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Voice Runner – Staff Bios

As of 2011, Voice Runner is listed as #10 on the Houston Business Journal’s list as one of Houston’s most innovative technology companies, was ranked by the Houston Business Journal as the 16th fastest growing technology related company in the surrounding Houston metropolitan area, was recently nominated as a finalist for the prestigious Chairman’s Enterprise Award for executive leadership.

Voice Runner’s major investor is one of Houston’s more well-funded, active private equity firms and recently sold one of its operating/manufacturing companies for well over $1Billion. This investor continues to play an integral role in Voice Runner’s growth and strategic direction and sits on Voice Runner’s Board of Directors, and has provided long-term financial commitment if needed. Currently, no capital investment is needed and Voice Runner continues to be a cash flow positive, profitability entity while opening new markets.

Voice Runner has identified key management talent that each brings complimentary skills to create an efficient and organized division of labor throughout the company, enabling Voice Runner to scale in geography, services and scope. Each brings a unique skill set, personality and proven history that achieves: revenue growth, managed carrier relations (manage & drive down costs), scalable network engineering, operations, fiber, wireless, customer support, finance, risk management and marketing expertise. Each individual of the management team has worked in various capacities with one another in previous enterprises and on a personal basis, making for a close, cohesive management team, able to withstand the demands of a rapidly growing organization. In 2009, one of its management was awarded by the Houston Business Journal as being a member of its inaugural year of the 40 Under 40 Awards, highlighting the top 40 up and coming businessmen/women under the age of 40 in the surrounding Houston metropolitan area.

Grant Robertson, founder & CEO.
Mr. Robertson has well over 15 years of sales and marketing management experience for Voice, Data and Internet products. Mr. Robertson has been responsible for over $275 million in new sales in previous positions with Level (3) Communications, Focal, MFS DataNet, and UUNet. Mr. Robertson’s expertise is in managing carrier relations with groups such as WilTel, Allegiance Telecom, Level (3) Communications, Broadwing, Global Crossing, Alpheus, AT&T, TimeWarner, Comcast and Focal Communications, etc.  In 2003, Mr. Robertson founded Voice Runner and serves on its Board of Directors. At Voice Runner, Mr. Robertson is responsible for the day-to-day operations, and revenue growth strategies. Mr. Robertson holds a BS degree in marketing from the University of Houston. Grant is happily married with two children. Grant is an active outdoorsman, enjoys spending time with his family, and is active in his local church where he serves as the Chartered Organization Representative for their scouting program.

Steve Branch, co-founder & CTO.
Mr. Branch has well over 22 years of system engineering and implementation experience. Most recently, Mr. Branch served as Vice President of Level (3) Communications’ softswitch services. At Level (3), Mr. Branch was instrumental in scaling Level 3’s wholesale dialup product from inception to a business that achieved $500million+ in annual revenues. Previously, he led the Systems Integration and deployment of MCI’s Next Generation Service Node which generated over $100 million annually. Prior to this experience, Mr. Branch was awarded the top USAF Information Management Officer for the Department of Defense, developing their information systems. At Voice Runner, Mr. Branch is a co-founder and responsible for network engineering, head of provisioning/operations and management of Voice Runner’s operation center. Mr. Branch holds an MS degree in Information Resource Management from the Air Force Institute of Technology and. Steve is happily married, has three grown children, and enjoys a round of golf when time permits.

Kareem S. Rifaat, National Director of Engineering.
Mr. Rifaat has more than 15 years experience working in the Carrier voice, data, and wireless arenas. His patent pending designs have been the driving force behind Voice Runner’s competitive edge in strong incumbent markets, as well as, large national projects. Mr. Rifaat has been instrumental in Voice Runner’s national wireless initiatives and continues to empower Voice Runner towards larger and more lucrative opportunities. Mr. Rifaat has held Senior / Directorship level engineering positions with various companies, including, BigCity Networks, Tel West Services, Tellepsen Builders, and Jardine Llyod Thompson. Mr. Rifaat attended Boston University where he was captain of the Rugby Team and a first team Colligate All American in 1989. Mr. Rifaat enjoys exercising, cooking, and spending time with his family at his home in The Woodlands, TX. He is married and has 4 children.

Jason Kolter, Lead Engineer.
Mr. Kolter has over 12 years of network systems engineering and integration experience, as well as a vast knowledge of telecommunication services and equipment. During his tenure at Voice Runner, Inc., he has designed and implemented multiple Wireless networks, including wireless mesh, Point to Point, and Point to Multipoint configurations providing both voice and data services to our customers. He also co-developed the proprietary voice core currently in use by Voice Runner, Inc. to services its customers. Prior to his service with Voice Runner, Inc. he was a lead engineer for Capital4, Inc., a telecommunications company offering a unique approach with its service offerings. He was in charge of the SIP based softswitch infrastructure and network design. Jason is happily married, has two young sons, enjoys cycling and taking in a hockey game or two with his family as time permits.

Elizabeth L. Rodriguez – Customer Service/Director Provisioning.

Mrs. Rodriguez has over 13 years experience in the Telecom Industry. Elizabeth got her start in telecom sales in 1999 and excelled from the start. She was promoted to Major Account Executive within 6 months & promoted again within a year to Sales Manager. After a year and a half as Sales Manager, she then crossed over into engineering and provisioning of voice and data products which was more of her passion. She enjoys the design and configuring of all products and the ability to work closely with the customer and their vendors to ensure a seamless transition and smooth installation, which is always her main goal.

Mrs. Rodriguez is currently over Customer Service and Provisioning overseeing the daily functions of provisioning and porting process, installation and activation of new customers. She is responsible for troubleshooting and customer support during and after customer conversions. She works closely with the Engineering team and sales to ensure new customer turn ups go smoothly.

Previous to her service at Voice Runner, she got extensive training with the focus on upfront provisioning and configuring of complex orders and the install process. Mrs. Rodriguez attended the University of Texas at El Paso. She is happily married, loves Napa Valley wine country and enjoys traveling with her husband, most recently to Bali Indonesia and Whistler Canada. Their future travel plans include Alaska and Ireland. She and her husband have 7 rescue cats. She volunteers when she can at numerous events with animal organizations such SNAP and CAPS hin Houston to help raise animal awareness.

Carol Owen – Director Accounting & HR.

Carol has over 20 years of experience in Office/Human Resource Management. Her experience includes general management, human resource, billing, and contract management. Carol participated in developing Voice Runner’s Employment Handbook, Purchasing Policy, and created a usage based billing system for International and Long Distance products. Carol has a degree in Human Resource Management, is a Texas Notary and is a member of The Society for Human Resource Management. Carol is married with one daughter.