Founder of Nevada City’s Telestream steps down as CEO | TheUnion.com

Founder of Nevada City’s Telestream steps down as CEO

Telestream CEO Dan Castles speaks with the local interns from area tech companies during intern connection day at Telestream's Nevada City campus.

Telestream CEO Dan Castles, who helped found the company in 1988, stepped down Tuesday.

Castles announced his retirement effective immediately; former Cisco executive Scott Puopolo, a current Telestream board member, was named to take over.

"It will be a new chapter, that's for sure," Castles said Tuesday afternoon. He said he has been working on this transition with the board for the last 15 months and he had wanted to make that 20-year mark.

"Once I turned 60, I was looking at life, from the Telestream perspective," he said. "What's the time obligation going forward? It got to the point where I wasn't prepared to stay (another five years)."

Castles said the transition has been a smooth process.

"The company is in a great spot," he said. "This is a chance to bring in new energy and perspectives; it's not a bad thing."

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Telestream is one of the many spinoffs from one of the founding companies of Nevada County's high-tech industry, Grass Valley Group. By the 1980s, the Grass Valley Group had established itself as a video industry leader; its designers, engineers and manufacturers eventually founded more than 20 different video companies in the area.

Castles, president of Grass Valley Group in the mid-1990s, launched Telestream in February 1998, with ImMix engineers Shawn Carnahan and Steve Tilly.

"We started the company competing with people like FedEx and people you had to overnight video to each other," Castles told The Union in 2014. "And we came out with a product that allowed you to send high-quality video over the internet. And back in 1998, believe it or not, it was a big deal."

Telestream — a leader in video transcoding (the process that converts a video file from one format to another, to make videos viewable across different platforms and devices) and network-based delivery — has grown over the years from a small team of 11 to more 400 employees worldwide.

Castles said that he will remain on the board but will play a lesser role, possibly helping with merger and acquisition work.

He also will continue to be the ambassador for Telestream's extensive involvement with the community, saying that philanthropy is a "board-level conviction" for the company.

Puopolo has been on the seven-member board of Telestream for about a year and a half, Castles said, adding, "he's coming in with a really good perspective. So, for me, it's a point of confidence to depart, knowing he understands and respects what we do. … His value set is in sync with Telestream and that was hugely important to me as we worked on the transition."

Prior to joining Telestream, Puopolo was executive vice president at iconectiv, a service and software provider enabling device, application and network identity and interconnection. He spent 14 years at Accenture before working for nearly a decade at Cisco Systems.

"Under Dan's leadership, Telestream has developed into one of the most dynamic players in the media and entertainment sector and I am both honored and humbled to have been chosen as its new chief executive," Puopolo said in a news release.

Puopolo will spend some time in Nevada City but will be based in Massachusetts, the site of recent acquisition IneoQuest.

Nevada City will remain "the mother ship" of Telestream, Castles said,

Castles had been wearing two hats — as CEO of Telestream, which now includes IneoQuest, and as the overall manager of the Nevada City site.

"There will be a person here running the site to be named, maybe at the start of 2018," he said, adding the odds are that it will be a current staff member. "The idea is that I will continue to fill that role (until then)."

Castles admitted that retiring has been a difficult decision, but one validated by a recent health scare that landed him in the hospital.

"It is hard," he said. "When you've been part of something since its inception — you helped shaped it. I loved the people, I loved the company. It's tough to say I want to move on."

Castles said he is looking ahead to some other opportunities, and a change of pace.

"I'm looking forward to no planes, trains or automobiles for a while," he said. "We're not leaving the area … It's just time to travel less, to take life down a couple of notches."

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lkellar@theunion.com.