RALEIGH Bandwidth , a Triangle-born provider of communications-related services that has grown into a venture with global reach, might be riding high at the moment after recently hitting the $2 billion valuation mark.

But as its founder and CEO David Morken can attest, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing. He credits one thing for getting him through: his Christian faith.

“I’m a Jesus freak,” he proudly admits during a recent interview at Bandwidth’s headquarters at NC State’s Centennial Campus.

“It’s near and dear to me.”

Bandwidth logo


Back in 1999, the young attorney-turned-entrepreneur, fresh from serving in the Marine Corps as a judge advocate, co-founded the Raleigh-based software communications company in a friend’s spare bedroom.

However, success didn’t just happen overnight. He refused to give up in the face of multiple challenges.

“I crawl under my desk and pray often. That’s me,” says Morken, who was born into a family of faith with grandparents as missionaries.

“The highs and the lows are extreme. You stare into the void of probabilities that are really low, and in my experience, if I don’t have faith and my God at the center of my life, I can’t do it.”

In 2017, Bandwidth went public and a photo (seen with this post) captures Morken pointing to the sky as he stands on the Nasdaq podium. At the high point of the venture, from startup to Wall Street, Morken counted his blessings.

At the time, Laura Baverman wrote in WRAL TechWire:

“Throughout a morning of celebration and anticipation at the tech company-friendly exchange, Morken pointed to the sky in thanks to God. He thanked employees in the room and back home watching a webcast in Raleigh and Denver.

Samples of Bandwidth messaging. (Bandwidth image)

“And in the moments after trading of the stock called BAND began, Morken called an ‘all hands’ meeting, leading the entire room in a prayer for his employees, customers and for ‘the mission ahead of us.'”

Later that month, Morken talked with WRAL TechWire Editor Rick Smith about his faith and the team that helped him turn Bandwidth from startup into a public company.

“Above all, the glory goes to God for the many blessings he bestowed upon our great company.,” he explained.

“My family has been a major source of encouragement and support throughout the building of Bandwidth.

“Without my co-founder Henry Kaestner, none of this would be possible. [Former general counsel] John Murdock and [chief financial officer] Jeff Hoffman have paved the path to where we stand today, helping us prepare to become a publicly traded company.

“Each of our customers and investors have been instrumental in our growth and development. Our team is our lifeblood – everyone should have the opportunity to work with a group of people as talented, fun, disciplined and committed to each other and to serving customers as they are.”

A “spirit-oriented” workplace

Bandwidth employs people of all faiths.  Still, Morken says he’s committed to creating a work culture that preserves the “mind, body and spirit” of all his some 700 employees.

That means 90-minute workout lunches, a vacation email embargo and a “Whole Person Challenge” where employees can earn free days off if they take part in regular challenges of mind, body and spirit, including reading specific books, try new activities and working out 20 hours a month.

In addition, corporate chaplains visit the office once a week to engage with employees.

“It’s a 100 percent optional program,” says the firm’s chief marketing officer Noreen Allen. “If employees want to talk to them, or use them a resource, they can. If an employee doesn’t want to engage with the Chaplains, they don’t have to. Sadly, we had a couple of our employees battle terminal illnesses and die over the last eight years, and the Chaplains were an invaluable resource for their families during that time.”

Bandwidths chief marketing officer Noreen Allen shows off posters from the firm’s regular “Whole Person Challenges.”

Morken is also active in the community. Back in 2009, he and Kaestner, started DurhamCares, a faith-based mission committed to community engagement.

“The mission of DurhamCares is to foster collaboration, develop leaders, and educate the people of our city to care for their neighbors in holistic ways,” the group says.

Henry Kaestner, former CEO and chair of Bandwidth, is managing principal of Sovereigns Capital. Sovereigns Capital photo.

“DurhamCares takes its mission inspiration from the story of the Good Samaritan – the call to love God first and love our neighbor as ourselves (Matt 22:37-39). Our vision is the biblical concept of shalom (Jer. 29:7), a comprehensive flourishing for all people. We envision a city where there is peace and justice, where there is nothing missing and nothing broken – where Durham residents love their neighbors.

“As a Christian organization we work primarily with churches while affirming, celebrating and collaborating with groups and people of other faiths.”

Among its many initiatives, it mobilized more than 800 residents to volunteer, raising around $200,000 for Durham non-profits.

Morken wouldn’t have it any other way.

“My relationship with my Lord helps me to treat people right,” he says. “For me, it’s a calling to lead and be part of this team and do the right thing every day.”

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