March 12, 2019 by Teresa McGaughey

A View from the Inside Looking Out: Tom Pope Joins the Calix Team


It’s always interesting to hear from people who join Calix on what they saw from the outside and how that view changes once they come onboard. Here is my conversation with new Pacific Northwest Solutions Engineer Tom Pope on his view of Calix and all things geek.

Teresa – Tom, tell us a bit about your background before joining Calix.

Tom – I’m a Pacific Northwest native, born here and lived here in eastern Washington pretty much all my life. Always been a technology person, if it had a blinky light or a button or any kind of electronic circuitry, I gravitated toward it. This interest led me to a computer science/IT systems degree in college. This college experience led towards a help desk position at a telecom company on the vendor side. While at that company I wanted to learn everything about the business and ultimately took on an expanded role in customer support because of that desire to learn. This role lead to an onsite support role at AT&T in Middleton, NJ where I lived for a while. After the AT&T role, I moved onto another company, again a vendor, but more focused in the access space where I had the opportunity to work in the role of network design, troubleshooting, and verification for all things access. Having always wanted to get back to the Pacific Northwest, when the opportunity in that company came up in 2013 to be a sales engineer, I jumped on it. 

Teresa – Why did you join Calix and what role will you now be playing as part of the Calix team?

Tom – I’d been competing with Calix for a few years, but was always on the outside looking in. We often found that if Calix was able to demonstrate their technology first, we were not able to compete. Then an opportunity to join Calix presented itself, I started digging in further to really understand the solution. This led me to see the true Calix vision of next generation networks and the software approach utilizing the AXOS and EXOS software platforms to achieve that vision. 

Teresa – What are you most excited about/looking forward to in this new role?

Tom – I’m really looking forward to seeing the software technology strategy take off. Even though the industry is moving to a software defined approach it’s still a pretty new concept. What Calix is doing with AXOS and EXOS is pretty exciting. For instance, the hardware independence and always on capabilities are really resonating with my customers. They are really interested to learn how they can take their networks forward so they can take advantage of these benefits. 

In addition, what Calix is doing with AXOS and EXOS is really not just about access. It’s about making the networks we all use every day better and more reliable as well as easier to use with more of an application/consumer driven approach. The network will become autonomous with technicians no longer involved in the setup and configuration of the network or its systems. 

One of the most exciting things has been the “WOW’s” I’ve gotten recently. When I have an opportunity to talk to service providers looking to build new networks, like the public utility companies, or others looking to operate out of region we spend time thinking about how you’d build a new network. For instance, if you had a clean sheet of paper you wouldn’t build today, what most have already deployed. They get extremely excited when they learn how we are simplifying the network architecture so they can build a new network for less, but more importantly, operate that network for less. 

Teresa – Tell us something about yourself that we don’t know?

Tom – My wife and I have 2 boys (15 and 3). They are great together and are a lot of fun. I work hard all week happy to provide for the family and excited when I get to come home and have fun with them. Also, I’m a nerd, but you could probably already tell that and on my off time we love to play a lot of games. On Friday nights we have a standing game night where the door is always open, come over grab a beer and play some games. We play a lot of games like Settlers of Catan.