2007 Vanguard Winners

May 7, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Chris Bowick

Vanguard Award: Science & Technology

Title and company: Senior vice president/chief technology officer, Cox Communications

How long in current position: Seven years

Born: 1955, Columbus, Ga.

Why chosen: “You stick around long enough in this industry and they’re bound to throw something your way. Seriously, it’s quite the honor and it was quite the surprise. I’ve been in this industry since 1981 and have contributed in various ways; it’s really hard to pin anything specific to this award. Cox and our team are known within the industry as being an extremely innovative company, and we’ve done some really good things technologically. For many, many years we’ve deployed telephone before anybody else. We very early on deployed fiber very deeply in our networks right up there at the forefront when the technology was being developed, and we were sort of out there alone on the telephone side of things. We were instrumental in furthering voice over IP technology over the last several years, even though we had launched circuit switch many years ago. We are known for driving the industry, for example, in what we have called the On-ramp to OCAP, which is a subset of OCAP applications that can reside on legacy set-top boxes that allow us to develop applications that are compatible with OCAP, and that’s all happened in the last couple of years. We’ve been very instrumental in building an extremely robust network infrastructure in support of all our products and applications, including telephone. Most recently, we’ve coined our effort EON, the extendable optical network, where we’re continuing to drive bandwidth higher, fiber deeper, in support of all of our new products and applications. The industry, I think, is really recognizing Cox as being an innovative player, and we’ve done some pretty good stuff.”

Who knew?? “I am a pilot and a flight instructor. I enjoy flying planes as often as I possibly can and I have a plane of my own that I fly on weekends.”

Cathy Wilson

Vanguard Award: Associates & Affiliates

Title and company: Founder, president and publisher, Broadband Library/International Broadband Library

How long in current position: 10 years

Born: 1952, Chicago

Why chosen: “I have been in the industry 30 years. I started out as the first woman to sell advertising space in a trade publication back in 1979 and we all started with a guy named Bob Tisch. We all started out on Cablevision magazine. Why did Broadband Library win? We’ve done a lot of neat things for the industry. First of all, Broadband Library is an exclusive member benefit for the Society of Cable Telecommunications. What we wanted to do was create a publication that would not have any news-you can get all that on the Web. What my magazine is really is a library of all the top people in the industry, engineering and technical, that write the story of broadband. All of the different features in Broadband Library are written by the top engineers and operators. Just last year, what we decided to do was to do an international product that has nothing to do with the product here. They’re totally different. We provide a unique niche with our quarterly publication. It’s a library because it’s a reference of all the different products, alphabetically with pictures, and it’s also on the Web. You can go from our site right to the vendor’s site and gain information.”

Who knew?? “I’m not really a partygoer. I’m always running around at conventions and networking and whatever, but really, at night, what I love to do is watch television. They call me the cable girl. People don’t realize that when I finish a day at work, I don’t keep going on and on. I go downstairs and I put on my TV and I love watching television.”

Alicin Reidy-Williamson

Vanguard Award: Young Leadership

Title and company: Senior vice president, corporate responsibility and public affairs, MTV Networks

How long in current position: Nine years

Born: 1968, Albany, N.Y.

Why chosen: “I feel the award is less about me and more about the role I get to serve as corporate responsibility person for the industry. The area is really recognized and valued by the cable industry, so that’s why I feel this recognition came. It’s a great acknowledgement of the work being done by MTV Networks and the importance that we put on public affairs and being responsible as a corporation. It’s always been known that MTV Networks’ individual brands have had a presence in the pro-social arena with MTV’s campaigns. They just launched last year Break the Addiction, which is an environmental campaign. CMT, Country Music Television, has a brand-new campaign called One Country. Nickelodeon has Let’s Just Play, which came after the Big Help. We have a great history. I think we have leveraged our brands as a whole under the umbrella of MTV Networks and putting the power of that behind certain initiatives and certain efforts. For example, after Hurricane Katrina we had a great cross-brand concert that was fabulous. That was the first time we had that happening across VH1 and MTV. We also used our brand to promote important issues across the company and the globe, like Bono’s Data and One campaigns. We have figured out how to maximize that, which is MTV Networks’ pro-social efforts across the brand.”

Who knew?? “One of my new favorite passions is snowboarding.”

Patricia Gottesman

Vanguard Award: Marketing

Title and company: Executive VP, digital marketing and commerce, Cablevision Systems Corp.

How long in current position: Less than a year

Born: 1959, New York City

Why chosen: “This is an industry award that acknowledges team performances, and Cablevision’s operating performance, marketing performance, technology performance and the market’s reaction to all of these in 2006 was, thankfully, very strong. We’re getting this award for a company and really a group of performances, as well as the reaction of the customers and the way customer experiences have related to one another. Cablevision continues to emphasize branding and marketing as well as technological development as part of a single thought in the way it approaches the marketplace. We have been building on our Optimum brand since the 1990s, when Optimum was first associated with our analog television content, and went on to become associated with our high-speed Internet service, our digital cable television service and then finally our voice services. In the last couple of years, and last year in particular, we have continued to bring to market the best technology extensions, as well as brand extensions, that we can imagine as a team building on the versatility of our cable platform, and we have brought them to the market in a unified way associating with the brand history that went before. We believe in pointing our customers to great customer experiences by bringing them all together in a single brand name.”

Who knew?? “I am fortunate and I know it because I have a wonderful family that includes my husband, Sam, and my children, Elizabeth, Christian and Beth.”

John Bickham

Vanguard Award: Cable Operations Management

Title and company: President, cable and communications, Cablevision Systems Corp.

How long in current position: Three years

Born: 1949, Corpus Christi, Texas

Why chosen: “I think it was probably hard to ignore the success we’ve had over the last couple of years. The widespread use of Triple Play and how it’s transformed the growth of basic cable as well as data and voice. So the company has been very successful and we have a lot of really talented people working here. For me, I was just in the right place at the right time. I think, initially, Triple Play was a disruptive sort of offer and caused people to think about what they were paying for services based on what they were getting. Our Triple Play offer is a unique offer in most parts of the industry. We advertise
a $29.95 price point for video, voice and data each. We don’t advertise a $90 price point. For us, that means we’re primarily an attractive proposition for satellite customers. Initially, it was unique and people weren’t familiar with it, but today, pretty much every company is promoting a triple play of some sort. Our Triple Play led to a tremendous amount of growth in our core business as well as in our high-speed data business and our voice business.”

Who knew?? “The biggest ‘who knew’ for me is who knew 20 years ago that this business I was working in would be such a broad-based business providing services in so many different categories in people’s lives. Who knew?? that this business would be a one-stop shop for all of your communications and entertainment needs?”

Philip Kent

Vanguard Award: Programmers

Title and company: Chairman and CEO, Turner Broadcasting Systems

How long in current position: Four years

Born: 1954, New York City

Why chosen: “Though I’m honored to receive it, this award recognizes Turner Broadcasting, not Phil Kent. And as such, I agree with the NCTA that it is well deserved. I couldn’t be prouder of the programming on the Turner news, entertainment and animation networks-its quality; the strategy and consideration that goes into its scheduling; and the way it supports and reflects each brand’s unique positioning and promise. I am fortunate to work alongside programmers whose deep knowledge of their respective marketplace, audience and brand is reflected on our air every day, from Peabody Award-winning journalism on CNN to a talking hamburger on Adult Swim. It’s one of the things that make my job great. Accepting awards for my talented colleagues is another.”

Who knew?? “The closest I ever came to being fired was in 1983, when I canceled the rain insurance for an outdoor Diana Ross concert.”

Libby O’Connell

Vanguard Award: Government & Community Relations

Title and company: Senior vice president, corporate outreach/chief historian, A&E Television Network

How long in current position: Two years

Born: 1954, Bethlehem, Pa.

Why chosen: “I won because I work for a company that has given me such a great platform to do work in the field of education and public service. One show, in particular, was “Save Our History” for the History Channel, about civil rights preservation. I’ve been with AETN for 11 years; so I’ve had a long time to develop projects, and “Save Our History” would be one of them. Another would be the Biography Projects for Schools, and that won the Governor’s Award from the National Association of Television Arts & Sciences. So did “Save Our History.” Currently, I’m working on a project with A&E based on our “Intervention” series called Intervention Town Hall Meetings. So, I get to work with content that really provides an ideal platform for public affairs initiatives.”

Who knew?? “I guess a lot of people don’t know that I rewrite lyrics to popular songs and then sing them at company parties.”

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