Eric Welty is an MBA-educated manager with relevant, real-world experience and unique skills that make him very valuable to our organization.
After serving honorably in the U.S. Navy and Operation Desert Storm, he went to work for Verizon, first as a cable splicer and then, later, as an esteemed business leader with budget, schedule and material management responsibility for a $200M fiber optic roll out.
“I was at Verizon for 19 years, the last eight of which were spent developing and refining its Optical LAN Solution (OLS) for Federal entities across the country,” said Welty from his Noovis office in Hanover, Maryland. “The Verizon team that I built with Mike Watts was uniquely positioned to lead the industry. It was successful from the start.”
Welty also spent time in Verizon Maryland’s engineering shop where its FiOS service was conceived and given life. He said he was chosen to help lead critical aspects of Maryland’s FTTP initiative because he was one of the few people who had the right combination of skills.
“Not too many people have the background to speak engineering to engineers, speak cabling to guys working in holes and on poles, and have the B school background to manage the money,” explained Welty. “When you get engineers and construction guys in a room, it can be difficult to find common ground. It was my job to broker the relationships necessary to make 15,000 homes and businesses ready for sales every month. I’m proud to say we never missed a target, but it was a heavy lift; working on weekends and holidays was commonplace. The good thing was I got to be part of revolutionizing an industry. We transformed Verizon from a telephone company to an entertainment enterprise.”
While at Verizon, Welty earned a degree from Stevenson University. “Even though I went on to get a master’s, it was the bachelor’s degree that I was most proud of. It took me 10 years. One semester I went full time. I must have been crazy. It’s the only time I worried about my grades,” Welty recalled with a wry smile.
Welty and his colleagues realized early on the significance of fiber for not only the wide-area but also the local-area space.
“When Verizon Federal Network Systems (FNS) wanted to leverage the advantages offered by FiOS to stand up its own enterprise PON for LANs, a peer pointed leadership in my direction because of our previous success – it was a compliment I did not take for granted,” recalled Welty. “We realized right away that technology was no longer simply moving in this direction, but that it was available and we could make it happen. Traditionally switched Ethernet technology that people had relied upon for decades could be abandoned wholesale in favor of something better. This wasn’t another incremental improvement like moves from Cat3 to Cat4 to Cat5 to whatever, this was a new paradigm.”
Welty is quick to praise Verizon as the best thing that happened to him professionally. “I owe most of my success to it,” he said. “But I eventually felt constrained there. If there’s only time enough on the clock for one more play, I want the ball and Verizon was never going to give it to me. I wanted a chance to be a shot-caller. I decided if I was going to do great things, I wanted to do it for myself and my business partners, not a publicly traded company.”
“We have a good team,” said Welty. “It’s good to work with the likes of a Tom Napoli – some of the best folks in the industry. He can add accelerant to a fire and create momentum like no one else I know.”