For 2020 the FierceWireless editorial team has selected a diverse slate of wireless executives who are on the rise in their careers. We’re doling out the names of our winners, two per day, so that our readers have the time to enjoy reading their profiles. Next week, we’ll post our popular Rising Stars poll, giving everyone the opportunity to vote for their favorite top executive to watch in wireless.
It may come as no surprise that Jason Inskeep, director of AT&T’s 5G Center of Excellence, was chosen for Rising Star honors this year, as he was mentored by a past Rising Star -- 2019 winner Christina Cheng.
“She was a key mentor of mine,” Inskeep said. "She pushes you, and we pushed each other to go beyond where we had gone before. I think she would say that, too. She was my boss, and there was a lot of trust between us.”
Inskeep’s own drive to push further is powered by a competitive streak honed as a standout athlete. He was an all-state football player in high school in Virginia and then played football at James Madison University in college. “I’ve always been athletically driven in terms of just wanting to win,” he said. “What do we have to do to win? What's the best way to get there?”
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But there’s also another side to Inskeep that is intrigued by technology. “You’ve got the driven-by-nature athlete mentality coupled with something that’s very intriguing to me. The geek side comes out and those two combine to make this job a fun game.”
That ability to bridge different worlds also helps Inskeep understand and satisfy customer needs. As center director, he occupies a place in the ether between AT&T’s lab environment, product development efforts and its customers.
“I’m a really good translator,” he said. “I speak business, and I speak geek. So what I intend to do is sit with the customer, understand in context where they are currently and where they may want to go, and try to translate that in context and build something for them. We try to think outside the box and then rebuild the box.”
Inskeep started out on the sales side at AT&T, but five years ago was offered an opportunity to join the AT&T Foundry near Dallas, an assignment that got him on the lab side of things. “Before that I spoke the sales language, and I understood the technology, but not technology in context,” he said. “I got two years of exposure to the lab side -- the sausage-making side -- and that helped round me out.”