Jeff Oberschelp got his start in real estate, working in megamall development. When that industry took a sour turn in the ’90s, a Sigma Pi fraternity brother helped Oberschelp launch a career in communications.
He worked at Verizon before joining CenturyLink Nevada as vice president and general manager in December 2008 and moving to Las Vegas in July 2009.
“This company talked to me five years ago about some of the investments they were going to make and I was really excited to be on the front end of the next wave of investment,” Oberschelp said. “They asked me to come onboard and I was thrilled to do it.”
Oberschelp, who is 55, has led CenturyLink’s efforts of implementing top technology and strengthening infrastructure, as shown by its recently released 1 gigabit-per-second residential Internet service.
Away from work, Oberschelp enjoys running, cycling and golfing.
What are the biggest issues or the big questions facing your industry?
The industry is evolving. Nothing is more important than trying to understand what the future is going to be. More and more of what we do every day is in the cloud. If you think about five or six years ago, or before the iPad came out, all of your (computing) was on your desktop or on your laptop. And today, you have your smartphone, you have your pad, none of your (computing) is there. It’s all in the cloud. So we want to make sure we have access to the cloud, for both consumers and businesses, that allow them to upload and download as quickly as they need. We’ve spend billions in the last couple of years buying data centers and buying cloud compute capacity. We have 55 data centers around the world right now. The other part is to make sure we’ve got an infrastructure that’s incredibly fast and robust. We think with the fiber technology and the cloud infrastructure that we’re positioned incredibly well for the future.
What’s your greatest professional accomplishment?
It’s not me. It’s the team. When we came here four years ago, the company had not made a lot of investments prior to being purchased by CenturyLink. Our team said, “Let’s make the investments here.” The telephone company is what we were. Now we’re a data and a video company and a cloud company, and the revenue line is increasing. Turning Las Vegas from a flat or declining market to a growth market for our company. We’ve got great planners and engineers and sales people. It’s really the team that made it happen.
What are the keys to your success?
We made the appropriate investments. Initially when we got here, the network wasn’t where it needed to be. We didn’t have the best customer experience five years ago. We said, fix the network, make sure it’s rock solid, reliable and has the ability to do everything we need it to do. We asked, “What’s the best technology out there today?” We don’t want to increment our business. We want to say, “Where’s future state?” and let’s get to future state as fast as we can.
What’s your proudest personal accomplishment?
I’ve got two wonderful children. I’ve been married for 30 years in September. I’ve got a daughter who will graduate from veterinary school in May. I have a great daughter who is living in Los Angeles and is a professional salesperson. I got lucky with a great wife and great children.
When we moved here, we weren’t sure what to think of the community, but this community is unbelievably welcoming. … We’ve got an experience here, where anyone can get involved with economic development and charitable organization. I’ve not seen that in other places. I’ve lived in Dallas and St. Louis. Those cities aren’t like this.