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Personality+: Working on the Fly – Howard Janzen

I know some of us can be in a hurry in the morning, but the CEO of CLEC One Communications flies to work – literally. Howard Janzen climbs into the cockpit every week to fly himself from his home in Kansas City, Kan., to Waltham, Mass., to be at the office. How’s that for a commute?

view largerHoward Janzen

One Communications is dually headquartered due to a 2006 merger of three equals — Choice One Communications, CTC Communications and Conversent Communications – so although Howard spends most of his time in Waltham, he also travels to the company’s other headquarters in Rochester, N.Y., a few times per month. Each week, he captains the nearly four-hour flight (dependent on seasonal winds) to his home away from home in Concord, Mass., to start the work week. Howard also takes trips to visit family in Colorado and Oklahoma in addition to frequent business trips around the Northeast. In fact, every few days, Howard is flying somewhere high in the clouds. “For work, this a great tool to improve my productivity and add in some fun as well,” said Howard.

Howard started flying at age 16 when he flew a World War II spotter plane through an Explorer Post at the Air National Guard base in Tulsa, Okla. His instructor was a member of the guard and flew in the Royal Air Force during WWII. Howard also received ground school instruction through a high school aeronautics class.

view largerHoward and his wife, Cherine, pick up their airplane outside of Johannesburg, South Africa. The plane is a Socata TBM-700, which is a French-built single-engine Turboprop.

This pilot has owned a number of airplanes over the years and now owns a Socata TBM-700, which is a French-built single-engine Turboprop. Howard says its turbine engine makes it extremely reliable and fast, cruising at almost 350 mph.

“This is a rewarding hobby because it provides a unique combination of challenge, speed, technology, need for honed skills and judgment regarding weather and operation,” explained Howard. “There is always something to learn and always the ability to perform at a higher level. The valuable side-reward is the travel and adventures it makes possible.”

To wit, Howard and his wife are heading for Costa Rica in May with their oldest son and his wife.

Howard’s other piloting job: As CEO of One Communications, Howard is charged with setting and executing the carrier’s objectives, along with establishing the leadership team and nurturing teamwork across the company. One Communications’ footprint spans the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Upper Midwest, reaching from Maine to Wisconsin and down to Virginia. And since not everyone can hop in an airplane and head to the office, One Communications’ more than 2,400 employees throughout the footprint stay connected via telephony as well as telepresence systems from TANDBERG.

Prior to One Communications, Howard was president of Sprint Business Solutions where he was responsible for Sprint’s $12 billion worldwide business customer base, ranging from small business to Sprint’s largest domestic and international accounts. Previously, he served as president of the Sprint Global Markets Group, responsible for its long-distance business. Howard was chairman, president and CEO of Williams Communications Group, where he led the company in completing its $7 billion next-generation fiber network.

Howard’s first job: Spreading the news as a paperboy in Burlington, Ontario, at age 13.

Words to live by: Play to win, don’t play not to lose.

Currently reading: “World Without End,” by Ken Follett

Thoughts on telecom: “Telecom is a great business to be involved in. It is a core need for almost every company and is dramatically affected by technology advances and regulatory shifts. This makes it ever-changing, challenging and interesting. It is truly only limited by human creativity, which makes it a dynamic business to be involved in.”


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