Rick Stern is pushing us to do our best thinking for our customers every day. That’s his competitive nature, starting as a gutsy kid on the football field. Whether calling the plays on the field or in the boardroom, Rick is a natural leader who develops a solid team that shares his vision.
Rick built upon his extensive experience in the telecommunications industry when he created Nitel in 1997. He had held line and management positions with Sprint, MCI WorldCom and Universal Access. He is the architect of Nitel’s growth from a single office offering telecom consulting services to a nationwide facilities-based managed telecom services provider. As Chief Executive Officer, Rick shapes and drives execution of corporate strategy, holds executive-level accountability for new business development and directs our finance, operations and client services functions.
Rick earned a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications from the University of Florida and served six years in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He is a 2009 graduate of Harvard Business School's Executive Education program in Owner/President Management. In 2010 he was named a Midwest finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® Award and in 2011 was named, along with business partner Ron Grason, to the University of Illinois at Chicago's Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. Rick is a member of the Young Presidents' Organization, a global network of young chief executives, as well as the Harvard Business School Club of Chicago. Rick also served as a member of the Channel Partners Advisory Board.
Stern is an advocate for maintaining Nitel's strong corporate culture. He also believes in giving back to the community through corporate giving and by rallying the Nitel team to support several national and local philanthropic organizations.
Rick thinks big. He set a goal early in life to start a successful company, and made it happen. Yet he’ll proudly show you pictures of his wife and four kids before he’ll hand you a business card. Because it’s still all about winning one for the team.