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ACC's 2009 President's Award Winners

10/31/2009 2:00 AM Eastern

The President's Award recognizes those industry leaders who, by their guidance and support, advance the role of communications and public affairs in our industry. The Award honors individuals who have developed and implemented communications and public affairs initiatives, not only within their own companies, but also throughout the cable industry. ACC is pleased to recognize this year's recipients for their outstanding contribution and dedication to providing quality programs and technology that enhance our everyday lives.

George Bodenheimer, Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks, President of ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports

George Bodenheimer's leadership of a premier brand and highly successful worldwide business is well documented. What goes less reported are his vision and fingerprints on the field of communications and public affairs, which he emphasizes externally and guides internally at ESPN. ACC's President's Award affords the opportunity to focus on his impact in these areas for ESPN and The Walt Disney Company, the cable and sports industries, and the community at large.

Throughout his presidency at ESPN, Bodenheimer has recognized the equally important business value of communications and its multiple categories of disciplines, including internal communications, media relations, investor relations, and public and government affairs. He provided tangible support in headcount and budgets, and more important, he has empowered his people and ensured that the communications team is at the table, aware of information and providing advice in company initiatives. He has demonstrably grown ESPN's internal communications efforts with a multifaceted approach, including a dynamic employee Web site.

Externally he has continually stressed the value of ESPN's role in serving sports fans, and more broadly, he has encouraged the industry in communicating its value to cable subscribers.

Parallel to his business efforts, Bodenheimer has continually found time to lead and give back through ESPN's corporate outreach initiatives. While head of Affiliate Sales and Marketing, he created the launch of ESPN's Cable in the Classroom series entitled SportsFigures, which teaches math and physics through sports applications and celebrity athletes.

Bodenheimer is often seen alongside Team ESPN employees at a Special Olympics competition, a veterans luncheon or renovations of a Boys and Girls Club field or home of someone less fortunate. Observers say he's not just cheerleading Team ESPN. He's breaking a sweat.

His most notable impact on the community at large has been his vision and support in raising the level of ESPN's efforts for The V Foundation for Cancer Research, which ESPN founded with the late basketball coach and commentator Jim Valvano. Since Valvano's famous ESPYs speech in 1993, The Foundation has raised more than $90 million, and 100% of cash donations go directly to cancer research. These results are largely attributable to the media exposure ESPN provides for The Foundation and to Bodenheimer's establishment of an ESPN V Committee, comprised of representatives across the company who develop projects and raise millions of dollars each year.

While Bodenheimer doesn't seek this recognition, ACC and his communications people convinced him in this 30th anniversary year of ESPN, it was important to recognize his leadership in these important business values that have greatly contributed to ESPN's success and reputation.

Tom Might, President & CEO of Cable ONE

Tom Might is president and chief executive officer of Cable ONE, an operator of cable-television systems that provides digital, Internet and phone services to small and midsized communities. Owned by The Washington Post, Cable ONE operates 52 locations and serves approximately 720,000 customers in 19 states.

One of Cable ONE's strongest values is to lead associates with compassion and inspiration. Might strongly believes happy associates make happy customers. Might has an open-door policy and welcomes feedback from all associates. He answers his own phone and responds to associates' correspondence personally. He also makes an effort to meet with front-line associates during their new-hire and advanced-skills training sessions, which occur almost weekly in Phoenix. But he doesn't just stay in Phoenix waiting for feedback. During a recent three-week period, Might conducted town-hall meetings, visiting 20 system locations.

Might has always demonstrated commitment to associates and at no time was that more evident than in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Thirty-three percent of the 175 Gulf Coast Mississippi systems lost everything, while another 30% sustained major damage. Despite blocked roads, collapsed bridges and airport closures, he made it to the systems within days. Might and his wife Diane camped out in the Pascagoula, Biloxi and Long Beach, Miss., systems, alongside associates and their families. Early on, Cable ONE was able to fly in medical staff and provide basics such as food, water and shelter. Might also assured associates they would continue to be paid while the system was down and provided emergency cash for those who lost everything.

After basic needs were satisfied, Might met with associates individually, took damage inventory and photographed their homes. Through his leadership, Cable ONE purchased 30 trailers, rented 12 apartments and provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money for associates.

Today, the Gulf Coast of Mississippi is one of the most thriving areas of Cable ONE's footprint, thanks to Might's dedication to the associates that serve that community.

Currently, Might is an active board member of the American Cable Association and a committed proponent of providing smaller communities with trusted broadband services that entertain and improve lives. He has personally lobbied every member of the FCC on behalf of small cable operators. Cable ONE was the first operator to receive a DTA set-top box waiver from the FCC, allowing customers an affordable all-digital solution.

Might joined The Washington Post in 1978 as assistant to then-publisher Don Graham. After several positions with the newspaper, he was promoted to president of the cable-television division in 1993. He received a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from Georgia Tech, served in the United States Army and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. Might also serves on the Board of Directors of C-SPAN and CableLabs.

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