Keeping Cable’s Pioneering Spirit Alive

25 veterans join the ranks of the Cable TV Pioneers
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NEW ORLEANS — The Cable TV Pioneers have welcomed 25 new industry veterans into their ranks.

Eighteen men and seven women were welcomed into the group at the 53rd Annual Cable Pioneers Banquet held in New Orleans Oct. 2, in conjunction with the SCTE-ISBE Cable-Tec Expo.

The Cable Pioneers class of 2019

The Cable Pioneers class of 2019

“This year’s class includes remarkable men and women who currently contribute to the growth and innovation of the industry as well as those who served the business in the past,” the group said in a statement.

Founded in 1966 during the NCTA convention in Miami, 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.

To become a Cable TV Pioneer, a candidate must be nominated, have a second sponsor and have a minimum of 20 years of direct involvement in the cable industry, demonstrate leadership and progress in their positions and have contributed to their communities.

BRIAN PATRICK BANE

Brian Bane is vice president of network implementation/ construction for Comcast Cable, a position he has held since 2014. His responsibilities include outside plant construction and implementation strategies for the next generation of fiber networks across the company’s national footprint.

Brian Bane

Brian Bane

Bane got his start in the industry with Prime Cable in 1982, working his way to plant maintenance and headend technician in Marlboro, Massachusetts. Six years later, he moved to Continental Cablevision in Massachusetts as technical operations manager.

In 1996, Bane was promoted to the position of director of Open Settlement Protocol (OSP) Networks for Continental’s New England region, where he managed a team of 250 technicians and engineers. When Comcast acquired the operations in AT&T’s purchase of Continental successor MediaOne Group, Bane was named director of network construction for the MSO’s Northeast Division.

Bane is a member of the New England chapter of the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers and was awarded its Bill Riley Personal Achievement Award in 2014. In addition to being an active United Way volunteer, he is a member of “Team Bane,” which honors the memory of Mary Murray Bane. He has personally raised more than $50,000 through Team Bane cycling, riding in the 200-mile Pan-Mass Challenge. The ride supports adult and pediatric cancer patients by funding life-saving research and treatment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

JOHN R. ‘DICK’ BEARD

Dick Beard is director of business development for Ervin Cable Construction, where he has responsibility for sales and business relations.

John R. "Dick" Beard

John R. "Dick" Beard

Beard’s cable journey began in 1972 with Sammons Communications as a system technician. In 1973, he moved to Continental Cablevision as chief technician for Quincy and Lincoln, Illinois, and spent the next twelve years working with their engineering team, reaching the position of director of engineering for Illinois and Missouri.

In 1985, he founded Brentec, a design and construction company, before returning to Continental five years later as regional director of engineering for Midwestern operations. In 2003, Beard assumed his current position with Ervin Construction.

Beard is a senior member of the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers/International Society of Broadband Experts and serves on the boards of the Gateway and Five Rivers chapters. He is a member of the SCTE Hall of Fame, the SCTE “Circle of Eagles” and currently serves as an associate board member of ACA Connects.

He has coached multiple youth sports teams and has been recognized by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society with the MS Corporate Achievers Leadership Award.

THOMAS J. CLOONAN, PH.D.

Tom Cloonan is the chief technology officer, network solutions for CommScope (formerly Arris), a position he has held since 2002. He is responsible for specifying architectural features within network solutions platforms and all next-generation products within the company. From 1982 to 1999, Cloonan was a distinguished member of the technical staff and technical manager for AT&T Lucent Bell Labs, where he led multiple design teams. Following his Bell Labs tenure, he was one of three founding members of Cadant, a startup company dedicated to the design and manufacture of routers and cable modem termination systems.

Tom Cloonan

Tom Cloonan

Cloonan is widely recognized throughout the broadband industry for his initiatives in developing and deploying advanced technologies which include the Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP), Channel Bonding and DOCSIS. He holds more than 60 patents in a broad set of industry related areas, has published more than 130 papers and is co-author of four technical journals.

Cloonan is a significant contributor to the SCTE Engineering Council, IEEE Computer Society, CableLabs and other organizations. He has been a volunteer teacher as part of the National Junior Achievement program and volunteers at the West Suburban Humane Society shelter. He has mentored countless employees, students and new authors while gaining new industry patents, publishing white papers and sharing his knowledge as a speaker at technical conferences around the world.

MARC W. COHEN

Marc Cohen is executive vice president for sales and marketing at Denver-based Evolution Digital, where he is currently spearheading the company’s entry into the end-to-end IPTV solution space.

Marc Cohen

Marc Cohen

Cohen entered the cable industry in 1985 with Continental Cablevision as a sales representative in one of the company’s newly-built Michigan systems. Following the Continental tenure, Marc spent three years as sales supervisor for Comcast in Pontiac, Michigan. Subsequent career advancements took him to North Carolina for a management position with Vision Cable and later to Hauser Communications in Virginia, where his responsibilities included managing residential and business sales and negotiating right-of-entry agreements. Cohen parlayed this experience with his next career move as VP of sales and marketing for Mid-Atlantic Communications. Following the company’s sale to Comcast in 2000, Cohen and Mid-Atlantic chief financial officer John Long co-founded Longview Communications.

Cohen is an active member of the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, SCTE, ACA Connects and the National Cable Television Cooperative and served as VP of the Carolina Cable Co-Op. He has served on the Cancer Research Foundation executive committee in Virginia and funded a free hot lunch program for a local elementary school from 2009 to 2014.

JOHN DICANDILO

John DiCandilo is vice president of business development for Dycom Industries, where he is responsible for key MSO relationships and promoting cost-saving solutions for customers. Prior to joining Dycom, DiCandillo spent 22 years with CommScope, responsible for first sales in the Mid-Atlantic Region and then serving as vice president of sales for the Northeast Region from 2006 to 2018.

John DiCandillo

John DiCandillo

DiCandillo served on the board of the SCTE’s Delaware Valley chapter, working on membership growth initiatives. He currently serves on the board of the SCTE Foundation, which is dedicated to the advancement of business education for industry professionals. He has been a featured speaker at many SCTE Chapter Leadership conferences and is involved with many alumni volunteer projects at his alma mater, Drexel University.

DUANE C. DICK

Duane Dick is senior partner and co-founder of Sand Cherry Associates, an award-winning consulting firm that supports top companies in cable, broadband, wireless and media. He began his cable career in 1996 as a graduate intern with US West Media Group after earning his MBA from Georgetown University’s School of Business. He was soon heading market strategy development for MediaOne Group and AT&T Broadband. When MediaOne Group was acquired by AT&T Broadband, he took on the primary responsibility for the integration of Tele-Communications Inc. and MediaOne.

Duane Dick

Duane Dick

He co-founded Sand Cherry Associates in 2001 and twice received industry innovation awards from CTAM. Sand Cherry, a Colorado Top 50 company, was the WICT Rocky Mountain Chapter’s Industry Partner of the Year. An active member and leader in multiple industry associations at the local, national and international level, Dick has served as a board member of CTAM’s Rocky Mountain Chapter and co-chair of CTAM’s National Chapters Council.

Dick and his wife, Michelle, both military veterans, support the Wounded Warrior Project and other veterans’ organizations. They are patrons and annual sponsors of the acclaimed Colorado Springs Youth Symphony.

MARTY DOMINGUEZ

Marty Dominguez joined C-SPAN in September of 1989 as accounting supervisor, shortly after obtaining her MBA from Tulane University in New Orleans. Dominguez would soon become finance manager, a post she held until December of 1994, when she was promoted to national accounts manager. In this role, she represented C-SPAN with MSOs, managing carriage issues, contractual relations and marketing opportunities. In October of 1999, Dominguez was named director of marketing and in 2005 was tapped as VP of marketing, overseeing all consumer marketing, print media, community outreach and election-related promotional events.

Marty Dominguez

Marty Dominguez

Dominguez has been a member of CTAM for 25 years, serving on committees and working groups to foster stronger partnerships with affiliates. In 2017, Women in Cable & Telecommunications recognized Dominguez with its Touchstones of Leadership “Inspire” award, and she is consistently listed among the most influential minorities in cable by Cablefax.

Born in Paraguay, Dominguez became a U.S. citizen in 2008. She spends her free time devoted to family and assisting her aging parents, but still makes the time to mentor young associates and to volunteer with animal welfare and pet adoption services.

BARRY R. ELSON

Barry Elson entered the cable industry in 1980 as vice president, market and product development for United Cable, where his franchising team won 16 of 31 competitive markets. In 1983, Elson joined Cox Communications as vice president of Western operations, was soon promoted to senior VP and in 1992 was named executive VP for all Cox operations.

Barry Elson

Barry Elson

In 2003, after two years of consulting for Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs on their cable television and telco strategies, he moved to Telewest Global as chairman and CEO and led a successful turnaround of the communications firm creating $2.8 billion in shareholder value in only 27 months.

Elson graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College, received his MBA at Cornell University and served in Southeast Asia as a Signal Corps first lieutenant. During this military service, he ran the world’s first mobile satellite station using Satcom 1 and Satcom 2. After Cornell, Elson became the youngest general manager at Owens-Corning Fiberglass and was the first to bring fiber optics to the worldwide market in 1971.

Elson served on C-SPAN’s board from 1986 to 1989 and on CTAM’s board, including a term as chairman, from 1989 to 1994. A two-time cancer survivor, he has funded three cancer research projects and been honored by The V Foundation for Cancer Research for his work mentoring more than 50 cancer patients nationwide.

JAMES L. FAUST

Jim Faust was the founder and first president of Zenith Cable Equipment Corp., where he produced the first addressable set-top boxes and, in partnership with Viacom, the first commercial broadband modem. In June of 1966, he joined Scientific-Atlanta as vice president for international operations and in June of 1990 was named VP of international operations for General Instrument. In January of 1995, Jim was named president of Antec Network Systems and later corporate director for Arris International.

James Faust

James Faust

In 2001, Faust again pioneered a new technology, video streaming, creating ClearBand. He later moved to Optinel, a major player in Gigabit Ethernet fiber transport. Faust also served as a director of ATX.

When taking time away from building companies, Jim served as a village trustee for his hometown of Golf, Illinois, and also served on the board of trustees of Lake Forest Graduate School. Faust was a team member for the United Way in Northern Illinois and with his wife, Helen, was instrumental in the establishment of a Special Needs Trust in Palm Coast, Florida.

Jim is a member of the board of trustees and heads the audit committee for one of the oldest colleges in Illinois, Blackburn College, founded in 1837.

JOHN FELLET

John Fellet was CEO and managing director of Sky TV New Zealand until his retirement in February. His 44-year cable career began in 1975 as Executive Director of the Arizona Cable Television Association. After two years of advocating for cable operators in his home state, Fellet joined Storer Communications as a regional finance manager for new-build operations in Arizona and Colorado. In 1988, he was promoted to lead the franchising, construction and operations of the company’s West Valley systems in Glendale, Peoria, Sun City and Goodyear, Arizona, where he supervised the build out of Storer’s first dual cable two-way plant.

John Fellett

John Fellett

Following Storer’s exit from Arizona through a major trade of systems with Times Mirror, Fellet moved to United Cable to oversee the construction and operations in Scottsdale. His tenure at United would continue with promotions to ever-larger systems in California until he joined Tele-Communications in 1989 as director of new ventures. TCI’s international arm, Liberty Media, tapped Fellet to assist in the development of a pay TV operation in New Zealand. What was meant to be a short-term assignment continued for 28 years, the last 18 as CEO.

A member of the Arizona Cable TV Hall of Fame, Fellet has served on the boards of the Arizona and California Cable Communications Associations and for 20 years on the New Zealand Broadcasters Council. John was instrumental in forming the Baseball Federation of New Zealand, coached two men’s national teams and in 2017 was elected to New Zealand’s baseball Hall of Fame. The Howick Hawks baseball complex was renamed Fellet Field in his honor.

JOHN C. FENGER

John Christian (“Chris”) Fenger is executive vice president and chief operating officer for Patriot Media, parent of RCN, Grande Communications and Wave Broadband. His introduction to cable operations was in January of 1980 with NewChannels Corp. in northern Alabama. A year later, Chris was named marketing manager for Rogers Cablesystems in Syracuse, N.Y. In March of 1985, Warner Amex tapped Fenger to be general manager in New Hampshire, tasked with improving operations and growing the system’s subscriber base.

Chris Fenger

Chris Fenger

From the mid-1980s through most of the 1990s, Fenger handled senior management assignments with Simmons and Marcus Cable before being recruited in October of 1998 to become senior vice president of Charter Communications’s Western division. Fenger was named president of Bright House Networks’s Central Florida division in October of 2003 and senior VP of operations for Patriot Media’s RCN group in 2011.

Fenger was an active member of the Maryland/Delaware Cable Communications Association and lobbied in Congress for the association and his company during the 1992 and 1996 Cable Act deliberations. During his time with Rogers Cablesystems, he led the company’s United Way campaign and later served as the vice chairman of the Central Florida chapter of the Red Cross and as vice chairman of a Central Florida NPR/PBS broadcast outlet, where he appeared on-air for several fundraising campaigns.

RALPH GALIONE III

Ralph Galione is enterprise account manager, global accounts, for Hewlett Packard Enterprise, with responsibility for all Comcast entities. He joined the cable industry in 1981 as a project analyst for Warner Amex/ QUBE. Galione moved to Scientific-Atlanta in 1985 as account manager and was later promoted to VP of sales.

Ralph Galione

Ralph Galione

In 2009, Galione moved to Arris as VP of sales, with oversight responsibility for a team of 11 account executives and sales engineers. In 2010, he joined Pace America, where he once again led the Comcast account team. In 2012, he became Neustar’s senior sales director for North America. He then joined HPE in 2016.

Galione was nominated by the S-A senior management team for the CTAM Executive Management Program at Harvard Business School in 2006. While with Neustar, he served as co-representative for the company’s WICT sponsorship. Galione contributed to the cable industry’s fundraising efforts by participating in the Battle of the Bands as lead singer of Ralphie & the Streamers at the Cable Show in 2008 and 2009. He currently serves as HPE’s representative to the Adaptive Spirit Program ad is responsible for coordinating the company’s activities at the inspirational gathering.

Galione was an active member of Wayne Presbyterian Church for 16 years and was a member of the choir. He regularly participated in local outreach events and funded several church initiatives. He served as a Little League baseball coach and leader of the annual fundraiser for the Mother Seton Scholarship fund.

JEAN PRICE GAY

Jean Gay is vice president, global customer financial services for CommScope. She has spent her entire 43-year cable career with the company. She joined CommScope in 1976 as an accounting clerk working with customer receivables. She was promoted to credit supervisor in 1980 and to customer financial services manager in 1986. In her current role, Gay is responsible for directing Commscope’s worldwide credit and collections functions for annual sales in excess of $10 billion.

Jean Gay

Jean Gay

Jean also serves as board chairperson of the CS Credit Union, with total assets of about $30 million. Gay played a significant role in the establishment of the international division in 1989, expansion of facilities around the globe and numerous mergers and acquisitions. While maintaining a full work schedule and raising a family, she earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration and her MBA in 1995. She is a WICT Betsy Magness Institute inductee from the seventh class and the first member from the manufacturing segment of the industry. She served on the board of CTAM’s North Carolina chapter and on the National and Carolina chapters of Women in Cable & Telecommunications.

Away from the office, Gay volunteers at Safe Harbor Ministry and serves on the board of the Hickory Soup Kitchen and the advisory council of the Hickory Young Professionals. She is an active member of the Highland United Methodist Church, where she teaches Sunday school and serves as a youth leader and as chair of the finance and stewardship committees.

SANDRA K. HOWE

Sandy Howe is executive vice president and president/ Americas for Technetix, Inc., a global leader in advanced technology products, solutions and services for the broadband cable industry. She is responsible for all functions for the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. Her introduction to the cable industry was with Broadband Networks Inc. in 1995, initially as a sales engineer, later promoted to regional account executive.

In 1999, Howe moved to Scientific-Atlanta as senior account manager; she was promoted to director of business development in 2006. During her tenure with S-A, she earned numerous sales awards and was a member of the tech vendor’s Sales Circle of Excellence for six years.

Sandra Howe

Sandra Howe

In 2010, Howe was named VP, strategic market development within Arris’s Advanced Technology Group; three years later, she advanced to senior VP, global marketing. She was senior VP and GM for the for Arris’s Consumer Products Group from 2016 to 2018 before joining Technetix.

Howe is a longtime supporter of women and workforce diversity, currently serving as vice chair of the WICT Global Board. Having been a member of NAMIC and SCTE for many years, she is a board member of the SCTE Foundation board and serves as investment adviser on its finance committee. Howe previously served on the Retailer Council board of the Consumer Technology Association.

RICARDO LA GUARDIA

Ricardo La Guardia is regional vice president of sales and WiFi product solutions for Arris International in Latin America. From April 2013 to January of 2018, he was regional VP for Arris in Brazil.

Ricardo La Guardia

Ricardo La Guardia

La Guardia joined the cable industry in May of 1992 as Latin America sales manager for CommScope. Four years later, he was promoted to sales manager for all of South America for the company. In 2000, he was promoted to vice president, operations for Brazil. In October of 2006, La Guardia was transferred to CommScope’s corporate headquarters in Hickory, North Carolina, to head up worldwide product management and customer service for the Broadband unit. He returned to Sao Paulo, Brazil in May 2011, where he was VP of Latin American sales for Big Band Networks.

La Guardia received his undergraduate degree in 1989 from Catholic University of Campinas, Brazil, and his MBA from Pfeiffer University in North Carolina in 1992. He is an active board member of the Brazil Cable TV Association and the Porto Seguro School Foundation. Ricardo and his wife are active supporters of the catechism youth group in Campinas, Brazil, and of the Children’s International Villages organization.

GARY LAUDER

Gary Lauder is managing director of Lauder Partners. From 1989 to 2015, he was director and chairman of Active Video Networks, formerly ICTV, where he guided the company’s evolution from VOD to electronic program guides and interactivity. He has also been an investor and director for Hybrid Networks and Terayon, both pioneering cable-modem providers. He was an early investor in Imedia, Big Band and Aurora Networks, as well as a dozen less well-known cable technology innovators.

Gary Lauder

Gary Lauder

Lauder’s pioneering introduction of venture capital companies to cable has brought hundreds of millions of dollars for the R&D needs of the industry and contributed to the funding of products essential to today’s broadband systems. He has been involved in industry education and advocacy as a frequent speaker for NCTA, CTAM, CableLabs, the Western Show, Kagan conferences and other events. Outside of the industry, he has been involved with the National Venture Capital Association and the Western Association of Venture Capitalists.

Lauder serves on the board of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, the advisory board of Santa Clara University’s Center for Applied Ethics and is chairman of the Transportation Committee of the town of Atherton, California.

ED MARCHETTI

Ed Marchetti is senior vice president of field operations for Comcast, overseeing technical and workforce operations, network operations and data analytics. Prior to his current posting, Marchetti was senior VP, operations and engineering for the company’s Northeast Division. He entered the cable industry in 1981 as a construction coordinator and maintenance technician for Viacom in Northern California. He remained with the Viacom management team until 2002 when he joined Comcast as vice president of operations/engineering for the California Division. He held positions of increasing responsibility before the move to Comcast corporate in 2016.

Ed Marchetti

Ed Marchetti

Marchetti has been a member of SCTE for more than 20 years, having served on the Golden Gate Chapter board, national board and as treasurer in 2017, when he was honored as SCTE Member of the Year. He currently chairs the national board’s member committee.

Marchetti relishes his family time and enjoys hiking, biking and golf. He is passionate about helping the less fortunate and contributes to the Reach Project Inc., a family drug counseling program. He is a core member of Life Teen, a youth outreach program at his local church.

HIMANSHU PARIKH

Himanshu Parikh is president and founder of iOPENC, a position he has held since 2014. He was engineering manager and software engineer for Tocom/General Instrument from 1978 to 1988 and as a VP and general manager at Scientific-Atlanta from 1988 to 2008.

Parikh joined Cisco Systems in 2008 as director and general manager, responsible for four business units, and was later named chief technical officer of Inovo Broadband. At S-A, he was responsible for for many cable-industry initiatives, including interdiction, MPEG licensing, CableCARDs and high-definition set-tops.

Himanshu Parikh

Himanshu Parikh

Parikh has served on the boards of several startup companies, including the Celeno advisory board and the database company Square Zero. His passion for new products has led to beneficial relationships with Broadcom, Intel, Sigma Gemtek, Greenwave and a number of MSOs.

A longstanding SCTE member, Parikh and wife Raksha are the proud parents of three children, all graduates of Georgia Tech.

CATHERINE RASENBERGER

Cathy Rasenberger is president of Rasenberger Media. She founded the firm to help develop and launch independent cable networks in the U.S. Rasenberger Media has successfully launched more than 25 of the most notable and highly branded independent networks in the U.S.

Catherine Rasenberger

Catherine Rasenberger

Throughout 38 years in the cable television industry, Rasenberger has held pioneering positions in publishing, sales and marketing. With Warner Bros. Television in the early 1980s, she was responsible for marketing and promoting the studio’s movies for the fledgling pay TV services HBO and Cinemax. In 1982, she was associate publisher for Cablevision magazine and national sales director for Titsch Communications.

From 1983 to 1988, Rasenberger was director, international operations and national ad sales manager for ESPN. She joined TV Guide in 1989 as director, cable operations, launching the publication’s newly created cable division. Prior to founding Rasenberger Media, she was senior VP, affiliate sales and marketing at Food Network for six years.

JOYCE REITANO SALAJ (POSTHUMOUS)

Joyce Salaj began her cable career in 1972 as a customer service representative with Manhattan Cable. She was soon promoted to customer service manager, one of only two for the entire customer service team, and by 1983 was customer service manager of the largest U.S. cable system. Among her notable accomplishments with Manhattan Cable (later Time Warner Cable of New York City), Salaj initiated the company’s first automated billing system, which was the foundation for what is now CSG Systems. She was also instrumental in the implementation of a state-of-the-art phone system to better control the MSO’s enormous phone traffic and allow supervisory monitoring of the CSR team.

Joyce Reitano Salaj

Joyce Reitano Salaj

After taking a hiatus from the workforce to begin a family, Salaj returned to cable in 1991 as director of customer service for Comcast in Eatontown, New Jersey. One of her first initiatives while with Comcast was to allow a floating percentage of customer service personnel to work from home. She received many accolades while with Comcast and was recognized for her influence on the Northeast Region operations that stretched beyond her scope of responsibility.

Salaj was a mentor and role model to many Comcast and Manhattan Cable employees and a strong advocate for a work/life balance for her team members. She was an early advocate for Women in Cable and a regular volunteer at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset in Somerset, New Jersey.

MATTHEW STANEK

Matthew Stanek is senior vice president of network technology operations at Charter Communications. He began his cable journey with the National Division of American Television and Communications Corp. (ATC) in 1985, initially as a bench technician before a succession of promotions to headend technical instructor and project manager. In 1995, Stanek was promoted to the position of director of technical operations for Time Warner Cable’s Austin, Texas, division; in September of 2000 he became VP of engineering.

Matthew Stanek

Matthew Stanek

Stanek was named TWC’s president of network operations and engineering in April of 2010 and in 2014, he became senior VP of network operations, responsible for all core networks, the national data center and voice and WiFi operations. His key achievements included network uniformity and the creation of an analytics tool which is now in use company-wide. He was part of many beta trials and first deployments of digital video, VOD and switched digital video. He holds several patents related to cable network operations and network reliability.

Stanek was elevated to senior member status at SCTE in 1993 and has served on the Global Customer Advisory Board for Cisco Systems. Outside of cable, he has served on the Library Foundation in Cedar Park, Texas, is a licensed youth soccer coach and an advocate for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

TIMOTHY VAAS

Timothy Vaas is vice president of sales for CableServ, responsible for managing expansion of current sales teams, developing growth initiatives and introducing CableServ global markets. Previously, Vaas was a VP with Product Management Consulting Group.

Timothy Vaas

Timothy Vaas

Vaas began his cable television career in 1980 with Magnavox CATV Sales. He would later become regional sales manager for North American Philips, where he managed all sales functions in the Mid- Atlantic, Northeast and Southeast regions. In 1992, Tim joined Pico Products as national sales manager.

Vaas has been an active SCTE member in Arizona, California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, and served on SCTE chapter boards in the Piedmont region and in central New York. He was VP of the Dixie chapter and currently serves as a member of the Chesapeake chapter.

Away from his cable duties, Vaas practices taekwondo in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and is a speaker for the New Path organization, which provides support and counseling to parents of young addicts in recovery.

BILL WARGA

Bill Warga has been vice president of technology for Liberty Global since 2008. Prior to joining Liberty, he was director of digital technology standards for Comcast. While in this position, he chaired the OpenCable hardware working group and served as a member of the OpenCable certification board.

Bill Warga

Bill Warga

Warga entered the cable industry in 1989 as head engineer and sales manager for The Garkie Group, providing contract services to CableLabs and designing hybrid fiber coaxial networks. In 1995, Warga signed on with CableLabs, where he installed and tested the first MPEG-2 digital video systems. He also helped design and run a one-of-a-kind sideby- side viewing study to determine which encoding system the cable industry would adopt.

In 2000, AT&T Broadband named Warga as director of digital video technology, charged with upgrading the Headend in the Sky (HITS) platform. He stayed with AT&T Broadband through its merger with Comcast and took on the additional responsibilities of domestic and international standards. He also chaired the joint engineering committee of NCTA and the Consumer Electronics Association for the negotiations of the one-way and two-way plug-and-play agreements with the FCC.

Warga is currently chairman of the SCTE. He led SCTE’s Engineering Committee while serving as Tony Werner’s vice chairman. He was an early champion of the Reference Design Kit (RDK) initiative and a frequent contributor to SCTE Emerging Technologies Events. He remains an active member of the CableLabs Technical Advisory Committee and serves on the board of RDK Management.

Outside of the cable technology world, Warga has served on the board of Word of Life Christian Center in suburban Denver and has participated in countless charitable programs.

THOMAS MACK WILLIAMS IV

Tom Williams is vice president of engineering and technology at Schurz Communications. He began his cable career as an R&D engineer at Scientific-Atlanta, developing and deploying the first U.S. digital set-top boxes. He moved into consulting with KPMG and later joined Comcast as regional director of engineering, where he was first to deploy new technologies including video-on-demand, high-definition digital video recorders, high-speed internet, HDTV and more.

Tom Williams

Tom Williams

In 2006, Williams joined Arris as VP of marketing and business development. He won two Atlanta Marketer of the Year (AMY) Awards and implemented a company- wide brand transformation and management strategy. Tom returned to consulting as a managing partner with Brightset Consulting, specializing in global marketing and communications strategies for technology companies. He joined the Schurz leadership team in 2016, driving technology strategy Williams is a longstanding member of SCTE, CTAM, the NCTC and WICT. He enjoys mentoring young people interested in technology and advanced video-related careers. He has served on the board of the Baltimore County Technology Council and the technology board for the University of Maryland, driving solutions to serve students and faculty.

An active volunteer in his hometown of Atlanta, Williams enjoys coaching youth sports teams, serving on community technology boards and supporting local and military-owned businesses. He is a member of the American Legion and a Marine Corps veteran. He is also a member of the Marine Corps Memorial Association.

MELINDA C. WITMER

Melinda Witmer started her cable career in 1994, joining HBO as senior counsel, sales and marketing, negotiating cable carriage agreements. She was later promoted to VP and joined the team responsible for negotiating agreements for major studio and independent films. In January 2001, she joined Time Warner Cable as VP and chief counsel, programming, responsible for all content-related legal matters.

Melinda Wittmer

Melinda Wittmer

In 2006, Wittmer succeeded Fred Dressler as head of TWC’s programming department, serving in several executive roles at the MSO thereafter. She finished her TWC tenure as executive VP and chief video officer, managing a multibillion-dollar programming budget and overseeing all relationships with programmers, movie studios, sports leagues and other content providers. She also served as chief operating officer of Time Warner Cable Networks, overseeing 40 regional and local news, sports and other channels.

Wittmer is currently principal of real estate media and investment firm Look Left Media and serves on the board of broadcast group Tegna and the advisory board to the dean of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

A longtime WICT member, Wittmer was a consistent presence at senior executive events, a speaker, mentor and a sponsor of several women in the Betsy Magness Leadership Institute program. She was named to the Multichannel News Wonder Women class in 2013 and won the T. Howard Foundation’s Executive Leadership Award in 2014 for her work to advance industry diversity.

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