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All Roads Lead to Extreme – Jake Looks Back on His “Wild Ride” Through Networking

Sydney Gillis Communications Manager Published 18 May 2021

For nearly 25 years, Extreme Networks has been helping customers to advance their digital transformation efforts and deliver progress like never beforeAs we reflect on our 25 years in business, there’s a lot to both celebrate and look forward to. To tell that story, we couldn’t think of a better way than to talk with our employees who have been along for the ride. Throughout 2021, we’ll be talking with some of our incredible employees that have been with Extreme for 2+ decades, and next up is Jake Power, Senior Director of Marketing Operations. 

Jake’s career started 25 years ago at Nortel and has evolved throughout the years to lead him to Extreme. He first started here through the acquisition of Avaya in 2017. Since day one at Extreme Jake has been so excited to work for a company that truly cared about networking as a core business. Learn more about Jake’s journey from our Q&A below! 

How did you come to Extreme? What has your journey been like? 

I have had quite the journey to get to where I am in Extreme today and it all started at Nortel. Nortel was huge, it was like four different companies under one big umbrella, and data was just a tiny little piece. Then Nortel bought Bay Networks and the bizarro high-tech world took offI spent a lot of years at Nortel on both the Carrier and Enterprise side, then moved over to Avaya through an acquisition, then another acquisition brought me over to Extreme. Over the last 25 years, I think I have done or managed just about every marketing function in existence.  It’s been a wild ride, to say the least.  People think of 25 years being in the same field but I have done so many jobs which keeps it very interesting.   

In the end, I think it was meant to be that I would work at Extreme. I worked for Nortel and Avaya and both ended up getting acquired by Extreme, so it wasn’t a question of if I was meant to work at Extreme, just a question of when I was meant to start! 

What is your favorite part of your job? 

I know it’s a cliché, but the people that I work with are by fathe best part of my job.  Otherwise, there is no need to be here.  There are great people here at Extreme, and funny enough through the acquisitions and other changes I have had a chance to re-connect and work with people a second time afteworking with them in previous roles.  

What has been your favorite memory at Extreme? 

It is tough to nail down just one great memory, but I would probably have to go with our first Extreme Connect event. Extreme hadn’t held a customer event of this nature before and I was honored to be a part of the team that helped create and host an event of this size. We pulled it off, and now Extreme Connect continues to be a phenomenal event year after year.

A funnier memory from my time at Extreme was on an Extreme Connect planning team trip to Nashville, TN. While we were there, we went out to eat and COO Norman Rice ordered the world-renowned “Nashville Hot Chicken” … well someone challenged me to try it and I couldn’t turn down the dare. I like spicy food so I thought “how bad can it really be?” and ate a huge piece. Oh man, was I wrong? The next words out of my mouth were “FIRE!” and I thought I was going to pass out from the heat!  Check out the picture.  

What makes Extreme different from other companies? 

I think Extreme is different in that we have a rare combination of being underdog status but unlike a start-up, we have a massive installed base of fantastic customers and great technology innovation to lead us into the future. The exciting part is there is so much runway for us to grow the business – truly a huge opportunity in front of us. Other competitors are getting too big and we have the ability to be much more nimble and scrappy – I love being the underdog. 

What has been your biggest achievement in your career? 

I immediately think of some of our big product launches or the Effie marketing award we won against Cisco, but really, I think my biggest career achievement is being in this turbulent industry for 25 straight years. I have been here from the world wide web to Google, from 2G to 5G, from Blackberry to iPhone, and I am so happy to have experienced all of these crazy transitions and nonstop innovations. It’s wild to look back and see how much has changed throughout the course of my career, and even what things have stayed the sameAs my daughter reminded me the most popular tv show when I started my career was Friends and now it is one of the most popular series on Netflix J 

Looking back would you have done anything differently? 

No big regrets.  I definitely would have bought stocks in some “new and upcoming” companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook 😊. 

How would you describe Extreme in three words? 

Underdog. Scrappy. Fun. 

Like I said earlier, Extreme has a rare combination of differentiators, we started from nothing and moved fast. Extreme is that underdog, small company that is easy for customers to communicate with but still has the highscale technology the big companies have developed. Although Extreme might not be the biggest name in the industry, we are scrappy and always able to put up a good fight against our competitors. Lastly, Extreme is fun. We work as a team and have created an environment that is different than other companies. We get everything done and we have a good time doing it. 

25 Years Young and Still Growing – Join Jake and the rest of the Team! 

Visit our careers page to explore opportunities in marketing as well as the many other roles in which you can advance and help Extreme drive effortless networking experiences for enterprises worldwide. 

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