Leadership Team

Our Leadership Team: Proven Business and Operational Success
14 years and Counting

Peerless Network is led by a team of individuals with proven business and operational success.

Deep expertise in the telecommunications industry and proven business and operational success is what makes Peerless’ leadership team so unique. The combination of their talents across a variety of disciplines, including technology, operations, strategy, sales and marketing, provides the structure for a world-class organization. And for over 14 years, we’ve been growing and delivering on that promise.

Read more about what makes each member of our leadership team so outstanding. To learn more about Peerless and our culture, visit our “About Us” page. Also, feel free to follow Peerless on LinkedIn for the latest information on what’s happening at Peerless.

John Barnicle

President and Chief Executive Officer

John Barnicle has 30 years of leadership experience in the telecommunications industry. Prior to founding Peerless Network, John was President and Chief Executive Officer of Lynch Interactive Corp. where he led the effort to take the company private. Under his leadership the firm grew non-regulated revenue streams on a 20% annual pace and reduced the company’s reliance on USF (Universal Service Fund) financial support.

Prior to Lynch Interactive Corp., John served as Co-founder, President and Chief Operating Officer of Neutral Tandem Inc., which he helped grow from inception to an annualized revenue run rate of over $40 million in just 20 months. Under John’s leadership, Neutral Tandem became EBITDA positive within 12 months of providing service. His leadership established the foundation for the company’s successful Initial Public Offering in November 2007.

Prior to Neutral Tandem, John was Co-founder, President and Chief Operating Officer of Focal Communications Corp. With direct responsible for all day-to-day activities of the company, John grew Focal to over $350M in annualized revenue in less than six years, guided the company to an operating profit in its first full year of operations and was involved in raising over $800 million in capital during that period, including a successful IPO in July 1999. John also held executive management roles at MFS Communications, Duff and Phelps Credit Rating Company and Centel Corporation.

John earned an M.B.A. in Finance from DePaul University and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering with an emphasis on RF communications systems from the University of Illinois at Champaign.

Lisa B. Neimark

Chief Financial Officer

Lisa B. Neimark has over 30 years of technical experience in finance and accounting and extensive practical experience transforming companies through mergers and acquisitions and organic revenue growth. Lisa has driven results by advising CEOs, boards of directors, senior executives, lenders and shareholders of public and privately held companies in complex transactions and financial and operational matters. She has been responsible for leading the execution of strategic transactions throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe and Asia and is consistently recognized as a dedicated, collaborative and principled leader with strong problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Lisa has held CFO positions at PSL North America, Palm Bay Academy, Johnson Publishing Company and other major companies. In addition, she has held executive level positions with firms such as Duff & Phelps, Macquarie Capital, Capstone Advisory Group and Ernst & Young Corporate Finance.

Lisa has a B.S. from Indiana University in Accountancy and successfully completed the Executive Program at Kellogg School of Business, Northwestern University.

Richard Knight

Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing

As co-founder of Peerless Network, Rick has 25 years of award-winning business building experience including launching of new technologies and products, creating local and national marketing programs, acquiring new customers and directly impacting corporate margins by increasing gross revenues. Rick has developed, sold, supported, engineered and implemented customer solutions that achieved high-margin revenues and his experience includes Fortune 500, affinity and wholesale market segments.

As Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for TeleGuam Holdings, Rick was responsible for developing sales and support teams and interconnections agreements while selling mobile, long distance, data and local services. Rick’s efforts included the development of national, business and residential account teams focused on revenue generation while maintaining margins in excess of 75%. Rick has held senior management positions with Focal Communications Corporation and MCI.

Rick earned a M.B.A. from DePaul University and a B.A. from the University of Iowa in 1985.

Jim Brewer

Executive Vice President, Products and Technology

Jim Brewer has more than 20 years of experience of driving results within the telecommunications industry. Jim brings extensive knowledge of designing, deploying and operating carrier-class VoIP and IMS networks and services to Peerless Network. As a co-founder of Peerless Network and Executive Vice President, Products and Technology, Jim is responsible for the product development and architecture/engineering of the Peerless voice, messaging, and UCaaS services. Jim is also responsible for the software development of the Peerless Portal, Peerless LCR and all ancillary call routing applications.

Prior to Peerless, Jim served as Manager of VoIP Engineering for Focal Communications, where he led the successful launch of the wholesale VoIP service. Following the company’s acquisition by Broadwing Communications, he oversaw the VoIP engineering team and managed the integration of the Broadwing and Focal Communications networks.

Jim studied computer engineering at the University of Iowa and holds a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications management from DeVry University.

Tony Hiller

Executive Vice President Operations and Engineering

Tony Hiller brings more than 23 years of experience in the telecom industry to Peerless Network. Throughout his career, he has successfully helped teams design, optimize and operate carrier networks while maximizing performance at minimal cost. Tony is a co-founder of Peerless and serves as Executive Vice President, Engineering and Architecture. In his role, he oversees design, build, deployment and engineering of the company’s network, systems and facilities. Tony co-authored several of the company’s key patents.

Tony previously led teams at Level3 and Broadwing Communications overseeing network engineering, planning, architecture and internet peering. During his time at Level3, he assisted with the post-acquisition integration of multiple acquired networks, including Broadwing’s. He also held key positions at Broadwing Communications, Focal Communications and Interaccess Corp.

Tony studied computer science and human computer interaction at DePaul University.

Bob Sherman

Vice President, Information Technology

Bob Sherman has over 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. Bob was one of the initial employees at Peerless and currently serves as Vice President, Information Technology. In his role, he is responsible for overseeing application design and development activities related to CRM, order management, CDR collection, usage rating, billing and reporting. He has extensive knowledge of the back office application infrastructure required to run a telecommunications business.

Prior to Peerless, Bob worked on various ordering, provisioning, billing and reporting systems at Level3, Broadwing Communications and Focal Communications. Prior to Focal, Bob was a senior manager in the Management Consulting and Technology Services unit of PriceWaterhouseCoopers (now IBM Business Consulting). In that role, Bob worked at several Fortune 500 companies in the transportation, retail and healthcare industries.

Bob earned a bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

Steve Hwang

General Manager – Enterprise Business Unit

Steve Hwang has 30 years of experience in the telecommunications and finance industries. Steve was responsible for leading Peerless Network’s 2021 acquisition of Call One Inc., a Chicago-based CLEC, and he has now assumed responsibility for integration, management, and growth of this business unit within the company. Prior to joining Peerless, Steve was Chief Operating Officer of Aventis Asset Management where he was responsible for investor relations, compliance, and operations. He was instrumental in growing the firm into one of the largest discretionary commodities hedge funds in the country.

In 2002, Steve cofounded Royal Phone Company, a Chicago-based CLEC serving both business and residential customers. Steve’s tenure at Royal Phone Company spanned over a decade. Prior to Royal Phone, Steve served as Vice President of Finance and Business Development for Allegiance Telecom, one of the earliest CLECs to go public. At Allegiance, Steve helped raise debt and equity financing to fund the company’s growth as well as executing acquisitions of regional ISPs. Earlier in his career, Steve was Director of Network Planning at MFS Communications, one of the earliest Competitive Access Providers, where he was responsible for business plan development and ICB pricing analyses.

Steve earned his MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. He also holds an AB in History from Dartmouth College.