News

October 12, 2008

Smoothing The Lines of Communication

Ben Stump ’95 provides companies with network solutions as chief technology officer at Kentrox

As executive vice president and chief technology officer of Kentrox, which helps companies with their telecommunications networks, Ben Stump ’95 provides the vision and leadership in defining corporate strategy. He also is responsible for the execution and management of the company’s products and solutions.

Kentrox is a leader in the automated monitoring, management, and control of remote telecommunication sites. A remote site, Stump notes, has a number of characteristics that need to be managed, including:

  • The physical lines that pass traffic from the remote site to the network
  • The environmental characteristics of the site, such as temperature, humidity, and fire prevention
  • Site power, including the commercial power grid, generators, and battery strings
  • The remote control of cell tower antennae for optimal coverage
  • The security of the remote sites, such as video surveillance and door contacts
  • The call quality for cellular phone calls
  • The management of mobile devices, such as temporary cell sites.

“I am responsible for the strategic direction of our company and for the execution and management of the company-wide product and solutions portfolio, including Optima Site Solutions, which is the only 360 degree site maintenance, management, and control solution for operators worldwide,” says Stump, who lives in Kendall Park, N.J., but spends the majority of his time on the road with customers or at the company’s Ohio or Oregon locations. “My role is multifaceted, with my organization bringing together and bridging sales and engineering to create the solutions and ensure successful delivery into the marketplace.”

“My job is to join the market and customer needs through sales and to bridge the common gap between sales, product management, and engineering to ensure that our corporate direction and strategy is both tactically executed and has the longevity and forethought to continue to help the company grow as a whole,” he adds.

The most challenging part of the job is trying to enhance the identity of Kentrox in the marketplace as a “solutions partner.” Stump notes that Kentrox has been in the telecommunications market since 1967 and has a long history with some of its anchor customers.

“Now we are successfully reinvigorating the company with a new approach to business,” he explains. “Kentrox acquired Applied Innovation in the middle of 2007 and completed an asset acquisition late in 2007 from DAX Technologies. We have completed the successful merger of the companies and assets to now bring all of these together under one new corporate umbrella. The challenge is often to ensure the union goes smoothly as that transition is a natural springboard for the company’s overall success in changing its market persona.”

Stump’s passion always has been the entrepreneurial environment, where he can create business plans, build solutions, and take them to market, where he can see the value realized from the original idea.

“At Kentrox, I have the opportunity to do exactly that, in creating new solutions-based products and offers that help to change the way the marketplace as a whole views site management, maintenance, and control,” he says. “It’s truly rewarding to help drive a new idea, thought or solution from conception to something that is used and has significant value in the marketplace.”

Stump says that Lafayette helped prepare him for success by cultivating his leadership skills early on.

“The environment at Lafayette encourages individualism and entrepreneurial thought,” explains the computer science major and psychology minor. “The culture helped me develop self-motivation and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking. Those two characteristics are some of the most beneficial in my professional career.”

Stump entered the College knowing that he wanted to focus his studies on a combination of computer science and human factors. Even though Lafayette did not have a degree in human factors engineering, Stump says the school’s curriculum offered him enough flexibility to pursue computer science and cognitive psychology, and then combine those studies with a number of independent studies in the area of human-computer interaction.

“Lafayette afforded me the opportunity to bring all of that together and to exceed my initial goals in learning,” he notes. “The unique academic balance prepared me for my graduate studies at the University of Michigan, where I continued with human factors and human-computer interaction. It all acted as the perfect supporting structure for my first professional position as a human factors engineer.”

Stump credits his academic adviser, Bill Collins, associate professor of computer science, with sparking creative thought.

“He was very supportive of ‘outside the box’ thinking,” Stump says. “He was one of the driving forces in my success at Lafayette. I am very happy that he is still at Lafayette because he is not only a great professor, but also a wonderful adviser who is always pushing his students to ensure they are getting the most out of their experience at Lafayette and also the most out of their potential.”

Stump was a member of the soccer team his first year at Lafayette. He joined the ice hockey club his sophomore year and became the group’s president his junior and senior years. He also was an active member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and enjoyed many informal activities on campus, such as volleyball on the Quad and intramurals.

“I was highly involved in extra-curricular activities and academics, so I had the opportunity to meet and work with a wide array of professors and students,” he says. “I truly enjoyed my time at Lafayette. It was a positive experience in all aspects.”

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