Position: Chief executive of Sotas Inc., a Gaithersburg manufacturer of telecommunications voice network equipment.
Career highlights: McGinnis was vice president and general manager of the N.E.T.S. division of Tellabs Inc., formed from a merger between N.E.T.S. and Coherent Communications. Before the merger, McGinnis was chief executive of Coherent.
Education: Earned two bachelor of arts degrees from the University of Notre Dame, and a masters of business administration from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.
How has specialization within the telecommunications industry affected the way your company does business? "We measure the quality of the content in telecommunications circuits. While there are a lot of companies out there that provide components to create telecom networks, once these networks are up and running, the issue is will they continue to work well from a consumer standpoint? When something goes wrong the question becomes who owns the problem? The answer is that there's always a lot of fingerpointing, and the customers always lose in that situation. So, the equipment we sell tests these systems."
While a true convergence between voice and data capability remains elusive, the data side still has to catch up in the form of standards. Does Sotas have a role to play here? "With [voice] telecommunications, it's been nothing but standards ... explicitly spelled out by the federal government. That's why whenever you pick up a phone, you expect it to work. Try that with your computer. In the data world, whoever gets there first sets the standards and gets to put up their flag. On the other hand, some very bright and creative people have been attracted to this company and this industry. So in a sense, you don't want to do anything to disturb that. But if we're going to try to work toward standards, we have to be able to put one foot in each of those camps."