Bob Kellegrew – Stratus Technologies Inc.
In Maynard, Massachusetts, Stratus Technologies Inc. is developing hardware and software solutions that keep a number of critical industries and services up and running through always-on systems. The ever-escalating demand on networks and information technology infrastructures puts the pressure on to maintain continuous availability. Stratus has developed and is continuing to develop the technology to prevent and eliminate costly downtime.
“The philosophy behind Stratus’ always-on solutions is actually pretty simple,” explains Bob Kellegrew, vice president and general counsel on behalf of Stratus. “Normally, when a part breaks, the system no longer works. In the case of our hardware technology, there’s two of everything in the server so when one part breaks, the system keeps running. A notification is sent to our Customer Assistance Center and a new part is shipped and replaced right away. During this period the system keeps running and no one outside of the IT department knows that there was even a problem.”
“The philosophy might be simple, but the technology to implement it is not,” continues Kellegrew. “Stratus has more than 30 patents related to its fault tolerant technology. While Stratus’ software solution employs the same philosophy, the technological solution is very different.”
Stratus offers these always-on solutions to a range of customers, including financial institutions, emergency response services, air traffic control, call centers and data centers. “We support any business that cannot afford even a minute of downtime,” says Kellegrew. “We can put our software solution on many standard servers as well, that way if one server goes offline, the other, which is in lockstep, keeps going and users don’t even realize there’s been an issue.”
“The next step and big push for Stratus now is to take the always-on concept to the cloud,” adds Kellegrew.
As backbone to any viable business, especially one with the upward mobility of Stratus, services provided by the general counsel are integral to success. After working in the legal field for more than 30 years for various companies, Kellegrew now serves as the general counsel, and only in-house lawyer, for Status. “I have been doing this for 30 years,” says Kellegrew. “My first role was in the early ‘80s with a company called Applicon; they were one of two companies that invented CadCam systems.”
From there, Kellegrew joined Stratus, then known as Stratus Computers. “After my first stint with Stratus, I went on to be deputy general counsel at FTP software, and then as general counsel for PictureTel Corp.,” he recounts. “PictureTel is the company that basically came up with Internet video conferencing. Eventually I helped sell it to Polycom.”
Kellegrew went on to serve as general counsel at other major communications, media and software companies such as SpeechWorks (which was sold to Nuance) and Emptoris (which was sold to IBM). He rejoined Stratus in November 2014 and day in and day out, Kellegrew offers the full gamut of legal advice and guidance as the company progresses. “I’m really inspired by the leading-edge technology Stratus delivers,” he says. “I like to know I’m working at a place where we are doing something different.”
As the one-man band for all things legal at Stratus, Kellegrew has a hand in nearly everything, including negotiating joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, negotiating intellectual property licensing agreements, managing litigation, advising on employee law and so much more. “Basically, I am a law firm, on a worldwide basis,” he explains. “People come to me with any number of questions regarding a multitude of legal areas. Earlier this year, I was on the team that helped Stratus negotiate an extension to a strategic joint venture with NEC in Japan, a large electronics corporation. I also work with new patent filings, trademarks and other intellectual property issues — something that happens nearly every week working for a company like Stratus.”
Adding more technology and services to its always-on lineup, Stratus is moving into a new space next year. “I led the negotiation of the terms of our lease for the new space,” says Kellegrew.
Kellegrew not only represents Stratus as an entity, but also the organization’s employees. “A new sick leave law became effective in Massachusetts July 1, 2015, and it’s my job to ensure the company is in compliance with this new law,” he adds. “Employee relations are a big part of what I and almost all general counsels do.”
Kellegrew says it’s his job to understand Stratus, including its goals and company culture, inside and out. “Although I work with so many aspects of law, a large positive is that I have one client [Stratus] and I know that client inside and out,” he explains. “I try to know what that client needs before they ask me. I get to help people go in a direction that makes things move more smoothly and easily. I feel that I’m an integral part of the management team and get to give serious input as we decide how many items are to move forward.”
Today, reliable networks and IT infrastructure are necessities and these applications run under increasingly demanding circumstances. As Stratus Technologies Inc. paves the way in always-on systems, the firm is backed by an expert general counsel that helps guides its growth and continued prosperity.
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