Jeff Murray senior vice president and general manager of Black Box Network Services ““ Federal sat down with ExecutiveBiz and spoke about his nearly 30 years of federal market experience, new market opportunities for telecoms and Black Box“™s slate of experts working on a host of issues, such as networking and unified communications.
ExecutiveBiz: Can you tell me a little about your background and how you came to Black Box?
Jeff Murray: I came to Black Box via the acquisition of NextiraOne Federal in 2006, where I ran operations and services for the company. In 2007, Black Box appointed me as senior vice president and GM for the Federal Division. I“™ve been in the federal market my entire 28-year career, starting with my time serving in three branches of our military. I spent the first 15 years of my career in R&D, engineering, operations and sales. The past 13 years have been spent with technical division start ups, management and executive leadership.
ExecutiveBiz: How has the firm changed since you“™ve been in your current position and what sort of contributions have you made?
Jeff Murray: The firm has changed quite a bit as to our culture, team focus and the types of things that we do. Prior to the acquisition, we were part of TimePlex and we were a manufacturer, a value-added reseller, and a broad-based integrator. Since the acquisition, my focus has really been about moving the business from being a reseller and broad-based integrator to being a complete solutions provider in the communications infrastructure space. This focus has paid off for our customers, the federal team and our shareholders. The decision to focus and build on a core set of capabilities has resulted in solid expertise and added tremendous value for our clients.
I restructured the team into core customer-focused groups that could engage globally. The changes in our structure and approach to a singular customer-centric core focus has given our team greater depth, satisfaction and proven results, including the doubling of our market share organically over the same period of time. Today, we are a leader in unified communications with a broad portfolio of solutions but with a singular focus.
ExecutiveBiz: Are there any market opportunities cropping up in telecom for the federal sector in the next maybe 24-36 months?
Jeff Murray: Absolutely. Certainly it starts with the opportunity that we see within unified communications, not just within the Department of Defense but within the civilian agencies as well. UC encompasses the whole spectrum of applications and uses for technology that are just beginning to emerge. The infrastructures for UC are only beginning to be built within the federal sector and Black Box is positioned to be a leader in this market. Another opportunity that presents itself is with cloud computing and hosted services. Most of the discussion today is around the data center. However, the infrastructures to support access to these centers must also be built, which is core to our business. Wireless communications is the third area that creates an opportunity for Black Box. What I call hyper-mobility and accessibility on mobile phones, smartphones, Slate computers, etc. is not only needed, but required given the current state of the market.
ExecutiveBiz: What do you look for when you are considering team makeup; what types of experts does Black Box have onboard?
Jeff Murray: First of all, Black Box has over 3,500 technical personnel distributed around the world, all of them focused in communications systems and networking. Team composition is key to success. The first key is client knowledge. Our teams understand how our customers use technology to operate. That is the foundation of our successful teams, and is always our primary objective. We then marry up our program and project managers with subject matter experts in architecture, engineering, deployment, and lifecycle support to offer the client a holistic supportable solution to their requirements.
We employ experts in telecommunications, networking, unified communications, facilities planning, security and management. Our team culture is straight forward: Take care of our customers, take care of our people and our shareholders are taken care of as a result of our focus on the other two. My favorite question for our team is, ‘if we knew two years ago what we know now, what would we have done differently.’ We engage the team and our customers in this dialogue, and it makes a meaningful difference to their operations and our business.
ExecutiveBiz: Do you have any hobbies or activities that you enjoy in your spare time?
Jeff Murray: I play golf (depending on whom you ask) like most of us that play. I“™m not as good as I would like to be and don“™t play as much as I would like to. I also am a bit of a gym rat and enjoy working out. Recently, my bride and I got into cruising the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay waters in our cabin cruiser. Other than that, just spending time with my family and friends brings me the most joy.
ExecutiveBiz: What is your favorite course to play?
Jeff Murray: There are a lot of them. I would have to say locally it would be Washington Golf and Country Club due to its design and challenge. My favorite course outside of the area is Kapalua in Hawaii, perhaps the most scenic course in the world.