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54th Cable Pioneers Class Scales Industry Heights

Cable TV Pioneers 54 key art
(Image credit: Cable TV Pioneers)

The Cable TV Pioneers  have made history again. For 50 years, the organization’s induction ceremony was held in conjunction with the annual NCTA–The Television & Internet Association convention. When that show folded its tent, the Pioneers induction moved to Denver, just before the start of the SCTE-ISBE Cable-Tec Expo in October. But like every other industry celebration this year, the Cable TV Pioneers 54th annual induction didn’t involve dinner in a convention center ballroom. Instead, the 2020 Pioneers were honored virtually, direct from Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Pioneers Dave Fellows and Yvette Kanouff  hosted the televised and streamed ceremony from Spring Creek Ranch, a resort set in a 1,000-acre wildlife preserve with the Teton mountain range as the backdrop. With production support from New England Sports Network, the class of 2020’s induction was televised Dec. 4 by
C-SPAN3 and C-SPAN.org.

Fellows and Kanouff welcomed 22 honorees, who joined the more than 700 colleagues inducted since 1966. And for those who didn’t catch the live telecast, the induction ceremony  will be streamed on cabletvpioneers.com starting Monday, Dec. 7 . 

Jeff Berenson

Berenson (Image credit: Cable TV Pioneers)

Jeff Berenson

An early advocate of advanced video technology, Jeff Berenson’s expertise has been invaluable to small cable operators seeking to make the most of their DOCSIS networks.

Berenson’s career has seen his involvement in a wide range of national and international projects, including video-on-demand, set-top box improvements and billing and provisioning technologies at Digital Equipment, Spyglass/OpenTV, Bearing Point and Vidiom, as well as consulting on integration of large acquisitions for Comcast and Charter Communications. He was senior VP of engineering and then SVP of product management for guide products with Rovi, where he filed several patents.

As president of consulting firm ITV Partners, Berenson continues to assist cable TV vendors and operators and other startup companies in the broadband, OTT, telecom and satellite industries.

A guest lecturer on the video industry at Harvard University, Berenson has also addressed Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers members and MBA students at Southern New Hampshire University on pro sports broadcast rights and marketing.

Paul Broadhurst

Broadhurst (Image credit: Cable TV Pioneers)

Paul Broadhurst

Starting with a small investment 30 years ago, Paul Broadhurst built Technetix Group into a leader in the manufacture of headend and access fiber transmission equipment. 

He entered cable at the United Kingdom-based consulting company PA Consulting Group, where he worked on the satellite antennas for the launch of British Satellite Broadcasting, a predecessor to BSkyB. With two other engineers and a $15,000 investment, he launched a startup whose first order was for radio-frequency upconverters that enabled the delivery of six TV channels on Aberdeen Cable’s old 250-MHz system. Today, Technetix, which is affiliated with Liberty Global Ventures, serves cable operators across Europe, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region.

Broadhurst holds 17 patents. He has held leadership positions with SCTE Europe and contributed to its initiatives. Outside of his industry work, he supports Chestnut Tree House, a children’s hospice in the U.K., and serves as a council member of the Confederation of British Industry.

Rick Cimerman

Cimerman (Image credit: Cable TV Pioneers)

Rick Cimerman

A former public utilities telecom director, Rick Cimerman joined NCTA–The Internet & Television Association in 1995 to help member companies navigate state telecom policy. His expertise was critical in helping cable companies address the complicated regulatory requirements involved in entering the telephone business.

Cimerman, now NCTA’s VP, external and state affairs, works with member companies’ state-government relations teams to coordinate industry policy and build coalitions. He also plays a critical role with state associations, holding regular advisory meetings with their government relations leaders.

Often representing the industry before state legislators and regulators, Cimerman testifies across the U.S. on issues such as network neutrality. He has been a strong voice for the cable industry, presenting its point of view on a wide variety of issues related to delivery of voice and broadband services. He also leads NCTA’s telecommunications  group.

Beyond his industry work, Cimerman holds a leadership role with the Internet Education Foundation.

Robert Foote

Foote (Image credit: Cable TV Pioneers)

Robert Foote 

When Bob Foote joined mom-and-pop operator Ipswich Cablevision in 1980 as a technician, formal training was not widely available. He learned on the job and relied on the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers as an educational resource. His involvement with SCTE grew along with his career. He became operations manager at Ipswich, and then moved to the supplier side of the business as a regional sales rep for Arris in 1986. He became sales VP at Arris, then joined TriNet Communications as sales VP. In 2012, he was named assistant VP, MSO sales at KGPCo, where he continues to support cable operators. 

Foote has served on the SCTE New England chapter board since 1989, including three years as chapter president. He received multiple SCTE chapter awards, and was inducted into the SCTE national Hall of Fame in 2016. In addition to his work in the industry, Foote volunteers with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America.

Daniel Grenier

Grenier (Image credit: Cable TV Pioneers)

Daniel Greiner

Earning his industry stripes as project manager with Henderson Cable, Daniel Greiner oversaw plant buildouts and installation workflow. Three years later, he moved to GS Communications, where he oversaw multiple dwelling unit construction, high-speed data construction and capital budgeting. His next stops were at EchoStar Communications as operations manager and then Comcast, where he oversaw cable, voice, and data deployments in Richmond, Virginia. In 2009, Greiner was named sales manager, MSO for JDSU (Viavi Solutions), where he worked until 2017. Today, as director of sales for 4th Wave Technologies, he is responsible for regional and corporate account management.

Greiner has held a number of leadership positions with the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers. His spare time is devoted to volunteer work with community groups including Little League, Boy Scouts and homeless shelters for veterans. With Tuckahoe (New York) Little League, he coached and worked on the group’s annual Challenger
Day event for children with disabilities.

Steve Kaplan

Kaplan (Image credit: Cable TV Pioneers)

Steve Kaplan

As a subcontractor with TelePrompTer in the late ’70s, Steve Kaplan was involved in the company’s return to franchising after many years with the first cable system in North Ridgeville, Ohio. In 1983, he founded Multilink, a designer and manufacturer of equipment for broadband operators worldwide. Under Kaplan’s leadership as CEO, the company has grown from a handful of employees to more than 300. Products include power supply modules and fiber-optic products, fiber distribution
hub cabinets and architectural raceway molding. Multilink now holds more than 40 patents.

Kaplan has been involved with the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers throughout his career, and has been a board member of its Alaska chapter for 12 years. An active community volunteer, he developed programs for the Elyria (Ohio) Kiwanis Club, built facilities for the city of Elyria, and built an internet system for a local Boy Scouts camp. Kaplan has also managed the local cemetery for 23 years.

Craig Leddy

Leddy  (Image credit: Cable TV Pioneers)

Craig Leddy

Journalist and entrepreneur Craig Leddy entered the industry in 1982, covering regulatory affairs in Washington for Cablevision magazine. He was the first Washington bureau chief for Electronic Media, and as news editor increased its coverage of cable. He returned to Cablevision to become its longest-serving editor. 

Leddy analyzed Time Warner’s Full Service Network project and went on to conduct market analysis for the Myers Group. He then founded Interactive TV Works, a company that provides a variety of analysis and communications services to a wide range of industry clients, in 2000. He has developed multiple courses on the industry for the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, Women in Cable Telecommunications and other organizations. 

In 2011, Leddy founded the Interactive Case Competition, an annual student case-study contest for teams comprised of MBA students. Now in its ninth year, the competition has welcomed more than 300 student competitors. In addition, he frequently volunteers in support of local, national and international charities.

Ann Montgomery

Montgomery (Image credit: Cable TV Pioneers)

Ann Montgomery

From her early days as a billing installation consultant with Compulink to her current position leading field operations as area VP, central Texas at Charter Communications, Ann Montgomery has delivered results. She oversaw the introduction of Tele-Communications Inc.’s customer service philosophy, sparking an industry-wide transition to focus on customers. Promotions at TCI and executive roles with Adelphia Communications and Comcast followed.

At Liberty Global in Amsterdam, she standardized business practices for offices in multiple countries, work that included consolidating 68 outsourced call-center vendors into four partner companies. At Charter, she launched Advanced WiFi in 2019. 

Montgomery received the NCTA Vanguard Award for Cable Operations Management, and was a WICT Woman to Watch and a Wonder Women honoree. On the WICT Foundation board, she was instrumental in launching the organization’s PAR(Pay Advancement & Resources) Initiative. Montgomery was also vice chair for the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center and membership director for the Boy Scouts of America in Amsterdam.

Louise Mooney

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Louise Mooney

Behind-the-scenes communications professional Louise Mooney has often been in the room where cable history happened. In 1980, when she was Louise Rauscher, she joined HBO to publicize the young network’s original shows. She then founded public relations firm Rauscher and Associates, with MTV as an early client. She established cable programming with the Television Critics Association and helped launch the Walter Kaitz
Foundation.

As NCTA’s VP of industry communications in 1984, Mooney created cable’s first national public-relations program and launched the industry’s first national consumer research. In 1988, she helped create Cable in the Classroom, and became its first CEO after she and NCTA president Jim Mooney announced their engagement.

Mooney co-founded JLM Partners in 1998, serving broadband, wireless, consumer electronics and digital media companies. Throughout her career, she has offered pro bono support to the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing and other industry nonprofits. She also volunteers with Seattle nonprofits Common Purpose and Mary’s Place.

Dan O'Brien

(Image credit: Cable TV Pioneers)

Daniel O’Brien

Starting as a general manager with Jones Intercable, Dan O’Brien rose through the ranks to VP of business development with Warner Cable, where he introduced pay-per-view. As Cincinnati VP, operations for Time Warner Cable, he oversaw the turnaround of the company’s worst-performing division. 

Moving up the ladder, O’Brien was named president of Time Warner Satellite. As PrimeStar president and chief operating officer, he oversaw a six-way merger that culminated in a sale of the satellite TV platform to DirecTV. O’Brien was named
CEO of HSA, a public high-speed ISP, and led the sale of the company to Charter Communications in 2002. His next move was CEO of Brief Original Broadcasts and then chairman of Digitalsmiths, which TiVo purchased in 2014. He now leads Mediashift, a data aggregator for content streaming companies and advertisers. 

O’Brien has served on a number of NCTA committees and the WICT Foundation board. He is an active adviser with the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network-Colorado.

Elaine Partridge

Partridge (Image credit: Cable TV Pioneers )

Elaine Partridge

Elaine Partridge learned the cable ropes as executive assistant to the CEO of Galaxy Cablevision. She went on to be named the company’s director of programming and marketing. She joined newly formed NewWave Communications in 2006 as director of programming, helping create a department from scratch. NewWave promoted her to VP of programming in 2013, and she facilitated due diligence for 24 merger and sale transactions.

In 2017, Partridge joined Vast Broadband as VP of special projects. Her work on the company’s e-commerce channel led to a 400% increase in sales and revenue. She served on the WICT and Missouri Cable Telecommunications Association boards and is currently vice chair of the NCTC board. The Mid-America Cable Telecommunications Association honored Partridge with its 2017 Pathfinder Award. 

Partridge volunteers with the YMCA and other local charities, and created a Vast-sponsored community event in conjunction with the local Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo.

Shane Portfolio

Portfolio (Image credit: Cable TV Pioneers)

Shane Portfolio

Former U.S. Army platoon Sgt. Shane Portfolio has brought military discipline to his cable career, starting as a call-center agent for Tele-Communications Inc./AT&T Broadband. He advanced to senior director of network operations for Comcast, moved on to regional VP/engineering roles, and then senior VP of engineering. He is concurrently working on a Ph.D. at North Central University with a focus on women and people of color in the technology industry.

Portfolio is also an active volunteer. He was Region 1 director for the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers and vice chairman of its advanced engineering group. He served as vice chair of the Women in Cable Telecommunications National Board and has been a popular speaker for the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications, WICT and SCTE/ISBE. Beyond the industry, he serves on multiple boards of directors, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Metropolitan State University and the Denver Foundation. In addition, he is a committed philanthropist for Autism Speaks, the United Way and the Red Cross.

Richard Prodan

Prodan (Image credit: Cable TV Pioneers)

Richard Prodan

Richard Prodan brought years of electrical engineering experience to CableLabs in 1990. As senior VP and chief technical officer, he led a team focused on downstream transmission of digital TV and bidirectional transmission of high-speed data. He was then senior VP and chief scientist at Terayon and VP and chief technology officer with Broadband Communications; and a Broadcom fellow, set-top box and cable modem group. He was instrumental in establishing DOCSIS 2.0, 3.0, 3.1 and full duplex (FDX) cable data standards. Prodan is currently a Comcast fellow in the Next Generation Access Networks group.

In addition to his many technological contributions, Prodan holds 76 patents and is an IEEE Life Fellow for leadership in the development of high-definition TV and broadband networks. He is an SCTE Rocky Mountain associate board member. Volunteer work outside the industry has included involvement with YMCA Indian Guides, the Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers Association and teaching at Cooper Union.

Joe Quane

Quane (Image credit: Cable TV Pioneers)

Joe Quane

After 10 years as a high school teacher and coach, Joe Quane joined the Scientific Atlanta sales force — one of the first non-engineers to do so. Over 15 years with SA, he advanced to Western regional manager and then national account VP with SA/Cisco Systems. When cable went digital, he built relationships that led to partnerships to build set-tops with competitors Pace and Pioneer. He was also instrumental in the early deployment of HDTV at Time Warner Cable. 

Quane founded consulting firm Interim Solutions Group in 2009, and joined EdgeConneX as VP of strategic accounts in 2013.

An enthusiastic supporter of industry nonprofits, Quane helped involve technology companies in Adaptive Spirt, the annual Colorado event originally known as SkiTAM, which raises funds for the U.S. Paralympic Ski Team. He also volunteers with Reel Recovery, Catholic Charities of Denver, Kilimanjaro Technology Foundation and Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, among other groups.

Zak Raley

Raley (Image credit: Cable TV Pioneers)

Zak Raley

An industry advocate in the U.S. and abroad, Zak Raley began his cable career in 1996 in Japan, where he opened the sales office for Times Fiber Communications, a subsidiary of Amphenol. After returning to the U.S., he ultimately became TFC’s president and CEO. In 2007, he added an Amphenol title to his business card. As SVP/VP of Amphenol’s
RF, optics, and broadband divisions and TFC president and CEO,
Raley is responsible for 20 global operating units.

Raley is fluent in Japanese, and promotes cable at trade shows and technical training seminars domestically and overseas. A dedicated member of the SCTE, he also sponsors broadband and engineering internships for new technology graduates and MBA candidate business development internships with broadband and wireless companies.

He also volunteers as a teacher with K-9 charter school Rocky Mountain Academy, and provides therapy animals for paraplegic patients at Craig Hospital through Bear-Paw Therapy Animals.

Dick Rohm

Rohm (Image credit: Cable TV Pioneers)

Dick Rohm

Starting in 1973 as a producer/director for General Electric Cablevision’s local channel in Decatur, Illinois, Dick Rohm embraced the young industry and became a cable installer. He made his way through increasingly responsible jobs with cable systems in Illinois and Wisconsin before joining Cable One (Sparklight) in 1997. As a regional engineer, he was responsible for systems in eight states, overseeing rebuilds, fiber deployment and implementation of fiber-to-the-home architecture.

As director of engineering for Sparklight’s West Division since 2001, Rohm developed a tool to keep records of networks and assets up-to-date. He is currently engineering a 187-mile backbone for data services in underserved rural Arizona communities.

Actively involved with the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers and Women in Cable Telecommunications, he was instrumental in the growth of SCTE chapters in central Illinois and Idaho. He volunteers with UNICEF, Wounded Warriors and Special Olympics, among others. Rohm also serves on the board of DanceMotion Performing Company, a Phoenix nonprofit.

Jeff Ross

Ross  (Image credit: Cable TV Pioneers)

Jeff Ross

A veteran of New England Telephone, Jeff Ross began his cable career as director of operations for Time Warner Cable’s Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, division, where he led the deployment of a regional fiber network. As VP, national operations, he was responsible for TWC’s joint venture with US West. In 1998, he joined UPC, the predecessor of Liberty Global. During three years in Amsterdam, he launched residential phone service in the Netherlands, France, Norway and Austria, and went on to serve as president of UPC’s French cable operator.

Ross returned to the U.S. in 2003 as president of private cable operator Armstrong Utilities, where he has been a champion of customer service and new technology.

A committed volunteer within and outside the industry, Ross has served on the boards of the National Cable Television Cooperative, ACA Connects and the Pennsylvania Cable TV Association. He supports multiple charitable organizations, including Armstrong’s Healing Heroes, which provides trained service dogs for disabled veterans.

Peter Ruben

Ruben (Image credit: Cable TV Pioneers)

Peter Ruben

Peter Ruben interned at Warner Amex Satellite Entertainment and got his first marketing job with Warner Amex Cable in 1983. He advanced through several posts in operations marketing to become VP of sales and marketing with Paragon Cable in Los Angeles and New York. 

Moving to the programming side in 1994, Ruben joined USA Networks as VP, national accounts and then senior VP, affiliate relations. When USA was sold in 2001, Ruben built affiliate relations for HSN. He helped take the company public in 2008, launched HSN2 and worked with HSN until it was sold in late 2017. After earning a master of science degree in business analytics, he briefly led Ion Media’s distribution relations team. 

Ruben is a founding member of the CTAM Educational Foundation, and worked to involve HSN in the Women in Cable Telecommunications PAR (Pay Advancement & Resources) Initiative. He now serves as volunteer chief operating officer of the International Professors Project, a largely virtual worldwide volunteer network of professors.

Charles Segars

Segars (Image credit: Cable TV Pioneers)

Charles Segars

With a resume worthy of a feature film, Charles Segars is a writer and public servant as well as a CEO and board member of Ovation. He began his cable career as director of programming for Viacom, and advanced to executive roles at CBS and Dreamworks SKG. As Dreamworks Animation’s digital strategy adviser and head of YouTube Nation, Segars counseled Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Segars also moonlighted as a screenwriter, creating the National Treasure series of films.

Segars supports industry organizations as a speaker, sponsor and legislative advocate. He was also a deputy reserve sheriff for Los Angeles County, and from 2009-2016 was a White House associate and advance team leader for the Office of the President and Vice President of the United States. He supports arts organizations including Americans for the Arts and the Alvin Ailey Gala. This year, he sourced and secured sponsorship of 10 million N95 masks for inner-city hospitals.

Gemma Toner

Toner (Image credit: Cable TV Pioneers)

Gemma Toner

Situated at the intersection of big data, technology and digital media, Gemma Toner got her start selling advertising at Rainbow Media. In leadership positions with AMC Networks, she directed the development of new-media content and interactivity. As a senior VP with Cablevision Systems, she developed an enterprise-wide big-data strategy. She holds two patents for methods of using set-top box data to measure audience viewing patterns.

In 2016, she founded Tone Networks, a content, data and over-the-top platform company and online community of women helping women.

Toner is a past chairperson of the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, held a number of chapter leadership positions and was honored with a CTAM TAMI Award. She is also a past board member of Women in Cable Telecommunications and was honored as one of the Multichannel News Wonder Women in 2012.

Since 2016, Toner has served on the board of Concern Worldwide, a 50-year-old international humanitarian organization partnering with local communities to assist people living in extreme poverty.

John Williams

Williams (Image credit: Cable TV Pioneers)

John Williams

John Williams brings a front-line perspective to engineering leadership at Charter Communications. He started out digging service laterals by hand as a Falcon Cable installer in 1982. He went on to work as a contract installer, and then as technical operations manager for an Arizona cable system through several ownership changes. 

Williams joined Charter in 2006 as engineering manager, advancing to senior director in Southern California before moving to Denver as senior director with the company’s advanced video engineering group. Today, as VP of engineering and architecture, he oversees all aspects of the hybrid fiber coaxial outside plant from headend to home, as well as engineering for Charter’s commercial enterprise customers.

An active Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers member for 23 years, Williams served on the Deseret chapter board and is currently an associate board member with the Rocky Mountain chapter. He helped create an MSO consortium focused on extended spectrum. He also volunteers with community organizations that help homeless people.

Ronald Wolfe

Wolfe (Image credit: Cable TV Pioneers)

Ronald Wolfe

Forty-year cable veteran Ron Wolfe, most recently senior director of engineering and architecture at Charter Communications, died Nov. 25 in Aurora, Colorado at 63, following a month-long battle with COVID-19. 

Wolfe started in the industry installing cable with Warner Cable in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, eventually becoming responsible for materials evaluation and approval at Warner’s national division. He joined ATC/Time Warner Cable in 1987, leading the company’s Denver training center. As director of plant engineering, he supported TWC’s national HFC deployment. He led network systems integration and affiliate relations for @Home Networks, and then moved on to Aurora Networks and BigBand Networks. He joined Charter in 2014.

A Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers senior member, Wolfe served on several national committees and the Rocky Mountain chapter board. He has been honored as SCTE Member of the Year.

As a volunteer, Wolfe worked with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the American Lung Association, among others. At the time of his death, he was in the early stages of founding a nonprofit to help at-risk youngsters who lost their fathers.