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Frank D'Agostino

Frank's career with Cisco Systems started in October of 1996 as an SE for the Portland Named Region. Frank arrived as a multi-protocol expert with SNA networking and routing protocols as his niche. Frank recalls his first interview question from the "Cisco SNA expert" in the local office which was "How do you activate a PU?" Fortunately it was a question I knew the answer to and replied "Do you want me to start from configuring the CHIPID online?" That answer started a fantastic and much appreciated career opportunity at Cisco Systems.

He came to Cisco Systems with critical business and technical skill sets from previous employment at Anixter, Southern California Edison, finance and health care. Frank lead teams in management roles in three different organizations prior to arriving at Cisco Systems.

The key business and technical assets included the founding of Anixter's Professional Services Division where Frank helped define and deliver a number of service products that included an IP routing and Addressing Service, as well as database development used for project management and document creation. These were key tools in projects contracted for LDDS Metromedia (World Com) and various others.

The genesis of the IP routing and addressing service came as a result of an IBM CICS application he developed at Southern California Edison, which allowed Network Assistance Center employees, (the first level TAC for SCE), to assign IP addresses automatically which was critical to reduce OPEX as this was a pre-DHCP application.

Frank's knowledge of TCP/IP came from 2 years of R&D work in labs at Southern California Edison which led to Cisco Systems' largest router deployments in Southern California and one of the largest for Cisco Systems at the time. The network included various protocols such as SNA, AppleTalk Phase 1 & 2, Novell, XNS, DecNet Phase IV & V, Token Ring, Ethernet, FDDI, NET IDNX and various other media. Each of these protocols had to interact with IBM Source-Route bridges and Cisco Systems' strength in this area lead to their ultimate success in this account.

Frank's testing of other products and vendor interactions were critical to building the foundation of his competitive experience for which he is world renown at Cisco Systems today.

Frank's experience with IBM CICS came from many years operating as a Master Terminal Operator which included 10 3080 / 3090 class mainframes, MVS / VM systems programming, workload swaps, VTAM generation and sub-area programming, channel to channel connections, and multi-site mainframe operations. Frank developed custom multiplexing applications that enabled lights out applications at alternate site data center approximately 50 miles apart. This became the basis for his understanding on disaster recovery.

The importance of certification, compliance, and regulations were understood when Frank was required to connect Southern California Edison's nuclear generating station to the rest of the network. A critical understanding of reliability and security were critical aspects of adding this important location to the infrastructure.

A cornerstone of Frank's experience that distinguishes him amongst other engineers is his combination of technical expertise with business expertise. Many of the recommendations and comments below will indicate his ability to tie technology to business. The foundation of this business understanding came from working as a Kaiser Hospital Engineer supporting the deployment of medical applications into Kaiser's major medical centers in Southern California. All requirements from technical application and design, to nurse and administration interaction were critical to the success of the application deployments. It was critical to spend time with nurses in their work areas to understand best placement of devices and how the applications are used were critical for acceptance and success.

Each application required a business justification be presented and sold to hospital administration. This meant dealing with the equivalent of CxO's in the hospital itself whose responsibility it was to not only deliver critical services to the community, but do it profitably. Frank developed a keen eye for viewing how an application or operation would look two to three years after implementation. Working backwards from that vision, provided the critical footsteps necessary for successful deployments.

At Southern California Edison all investments in technology required placement in the rate base, as well as having to be completed within the same year. This gave Frank a unique perspective on the business requirements viewing the applications as a rate payer, employee and share holder. Deploying millions of dollars of equipment per year along with pulling over 2000 miles of fibre requires significant business insight when preparing data for the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). This also required a critical understanding of the resources available to the business which required a close mapping of resource, timing, and workload to ensure all projects were completed consistent with PUC regulations. Frank's understanding of utility operations was critical to his success with Noanet and the associated utility districts to which more than 20 million dollars of optical was sold.

Frank was assigned as the chronic circuit troubleshooting expert who was assigned the toughest chronic problems and interacted with the carrier representative to resolve every outstanding problem.

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