Local Chatter – Fiber Providers Building Out NYC’s Infrastructure to Meet Tomorrow’s Demand

Ray La Chance, President & Chief Executive Officer, ZenFi

As President and Chief Executive Officer of ZenFi, Ray applies proven industry management expertise to deliver cutting-edge communication network solutions to the market.  Ray oversees all aspects of business operations, effectively leading a team of experts to solve industry challenges created by the proliferation of mobile data.  In addition to Ray’s role at ZenFi, he is also a Founding Partner of Metro Network Services, LLC, a company focused on network planning, engineering, deployment and maintenance.

Ray is an Information Technology industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience managing teams to design, build and operate complex, high-capacity networks for large enterprises, financial firms and telecommunications service providers.  Prior to ZenFi and Metro|NS, Ray served as President and CEO of Lexent Metro Connect, LLC from 2007 to its successful sale in December 2010 to Lightower Fiber Networks.  Ray was also the Co-Founder of Realtech Systems Corp., an enterprise network integration and professional services firm, where he served as President and CEO.  Ray received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the State University of New York at Albany in 1985.

Cliff Kane, Co-CEO, Cleareon Fiber Networks

As a successful entrepreneur and accomplished senior executive, Cliff was an early adapter and promoter of the use of fiber optics in network applications and was responsible for the deployment and operation of national fiber optic and DWDM networks. Prior to founding Cleareon, he owned and operated several telecommunications infrastructure companies and held executive leadership positions in such firms as Fairpoint Communications and Telseon. Previously, Cliff owned a boutique M&A/corporate development advisory firm whose clients included; start-ups, public companies, privately held businesses and private equity firms in the telecommunications, media and real estate sectors.

Jason Cohen, CEO,  Comvid Communications

Mr. Cohen is a veteran communications industry Executive with over 30 years’ experience developing and operating new fiber optic, bulk communications transport, data center, and technology businesses. He has extensive experience designing and building multiple fiber optic network businesses including long haul networks, regional networks, metropolitan area networks, trans-Atlantic networks, data centers and backhaul networks for the carrier industry.

Mr. Cohen has held Board Advisory and CEO roles at Optical Communications Group, a facilities based telecommunications provider founded in 1998. OCG owns and operates one of the largest private fiber optic networks in the New York Metro area offering both dark fiber and managed bandwidth services. Mr. Cohen also serves on the board of Oceanic Data Centers which is developing data center campuses in the Southeast US.

Mr. Cohen co-launched Allied Fiber in 2008 serving as the company’s President and COO until 2015 when the Southeast routes were completed. Under his guidance, Allied Fiber developed a new longhaul business model for neutral dark fiber and colocation throughout the US. In addition to launching the Southeast, Mr. Cohen also completed numerous railroad and private rights of way agreements enabling the company to also construct hundreds of miles of new duct throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic US.

In 1996, Mr. Cohen founded and launched KeySpan Communications which was re-named Lightower Fiber Networks. Mr. Cohen built and managed the company from a startup until it was acquired in 2008, developing its current US metro, long-haul and trans-Atlantic based operations. Mr. Cohen has degrees from the University of Rochester in Electrical and Optical Engineering, and extensive experience in finance, network construction, industrial management, and contract development. He developed and owns US Patents in Video on Demand used by the cable television and IPTV industry for DVR based VOD systems and Electric Power Turbine Control Systems used by the utility industry for real time heat rate in multi-turbine power grids.

Alex Gamota, Vice President, Real Estate, American Tower

Alex Gamota has been with American Tower over 8 years, currently as Vice President, Real Estate. In this role, his responsibilities include the establishment of strategic partnerships and new product development, that enable wireless connectivity and fiber networks throughout the United States.

Overall, Alex has over twenty years of US and international experience achieving results for technology-driven infrastructure businesses in senior management, consulting, and board roles. Prior to Alex’s current position, he held senior positions in various wireless infrastructure companies, including: General Manager, Shared Wireless Networks for National Grid Wireless US and Senior Vice President, Operations for SpectraSite Transco UK.

Alex is a frequent panelist at FCC and industry events and contributor to trade regulatory activities. He holds a Masters degree from MIT and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.