Xtera® Partners with Fortress Solutions to Enhance the Lifespan of Subsea Cable Systems

Xtera® Partners with Fortress Solutions to Enhance the Lifespan of Subsea Cable Systems

LONDON –  January 3, 2018 – Xtera®, a provider of innovative subsea fibre optic solutions, today announces a partnership with Fortress Solutions, a leading provider of telecom equipment repair, to enhance the longevity of its cable systems.  As an ISO 9001, TL 9000, ISO 14001 and R2-certified equipment repair service provider, Fortress Solutions will enable Xtera to reduce the turnaround time on legacy equipment and provide a high level of service for its customers.

With support from Fortress Solutions, Xtera will expedite Returned Merchandise Authorizations (RMAs), allowing the company to focus its resources on new customers and projects while increasing manufacturing capacity at Xtera’s Contract Manufacturers. As one of the largest providers of telecom, mobile and video equipment repair services in North America, Fortress Solutions currently supports legacy equipment repair for more than 80,000 parts, serving in excess of 1,500 platforms from 325 equipment manufacturers.

“At Xtera, we are committed to supporting the full lifespan of both new and existing submarine cable systems,” explains Keith Henderson, Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Xtera.  “Xtera utilises an ‘Extended Enterprise’ model from leading outside organizations to help deliver the highest quality services to our customers.  We are very excited to partner with Fortress Solutions to maintain our subsea cable systems utilizing its ISO-certified equipment services.”

“Quality and reliability are key pillars of Fortress Solutions’ mission to provide customers with higher levels of quality, service and on-time delivery in the repair and technical support industry,” shares Brendon Mills, CEO, President and Managing Partner, Fortress Solutions.  “Through this partnership, we are delighted to expand Xtera’s capability to maintain its submarine and Optima  platforms, while affording them the opportunity to increase focus on customers’ immediate needs.”

Xtera offers un-repeatered and repeatered subsea connectivity, using the highest bandwidth undersea amplifiers for up to 40 Terabits on a single fibre pair.  The company offers a full range of turnkey services and solutions, including system design, on-shore and off-shore security, landing route and station development, and operational support.

To learn more about Xtera, visit: www.xtera.com.

About Xtera

Xtera is an innovative provider of sub-sea telecoms solutions. The company supplies both un-repeatered and repeatered systems, using its high performance optical amplifiers to deliver traffic directly inland to cities.  Xtera creates novel solutions that are suited for each individual customer whether that be provision of a full turnkey system, an open architecture design or supply of a particular product or service. We aim to challenge the norm and to provide more reliable and higher quality products over new and existing routes. Xtera is a flexible supplier who works with a variety of partners to create the best solution for each project and every customer. For more information please visit www.xtera.com or contact info@xtera.com.

About Fortress Solutions

Fortress Solutions is a leading provider of product lifecycle repair and logistics services for the telecommunication and cable equipment markets. Founded in 2002, Fortress has built a reputation as a top supplier for service providers who demand high quality product repair, certification and logistics services. Fortress Solutions is headquartered in Plano, Texas with facilities in Leesburg, Florida and Lenexa, Kansas.  Please visit the Fortress Solutions website at www.fortsol.com or the company Twitter feed at @Fortsol.

Media Contact:

iMiller Public Relations for Xtera
+1 866.307.2510

Doug Moore

Advisory Board Member

Mr. Moore is a strategic technology, finance, and operations leader with more than 35 years of experience in the information communication technology (ICT) industry. He possesses a broad understanding of and insight into ICT trends, evolving technologies, and business strategies. 

Mr. Moore recently retired as President and CEO of Fujitsu North America, Inc., and head of the Americas region where he oversaw Fujitsu’s digital services and communications technologies businesses in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. His previous work includes positions in sales, marketing, development, manufacturing, and engineering. 

Mr. Moore received his B.S in mechanical engineering from the University of Arizona and M.B.A. from Arizona State University. 

Mr. Moore is an enthusiastic supporter of STEM education and the growth of the digital economy. An avid outdoors person, he relishes all summer and winter sports. He is passionate about being a good steward of the environment. Along with his day jobs, he owns and operates a working cattle ranch in Texas.

Gowton Achaibar

Advisory Board Member

With more than 40 years of Telecom expertise, Mr. Achaibar started his career at AT&T Bell Laboratories in 1985 and has held different roles in the Telecom industry including CTO of GSM Operator Powertel (now part of T-Mobile), CEO of Ericsson India (2008 – 2011), COO of Ericsson North America, and Head of Dell Technologies Global Telecom Services Organization. 

Mr. Achaibar currently resides in Dallas, TX and serves on the boards of Connect5G, Cellsite Solutions, and ng-voice.

Tim Harden

Board Member

Mr. Harden has broad Communication Industry experience in a variety of leadership positions. He has contributed on a number of Boards and Advisory Boards focused on providing products and services in the Communication and Technology space in the last few years. He currently sits on the Boards of Fortress Communications, Athentix, and is Chairman of BE Networks, and is on the Advisory Board of Forward Edge-AI and CHI Studios Visibility Council.

He spent 33 years with AT&T in various operating executive positions. The last of which was President of AT&T’s Worldwide Supply Chain, a $68B operation with over 58K suppliers. These responsibilities also included management of the largest private fleet of trucks and cars in the U.S with over 95K vehicles.

A few of his previous areas of responsibility included President and CEO of AT&T West, an $18B operation of nearly 40,000 employees. President of network services for AT&T Southwest, President of Data and Network Services for SBC Operations.

He also gained broad telecommunications experience from a series of executive assignments within AT&T’s predecessor companies SBC and Pacific Telesis, including President of SBC Telecom, Inc., President and Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Telesis Business Systems, Chief Operating Officer of Pacific Bell’s Advanced Communications Network, and Senior VP – Network Engineering and Planning of SBC Data Services.

Harden started his career as an officer in the US Navy after his graduation from the US Naval Academy. Following his active duty service his first post Navy job was working for Caterpillar Tractor Company in Peoria, Illinois. Harden started his career in the Telecommunication Industry working for Pacific Bell as a cable maintenance supervisor in downtown San Francisco.

He is active in organizations that promote economic development, educational and youth activities. Additionally, he twice served as Chairman of the QuEST/TIA Forum ExecutiveBoard, managing the quality standard TL 9000 through 200+ companies worldwide. He is a former member of Supply Chain 50 representing the top Supply Chains in the U.S., and a member of Supply Chain World representing the top 200 Supply Chains worldwide.

Tim is an inductee in the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame as a scholar athlete. He currently serves on the board of directors for the San Francisco Chapter of this national organization. In 2007 he was named as a Distinguished American by this group for his efforts in support of their mission to promote and develop the qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, competitive zeal and the drive for academic excellence in America’s young people. This was only the 9th time this honor has been awarded in the 87 years history of the organization.

Harden is a retired Captain in the USN Reserve and a past Associate Professor at the University of Utah.

Mark Gergel

Board Member

Mr. Gergel is a principal owner of the AirWay Group of companies where he has served as Chairman and Chief Financial Officer since its acquisition in 2018 (www.airway.com). In 2007, he cofounded the MNS Group which consisted of three operating companies providing wireless network engineering, distributed equipment, network installation and related field support services. In January 2024, the MNS Group was merged into AirWay.

The early years of his career were spent with Ernst & Young as a Certified Public Accountant. He then spent nine years in financial management and business development positions with Federal-Mogul Corporation (NYSE). From 1992 to 2000, he served as Chief Financial Officer of World Access, a NASDAQ traded company that grew from a $15 million break-even repair business to a highly profitable $250 million proprietary telecom equipment business during his tenure.

From 2001 to 2007, Mr. Gergel was Chief Financial Officer of Commnet Wireless, a network based provider of voice and data roaming services to rural U.S. markets. After five consecutive years of more than 125 percent growth in both revenue and earnings, Commnet Wireless merged with Atlantic Tele-Network (NASDAQ:ATNI) in 2005. From 2001 to 2005, he was also Chief Financial Officer of Commnet Supply, a wireless telecommunications equipment distributor that was sold to Telmar Network Technologies in 2004.

Mr. Gergel also currently serves as Chief Financial Officer of TAG Towers (“TAG”), a cellular tower business he cofounded in 2008. TAG builds, owns and manages multi-tenant communication towers in several states and in recent years has successfully monetized portions of its portfolio in transactions with large publicly held tower companies. He also was an early investor in Network Management Holdings (“NMS”) and held a Board Advisor position from 2012 to 2017. NMS built, owned and operated more than 450 towers in Colombia, Mexico and Nicaragua which were sold in a $75 million transaction in early 2017.

Mr. Gergel is a graduate of the University of Michigan where he earned his BBA degree.

Scott Mair

Board Member

Scott Mair led AT&T Network Engineering & Operations, overseeing 32K+ professionals and 40K contractors responsible for technology development, wireline and wireless network engineering, deployment and operations, business continuity and AT&T’s global leadership in the transition to software-defined networking (SDN) and a fiber-based fixed and 5G wireless broadband network.

Scott managed the company’s global network engineering, construction, operations, and network technology development. He also led research and development functions through AT&T’s Bell Labs and Intellectual Property group.

Joe O'Brien

Board Member

Joseph D. O’Brien III is the Chairman of the Board for Fortress Solutions. Since 2016, Mr. O’Brien has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of A.G. Hill Partners, a single-family office with diverse interests in real estate, energy, private equity and public securities. Mr. O’Brien also serves as Chairman of the Board for PureWest Energy, the largest natural gas producer in Wyoming, and Chairman of the Advisory Board for Americana Partners, an independent wealth advisory firm with offices in Houston, Austin, Midland and Dallas.

Previously, Mr. O’Brien was a Partner and Chief Operating Officer at Highside Capital, a multi-billion-dollar equity hedge fund in Dallas. He was also a Partner and Portfolio Manager at Petra Capital Partners, a private equity fund in Nashville, and he was a Vice President at Goldman Sachs in the private wealth management and prime brokerage divisions. He started his career as an investment banking associate at The Robinson-Humphrey Company in Atlanta. Mr. O’Brien graduated from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce in 1986 and earned his MBA from Harvard in 1992.

Jeff Peterson

Board Member

Jeff Peterson serves as managing director of A. G. Hill Partners, a Dallas-based single-family office, where he oversees the family’s private equity portfolio and serves on the investment committee. Prior to joining A. G. Hill Partners, he served as President & CEO of The Whitmore Manufacturing Company, a specialty lubricants and coatings company, and as an executive officer of Capital Southwest Corporation, a publicly-traded investment company recognized by Forbes as being one of America’s 100 Most Trustworthy Companies.

Mr. Peterson has extensive board and executive management experience, having served in this capacity for over thirty private and public companies, industry associations and nonprofit companies. He is the founder and President of Family Investment Group, an exclusive organization that facilitates connections within large family offices. He received a BBA from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA with Distinction from Cornell University.

Josh Orender

Chief Revenue Officer

With more than 25 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, Josh has extensive knowledge of supply chain economics and telecommunication service activation and support. Josh has been recognized for his continued success in strategic analysis of product portfolios and development of support programs for diverse customer bases including enterprise, utilities, manufactures and device providers.

Jim Smith

Vice President, Fortress Solutions

With 25 years of experience in the communications industry, Jim has been at the cutting edge of next-generation technologies and services and has enabled organizations to execute on transformative growth programs. Jim holds a passion for developing new markets and connecting with customers and partners to fuel their product and service deployments, enabling them to win in a competitive landscape.

David Earnshaw


David Earnshaw has more than 25 years’ experience at the controllership level. David first joined Fortress Solutions in June 2021 as the Controller overseeing day-to-day accounting operations and banking activities. Prior to joining Fortress Solutions, David was the Chief Financial Officer for Workwear Safety Shoes. David has a diversified industry background including distribution, manufacturing, senior living, services, staffing, telecommunications, and transportation.

David is a Texas Licensed Certified Public Accountant and earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Texas A&M University.

Morgan Brown

Sr. Marketing Manager

Morgan Brown brings over 10 years of dynamic experience in strategic marketing and brand management to our team. As the Sr. Marketing Manager, Morgan spearheads innovative campaigns and initiatives that drive brand awareness, engagement and growth. Morgan has a diversified marketing background, previously working in HR / payroll and security industries. Morgan has an extensive history with all facets of marketing, with a deep dive into Demand Generation.

Morgan earned a bachelor’s degree in both Marketing and Fine Arts from The University of Texas at Dallas as well as a Master’s degree in Marketing from The University of Texas at Dallas. Outside of her professional endeavors, Morgan enjoys spending time with her family including her husband and three young kids!

Rick Brown

VP, Service Delivery

Rick Brown is based in Atlanta, GA and joined Fortress Solutions in 2021 after 20+ years in the telecom industry. As Vice President, Service Delivery at Fortress Solutions he is working to continue building the growth of services and solutions we offer while overseeing our NOC, CTAC, Hosted Managed Services, Drone Operations, Logistics, Project Management and Data Center Engineering.

Prior to joining Fortress Solutions Rick had a wide range of experience within AT&T that spanned both wireline and wireless technologies. He held many management positions that included financial and technical support teams as well as contract management and negotiations. His unique blend of software and hardware experience coupled with successful team leadership gives him a unique outlook and vision for how to create growth and processes for success.

Rick and and his wife, Angela, have been married for 25 years and they have three children. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Oglethorpe University.

George O'Brien

VP, Engineering

George is an accomplished engineering leader with a record of successfully developing new products in the telecommunications and semiconductor industries, Prior to joining Fortress, George was an initial employee of GENBAND working in system design and hardware development of telecom products, eventually assuming responsibility for software development and technical support of the G6 voice gateway in addition to hardware engineering across GENBAND’s legacy telecom portfolio acquired from Nortel.

Prior to GENBAND, George worked for 17 years at Motorola Semiconductor and ST Microelectronics in various design, product engineering, and product management roles with memory and telecommunications semiconductor products.

George holds BSEE and MSE degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.

Joe Uhr

Sr. VP, Business Excellence

Prior to joining Fortress Solutions, Mr. Uhr held various leadership roles within the OEM and contract manufacturing industries. As an initial employee at GENBAND, Mr. Uhr led the dual supplier strategy for the company, which included qualifying and managing all contract manufacturing, printed circuit board suppliers and fabricated sheet metal suppliers. More recently, Mr. Uhr led GENBAND’s Corporate Quality Systems Group. Prior to GENBAND, Mr. Uhr held Supplier Management and Quality Management roles at Tyco Electronics and AMP Packaging Systems, suppliers of mid plane and chassis enclosures to OEMs in multiple markets.

Mr. Uhr has been an active member of the QuEST Forum, helping shape the future of the TL 9000 Quality Management System requirements and measurements handbooks.

Laura Maddox

VP, People & Culture

Laura Maddox is Vice President of Human Resources. Mrs. Maddox joined Fortress Solutions as Human Resources Director through its acquisition of Restor Telecom in 2015, where she had been leading the Human Resources team and processes for the previous five years. She served as Vice President & General Manager of Operations & Administration at Fortress from 2018 – 2022.

During her time at Fortress, Mrs. Maddox has created strategy, policies and communications for vital programs as well as aligned resources to meet productivity and revenue targets while maintaining customer commitment levels. She has been key in the retention of a high-performing workforce via employee engagement, human capital initiatives, and career path development.

Prior to her previous Operations leadership role, Mrs. Maddox held a 22+ year career, bringing experience in both generalist and specialist roles from start-up companies to Fortune 50 corporations and across industries that include staffing, manufacturing, healthcare, and technology.

Mrs. Maddox earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Southwestern University. She is based in central Florida along with her husband and two children.

Scott Bowman

Chief Revenue Officer

Mr. Bowman is an accomplished Sales Executive and General Manager with extensive experience in the Information Technology industry.

Most recently, Mr. Bowman was responsible for all North America sales, including all routes to market, for Sungard Availability Services. Before Sungard, Scott ran North America Storage sales for IBM and was previously Vice President (East Division) at Hitachi Data Systems.

Mr. Bowman was previously a long-standing board member for Run the Race Foundation.

Scott has continually exceeded revenue and profit & loss expectations while consistently building high performance sales / go to market teams to drive profitable growth especially through times of significant change.

Mr. Bowman is a proud alumnus of The Ohio State University, BSBA double major Marketing / Transportation & Logistics. Mr. Bowman lives in McKinney, TX with his wife and two children.

Jared Slack

Chief Financial Officer

Jared Slack has more than 15 years’ experience in various accounting and finance roles including auditing, consulting, financial planning & analysis, controllership, and executive leadership. Mr. Slack first joined Fortress Solutions in May 2021 as the Vice President, Finance, leading all accounting and finance functions and as a member of the executive leadership team. Prior to joining Fortress Solutions, Mr. Slack was the internal Director of Finance for Riveron Consulting, a PE owned, high-growth professional services company. Previously, Jared held several roles at Presbyterian Communities & Services (now Forefront Living), a non-profit senior living and hospice provider, as the Director of Finance and then the Corporate Controller. In addition, Mr. Slack has 10 years of client-service experience, serving a wide range of industries, providing audit and consulting services during his time with Deloitte, Greystone, and Riveron.

Jared is a Texas Licensed Certified Public Accountant, earned a Bachelors degree in Accounting and a Masters degree in Finance from Texas A&M University, graduating Magna Cum Laude with Business Honors.

John Shelnutt

CEO, President, and Board Member of Fortress Solutions

A growth-oriented leader managing businesses of over $2.5B per year by building teams of sales, engineering, and services professionals with a lifetime achievement of over $35B+ in net new revenue. Success built on DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), ability to anticipate and act on trends in supporting customer business priorities with actionable plans. Strong belief in teamwork, mentoring, and forward thinking by being challenged and accepting challenges.

Mr. Shelnutt previously was an executive at start up Blue Danube Systems (BDS), acquired by NEC that designs intelligent wireless access solutions. BDS was backed by Sequoia Capital, SilverLake, Stanford University, and AT&T.

Prior to joining BDS, Mr. Shelnutt served as the leader of Mobility for Cisco’s Service Provider group, providing mobility connections and infrastructure through platforms, software, analytics, and services to large-scale telecommunications companies. He also led the strategy and managed the P&L for Cisco’s largest customer generating up to $3B in annual sales. At the CEO’s request, he co-led with the Cisco CTO a cross functional team in examining the strategy and investment balance of purpose-built ASICS vs. open NFV.

Before Cisco, Mr. Shelnutt spent 13 years at Alcatel (now part of Nokia). During this time, he was responsible for developing new markets for service providers in mobility, access, optical, SS7, analytics, switching and routing products with innovative technology and go to market strategies resulting in over $15B of new revenue. At Alcatel, he was point for their DSL business success and served on the Board of the DSL Forum (now Broadband Forum). At the CEO request, he created and led a cross functional team called the IP Advocates with the outcome of creating an IP entry strategy that led to the TiMetra acquisition.

Mr. Shelnutt has also served on various boards within the telecommunications industry including the QuEST Forum, ATIS, Broadband Forum and was an advisor to Tech Titans of Dallas, Texas, and the City of New York Public Schools Technology group. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of ADDvantage Technologies (NASDAQ – AEY) and the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, GA. With a passion for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Oglethorpe is excelling at offering students of broad backgrounds a small private school education in a big busy city.

Mr. Shelnutt lives in McKinney, TX with his wife, Kim, of 34 years. They have two married children and one spoiled grandchild.



Aliquam et purus felis. Nam et efficitur tortor. Fusce egestas ornare ex, id congue ex sodales ac. Sed tincidunt ultricies ex, id vulputate leo commodo non. Nunc at porttitor dolor. Vivamus gravida augue velit, non semper nisi ornare mattis. Nunc in tristique justo, vel faucibus libero. Proin at volutpat tellus. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia curae;

Nunc tincidunt in mi in vestibulum. Vivamus a justo at elit imperdiet vulputate nec quis orci. Aliquam nec leo pulvinar, ultrices est quis, consequat lacus. Nullam accumsan sagittis tellus ac rhoncus. In dictum ullamcorper efficitur. Sed volutpat, urna vitae sagittis molestie, dui urna dignissim urna, eu porttitor dolor lorem ut neque. Etiam pellentesque diam dolor, id eleifend est euismod vehicula. Nullam fermentum, ligula in ornare iaculis, nisl dolor mattis quam, aliquam ornare dolor dui vel ante. Proin nec est sit amet ipsum porta aliquam vel vel nisi. Nunc lobortis, nisl sit amet gravida pulvinar, diam tellus interdum mi, eget vulputate turpis nisl sed dui. Curabitur ullamcorper, lacus eu posuere feugiat, quam turpis eleifend neque, at facilisis lacus elit et ex. Pellentesque ac finibus lorem, vel faucibus leo. Sed eget libero vel ligula feugiat tempus id in turpis. Nulla ut massa eu mi molestie cursus.

Praesent convallis porttitor sapien, ac consectetur mi ultrices in. Fusce sollicitudin consequat nunc, non eleifend est pellentesque rhoncus. Integer neque dui, aliquam vitae posuere et, dignissim in risus. Duis at tellus at ligula dapibus tincidunt. Aliquam a faucibus nisl. Phasellus non justo vehicula, fringilla enim quis, facilisis urna. Donec venenatis urna id euismod laoreet.

Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Maecenas arcu felis, elementum vel neque et, tempor vulputate erat. Pellentesque accumsan efficitur metus. Maecenas quam elit, sodales eget magna eu, auctor faucibus turpis. Maecenas eu ultricies velit. Aenean aliquam hendrerit urna, convallis feugiat nibh bibendum sed. Curabitur varius blandit purus, id hendrerit arcu mattis a. Phasellus euismod mi at nunc fringilla, ut elementum orci posuere. Suspendisse finibus leo arcu, ac accumsan libero elementum ac. Integer bibendum nulla nec dignissim sagittis. Proin finibus dolor in tellus scelerisque malesuada.

Sed pharetra lorem id ex dignissim, id pulvinar enim volutpat. Ut dictum efficitur mollis. Pellentesque quam felis, scelerisque et nisi vel, rutrum iaculis lacus. Pellentesque id neque ac sem porta molestie sed et nunc. Nam eu nunc iaculis, consequat leo vitae, elementum metus. Aenean malesuada sem non pretium dapibus. Ut facilisis ultrices augue, in sagittis ligula finibus vitae. Pellentesque id augue mi. Integer tristique vestibulum ipsum, non facilisis nisi. Ut in magna a magna congue sagittis id id nisi. Ut ut diam vestibulum, tincidunt purus vitae, elementum libero. Vestibulum enim nibh, viverra vitae faucibus nec, commodo at augue.