Former Samsung executive leads First Orion as new president, COO

In some ways, Joe Stinziano is leading a company whose business is all about getting people to use their cell phones the way they were originally intended: to talk to people.

In the age of robocalling and text messaging, a lot of people don’t have any interest in using their phones to actually talk. Who answers their phone when it’s an unidentifiable number?

First Orion, based in North Little Rock, Arkansas, today announced that Stinziano is its new president and COO. He joins current CEO and Chairman Charles Morgan, who has been with the company since 2008.

Joseph Stinziano First Orion President COO
Joe Stinziano (First Orion )

First Orion has gone through several iterations since it was first established, according to Stinziano. It started out as a company trying to make it easier for consumers to report unwanted landline calls to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It morphed into a leading provider for call protection and claims to be first to market with a STIR/SHAKEN implementation for a Tier 1 U.S. carrier.

More recently, it’s moving to a branded model, where it wants to help businesses by informing call recipients who’s calling and why. Its branded products are called INFORM and ENGAGE.  

Legitimate businesses need an opportunity to communicate with consumers. “It’s one of those opportunities, I thought, boy, who wouldn’t want that? Who wouldn’t want to see who’s calling them? That’s our basic mission, to connect those two parties,” he said.    

An example is a delivery service. If a driver is trying to make a delivery and the recipient doesn’t know who’s calling, the call is likely to go unanswered. But both sides of this conversation could benefit by knowing who’s calling and why.

The challenge and the opportunity are that “the verticals are endless here,” he said. “Everyone, we believe, can benefit from this service,” whether it’s a small landscaping company or a big financial services provider.

Stinziano joins First Orion after a 12-year career at Samsung Electronics North America, where he most recently served as the executive vice president of the consumer business division. Prior to that, he held leadership roles at Sony Electronics, AT&T and D&M Holdings.  

“One of my key roles here is going to be to help set the company up for this next period of growth,” he said. “First Orion has done extremely well at this first area of call protection, and now as we get into branded calling, you can imagine with 400 employees… We’re going to have to scale” in ways that get the message out and build on its distribution strategies.

First Orion has a long-time partnership with T-Mobile and counts Metro by T-Mobile and Boost Mobile Networks among its clients. But it’s in one of those fuzzy areas where competitors may become partners and vice versa. Transaction Network Services (TNS), Hiya and Neustar are some of the other players in this space.

Companies need branded calling more than ever, he said. The current economic situation isn’t expected to be a huge challenge “because businesses still need to talk to customers. We improve answer rates. We improve call rates. We improve engagement levels with branded calling, so I’m very happy to walk into any office and talk about branded calling right now because it is an efficiency tool,” he said.

“The culture here is truly something,” he said, noting he just went through the new hire orientation process this week. “What we do matters, and we need to take this message to a whole bunch of new people and customers out there. We’re doing things that no one else is doing.”

The company is building a culture that’s “tremendous,” he added, with software engineers and data scientists dominating its ranks. “I think this is a place where I can really make a difference and we can grow this to be something really special.”