Japan SPM Reunion 2006


Ken, Marianne, Alan, EJ, Konstantin, Cecilia, HT, Don, Maria, Tom, Elizabeth, Fab, Jane & Read
The group had a grand time during the first Japan SPM Reunion on August 12, 2006 in Naperville, IL.

Thanks to HT Chen and Konstantin Livanos for organizing the event! Thanks to Ken and Marianne Paker who drove in from Madison, WI and to Read and Jane Moffett who flew in from Cape Cod, MA.

We missed a number of our colleagues, and hope to see them at a future reunion.

Why would people come so far for dinner and a chance to swap stories? The simple answer is that the pioneering effort lead by Switching Product Management (SPM) to enter the Japanese market with AT&T's Bell Labs 5ESS digital switch was a thrilling, never to be forgotten, adventure!! Bottom line: it was a huge success!!

In late 1990, I was given the responsibility to figure out how to break into Japan becoming employee No 1. This was viewed by all as a mission impossible since AT&T had used a full court press at the top corporate level in 1985. That effort failed totally. When I was tapped to lead our market entry into Japan, I had the most experience and success in entering new markets with 5ESS, and my approach was win on the merits, not to use political pressure.

It was a pleasure to build-up the team in Japan and the USA because only the most creative, the most technically experienced and the most confident people were drawn to this huge, daunting task. We also benefited from tremendous organizational support, and the SPM team had to educate everyone on how to operate in Japan.

Winning business in Japan was very challenging and difficult. Developing the exact technical requirements, completing developments on time and making a profit were each difficult and challenging. Each aspect required creativity and tenacity on a 24x7 basis. In total, 700 years of engineering development was needed for Japan, and these projects brought in over a half a billion dollars in revenue.

NTT Visitors As one example, here is a working level celebration photo for a project for NTT. HT, Tom, Read, Alan and I are in the photo. This project replaced all of the equipment in Japan that delivered operator services for NTT. This was a $100,000,000 project, and the US Ambassador, Walter Mondale, was part of the official cutover ceremony in Tokyo.

I worked for 18 months just to be invited to participate in the bid. From initial start to in service was almost 5 years of effort. Beijing bought a similar system based on NTT's strong recommendation.

So what are Japan SPM members doing now? Here is a brief list:

  • Konstantin Livanos continues to work at Lucent.
  • Alan Mindlin continues to work at Lucent on Japan projects.
  • Tom Hornbach is enjoying retirement. His sight is now fully recovered after a series of delicate surgeries. His son is back living in Japan, and is engaged to a Japanese woman.
  • Read Moffett is enjoying retirement in Cape Cod, and has recently become a grandfather. His other son is engaged to be married.
  • Fab Devetak has recently finished writing a textbook with John van Bosse entitled "Signaling in Telecommunication Networks". It is available on Amazon.
  • HT Chen, who was awarded a PhD by the University of Chicago last December, will be serving as a special advisor to the Federal Government from 2006 to 2007.
  • Ken Paker is the Vice President - Network Services at TDS and has 750 employees working for him in 28 states.
Here are some photos of SPM members with their wives and some candid shots taken at dinner.
HT Cecilia Chen Ken Marianne Paker Alan EJ Mindlin Konstantin Maria Livanos Fab Elizabeth Devetak
HT & Cecilia Chen Ken & Marianne Paker Alan & EJ Mindlin Konstantin & Maria Livanos Fab & Elizabeth Devetak
Read Jane Moffett Alan Mindlin Ken Paker Don Parrish Jane Moffett Don Parrish HT Chen HT Chen Fab Devetak
Read & Jane Moffett Alan shares with Ken Jane and I pose at dinner HT and I Fab explains his new book