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Livin Off the Edge: Mike Mudd

Mike Mudd, president and founder of satellite reseller Broad Sky Networks, has proved that the heavens are a great host not only to telecommunications equipment, but to telecommunications executives as well. When PHONE+ asked Mike about any special talents he possessed, he answered simply, Im dumb enough to run off of a mountain attached to a hang glider.



Mike Mudd prepares for flight.

Mike has been flying hang gliders for about six years at sites throughout California, Oregon and Washington. His longest flight on record was three hours and 45 minutes. He says he used to watch hang gliders on ABCs Wide World of Sports when he was a kid and wonder what it must feel like to have the nerve to run off a mountain and enjoy the freedom of flight. When he was out for a run in Los Angeles, some men offering hang gliding lessons on the beach persuaded Mike (albeit only taking five minutes) to sign up for lessons.

After four months of training and gear-shopping, Mike took his first solo flight. Youre standing there thinking about all youve learned to perform a perfect launch and what to do if things start going bad, he explains. Your guts are in knots since you cant help but think, Ill never suck more at this sport than I do right now, so go ahead and run off the mountain and see how it goes. Its the only sport where I still get all worked up before each flight, but when youre up there, the freedom of flight is amazing.

Its not a sport for everyone you need to be cool under pressure, Mike continues. The guys that get hurt usually panic when things dont go as planned. Ive flown hundreds of times and only have a few scraped knees (dont wear shorts) from a few botched landings. Still, Mike highly recommends hang gliding to anyone who has thought it would be cool to fly. Its better than youve imagined, and you should try it, he says.

Currently soaring over Broad Sky Networks, Mikes previous tours of duty include positions like national account manager at Worldcom, director of marketing at Covad, director of channel sales at MegaPath and vice president of sales at New Media Telecommunications. As founder and president of Broad Sky, Mikes role is in the strategic positioning of the company within the broadband satellite market and its continued growth within the agent/VAR community. Mike says his main job is putting thumbs in the dam need more thumbs.

Mikes first job: Paperboy. Mike says, I wish it was cool like starting my own company. Being a paperboy is not a bad job in California, but it sucks in the winter in Nebraska.

Avid collector of: Baseball caps. Bald guys like hats, says Mike, who is hair-challenged.

Cities lived in: 11 (in this order, with one repeat offender): Seattle; San Francisco; Bellevue, Wash.; Lincoln, Neb.; Pullman, Wash.; Mukilteo, Wash.; Chicago; San Diego; Manhattan Beach, Calif.; New York; San Francisco; Bend, Ore.

Currently reading: Barack Obamas The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.

Words to live by: In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. Albert Einstein This comes in very handy in data/telecom services, Mike explains. If it wasnt difficult, our clients wouldnt need us when was the last time you called a travel agent?

Thoughts on telecom: As the stock market has been rising its definitely freed up additional IT spending. Our services are ideal for small remote sites and redundancy, so bigger IT budgets bode well for our satellite services. In addition, our new abilities to support IPSec VPNs and VoIP over satellite have been big drivers of our services. If and when profits tumble, the telecom vendors that havent fallen over will do well. I also think there are too many VoIP providers that are not differentiated enough to survive; so when a contraction comes, well see the same fallout experienced with DSL vendors.

Do you know someone who has Personality+? Were looking for interesting characters in telecom to take the spotlight! Please send nominations to Cara Sievers at csievers@vpico.com.

Links
Broad Sky Networks www.broadskynetworks.net

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