NCTA’s annual Vanguard Awards honor cable’s highest achievers — those who excel at running a company or division and at building relationships with colleagues and employees.

This year, NCTA maintained a sense of scale in determining the winners of its Vanguard Awards for distinguished leadership: One is the chairman and CEO of cable’s largest multisystem operator, the other is CEO at an innovative mid-size operator.

Overall, nine cable executives will receive Vanguard Awards at The Cable Show in Las Vegas. A reception will be held Tuesday, May 8, at 5 p.m. in Ballroom J of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.


Distinguished Leadership Award

AMY TYKESON
CEO, BENDBROADBAND

The highlight of Tykeson’s 10 years with Oregon-based operator BendBroadband is the rolling out of advanced services ahead of other MSOs, starting with high-speed Internet access in 1997. Her record also includes launches of digital cable in 1999, HDTV and video-on-demand programming in 2004 and a digital simulcast upgrade in 2005. In addition to her BendBroadband duties, Tykeson presides over the Oregon Cable Telecommunications Association.

BRIAN ROBERTS
CHAIRMAN & CEO, COMCAST

Roberts has Comcast running on all cylinders and then some, generating $22.3 billion in revenue last year. Roberts and his company did this by servicing 24.1 million basic customers, more than half of whom subscribe to digital, with a growing proportion receiving a triple-play combination. Another key: Roberts continues to push video on demand into a must-have mass medium. Comcast offers 9,000 VOD programs per month nationwide and tallies 200 million views per month from Comcast digital customers alone.


Cable Operations Management

JOHN BICKHAM
PRESIDENT, CABLE & COMMUNICATIONS, CABLEVISION SYSTEMS

Of Cablevision’s 3 million-plus customers in the New York metro area, more than two of three take digital cable. About 45% of customers get high-speed access, and 26% use digital phone. That’s the highest penetration in both categories for a major MSO, a testament to Bickham and his team and a major reason Cablevision was named CableWorld’s ‘06 MSO of the Year.


Science & Technology

CHRIS BOWICK
SVP & CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER, COX COMMUNICATIONS

One of Bowick’s top priorities at Cox these days: expanding channel capacity to satisfy new product options for Cox’s customers while beating back a growing number of multichannel competitors. Bowick greenlighted Cox’s Extendable Optical Network last year, intended to do just that. Initial EON elements will be deployed at Cox systems over the next few months. Meantime, Bowick helps shape the industry’s tech strategy by chairing CableLabs’ technical advisory committee.


Associates & Affiliates

CATHY WILSON
PRESIDENT & PUBLISHER, BROADBAND LIBRARY

Broadband Library and Broadband Library International, popular trade magazines for cable engineers and other technology personnel, are Wilson’s creations and are seen as industry guideposts. A winner of SCTE’s Chairman’s Award, Wilson balances running her publications with her work for the nominating committee of SCTE’s board of directors.


Marketing

PATRICIA GOTTESMAN
EVP, DIGITAL MARKETING & COMMERCE, CABLEVISION SYSTEMS

Gottesman’s OptimumTV branding and marketing efforts have helped drive Cablevision’s industry-leading digital penetration (78%), despite a relatively late service launch. With high-speed Internet and digital phone also enjoying wide consumer acceptance, Gottesman is turning her attention to interactive services and advertising.


Young Leadership

ALICIN REIDY-WILLIAMSON
SVP, CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY & PUBLIC AFFAIRS, MTV NETWORKS

Reidy-Williamson spearheads MTV’s pro-social agenda. The scope is wide: Her community outreach campaigns encompass issues such as AIDS, childhood obesity and the environment. Reidy-Williamson’s efforts incorporate nonprofit agency partnerships, MTV employee volunteer opportunities and public service messages. And as chair of NAMIC, Reidy-Williamson promotes on-camera and behind-the-scenes diversity.


Programmers

PHILIP KENT
CHAIRMAN & CEO, TURNER BROADCASTING SYSTEM

When Kent came back to Turner four years ago, he revamped the company’s operating structure, installed new leadership at TBS and TNT and issued marching orders for more first-run content. The results: The Closer, cable’s most popular drama series; promising sitcom My Boys; and miniseries hits Into the West and Nightmares & Dreamscapes. Up ahead: new TNT series Heartland and Saving Grace, Major League Championship Series baseball on TBS and a makeover for Court TV.


Government & Community Relations

LIBBY O’CONNELL
SVP, CORPORATE OUTREACH, A&E TELEVISION NETWORKS

O’Connell earned kudos initially for the award-winning Save Our History landmark preservation campaign, which united local communities and The History Channel cable affiliates. O’Connell, an historian with a PhD, supervises efforts spanning AETN’s channels, such as online video collaborations with more than 65 museums, local Partnership for a Drug-Free America campaigns and Hispanic Heritage Month tributes.

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