The people behind the scenes
Prodea is led by its founders and inspired by their spirit of innovation. It also enjoys a strong, operationally-driven management team with a long history of executing and delivering industry-leading products, service excellence and unprecedented returns on equity. The team members are highly regarded throughout the telecommunications industry and the capital markets.
Chairman, CEO & Co-founder,
Anousheh Ansari is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Prodea Systems. As she launched her company on September 18, 2006, she also blasted off for an eight-day expedition aboard the International Space Station and captured headlines around the world as the first female private space explorer. She also earned a place in history as the first astronaut of Iranian descent, the first Muslim woman, and the fourth private explorer to visit space. This was the accomplishment of a lifelong dream for her.
As a successful serial entrepreneur and active proponent of world-changing technologies and social entrepreneurship she along with her family provided the title sponsorship for the Ansari X Prize, a $10 million cash award for the first non-governmental organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks. This feat was accomplished in 2004 by legendary aerospace designer Burt Rutan in 2004. With the success of the X Prize competition, the Ansari family helped launch a new era in private space exploration.
Prior to her space ventures, Anousheh served as Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chairwoman for telecom technologies, inc. After earning three key U.S. patents and growing 100% sequential year over year since inception, her company successfully merged with Sonus Networks and she served as General Manager and Vice President of the Softswitch division.
Anousheh is a member of the X Prize Foundation’s Vision Circle, as well as its Board of Trustees. She is a life member in the Association of Space Explorers and on the advisory board of the Teacher’s in Space project. She has received multiple honors, including the World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, Ellis Island Medal of Honor, DFW International Community Alliance Hall of Fame Award, the Working Woman’s National Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, George Mason University’s Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, George Washington University’s Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Southwest Region. While under her leadership, telecom technologies earned recognition as one of Inc. magazine’s 500 fastest-growing companies and Deloitte & Touche’s Fast 500 technology companies.
Anousheh has served on the boards of not-for-profit organizations such as Make-a-Wish Foundation of North Texas and Collin County Children’s Advocacy Center. She currently works to enable social entrepreneurs to bring about radical change globally, with organizations such as ASHOKA, which supports social entrepreneurship around the world, including the Middle East and Central Asia. She runs an annual competition called the “What If?” competition for middle school student to promote free thinking and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education.
Anousheh earned a bachelor’s degree in electronics and computer engineering from George Mason University, followed by a master’s degree in electrical engineering from George Washington University. She is currently working toward a master’s degree in astronomy from Swinburne University.
Hamid Ansari is President and Co-Founder and brings more than 25 years of entrepreneurial experience building and deploying technology products and services worldwide. His expertise in strategic positioning, mergers and acquisitions has resulted in several successful business transactions with values ranging from tens of millions to more than a billion dollars.
Prior to co-founding Prodea Systems, Hamid co-founded telecom technologies, inc., where he managed a professional services organization and oversaw the creation and worldwide deployment of four carrier-class products. Hamid served as the company’s President until its successful merger with Sonus Networks (Nasdaq: SONS) in 2001.
Hamid launched his career at MCI, where he was part of a small group of pioneers in the world of telecommunications divestitures. As part of the advanced engineering group, his contributions led to the development and implementation of new products and services and resulted in one of the most technically advanced telecommunications networks in the world. Later, Hamid headed the advanced data communications network division of an international consulting company in support of World Bank projects in Africa and the Middle East.
Hamid has completed advanced credits towards a doctorate of communications. He earned a master’s degree in computer science and telecommunications from George Washington University.
Amir Ansari is Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder and as an inventor and serial entrepreneur, brings more than 20 years of experience to Prodea Systems.
Prior to co-founding Prodea Systems, Amir served in the Office of the Chief Technology Officer of Sonus Networks, Inc. He was responsible for providing technical guidance and direction in deploying one of the industry’s first softswitches in a carrier network.
Amir joined Sonus Networks via its acquisition of telecom technologies, inc., where he was Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer. Amir led efforts to design and deploy the company’s softswitch, the most robust and scalable product of its type. telecom technologies’ client list consisted of Fortune 500 companies such as WorldCom, Qwest Communications, Hewlett-Packard, Sprint, and AT&T.
Amir is a member of the X Prize Foundation’s Vision Circle and its Board of Trustees. Amir is also actively involved with several non-profit organizations that strive for social development. He has co-authored numerous technical papers and filed several U.S. patents in the areas of voice over IP and multimedia services.
Amir earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from George Mason University.
VP, Engineering &
Michael Cooper is responsible for Engineering and Operations and brings 20 years of experience in end-to-end product life-cycle management to Prodea Systems.
Prior to joining the company, Michael served as a Vice President for Nortel. He was responsible for Core Technologies for Wireless Networks, a multinational organization with over 1,200 resources. Michael was recognized as top talent within the organization and his breadth of responsibilities included business strategy, product marketing, research and development, and operations. He received multiple corporate awards such as a CEO Quality Award of Excellence, The President’s Award of Excellence and the President’s Award of Excellence for Innovation, among others.
In addition, Michael has had extensive international experience working across five continents during his career and resided in London for a period of time.
Michael holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Tulane University.
VP, Product Services &
George Cowgill is responsible for the Product Services and Architecture and brings more than 25 years of telecom experience to Prodea Systems.
Prior to joining the company, George was a Strategic Advisor to Ezad Corporation. Previously he served in the Office of CTO for Sonus Networks and as Vice President of Engineering at telecom technologies, inc., with a focus on planning and engineering for existing and emerging products in the VoIP call processing arena. In addition, he worked at MCI for more than ten years, as a Senior Staff Member, Switch Systems Engineering and as Manager of MCI’s Technical Training Center.
George has been awarded four U.S. patents, providing innovative solutions in the areas of ISDN and SS7 signaling and call processing, test automation, and VoIP/PSTN inter-working.
Francesco De Leo
Francesco De Leo
As the Managing Director of Telecom Italia after its privatization, he was in charge of R&D, M&A, International Operations and Strategy, and he served as Chairman of Stet International, and Stream (the digital TV Platform of Telecom Italia). He has served on the Board of Directors of TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile) and Finsiel. Francesco has served as Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Business Development at WIND, the third largest mobile carrier and second largest fixed line telecom operator in Italy as well as Vice-Chairman of Tellas in Athens, Greece, the second largest fixed line operator in the country. He has been on the International Advisor Board of Cap Gemini, in London. He is a Board Member of Sirti (www.Sirti.it), the leading telco infrastructure corporation in Italy, a Member of the Advisory Board of SIMTONE (www.simtone.net), one of the leading providers of cloud computing solutions, and advisory Board member of Media Tenor, Switzerland.
General Manager & EVP of Global Strategic Initiatives
Greg Kostura is part of Prodea’s executive management team; as well as, spearheading the company’s global strategic initiatives.
Kostura has also been a VC and PE consultant, both domestically and internationally (with an emphasis in Latin America and Russia). Main sectors of focus are Technology, Media Content and Healthcare.
After training in strategic marketing at Bozell (IPG), Kostura went on to launch a career at CBS Television, spanning several areas from the Tv Station group to the network. In addition to numerous sales’ successes, Kostura helped shape a new venture for CBS Sports, combining media sales and marketing for the NCAA (an industry first). He also forged multiple integrations of CBS Sports into Viacom’s multi-platform sales unit (an industry first, at the time). Personally active with the launching of new products such as March Madness On Demand, CBSSportsMobile, and Watch Magazine. During his tenure, CBS Sports and CBSSports.com enjoyed record revenues.
Kostura also did work as a Television, freelance, investigative reporter. Is a member of the board of the Tolstoy Foundation Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Valley Cottage, NY. An Advisory Board member of GorillaSpot.com. And, Former New York State Assembly campaign advisor.
Kostura is a Business graduate of Bowling Green University in Bowling Green, OH.. Currently residing in New York City.
Kathy Lam is responsible for Human Resources and brings 21 years of experience in all aspects of human resources to Prodea Systems.
Prior to joining the company, Kathy served as the Director of Human Resources for Sonus Networks. She was responsible for a global organization in excess of 700 employees located in the US, EMEA and APAC. During her tenure at Sonus Networks, she managed the human resources activities for multiple acquisitions, including her prior organization, telecom technologies, inc.
Prior to Sonus Networks/telecom technologies, Kathy was with the telecommunications division of Teradyne Inc. responsible for over 400 employees in an engineering and manufacturing environment.
Kathy holds a master’s degree in human resources and industrial relations from Loyola University in Chicago, as well as a bachelors of science degree in education, minor in mathematics and computer science, from the University of Illinois, Champaign.
VP Marketing &
Andrew Tauhert is responsible for Business Development and Marketing. He brings 17 years of experience in business development, product marketing, sales support and product development to Prodea Systems.
Prior to joining the company, Andrew held senior level positions at Nortel in business and engineering across North America, South America, Europe and Asia Pacific. He began his career as a member of the scientific staff and shortly thereafter took on the responsibilities of a development architect and earned multiple promotions to positions of increasing responsibilities.
Identified as a top talent at Nortel, Andrew developed in-depth knowledge across a wide variety of networks, technologies and market segments. He partnered with major players in the industry to develop market leading solutions and as such was a key contributor to their success.
Andrew earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.