Leadership Team

X5 Solutions, based in Seattle, Washington, is led by a team of passionate and dedicated communication professionals with one mission: to be the trusted voice and data partner for our customers across the country and around the globe. Our management team has been with X5 for over ten years and has, on average, 17 years of industry experience. We take pride in this tenure as well as the longevity of our customer relationships.

Rick Hirsh – Chairman
Rick brings 35 years of experience in executive management, sales, finance, and operations to X5 Solutions, primarily in technology and software enabled B2B services. Since 1992, Rick has been CEO, active investor and advisor in the mid-market, building companies with significant growth trajectories. Named a Regional Winner of Ernst & Young’s prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year competition in 2012, Rick’s companies have been recognized on the Inc. 500, Deloitte’s Fast 50, and CRN Solution Provider 500.
While Rick has been successful as a CEO driving organic growth, he has earned the respect of the Private Equity community by successfully completing over a dozen acquisitions and leading exits for his team of investors on four separate sales. Most recently, he sold Transcend United Technologies to India-based AGC Networks in 2013. Transcend, an integrator of Unified Communications technologies, grew from $1 million revenues in 2009 to over $45 million in under four years.
Rick and his team have been successful in reading market and technology trends and implementing strategies around a core business and financial model that emphasizes revenue consistency and predictability through long-term recurring services. Rick holds a BS in Applied Mathematics from Brown University and an MBA in Finance from New York University.

Greg Forrest – CEO
Greg joins X5 Solutions as an experienced executive with a 30-year proven track record of creating shareholder value through financial performance in both public and private companies. He is experienced in leading and operating technology-enabled services businesses – all showed significant revenue growth, improved operating leverage and enhanced operational efficiencies. In 2011, Greg was recognized for his accomplishments by being named a Finalist of the Ernst & Young’s prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
He served as CEO/President of XETA Technologies (NASDAQ: XETA) with annual revenues of $100M+ and a headcount of 450 employees. During his tenure at XETA, he implemented growth strategies that doubled XETA’s revenue and improved operating leverage while effecting a significant business transformation. He ultimately engineered a successful sale to PAETEC Holding Corp. (now Windstream) at a significant market premium. Greg most recently launched the U.S. operations for a global Technology Service Provider located in Mumbai, India. This two-year initiative resulted in a profitable $50 million U.S. operating entity where growth was achieved through acquisition and organic methods.
Greg brings extensive expertise in Business Transformation, M&A, Integration, Compliance/Governance and Organizational Change Management to help X5 Solutions unlock its business potential through enterprise transformation.

Nathan Bledsoe – Chief Technology Officer
As Chief Technology Officer, Nate is responsible for establishing the company’s technical vision and supporting all aspects of X5’s technological development. Throughout a career in telecommunications spanning almost 20 years, he has drawn upon his extensive sales and operational background to become a results-oriented strategic thinker.
Since 2002, Nate has helped develop and direct X5’s strategic evolution from being a regional carrier to a nationally respected CLEC. Building on his experience with the day-to-day management of X5’s sales and Vendor Management efforts, he now works with the X5 leadership team and department heads as an advisor on leading edge technologies to help improve the company’s efficiency and effectiveness.
Before joining X5, Nate oversaw sales efforts in the Pacific Northwest for MCI’s Wholesale Carrier Group. While there, he successfully supported a diverse array of Wireless, CLEC and Broadband carriers. Prior to that Nate held a Senior Sales Engineering role with Teligent, where he directly managed many of the CLEC’s largest customers. Early in his career, Nate gained valuable industry experience working at two regional carriers in Seattle, Network ACI and Starlink. He holds a BA in History from the University of Washington and was honorably discharged from the US Army.

Dan Horton – Chief Information Officer
Dan is a 25-year telecommunications and operations executive who provides strong leadership skills in technology management and product development to X5 Solutions.
Prior to his current role as X5 Solutions CIO, Dan served as the company’s Chief Technology Officer for three years and directed X5’s day-to-day operations and operational strategy. Before joining X5 Solutions, he was co-founder and CTO of Who’s Calling, growing the company from a start-up to $75 million in annual sales. The company was successfully sold to Reynolds and Reynolds, a leader in automotive dealer management solutions.
Throughout his career in the industry, Dan has held executive leadership roles as a COO, CIO, CTO and VP of Engineering in CLECs, ISPs and IXCs, dealing with all aspects of Operational Management, Engineering and Development, Product Management, Network Management and Vendor Management. He has unique experience bridging technology, business strategy, product development and operations together while transforming these elements from concepts to business success.

Barbara Meyer – Controller
Barbara joined X5 Solutions as Corporate Controller in 2001. Her strong background in senior-level finance and accounting and her willingness to take on new challenges made her a natural choice for the start-up. Since joining X5, Barbara has expanded her role to cover financial operations, human resources, risk management, tax compliance, and telecommunications regulatory policies. Barbara has been, and continues to be, a key player driving X5’s growth and profitability.

Shawn Kearney – Vice President of Sales
Since 1988, Shawn has served in a number of strategic sales and executive positions for companies including: X5, MCI, Dakotah Direct, and Touch America. As Vice President of Sales & Marketing, he led sales for Dakotah Direct, a West Marketing subsidiary ranked in the top 25 among Contact Management firms. Shawn has served as Vice President of Sales at X5 Solutions since 2003. He brings a breadth of experience in Call Center and Data services to the sales team and has been instrumental in growing X5’s revenue. Shawn is a graduate of Washington State University with a BA in Social Sciences. Shawn currently has dotted-line responsibility for Sales and Support functions as well as Business Development.

Frank Williamson – General Manager, Vice President – Oregon
Prior to launching X5 Solutions’ Alternate Sales Channel in 2002, Frank held various Sales, Operational, and Management positions within the voice and data telecommunications industry. Frank was Sales Executive/Branch Manager for ICON Communications from 1989 to 1996, and Sales Manager/LD Product Manager from 1997 to 1999. He also served as National Account Manager for Adesta Communications from 1999 to 2001. In 2003, Frank was named Vice President and General Manager of X5’s Oregon subsidiary. Frank is a graduate of Oregon State University with a BS in Business Administration.