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CenturyLink's integrated team gearing up for EIS business

The public-facing portion of CenturyLink’s integration with Level 3 is now complete.

In the fall, CenturyLink announced the structure of its public sector team and last week named the leaders of those organizations.

“We’ve created an organized view for our customers,” said David Young, CenturyLink’s regional vice president of strategic government markets.

All leaders of the five customer-facing units and three horizontal organizations are in place. Also, the integration has moved down through the organization to individual operators.

Every customer knows who is in charge of their account; there is no longer a CenturyLink person and a Level 3 person.

“Everyone has a single face,” Young said. “That was our first goal.”

CenturyLink is still working on merging product lines and solutions. But as far as what the customer sees, it is a single organization, Young said.

The merger of CenturyLink and Level 3 closed on Nov. 1 to create a $24 billion a year telecommunications provider. CenturyLink gets about 75 percent of its revenue from enterprise customers such as the government.

The public sector group has 750 people coming together from heritage CenturyLink and Level 3 and Young said the integration moved quickly because that effort began as soon as the deal was announced in October 2016.

It took a year for the merger to be completed because as a telecommunications provider, the companies had more regulatory hurdles to clear than an IT company faces. Nearly 20 state utility commissions had to approve the deal.

While that was going on however, the companies planned their future structure and named several people as executives that would be leading operations of the new CenturyLink.

In fact, Level 3 re-hired Ed Morche, who led the company’s government business before leaving for a role at another company. Morche took on a post-close role as president of CenturyLink’s strategic enterprise, federal government and state government business.

Young announced his leadership team in the federal market on Feb. 15:

  • Scott Barnett: vice president, Defense Department sales
  • Zain Ahmed: senior director, civilian sales
  • Cynthia Shelton: senior director, special programs sales
  • Gil Brown: director, defense industrial base and federal carriers
  • Craig Cupach: director, research and education sales
  • Lisa Bruch: senior director, government strategy
  • Seana Gilliland: vice president, program management office
  • John Shuttleworth: director, sales engineering

The first five are vertical groups are focused on specific customer sets and the last three work across all customer groups, Young said.

One part of his structure that stood out to me is the defense industrial base and federal carriers unit. The group supports other contractors particularly defense contractors. This includes working as a subcontractor on projects but also supporting their own infrastructure needs.

Young said this sets CenturyLink apart from competitors, who tend to turn that infrastructure piece over to their commercial enterprise business units.

The integration work has come together at an important time in the market as the General Services Administration moves forward with the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract.

CenturyLink and nine other companies won spots on the $50 billion telecommunications vehicle. The award came before the CenturyLink and Level 3 merger closed and both companies won a position. But those will be consolidated into a single contract for CenturyLink.

Young said that by this summer he expects all of the EIS contractors to have their ATOs or “authority to operate” approved by GSA. Several agencies have already issued solicitations but awards cannot be made until the ATOs are in place.

EIS will be an important vehicle over the next several years as agencies transition from the current Networx contract to EIS.

The move from Networx to EIS is an opportunity for government customers to transform their infrastructure and how it is managed, Young said.

Having that customer-facing organization in place is critical, he said.

“We are already out in the marketplace with our customers,” Young said. “Our people are in their roles.”

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Feb 26, 2018 at 12:13 PM

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