Corrections or additions?

This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the January 23, 2002

edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

New CEO at Broadbeam

A lot of companies don’t understand what wireless can

do for them," says Janet L. Boudris, the new CEO at Broadbeam

Corp. Exposure to the possibilities of wireless can be a

"Eureka"

moment to the uninitiated, she believes. "Suddenly they realize

that they can reduce cost and increase revenue."

Boudris hopes to create many of these Eureka moments. Late last year

she replaced Sri Sridharan at the top of the team for Broadbeam. As

a former vice president of Cingular Wireless, she aims to leverage

her experience in wireless to promote business-to-business high-value

services. For Broadbeam’s software — "middleware" for

wireless connections between PCs in home offices and laptops and

hand-held

devices in the field — its impressive client list includes FedEx

Ground, Sears, Oracle, and the company that makes Palm Pilots. Now

Boudris must bring her evangelical message to the small and

medium-sized

companies in order to increase Broadbeam’s market share.

"I am excited. I think it is a great opportunity for me,"

says Boudris. "I also hope I can bring leadership to the company

so we can move forward."

This company is accustomed to moving quickly but, as far as size goes,

has grown at a measured pace. Boris Fridman founded the software

development

firm in 1988, just nine years after he emigrated from Eastern Europe.

He worked at Applied Data Research and consulted at Bell Labs before

starting his own firm, then known as Nettech Systems, in Paramus.

He had three people then, including himself.

When Fridman moved the firm to Research Park, he had 12 employees

(U.S. 1, June 12, 1993). In 1996 he expanded at Research Park, and

in 1998 he moved several dozen employees to 600 Alexander Road. In

2000 there were 70 employees worldwide, including 45 workers here.

Also that year, Leon Podolsky, co-founder of the former Logic Works

Inc., was made vice president of research and development — and

the name of the company changed from Nettech Systems to Broadbeam.

In 2001 Broadbeam moved to the Patrinely building at 100 College Road

West. It currently has 45 employees, with about 35 of them in

Princeton,

and it supports more than 500 businesses and 170,000 mobile users.

Boudris had worked with founder Boris Fridman as a consultant before

he offered her the CEO’s job. "Janet brings to the company a

balance

of management expertise, wireless experience, and forward thinking,

successful approaches on how to build a business in an emerging

market,"

says Fridman.

Boudris grew up in Maryland, where her father was a

manufacturing plant supervisor, and she played sports with her two

older brothers. One is vice president of a bank servicing company

and the other is president of a secure systems manufacturing company.

"With older brothers you learn a lot about how men approach

problems,"

she says. The male sense of competition "does give you a different

perspective," she says.

She majored in political science at the University of Maryland, Class

of 1976, and, intending to go to law school, worked with the public

defenders’ system. "But I wanted to do something broader, to go

into the diplomatic corps or work for a company that expanded in

international

areas." She earned a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School

of Advanced International Studies. "One of the advantages of going

to Johns Hopkins is the interdisciplinary study — International

law, international economics, and European politics. You try to put

that together so you can develop policies and evaluate programs."

That stood her in good stead when she worked at Western Union, where

she had to talk to engineers and customers to integrate the various

disciplines. At Western Union she was a vice president, and she held

similar positions at EDS Communication Corporation, and Page America.

In 1993 she went to Cingular Wireless (also known as Cingular

Interactive),

Bell South Wireless Data, and RAM Mobile Data. Along the way she

studied

at the Harvard Business School and the University of Michigan Graduate

School of Business.

To keep her Cingular job, she would have had to move to Atlanta, and

her New Jersey roots were strong. Her husband owns his own business

in Ramsey, near their home, and they have two grandchildren who also

live in the state.

"Cingular is a great company and valued what I brought to the

table, but I wanted to move on to a different kind of

environment,"

she says. "Cingular and I came to an agreement. They hired me

back as a consultant, and I also began to do consulting for other

companies." Boudris had met Fridman 10 years ago when she was

working for Page America. "And when I went to RAM Mobile Data,

Boris was our partner. He hired me to do some strategic work in

September

and October, and as a result of that, Boris and the board made some

decisions as to where they would like to take the company."

"I had a real advantage that I came in as a consultant and got

to deal with the people at that level. I wasn’t being `pitched.’ I

understand what the company is about."

Cingular was a much larger company and was very consumer focused.

"And my background had been in B-to-B. I really love the

value-added

complexity of telecommunications and enterprise systems

integration."

Of her predecessor, she points out that he had a more operational

background. "As the company moved forward, it wanted someone from

the outside with a broader scope to streamline the organization, focus

on the customers, and move more rapidly and aggressively."

Sri Sridharan, her predecessor, had been new to the wireless industry;

his previous experience had been with IBM Network Services and as

COO of ServiceNet. At Broadbeam he was president and COO with Fridman

as CEO. "Having a CEO and COO is perhaps too many layers,"

says Boudris.

Under the new, more streamlined organization, Fridman gives up his

CEO position and remains board chairman to do mergers and

acquisitions,

the COO position was eliminated, and the company is poised for

big-time

growth.

"The employees are passionate and enthusiastic," says Boudris.

"It is the kind of company you would like to be a part of —

and lead."

— Barbara Fox


Previous Story Next Story


Corrections or additions?


This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com

— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

Facebook Comments