Alex Best, Cox Communications Inc.'s endeared and highly respected executive vice president of engineering, will officially start his retirement on December 31, 2000.
But don't expect him to completely fade from cable's picture as the industry enters 2001.
Instead of filling his spare time with some well-deserved golf and travel, Best, who turns 60 this February, plans to keep his finger on the technology pulse of Cox and a number of start-up companies.
"Cox has offered me the opportunity to work part-time" as a consultant, Best said. "We haven't set the details, but I'll still get a chance to come in and stay in touch with the industry and the people, which really matters."
"Alex has been a great guy to work with-always a gentleman, and a very thoughtful engineer [and] businessman," said Jim Chiddix, Time Warner Cable's chief technology officer and a Best colleague. "Alex is very good at putting technical issues in a business context and we're all going to miss him."
Best said he has agreed to serve on the technical advisory committees of three budding tech firms: Jedai, a fiber and electronics-equipment company; ChannelLogics, a high-speed-data software developer; and Coax Media. He's also been asked to join a number of boards, but has yet to accept any of those invitations.
"My wife said, 'You're not retiring; you're just changing jobs,'" Best joked, noting that he'll stay active without getting overcommitted.
Christopher Bowick, who was promoted in August to senior vice president of technology development at Cox, has been selected to take over for Best. Bowick, the former group vice president of technology and chief technical officer at Jones Intercable Inc. (now part of Comcast Corp.), joined Cox in 1998.
"Chris came on board with the understanding that he would be my replacement when I left," Best said. "He's ready, and he'll do a great job for Cox. I'm leaving Cox with the engineering department in very good hands."
Following 20 years of engineering with Scientific-Atlanta Inc., Best joined Cox in 1986 as the MSO's vice president of engineering. Since then, Best has been an integral part of its aggressive stance on developing and deploying new broadband services.
By the end of the second quarter of 2000 Cox had surpassed the 1 million mark for subscriptions to advanced broadband services such as digital video, high-speed data and telephony, the company reported.
Best has been a member of the National Cable Television Association's Engineering Advisory Committee since 1978 and is its present chairman, a member of the Society for Cable Telecommunications Engineers since 1975, a board member of the Southern Cable Television Association (SCTA), and is a current board member of Cable Television Laboratories Inc.