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April 1, 2008

3 Min Read
Personality+: Competitive Edge  Matt Lukens

Matt Lukens

Matt flies off a ramp and through the air during training at the Lake Placid Olympic facility last summer.

Matt prepares to race down the slopes.

When Matt Lukens’ children decided to take up snowboarding, he went along so he could share this pastime with his family. Matt has been skiing since the age of nine, and says he eats, breathes and sleeps winter outdoors activities, so it’s no wonder that he conquered the extreme sport and now races and competes regularly.

Matt, who serves as vice president of sales, CIPC at Comverse Inc., has been snowboarding for 15 years and competing for 10. He races almost every weekend in different disciplines, such as giant slalom, slalom, slopestyle and boardercross, which are featured events in the Olympics. Matt recently placed second overall in the United States in the Kahuna Class (ages 50 and up) of the USASA (United States of America Snowboard Association); he has qualified for the nationals again this year and plans to go for the gold.

Matt spent many winters at his family’s house in Stowe, Vt., snowboarding every weekend from December to April. For five years, he was the Northern Vermont regional director for the USASA and supervised events at Stowe’s; Sugar Bush, Vt.; and Smugglers’ Notch, Vt. He also coaches kids in the art of snowboard racing, including giant slalom and slalom, which are his specialties.

One of Matt’s favorite snowboarding stories was when the head of the Stowe snowboard school asked him if he would mind being interviewed by CBS newsman Dan Rather about being a “weekend snowboarder.” “So the next weekend, there I am, all dressed up for snowboarding out on the trail in Stowe, and the reporter who worked for Rather sticks a microphone in my face as the camera rolls and says, ‘So how does it feel to be an old snowboarder?’ Needless to say, it was not what I had expected to be asked,” Matt recounts.

Matt has received attention for being an elder statesman of the sport while still enjoying wild success at it. But when asked what other extreme sports he’s into, he answers simply, “One is enough.”

Family affair:

Matt has eight children, ranging in age from 11 to 35. Matt’s youngest son, Noah, has qualified for the nationals this year and competes in all five disciplines: giant slalom, slalom, slopestyle, boardercross and halfpipe. Daughter Alexandra is going to school in Boulder, Colo., and Matt stops in whenever possible to ride Vail with her. Matt’s son Sam competes as an amateur on the Vermont circuit and hopes to go pro in the future. And even Matt’s grandchildren are learning the sport from their own parents.

Matt’s day job:

Matt is responsible for the sales of Comverse’s telephony application server in North America and South America. Over the last 30 years, Matt has been a co-founder of five companies in the telecom field. “I have participated in the deregulation of AT&T back in the ’80s, the move from analog to digital TDM, from TDM to LANs, from LANs to IP and from IP to VoIP, and now to value-added applications,” says Matt. “I was doing packet voice in the late ’80s, compression in the early ’90s and VoIP since the late ’90s.” Matt also was co-chair and founder of the TCICP compression subcommittee of the IETF in 1990.

Thoughts on telecom:

“We are going through a time of consolidation and a fundamental shift from the delivery of value-added services by our telecommunications provider to companies like Google and Yahoo becoming service-delivery vehicles.”

Do you know someone who has Personality+? We’re looking for interesting characters in telecom to take the spotlight! Please send nominations to Cara Sievers at [email protected].

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