Stephen Smith

Position: President and chief executive, Microlog Corp. of Germantown.

Background: Microlog, a provider of customer call center technologies, has lost money for the last six quarters, due in part to increased competition, as well as recent expenditures on technology.

Career Highlights: Most recently vice president of sales for Boston-based SpeechWorks International Inc. Prior to that, he was vice president of new business development for Teloquent Communications.

Age: 43

Education: Earned a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering and operations research from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Microlog is currently experiencing some growing pains. Why did you decide to join the company now? "Microlog has come through a difficult year, and I think what has attracted me here was the resiliency of its core of talented people. Our immediate challenge is to return to profitability and give our shareholders reason to believe in us again. Right now, I sort of feel that we're a lot like George Foreman, coming to take back the prize fight: We're a little bit overweight, and we've got to go back through basic training ... to reinstitute accountability and improve performance. But I'm up to the challenge of bringing our newer products to market and repositioning our company in a broader market space."

Microlog's core market is quickly becoming a crowded one. How will you help the company stand out from the rest? "When you look at companies occupying this space and their track records, you'll find that many of these hot Internet start-ups are simply building a product, delivering it, and making a bundle of money on it. From a personal values perspective, I find that a little insulting. I see [convergence] as a real opportunity to apply some of these technologies in order to help companies deliver better quality customer service."