Net2000 Communications last week hired local information technology veteran Clyde Heintzelman as its president, hoping some of his past magic will rub off on the six-year-old telecommunications service provider.

The change in the executive suite coincides with Net2000's headquarters change to a new building in Herndon, giving the firm lots of room to grow, if Heintzelman can manage it.

But managing growth has been Heintzelman's specialty.

"He is a very capable manager and an industry icon," said Greg Davis, vice president of marketing at Savvis Communications Inc., where Heintzelman was president and chief executive officer for one year. "I think that his visionary leadership will benefit Net2000 considerably."

Heintzelman said Net2000 plans to expand beginning in the Northeast. But he cautioned, "To expand into new markets we are going to have to raise the ongoing funding in our activities."

Heintzelman's comments point to a possible initial public offering -- the company is closely held, and wouldn't disclose any financial data -- though Heintzelman would not confirm or deny an IPO is in the offing.

"Our growth trend is dramatic and positive that we absolutely want to leverage our success into existing markets and new markets, which makes us a very attractive proposition to our investors," Heintzelman said.

Since its inception in 1993, Net2000 has increased its staff from four to more than 400 employees. The new headquarters in Herndon has a capacity for 506.

Last year, the company entered into a three-year, $180 million strategic partnership with Nortel Networks Corp. to provide voice and data network services.

Already, with an average of 60 access lines per business customer, Net2000's per-client business is much larger than typical competitive local exchange carriers, which carry an average of six access lines.

Heintzelman spent 28 years at Bell Atlantic, where he managed its federal systems division. In 1995, he became CEO of Digex Inc., growing revenue from $1.4 million to $55 million when the company was sold in 1997. At Savvis, an "internetworking" company that manages information systems for clients over the Internet, he negotiated the company's sale to Bridge Information Systems Inc. in April. He has been a member of Net2000's board since 1997.

Barely a week into his new post, Heintzelman said he wants Net2000 to be recognized as the premier provider of corporate communications to the business markets the company serves, and will use the best technology to get there.

"A lot of people would like to believe that a dial tone comes from God because it's always there. But it comes from competence of network design and execution of services," he said.

"We expect that his considerable excellent experience and proven track record in the industry, leading telecommunications companies through aggressive growth and expansion will bode well for Net2000 and our growth plans," said chief executive Charlie Thomas.

And what of going public? Heintzelman said, "I like to work fast." He added, "More to follow. I've only been here four days."