School’s In at Comcast U.


About 450 Comcast Corp. trainers are meeting in Denver this week for a mini-trade show aimed at giving executives tools they can use to coach employees at the operator’s systems around the country.

Organized by Comcast University, the training initiative hatched by Comcast Cable Communications Inc. president Steve Burke in 1999, it’s a weeklong event featuring an expo from cable programmers and hardware vendors in addition to outside speakers, including Stephen Covey, the author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

“We are going from dawn to dusk. It’s a working, train-the-trainers session,” said Comcast University president Rebecca Ray.

During the event, running from noon on Monday through noon Friday at the Doubletree Hotel, Ray said several members of the Comcast leadership team will also address the trainers, including vice president of business development Tom Nagel, chief technology officer David Fellows, senior vice president of marketing and new products Andy Addis and general counsel Terry Bienstock.

Starz Encore Group chairman John Sie and leadership expert Richard Chang will also speak at the gathering.

In addition to the trainers, several top Comcast executives will attend the confab, including division presidents, vice presidents of custom service and engineering, technical operations officials and human resources employees, Ray said.

Ray said the Comcast trainers will attend sessions throughout the week covering four different tracks: technical training, customer-service training, leadership development and technology for administrators.

“It’s so important that our technical trainers and our customer service trainers have an opportunity to see the equipment. It’s important that they understand these programs,” Ray said. “The better able they are to translate that to new employees, that, in turn, helps our customers.”

On Monday night, Comcast will run a mini-trade show at the hotel spotlighting exhibits from ESPN, MTV Networks and Starz Encore Group LLC. On the technology side, exhibitors include Cisco Systems Inc., Microsoft Corp., Motorola Corp., Scientific-Atlanta Inc., SeaChange International Inc. and Thomson NETg.

Ray said that Comcast is paying for the “vast majority” of the expenses that it will incur this week in Denver, but that the MSO also sold sponsorships to programmers and technology companies.

Tuesday night is anchored by “Comcast University Jeopardy,” featuring employees who qualified for the cable trivia game by competing in games at Comcast’s various divisions. It’s a spin on the MSO’s annual ComTech Jeopardy game, which features 20,000 Comcast technicians competing to make it to the national championships. Comcast will also hand out several awards to employees on Thursday night, including best division and best region. Ray, who joined Comcast last June, said the MSO may look to host similar events every 18 months.