Mike Loomis, general manager of Federal business with Nokia, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz regarding his history with the company over the last decade as well as his military background and how that experience has prepared him to lead Nokia’s federal business into the future.
In addition, Mike Loomis also discussed his recent growth initiatives as general manager as well as the new market goals for Nokia and how the company is helping federal agencies to address the latest technology challenges in our industry during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
You can read the full interview with Mike Loomis below:
ExecutiveBiz: After about a decade with Nokia, what can you tell us about taking over the role as general manager of its Federal Division? What is it about Nokia that excites you most for the future and how it elevates your background and military career?
Mike Loomis: “I began my career receiving a commission through the ROTC program at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). After graduating, I joined the U.S. Army where I was with the 82nd Airborne Division Second Battalion Fourth Parachute Infantry. I spent some time in Iraq during Desert Storm and loved it. I loved being a part of the mission and the opportunity to serve the folks that I admire.
There was a sense of duty and purpose beyond just the financial results that you have in industry. You get many other things in industry as well as the satisfaction of innovation, but I’ve just always had a soft spot in my heart for the mission.
This sense of duty, purpose and mission helped guide me into this new role at Nokia Federal. When I had the opportunity to join Alcatel-Lucent, which became Nokia after a 2015 acquisition, it was a critical area of investment and another growth area to do what I loved doing.
There have been a lot of opportunities to lead new growth initiatives within Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia over the years, which I was lucky to be part of. The first was starting up the technical team, business development and sales for Alcatel-Lucent Software Defined Networks spin-in Nuage Networks.
This led to the opportunity to create Nokia’s web scale business, focused on data center interconnect and data center infrastructure with the world’s largest internet content providers.
We’ve built new operating systems with Apple, and recently announced the launch of a chassis-based SONiC (Software for Open Networking in the Cloud) platform for data center fabrics with Microsoft.
There’s a lot that has come to fruition since I took this job. Over a decade later, I’m still doing what I love and starting new businesses and growth sectors for Nokia – now in the federal space.
This position allows me to combine my two passions of serving and giving back to the mission as well as driving technology innovation and growing our business. Nokia is an awesome intersection of opportunity to get back to my roots. There’s no shortage of work for us to create a new business and innovate with huge customers like the Department of Defense (DoD).
There will be a lot of new aspects and areas that the federal government and the DoD are looking to accomplish with these technologies, which I’m really looking forward to and it’s very exciting work to be doing as we drive new age business in today’s federal landscape.”
ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about the company’s recent growth initiatives and what do you hope to accomplish with the company? Are there any new markets that you’re looking into?
Mike Loomis: “Nokia has some growth vectors that we’ve publicly announced, so I’m not going to spill company secrets. We’re very active in our investments that are intended to drive growth in Enterprise, Webscale and for our North American business.
5G is a big part of our growth initiative where we are focusing on private wireless. We also have a lot of business in IP infrastructure and optical infrastructure. Nokia is making heavy investments in Enterprise verticals to create specific use cases for private wireless that we can then adapt our products to meet the mission needs of our federal customers.
The U.S. Federal market is a key growth area for our North American market in addition to growth with the traditional communications service providers. There is a great intersection of everything that we bring to the table that we have invested for many years within the enterprise with the U.S. Federal market.
5G is the most obvious place to start in the U.S. Federal market because there’s a lot of public interest and the DoD has expressed a lot of enthusiasm for 5G as well. They’ve made a strategy statement that the requirements for commercial wireless capabilities have converged with the DoD’s wireless requirements and are investing in use cases to determine how to apply commercial 5G technology to DoD use cases.
Nokia is looking to become a trusted partner that is aligned with the federal government requirements as its agencies implement 5G and other emerging technologies. In the North American market, we have five major research and development centers in New Providence, NJ, Dallas, TX, Sunnyvale, CA, Naperville, IL and Ottawa, Canada.
There are over 4,000 R&D engineers across those centers, which is a lot more than all our competitors for our 5G business combined. Suffice to say, Nokia has a significant presence in the North American market, and we have the opportunity to partner with the U.S. federal government to double down on this momentum.
5G is a legitimate technology for the U.S. federal government to pursue and Nokia is a well-established leader in these technologies. We have an initial footing in the market. We have a lot of work with trench one test beds with OUSD and Hill Air Force Base that’s built around dynamic spectrum sharing and 5G.
This is an important milestone for us because we won the prime contract, the execution success and performance will be something for us to build on as we move forward. As the federal government continues to look for partnerships in the 5G space, Nokia continues to build that trust through experience and our technology expertise such as Nokia Bell Labs.
With the creation of Nokia Federal Solutions, our intention is to invest and create a focused and mitigated proxy entity to get us closer to the use case and become a closer partner to the government. Nokia is heavily investing in the 5G core competency for the United States. It’s a clear partnership that expands our presence and the technological sophistication for all of us.”
ExecutiveBiz: With federal agencies working to implement the latest trends in technology such as artificial intelligence cloud and many others, what are your thoughts on the challenges that government agencies are dealing with for the U.S. to keep up with the speed of innovation?
Mike Loomis: “5G is huge for Nokia. We’re the only end-to-end telecommunications company on the planet. As a result, in addition to Mobile Networks, which we are known for, we have a huge presence in Optics, IP Routing and Access; DSL, PON and Fixed Wireless Access.
Nokia is at the very top of all those markets. Our enterprise presence is what will really make the difference for us in the federal sector because the more you think about it, these enterprise use cases are something that Nokia leaned into very early during this process.
One of the key things that excited me about taking this position with Nokia was not only about the capabilities played in the cellular commercial networks, but it was also an opportunity to leverage the work in private networks for enterprises and some of the attributes of 5G and create valuable use cases for the U.S. Federal government.
Nokia leaned into the enterprise business after the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent. One of these key investments was Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC). If you look at the big wireless networks that we sell to like AT&T, Verizon or the other big CSPs, these are massive scale networks designed to support hundreds of millions of users.
It’s just rows and rows of servers in these data centers to house the core applications. It’s difficult to scale these networks down to fit Enterprise deployments. Nokia leaned into that early on; to simplify the technology and automate the process of configuration and management and scale down from rows of racks to like a 2-foot-tall system.
Nokia DAC embodies all the attributes that we bring to the table in a form factor that Enterprises and the U.S. Federal government can easily consume.”