Vanguard Winners: Where Are They Now?

May 7, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Here’s a glance at what last year’s Vanguard Award winners have been up to since being honored a year ago.
David Watson
Comcast’s David Watson received the 2006 Vanguard Award for Marketing at the same time that he oversaw the rollout of the company’s marketing and advertising strategy with the “Comcastic” campaign. That campaign, designed to communicate Comcast’s new features and educate prospective customers, was named Adweek’s Advertising Campaign of the Year for 2006.
As executive VP of operations, his purview is broad and includes both sales and marketing and operations. Comcast reported that demand has been strong for the triple play of voice, video and data. In the first quarter of 2007, Comcast added 1.8 million RGUs, or revenue-generating units, bringing the company to a total of 24.2 million cable customers, 12.1 million high-speed Internet customers and 3 million digital voice customers.
Glenn Britt
Glenn Britt has been mighty busy since he won the 2006 Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership. As president-CEO of Time Warner Cable, one of his big tasks was to close the joint Time Warner Cable/ Comcast acquisition of Adelphia and begin integrating the 3.3 million new subscribers Time Warner picked up as a result of that deal. He also guided Time Warner Cable to become a public company. It started trading in March on the New York Stock Exchange separately from its parent, Time Warner Inc.
To keep the company operating smoothly, he instituted a regionalized management structure that’s designed to provide greater efficiency for the company’s clustered cable systems.
Mr. Britt said he’s committed to ensuring that Time Warner stays ahead of technology. The operator has carved out a role as one of the first cablers to test new technology, and Mr. Britt said he wants the company to remain a leader in technological innovation.
Mike LaJoie
Mike LaJoie, chief technology officer at Time Warner, continues to lead the company’s Advanced Technology Group and to oversee the development and rollout of new products and services. He received the Vanguard Award for Science & Technology in 2006. In the last year, he has focused on continuing the rollout of switched digital video technology, which saves bandwidth by sending a channel only when it’s actually tuned in or requested by a consumer.
Mr. La Joie has worked with CableLabs on the OCAP initiative designed to fuel development of new set-top boxes from a variety of manufacturers. He also has worked to extend the reach for Time Warner’s “Start Over” product, which lets consumers start any show from the beginning even if they tune in partway through.
He’s also developed additional interactive TV features based on voting and polling.
Paul Glist
Paul Glist landed a Vanguard Award for Associates & Affiliates last year in large part for his advocacy of cable industry clients. His law firm, Davis Wright Tremaine, continues to advise cable operators after the merger last year of law firm Cole Raywid & Braverman with Davis Wright Tremaine.
Since then, he’s been working with operators to find creative approaches for the digital interfaces between cable systems and interactive retail digital televisions; advising cablers on new product offerings; and working to resolve a host of regulatory issues, such as video franchising reform and dual must-carry.
“In all these regulatory battles, I have been trying to protect the cable industry’s ability to keep deploying next-generation technology; to maintain the freedom to offer services over that technology that customers want, rather than services commanded by artificial rules; and to not leave the cable industry relegated to archaic regulations while its competitors are free to be fully responsive to the market,” he said.
Kathryn Falk
Kathryn Falk snagged the Vanguard Award for Young Leadership last year as VP of public and government affairs at Cox.
She was married a few weeks after she received the award to a journalist she met through Cox’s community work, and she also served as a Betsy Magness Fellow for 2006-07. “I have had the wonderful opportunity to become a stronger leader while participating in WICT’s flagship executive development program,” she said.
She’s now working with a new boss, Janet Barnard, VP and regional manager for Cox Communications of Northern Virginia. That’s one of the country’s most competitive markets because it counts Cox, Verizon, RCN, Cavalier and satellite operators angling for customers.
“Finally, my team has continued to show Cox’s intense commitment to the community through the launch of the Cox Connects Community Fund and Cox Local Edition on CNN Headline News where we are promoting our local partnerships,” Ms. Falk said.
Judy McGrath
The Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership wasn’t the only honor MTV Networks’ Judy McGrath took home last year. As chairman-CEO of MTV Networks, she also received the Grand TAM Award for Cable Marketer of the Year from the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing and was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame.
She shepherded MTV Networks’ acquisition of Atom Entertainment, one of the first in a series of high-profile buys of video-sharing sites by big media companies. In addition, she oversaw the rollout of MTV Networks’ content on a download-to-own basis with Amazon, BitTorrent, Xbox Live, Wal-Mart and Joost.
MTV Networks has been aggressive in experimenting in the mobile TV business and recently inked its first set of ad deals for mobile TV content.
Henry Schleiff
Henry Schleiff had a big change after receiving the Vanguard Award for Programmers last year. The former high-profile and well-known chairman-CEO of Court TV became the current high-profile and well-known president-CEO of Crown Media Holdings, which operates the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel. He took the new reins in the fall, departing after Time Warner bought the remaining 50 percent it didn’t already own in Court TV.
At Hallmark, his goals are to continue to build upon the brand. “More specifically, I wanted the network to take advantage of its position in the marketplace as the leader in the production and exhibition of family-friendly programming, which I believe is only going to grow in value as the baby boomer generation increases in size and buying power and as distributors look for a network which is both important and distinctive in their lineup,” he said.
Alex Netchvolodoff
Alex Netchvolodoff may have had the best year of all the Vanguard Award Winners after taking home the Vanguard Award for Government and Community Relations in 2006. That’s because late last year he retired. His most recent post was senior VP of public policy for Cox Enterprises.
He said he still follows the industry every day and stays in touch with the folks at the Cox public policy office.
In addition, he sits on the governing board of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and serves as chapter secretary; is involved in WIN, a civic organization working with D.C.’s newly elected mayor to improve the public school system and to deploy a substantial increase in affordable housing stock in the city; and just completed service on an ad hoc governance committee reviewing the operation and best practices of four nearby educational institutions.
In addition to his community work, he’s spending more time with his six grandchildren, fly-fishing, reading and gardening. “Life is good,” he said.
Eric Brown
Eric Brown received the Vanguard Award for Cable Operations Management in 2006 while senior VP of Western division operations at Charter. During his four-year stint at the cable operator, he helped restore relations with local officials and improved financial health of his divisions at the company. He left Charter earlier this year and has not yet made his plans known, Charter said.


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