The Cable TV Pioneers will induct one of its largest classes ever at its 52nd annual banquet. The class of 25 — 20 men and five women — ranges from programmers to pole climbers, marketers to researchers and engineers to operators, with a top cable journalist in the mix for good measure.
Serving once again as a lead-in event before the SCTE-ISBE Cable-Tec Expo, the black-tie (or “classy cocktail”) ceremony will convene Monday, Oct. 22, at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel in Atlanta.
Founded in 1966 during the NCTA convention in Miami, Fla., the original fledgling group of 21 entrepreneurs who gathered to draw attention to the contributions of cable television’s tenacious creators has grown to more than 700 men and women over the past five decades plus.
“We have a great class, wonderful sponsors, and we couldn’t be happier celebrating this event in Atlanta, where cable’s success and growth is so deeply rooted,” David Fellows, dinner chair of the Cable TV Pioneers 52nd Banquet, said.
For more about the event and about the history of the Cable TV Pioneers, visit cabletvpioneers.com. Honoree profiles provided by Cable TV Pioneers.
Judi Allen is a senior vice president with The Nielsen Co. with responsibility for all aspects of sales and service to MVPD clients, a position she has held since 2012. Previously, she had been with Time Warner Cable as vice president of programming and business development. She began her career in cable communications in 1989 as VP of affiliate relations with USA Network. In August 1992, she joined Century Communications as senior VP of marketing and programming. She served on the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing Board and executive committee from 1997 to 2000 and was chair of the pay-per-view conference in her first year of board service. She served on the Strategic Planning Committee for Women in Cable Telecommunications and was honored as Woman of the Year by the Rocky Mountain chapter of WICT in 2007. She has been a frequent speaker for WICT conferences and a repeat mentor in both the Rocky Mountain and New York chapters.
David Baldwin joined HBO as a research analyst in December 1978 and was with the network for more than 30 years. A graduate of Penn State University and New York’s Queens College, he was destined for a career in education before receiving the call from HBO. There, he worked alongside Frank Biondi, Jerry Levin, Jim Heyworth and Michael Fuchs in the early years of satellite-delivered premium television. He rose through the ranks of management to the positions of director, vice president, senior VP and finally executive VP for HBO and Cinemax. Among his many accomplishments, he played a key role in the launches of Take 2, Festival and Comedy Central, logging thousands of air miles visiting MSO headquarters to promote the new product offerings. After 31 years with HBO, he retired from his position as executive VP, but was recruited by Starz CEO Chris Albrecht to assist in developing original series. It was an ideal second act in a remarkable career. He has been a featured speaker at Women in Cable & Telecommunications conferences and a guest lecturer at the Penn State and NYU Schools of Communications.
Michael Bates is a cable industry veteran of more than 40 years. He first signed on with Oxnard Cablevision in southern California as a service technician, with responsibility for system design and construction. Ten years later, he joined American Cablesystems as security manager for operations in New York and New England. In 1990, he moved to Continental Cablevision as general manager. Before joining Comcast in 2003, he was director of security for Media One and AT&T Broadband. At Comcast, he oversees all cable and broadband security operations and manages high-profile investigations. During his long career, he has been involved with numerous undercover operations with local law enforcement authorities, executing search warrants and providing expert witness testimony. He is a two-time winner of the National Cable and Telecommunications “Theft of Service Ideas” Competition and a Broadband & Internet Task Force Security Case Study Competition winner.
Jeff Baumgartner is the senior editor for Light Reading, where he covers cable technology news. Previously, he was technology editor for Multichannel News (where he had worked earlier in his career) and Broadcasting & Cable. He began his cable journey in early 1994 when he joined Jones Education Network and Knowledge TV as PR manager. After three years with Jones, he joined CableFAX Daily as Denver bureau chief and later was editor in chief of CED. He has been a primary chronicler of technology innovation in cable and broadband, and his well-researched articles have earned him the respect of all who follow the industry.
Larry Beauchamp began his cable career of more than four decades with Maclean Hunter’s Suburban Cablevision as chief engineer for TV-3. His responsibilities at Suburban included design and support for all television studio and mobile production operations. In 1980, he joined Comcast as regional director of engineering and technical operations for the Northeast Division, with oversight for all engineering construction and technical operations. In June of 1990, he was promoted to the position of VP of engineering for Comcast’s Northeast Division where he remained until becoming VP of engineering for the company’s East/ West Division. In 2006, he was named VP of engineering operations for Comcast’s West Division. His operational accomplishments led to his being named to the Comcast headquarters team in 2016, with responsibility for deployment and operations of the Comcast Business Services Networks. He has presented to numerous industry groups including the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers and NCTA, and was chosen by Comcast to represent the company at two national shows covering Generation Access Networks and Commercial Business Services.
Shortly after graduating from college in 1977, Jane Bulman began her cable career as local origination program manager for Teleprompter in Wildwood, N.J. She moved to General Electric Cablevision in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1979, then to Showtime’s Southeast Region as district manger for national accounts. While at the network, she was responsible for the launches of Viewer’s Choice, marketing and affiliate relations. In 1988, she became director of marketing for McClean Hunter’s Suburban Cablevision. She was area marketing director for Comcast in New Jersey from 1994 to 1999 and retired in 2016 as a VP, based at the company’s Philadelphia home office. She has been an active member of WICT and CTAM and was a founding member of American Teleservices Association.
Craig Cuttner is senior VP of technology developments & standards for HBO, a position he has held since 1982. Prior to joining HBO, he was a design engineer at CBS Television. He was instrumental in leading HBO from an analog, single-channel offering to today’s multichannel high-definition linear and video-on-demand products. He led the network’s projects to scramble the signal, convert to digital, evolve to HD and introduce HBO On Demand and the IP-based HBO Now and HBO Go services. For the past two decades, he has been a trendsetter for audio and video technical standards, HDTV, 4K and IPTV. Cuttner has been HBO’s spokesperson in multiple industry organizations for more than 30 years, including chairing SCTE’s audio and video encoding standards team, serving as a member of the FCC Advisory Council on Accessibility and as a member of the U.S. State Department’s delegation on global standardization of HDTV.
During his early years in the cable industry, Chris Ewing worked as a sales representative for Southern California-based Western CATV, a family business with MSO clients in Arizona, California and Nevada. In early 1996, he was named general manager for Western, with responsibility for managing distribution, warehousing and front-office operations. He moved to Signal Vision in September 2000 to manage accounts for Comcast, Cox Communications and Mediacom Communications. When Signal Vision was acquired by CommScope in 2007, he was named technical sales manager supporting accounts in the Eastern U.S. He was promoted to regional vice president of sales for CommScope in April 2012. He was an active member in SCTE’s Southern California chapter and had a leadership role in forming the first SCTE Vendor Day. His efforts attracted neighboring chapters to participate, which resulted in more than 75 vendors exhibiting at the show. Profits from the Vendor Day shows provided scholarships for chapter members. He was Southern California treasurer from 1999 to 2001 and served on the chapter board from 1998 to 2006.
Hank Fore was a regional vice president with Comcast until his retirement in April 2017. In 1999, following a distinguished military career, he joined Lucent Technologies as the North America regional VP of technical support services. While this was his initial direct involvement with the cable industry, he had been involved with the design, installation and operations of broadband video networks with the United States Army in the U.S. and Germany. He joined Comcast in June 2003 as area VP for the 250,000-subscriber system in Dallas. In December 2005, he received a promotion to turn around a large Northern California system, serving more than 500,000 subscribers. Subsequent Comcast assignments in California and Oregon between 2009 and 2015 brought increased responsibility and produced outstanding results for the company, resulting in multiple Comcast “Region of the Year” awards. Before his retirement, he ultimately had responsibility for a $5 billion Comcast region of 2 million subscribers and 6,000 employees. Fore is a former chairman of the California Cable Television Association, vice chairman of the Oregon Cable TV Association and vice chairman of the executive board of the Texas Cable & Telecommunications Association. He is a member of SCTE and a NAMIC member and mentor.
Fred Kaiser is the CEO of Alpha Technologies. He founded the company in 1975 and served five years as general manager at Canadian Dynamics. Under his leadership, the organization has become a global leader with more than $600 million in worldwide sales and 1,200 employees. A tireless problem solver, he has traveled throughout the world meeting with MSOs to establish partnerships and collaborations to further industry objectives. His efforts led to cable’s first primary back-up UPS system and the introduction of DOCSIS-based HFC Gateway devices for WiFi and small cell deployments. The Kaiser Foundations for Higher Education at the University of British Columbia, Western Washington University and Simon Fraser University provide significant funding for scholarships to teach engineering students about power generation and the study of modern digitally controlled power devices. He has supported the SCTE Foundation since its inception and was a founding member of the SCTE Energy 2020 Committee.
Vicki Lins is president and CEO of CTAM. Her introduction to the cable industry came in 1996 when she joined Adlink as director of marketing and communications. Over the next six years, she was vice president and senior VP with the company, serving on the executive team that developed award-winning marketing programs and groundbreaking brand partnerships. She directed all creative services functions and helped drive Adlink to an industry milestone of $100 million in revenue. In 2002, she joined Comcast as VP of marketing and communications, and helped lead the integration of more than 90 markets to create the nation’s largest local ad-sales organization. She created and launched Comcast Spotlight and led the consolidation of all ad-sales marketing and communications across the company’s national footprint. While still with Comcast, she was facilitating the startup of Canoe Ventures, helping to develop business strategy and staffing the marketing, communications and creative services teams. Lins accepted her current position with CTAM in 2016. She promotes collaboration among member companies to address the industry’s challenges and oversees CTAM’s initiatives like CableMover.com and TV everywhere. She also manages CTAM’s Co-Op and Educational Boards.
Guy McCormick’s entire 24 years in the industry have been with Cox Communications. He has held positions of increasing responsibility with Cox, initially with the Cable Advertising Division, where he rose to VP of engineering. In 2004, he transitioned to the cable division as executive director of engineering operations. In 2011, he was promoted to VP of engineering for the cable division with accountability for corporate strategy and field operations. Two years later he was promoted to his current position of senior VP of engineering. Throughout his career, he has participated in CableLabs and CTAM events, and in 2012 he attended CTAM U at Harvard University. He was the keynote speaker at the Fiber Connect Forum in 2015 and recently presented to Georgia state legislators at an NCTA event to promote the industry’s advances in Gigabit services.
Glyndell Moore’s 40-year cable career began in 1968 at Bainbridge TV Cable in southeast Georgia. He was the system’s chief technician when Storer Communications acquired the system and convinced him to take technical leadership of all of the company’s newly acquired operations in Georgia. As Storer’s Southeast Region expanded into Alabama and South Carolina, he was promoted, first to area technical manager for the Mid-South Area, then to regional VP of engineering for the six-state Southeast Region. Following the leveraged buyout that led to Storer’s breakup, he moved to Summit Cable Services as director of technical operations. His responsibilities at Summit included supervising outside personnel, designing and building new headends, FCC regulatory compliance and implementing the first broadband fiber deployment in metro Atlanta. He served two terms on SCTE’s National Board and prepared and delivered programs for SCTE chapter meetings. He was a co-founder and officer of the Chattahoochee Chapter of SCTE and has lectured to Georgia Tech Engineering graduate students. He is a recipient of the 2001 SCTE Polaris Award for innovative use of fiber optics.
Andy Parrott is senior VP for technical operations at Altice USA. He began his cable journey in the early 1990s, with C-TEC, Cable Michigan and Charter Communications, as a field technician and installer. In 1999, he was named technical supervisor for Charter’s operations in Western Michigan, where he remained until accepting a transfer to Texas to become Charter’s technical operations manager. He was Suddenlink’s corporate VP for technical operations at the time of the company’s acquisition by Altice. He has been an active volunteer for industry causes. He was elected to the board of directors for the Gateway Chapter of SCTE in 2005 and a year later was named to the national SCTE Development Committee. He is a regular volunteer for Women In Cable & Telecommunications and was a featured speaker at WICT’s “Tech It Out” events. He has contributed to Broadband Library magazine for more than 10 years and traveled to South America to volunteer his technical expertise with several Central and South American MSOs.
Holly Leff-Pressman is chief revenue officer for Screen Engine ASI, working with clients across all distribution platforms. Fresh from law school in 1989, she was a litigation associate at an entertainment law firm before joining Viewer’s Choice Television in 1992. While with Viewer’s Choice, she initiated, negotiated and oversaw licensing and distribution of original and event pay-per-view and video-on-demand programming. In 1995, she joined NBCUniversal as senior vice president for World Wide Pay Per View and Video On Demand. Following a nine year stint with NBCU, she signed on with The Nielsen Co. as executive VP for content solutions and media research. She has been at the forefront of industry developments in on-demand viewership as well as the measurement of data and research of that viewership. She was the recipient of a CTAM “TAMI” Award in 2017 and has devoted her time and talents to CTAM’s Marketing, Digital and Research Committees. She is currently on the committee for the Media & Insights Conference and served as the conference’s inaugural co-chair.
ENRIQUE YAMUNI ROBLES
Enrique Robles is the founder and chief executive officer of Megacable. He has been responsible for all aspects of the MSO for the past 36 years. He obtained his first government license in 1982, and through organic growth has expanded to more than 200 cities and 26 states. In 1997, Megacable was the first MSO in Mexico to launch broadband services, then followed with a telephony launch in 2004 and a digital video platform in 2006. By 2007, when Megacable launched an IPO, the company had a reach of more than 1 million subscribers. He is a member of the board of directors of Grupo de Telecomunicaciones de Alta (GTAC), a consortium that has provided 19,000 kilometers of fiber to enable cost savings to make internet access available to many communities across Mexico. He is president of the National TV Cable Company Chamber and a board member of the Organization of Telecommunications Associations & Companies. In addition to his many contributions to Telecommunications advancements in Mexico, he serves as Guadalajara’s Counselor of American Chamber of Commerce, as a board member of the Monterrey Institute of Technology and on the board of the Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra.
Fred Rogers joined Warren Braun Consulting in October 1970 as director of laboratory services. Two years later, Braun Consulting became Comsonics, where Rogers managed the repair facility for CATV equipment and was responsible for FCC compliance and testing of clients’ systems. In February 1978, he moved to Jupiter, Fla., to become general manager for Broadband Engineering Inc. and, three years later, co-founded Quality RF Services, developing high-performance, high-reliability RF products for the cable industry. Along the way, he found time to design and build his own cable systems of more than 500 miles in middle Georgia and western Virginia. The success of Quality RF in bringing much-needed specialty RF products to the industry drew the attention of ATX Inc., a Canadian technology company with interests in the U.S. and abroad. ATX acquired Quality RF in January 2001 and asked Rogers to stay on to assist with the transition. He was inducted into the SCTE Hall of Fame and the organization’s Circle of Eagles in 2003. He is a proud member of the Loyal Order of the 704 and has written numerous technology articles for industry trade magazines.
Tom Rogers is executive chairman of Winview Games Inc., chairman of Frankly Inc., chairman of Captify and CEO of TRget Media LLC. A member of the Cable Entrepreneurs Club, he was inducted into both the Cable Hall of Fame and the B&C Hall of Fame. He has won Emmy Awards for his contributions to the development of advanced TV and advertising, and is recognized as one of the most innovative and influential leaders in cable television and the broader media industries. In the early ’80s, Rogers was senior counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives’ Telecommunications Consumer Protection and Finance Subcommittee. He was responsible for drafting numerous communications laws, including the 1984 Cable Franchise Policy and Communications Act, which governed the development of today’s cable industry. From 1987 to 1999, he was the first president of NBC Cable and executive VP and chief strategist of NBC. In addition to responsibility for founding CNBC and MSNBC, he oversaw NBC’s ownership of A&E, AMC, Bravo, Court TV and several regional sports channels. As president and CEO of TiVo from 2005 to 2016, he oversaw the first implementation of Netflix and Amazon streaming to the TV set, and many other TV innovations, while developing new partnerships with cable MSOs and hardware suppliers.
Art Sando is founder and Principal of Sando Communications. He was hired by Ted Turner in 1981 as the first public relations director for Turner Broadcasting System and, over the course of the next decade, rose to become the company’s VP of marketing and communications. In addition to Turner’s Atlanta home base, he established offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, London, Moscow and Hong Kong. He was tasked with promoting CNN’s 24-hour coverage of numerous high profile events such as the 1981 attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan. In 1990, he became VP of corporate affairs for COMSAT, now Lockheed Martin, where his responsibilities included corporate communications, investor relations and congressional affairs. In 1995, he became senior VP of corporate communications for King World Productions. He was presented with the NCTA’s President’s Award for outstanding service to the cable industry.
Rob Shema has been the American Cable Association’s executive VP of member services since early 2012. He had joined ACA in 2004 as VP and chief operating officer. He spent seven years with Comcast prior to joining ACA, first as a paralegal working on the acquisitions and financing team. He was promoted to programming manager in 1997 and, a year later, to director of programming. In the latter position, he worked with the team that created local programming network CN8. Another Comcast promotion followed, to senior director of public relations and government affairs. During his tenure with ACA, membership and attendance at the group’s conferences have grown several times over and annual revenues have more than tripled. He has become the go-to guy for members needing help with regulatory issues and a major asset to independent operators.
Tony Speller is senior VP of technical operations for Comcast’s Northeast Division. His area of responsibility covers 14 states, from Maine to Washington, D.C., with 10,000 field employees serving more than 8 million customers. His cable tenure of nearly 30 years has included multiple leadership roles with TCI, AT&T and Comcast. He has been at the forefront of many industry technical milestones, including the launch of digital video and the deployment of high-speed data and telephony of the HFC network. His advanced education includes the UCLA School of Management and Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. He has managed a number of high-visibility projects, preparing his teams for Pope Francis’s visit to Philadelphia, the 2016 Democratic National Convention, the 2017 Presidential Inauguration and the Super Bowl. He has served as an adviser and supporter of charity organizations such as the Greater Houston Partnership, a 10-county economic development organization.
Curtis Symonds is the founder and president of Symonds Synergy Group, a Virginia-based marketing and consulting firm. He entered the cable industry is 1979 with Continental Cablevision as a system general manager. In June 1982, he joined ESPN as Midwest Region director, managing the network’s sales and distribution for 20 MSOs in 14 states. In 1988, he was named executive VP for affiliate sales and marketing for BET Holdings, a position he would hold for 13 years before heading up the T. Howard Foundation. He has been recognized with many industry awards, including NCTA’s Vanguard Award for marketing excellence, the Clyde Award for marketing excellence in Black entertainment and the Walter Bremond “Achieving Against The Odds” Award. Symonds was a director of the Walter Kaitz Foundation for more than 10 years, a founding member of Cable in the Classroom and a Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau board member for 10 years. He has served on numerous CTAM committees and currently serves on the boards of the American Heart Association and Women’s Sports Foundation.
Shawn Tylka joined Scientific-Atlanta in January 1995 as corporate communications director, where she was responsible for marketing support, the S-A sales team’s customer programs, trade show presence and media events. Very early in her tenure with S-A, she headed the hospitality team for 250 customer attendees at the 1996 Olympics. When Scientific-Atlanta was acquired by Cisco, she was chosen to lead all cable and media field marketing and to manage relationships with cable associations including SCTE, the Cable Center and CableLabs. Among her many industry recognitions, she has received the Cisco Humanitarian Award, S-A’s “Shining Star” Award and the “Golden Pyramid” Award for marketing from the International Promotional Products Association. She has been a behind-thescenes star at industry events for NCTA, CTAM and the SCTE, collaborating at trade shows on event specifics and creating ancillary events. She also has been involved with philanthropic activities including Women’s Orthopedic Global Outreach, the American Cancer Society’s “Relay For Life” and CURE International, an organization dedicated to the treatment of children with curable diseases.
Steve Williams is the CEO of Austin, Texas-based CATV Design Associates and Williams Communications. He was senior system designer with the Theta Com Division of Hughes Aircraft from 1972 to 1977. Following Theta Com’s sale, he was design department supervisor and design department manager for Communications Properties Inc. and Gulf Coast Cable, respectively, before founding CATV Design Associates. He was instrumental in the design and construction of the first cable systems in San Jose, Calif., and Houston, Texas. In the early 1980s to mid-1990s, he franchised and operated seven systems in Texas and Arizona. He wrote software that was more sophisticated than what was in industry use at the time, saving management time and technical resources. In 2009, he was chosen to design and build a fiber network from Chicago to New York to support high-frequency stock trading. He served on the board of the SCTE Alaska Chapter for five years and has presented at various SCTE Texas chapters. In the mid ’90s, the he was enlisted to represent the Texas Cable Association in the Texas One-Call System.
David Zaslav is president and CEO of Discovery Inc., where he oversees all operations for the company’s global suite of brands, including pay TV and digital platforms. Prior to joining Discovery in 2007, he spent 17 years at NBCUniversal, where he participated in the development and launch of both CNBC and MSNBC and negotiated affiliation agreements for those networks. He forged new media partnerships with Comcast and other MSOs and oversaw the distribution of all NBCU content. Under his leadership, Discovery became a Fortune 500 company in 2014 and acquired Scripps Networks Interactive. Together, the combined companies comprise a worldclass portfolio of real-life entertainment brands. He serves on a number of industry boards including Sirius XM Radio, The Cable Center, Lionsgate Entertainment, NCTA, Grupo Televisa and the Paley Center for Media. He has received numerous accolades and awards in recognition of his contributions to cable and industry leadership. He received the Fred Dressler Leadership Award in 2014 and was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame in 2017.
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