Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Sheryl Sandberg, Tim Cook and Larry Page all have one thing in common—they were each once “just starting out, “dreaming big and diving headfirst into the rapidly changing world of technology with the aim of leaving their mark on the industry.
DZS is growing at record speed and on a mission to transform today’s service providers into tomorrow’s experience providers by enabling the ultimate subscriber experience. Their growing team, in particular, the up-and-comers in the company, are a vital part of that mission.
Who are the next generation of innovative technology professionals that will change the world? Many are hard at work at DZS right now, learning each day and sharpening their skills while also sharing their ideas and natural, innate talents. Their contributions and fresh perspectives are highly valued by DZS, which has a reputation for innovation globally. Our DZS Rising Stars series highlights some of these up and comers.
We sat down with William Marx, Government Affairs Manager at DZS, who joined the team in 2022. William discusses his background, why he joined such an exciting company and the mark he hopes to leave.
Tell us about your role—your title, how long you’ve been with the company, and what your responsibilities are.
I was hired as the government affairs manager in April 2022. DZS did not previously have a government affairs presence, but with $120 billion dollars in government stimulus funds being funneled directly into our industry over the next decade, our CEO Charlie Vogt made the strategic decision to create the role.
My role involves looking for people to help DZS identify opportunities, figure out how money is being administered and who the decision makers are. I’ve worked on the federal and state levels within governments, so it was the perfect fit.
My responsibilities include staying abreast on events happening in DC, what’s going through Congress and what applies directly to the work that DZS does. I also actively look for leads that will result in rewards for DZS, customers and potential future customers. DZS does outreach and education to all the state broadband offices and the federal offices that handle funding. I also work on increasing DZS’ brand recognition to elevate our status as a trusted and recognized vendor within the United States.
DZS is actively engaged in shaping the future of how we communicate from the metaverse, to 5G, and to next gen broadband. What excites you the most about the work that you are a part of?
What excites me the most is where the fiber industry is headed. People see fiber as a vital technology of the future, and more companies and customers are transferring over to the fiber space. I’m so excited for the potential growth when it comes to the equipment and products we work on. It allows companies to diagnose problems in the home, as well as give the end user – the home subscriber – visibility into their network. They can troubleshoot different things that are offered in services they subscribe to, and it is really a next level, cutting edge technology that is important for all Americans and service providers across the country.
And what are your goals while you’re at DZS? What mark do you hope to make?
My goal is to talk to as many customers and expand the DZS brand into one of North America’s leading vendors. I think the more people that get to learn about us and hear about us are really excited about the technologies that we bring to the table. We really want to expand the growth in North America at DZS as much as possible.
What else do you hope to learn?
I’m excited to learn all about the technologies in the telecom and broadband space. My background is government, but as I get up to speed, and as I get deeper into the training at DZS, it is a knowledge and skill set that will expand my long-term career possibilities. It’s the right place. It’s the right company. It’s the right culture, and it’s certainly the right time with more than a hundred twenty billion dollars being funneled directly into our industry over the next 5-10 years.
What special reasons made you choose DZS?
I would say one special reason that made me choose DZS is the opportunity that’s in front of us with the unprecedented government funding. Combining my skill set and knowledge of the government with DZS employees, our channel partners and our customers, have made this an exciting challenge that I’ve fully embraced.
What strengths and skills do you think are the most important?
The biggest strength and skill is my knowledge of the government and its processes. I think that’s the differentiator for me at DZS. A lot of people rely on me to stay up to speed, counsel our customers on opportunities, and monitor legislation and policies that come down from the federal government and how they may impact our industry.
How do you handle your work life balance? Are you able to disconnect from work at the end of the day, both literally and figuratively?
Well, the easiest answer is no. You’re always on the clock because we are a global company, but DZS does offer you the flexibility and all the resources you need to succeed at your disposal.
What does your typical workday consist of?
I’m responsible for managing all the consulting engineering firms, which are very closely tied to all the government stimulus programs. For instance, if you are a tribe or municipality, and you’ve received a grant from the federal government, tribes and municipalities will usually contract with a consulting engineering team. They may not have a professional engineer on staff, so they will contract with a consulting engineer to build a network, certify that it works, and then get approval, so that way through the federal government, they can use their grant for a broadband infrastructure project. So, I’m constantly engaging with consulting engineers and keeping them up to date with innovative and cost-effective DZS solutions and products.
I also handle our relationship with NCTC, The National Content and Technology Cooperative. This is a consortium of rural broadband companies across the United States, and they are the prime recipients for grants. We are all in the same boat and looking for the same opportunities, so I work closely with them to make sure they’re up to speed on the opportunities in front of them. In the end, we are all interested to bridge the digital divide in the U.S. and across the world.