John B. Kulp, who four years ago ended a promising career with New York-based Citibank to join the ranks of Washington's fledgling high-tech industries, has been named executive vice president and Washington office manager for Universal Satellite Corp. (Usatco), a New York-based telecommunications equipment manufacturing and services firm.
In his new post, Kulp, 41, a Georgetown University and Harvard Business School graduate, will supervise Usatco's government contract operations, in addition to managing finance, administration, marketing and strategic planning for the 4-year-old company. He also will serve on the firm's board of directors.
Usatco, which recently completed its first public stock offering, makes and markets a line of video projection systems ranging from home television products to large arena display devices. The firm also provides teleconferencing services via international satellite networks in which it has a partial interest.
Kulp's said his new assignment is the latest in a series of roles -- some leading, some supporting -- that he has played in new business ventures locally since he left the "security" of an 11-year career with Citibank N.A.. A veteran of the bank's international divisions, Kulp became one of the architects of a marketing management process now used companywide.
In 1981, Kulp arrived in Washington as a consultant to International Reporting Information Services (IRIS), the high-powered "private spy network" that operated for only about 12 months. Kulp left IRIS after disagreeing with its management on the best focus for the new business, he said.
In 1983, after a brief stint as an independent banking consultant, Kulp signed on as chief executive officer of National Information Utilities Corp., a start-up company that had planned to use FM radio frequencies, rather than phone lines, to transmit data. The company failed to get public funding and Kulp quit. After that, Kulp went back into the consulting business, primarily in health care.
Unlike those failed ventures, Usatco has made it through the risky periods, said Kulp, who conceived the idea for the firm four years ago with its founder and chief executive officer, Henry A. Schwartz. The company received public funding in June and is now actively pursuing the acquisition of complementary electronics companies.