vice president of sales. He has more than 25 years of experience in the communications industry, serving in leadership roles within product, marketing, and sales. Prior to working at Onvoy, Michael was CEO of Layered Communications, a communication enabler for OTT players, MVNOs, and VSPs.
  • Justin Nelson, Onvoy’s CTO, was formerly CEO of Dash 911 and MapVine, and CTO of Radiant IQ. Justin has more than 15 years of experience in the communications industry, serving in leadership roles within engineering, operations, and product.
  • Teri Asiala is executive vice president of M&A, and was formerly CIO of McLeodUSA. She has 25 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, having started her telecom career as one of the founding employees of Onvoy (MEANS) in 1992.
  • John Hanna is executive vice president and general manager of Vitelity (News - Alert). He was formerly CIO of Onvoy, and chief IT architect at !nterprise. John has 26 years of experience in the IT field, 23 years of which are in the telecommunications industry.
  • Craig Olson (News - Alert) is Onvoy’s chief architect. Formerly vice president of Ethernet and IP network at Zayo, he has over 15 years of design and implementation experience with packet-based networks and related technologies.
  • And Scott Sawyer, the general counsel of Onvoy, was formerly vice president of regulatory affairs and counsel for Conversent Communications. He has over 23 years of experience representing telecommunications carriers in legal and regulatory matters.

How is Onvoy’s expertise reflected in the experience of its customers?

Hendricks: Industry experience is one thing; however, a demonstrated ability to execute successfully multiple times is what distinguishes tenure from industry veterans. Onvoy veterans have a demonstrated track record of listening to the market demand, innovating competitive solutions, and delivering quality products that create reliability, growth, and value for our customers. 

What specific capabilities does Onvoy offer?

Hendricks: Onvoy is a communications enablement company that offers API-driven voice, messaging (text), and mobility solutions over our wholly owned carrier-grade, nationwide network. Solutions include call origination, termination, 911 emergency services, toll-free, mobility, UCaaS, tandem and transit, SS7, database and OS/DA.

Onvoy refers to itself as a network-based wholesale communications enabler. What exactly does that mean?

Hendricks: A traditional wholesale carrier provides access to a limited set of services within a specific geographic market. Order fulfillment is usually a manual order workflow and typically designed to set up a static service or set of features. In other words, set it once and let it run. If you want it changed, send in an order. Orders can take several hours or days.

A network-based wholesale communication enabler provides its customers with online or API access to the core network platform that supports a full suite of communication solutions (e.g. telephone numbers, PSTN connectivity, messaging, mobility, and emergency services). API access to the core enables the customer to dynamically provision, change, and interact with the network via software-enabled commands. Customers have direct control of the service activation, deactivation, and routing through REST APIs. The direct control of the infrastructure empowers traditional and cloud-based providers to innovate solutions and build their business.

Tell us about Onvoy’s network.

Hendricks: By end of year 2016, Onvoy will have 7,200 rate centers on-net and total access to over 10,000 domestic rate centers across 168 LATAs. Onvoy has CLEC status in 47 states. Our network provides access to over 86 percent of the population domestically and access to hundreds of international destinations available through partners. Onvoy enjoys customer relationships that continue to expand our footprint. Our scale allows our customers to access all the products and footprint they need from one provider instead of having to go through several providers or aggregators.

Onvoy’s communication enablement platform provides access to mobile, VoIP, and unified communication for rural ILEC end office replacement. Rural ILECs can expand outside of the traditional landline markets and experience growth.

Why do service providers pick Onvoy for communications enablement?

Hendricks: They choose us for our reliability, nationwide scale, and fully automated, self-service provisioning through OnvoyConnect. Our cutting edge customer portal and API allow customers to access and control their services all in one place.

What do you see happening in the communications arena, and where does Onvoy fit in?

Hendricks: The communications industry has never been more exciting. Advancement over the last 5 to 10 years in fiber and IP-based wireless infrastructure availability are creating the perfect foundation for unprecedented innovation.

Open source software, SDN, and NFV are opening up new opportunities to control network elements and continuously improve reliability and resiliency, as well as foster innovation.

The next five years will prove to be transformational. As cloud-based providers and software-based carriers continue to innovate new services, the industry will experience significant growth.

Onvoy expects to fuel innovation through instant access to our nationwide network-based communication enablement platform. 

Edited by Alicia Young


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