: In 1987, Drew Walker was president and CEO of SouthernNet Inc., a facilities-based long-distance company based in the Southeast with more than 250 employees and more than $200 million in annual revenue. The company’s vision was to be the largest regional long-distance carrier in the Southeast, Walker recalls, noting multiple acquisitions, including TELMAN and TSI, during the 1986-87 timeframe. In late 1987 SouthernNet was completing its merger with Teleconnect. The combined company, Telecom*USA, would become the fourth-largest national IXC and was purchased by MCI in 1990. ’87 was a good time to be in the business — growth was high, profits were good and the regulatory environment was favorable, he says. It was great to be a part of the competitive telecommunications industry.
is the principal with Straightpath Communications LLC, a startup company that advises executive management, boards of directors and investors through the application of sound business principles and fundamentals, specifically in the areas of strategic and operational planning, development and implementation.
This pursuit follows more than a decade in various roles, including president, COO and vice chairman, for CLEC ITC^DeltaCom, which was founded by the same group behind SouthernNet.
says the industry faces the toughest regulatory environment ever. He sees some hope, however. But the swing in Congress might move some leverage in our direction … and it needs to move a lot, he says. IP technology and applications are providing the platform for competitors to succeed, even as we see the monopoly recreated (with ease!).