Meet the Team
We want you to get to know us better. So, in every issue of our CRITICAL MATTERS™ newsletter, we profile one or more members of the Cassidian Communications team. In this edition, meet Francois Cregheur, Frank Hobbs and Don Matheson…
Francois Cregheur, Systems Engineer, Call Center Applications
Francois Cregheur, who has been with Cassidian Communications for 23 years, is a designer, a product architect if you will. He is responsible for identifying product requirements and then translating them into system specifications for the development team, who ultimately creates the product. And it is something Francois does brilliantly.
“If I want to make a picnic table, the first thing is to decide the kind of table you want,” explained Francois. “How many seats? It is wood or plastic. Once you know the requirements, then you can do the design and present it to the people who build it.”
Francois is one of the system engineers of our VESTA®/Sentinel® 4 NG9-1-1 call taking system. “Designing the new VESTA system was a big challenge because we combined the user interfaces of our VESTA and Sentinel products,” said Francois. “We didn’t want to favor one product over the other, but instead take the best of both worlds. We took a leap of faith and broke some old paradigms in the process.” (Having received an overwhelming number of positive comments from call takers, it’s obvious that breaking those old paradigms has been well received by the 9-1-1 user community.)
“We put more emphasis on the user experience,” Francois continued. “We wanted to design a system where answering a call is intuitive and the software becomes part of your reaction to handling the call. I believe the user interface and user experience is what makes the difference.”
What does it take to do this work?
According to Francois, “you have to be detailed oriented. The devil is in the detail. You have to be methodical and look at the logical, practical elements. For me, it’s like a puzzle. First, I look at the big picture before I focus on the specific components. I put all the cards on the table and think, ‘what is the end goal and how can we put this together based on the requirements from users, sales, trainers, tech support, so everyone gets what they need?’.”
Francois says the biggest challenge is making sure you have the real requirements – what users really need. “To do that, it is vital to be in touch with what is important to the person taking the call.”
Another element to add to the puzzle is the fact that one size doesn’t fit all. Francois explained, “We sell our products around the world which means you must be sensitive to how calls are handled in the Middle East vs. North America, for example. You can’t impose a behavior on a culture. This means the design must be adaptable and flexible.”
Is the designer’s job ever done? “It is a work in progress and there is always improvement to be made,” said Francois. “I take pride in a good design. When a customer says, ‘you nailed it,’ it is very satisfying because you know you did the right thing.”
“The best part of my job,” continued Francois, “knowing that what I do helps to save lives. At the end of the day I can say, ‘I made a difference.’”
Francois, his wife and two children live in Gatineau, Canada, where he was born. For the last eight years, he has been involved with his son’s hockey team, which keeps him very busy.
Thank you, Francois, for your wonderful talent and for your work on the design of the VESTA/Sentinel 4 system.
Frank Hobbs, Implementation Services Supervisor, Emergency Notification
As Implementation Services Supervisor, Frank Hobbs manages the team of project managers and field engineers responsible for the deployment of Cassidian Communications notification solutions. This means that customers are in the hands of Frank’s team, and there’s no better place to be when it comes to implementing such a critical solution.
Of his team and role, Frank said, “Implementation services provide the first impression a customer has of our solutions and company following the sale. It’s my job to make sure my team has the tools and skill sets required to do their job well – to ensure they’re professional and coordinate and execute thoroughly on the front. This is critical because it sets a positive tone for the customer’s experience with us.”
In addition to supervising his team’s efforts, Frank personally oversees the majority of Cassidian Communications on-site implementations and occasionally travels to the customer’s site to complete the installation himself. This allows him to routinely get back to his roots with the company, which date back to 1999, when he joined Cassidian Communications as a field engineer.
Following more than 10 years in public safety and emergency management, Frank relocated to the company’s Franklin, Tennessee office from Escambia County, Florida, where he had supervised the county’s communications division, including its primary PSAP. He had become familiar with the company through the county’s use of Cassidian Communications 9-1-1 call taking systems and emergency notification technology. Regarding his decision to take a position on the Cassidian Communications team, Frank said, “With my background in public safety and knowledge of the company’s solutions, it was a great opportunity and it made sense. As a customer, I believed in what the company was doing to protect our citizens’ lives and properties, and as an employee, I believe in what we’re doing to support our customers.”
Frank regularly makes the trip back to Florida to visit with family and spend time on the local beaches. When home in Nashville, he enjoys being outdoors, especially camping, and venturing out to enjoy the city’s vibrant live music scene, no matter the genre.
His open mind regarding music also translates to his work, helping fulfill the company’s promise to design with an open mind. Frank’s co-workers and our customers would tell you that you can always trust him to get you the information you need in a “frank” manner, which is always served with a side of his great sense of humor.
He is also trusted to manage Cassidian Communications personnel security program, coordinating background checks and security clearances that allow company employees, both field services and technical support, to gain access to notification systems and related data at Department of Defense installations and Federal government agencies.
Please join us in celebrating Frank’s 15 years with Cassidian Communications and congratulating him on his countless contributions to the company and our customers!
Don Matheson, P25 System Verification and Support - Team Lead, Land Mobile Radio
Don Matheson is someone you’d call a straight shooter. He has been at Cassidian Communications for five years and says “it’s a different kind of place to work. We have the right mix of values, new ideas and process. We are honest with our customers and each other. We don’t sugar coat it – we’re upfront – and I believe that’s one reason we are successful.”
Don is the Team Lead for Land Mobile Radio P25 System Verification and Support at Cassidian Communications’ Gatineau, Canada, facility. “All problem escalations come to my team, and I have a close interface to the Research and Development (R&D) and the Technical Services Groups. We do the troubleshooting on our current P25 software and the testing for all of our new maintenance software releases,” said Don.
You can tell from the commitment in his voice and his enthusiasm for the job that Don takes a lot of pride in making sure things work. “When we have a problem, we go at it really hard to provide a resolution as quickly as possible.”
For Don, helping to ensure the end users we serve are safe – the police officer, the fireman – is the biggest part for him. “It’s rewarding to know that the problem I’m solving, or the testing we’re doing, can save lives.”
Don has worked in five different start-up companies over the years, all telecom-based, but he says the team he works with now makes all the difference. “We have a close personal relationship and mesh very well,” commented Don. “It’s a true collaboration. There isn’t one person on the team without an important role.”
Don believes one of the most interesting parts of the job deals with the unique technical nature of P25. “P25 encompasses so many different technologies and that can get challenging when you are troubleshooting a problem. But I love the challenge. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t learn something new about process or technology and it keeps me on my toes. It never gets dull,” said Don.
There’s also nothing dull about Don’s life outside of work.
Born and raised in Ottawa, Canada, it’s not surprising that Don, along with his wife, really enjoy snowboarding, particularly at Camp Fortune, which is just eight minutes from the Cassidian Communications’ office. They live on Rideau River, so in the summer months, they take to the water for skiing and wakeboarding, oftentimes right after the work day ends.
This energy, his drive and his dedication are just a few of the qualities we appreciate about Don. We are fortunate to have him on our team. Thank you, Don, for all your great work.