Cox’s Maldonado a Kaitz Success Story Tony Maldonado is the type of guy you could light a match on. He’s intense, focused and incredibly motivated. Ask him a question about cable marketing and you’d be well advised to take a step back before he answers, lest you get your eyebrows singed. As vice president of marketing for Cox in Arizona, Maldonado runs a 25-person team charged with not only maintaining Cox’s massive share of the video, voice and data marketplace in Arizona, but increasing it. And that’s exactly what he’s doing. Working out of the Cox regional office in Phoenix, Maldonado has overseen three consecutive years of growth for the company; a remarkable achievement, given the migration of so many of cable’s core customers to DBS. He’s the type of guy who every morning gets a report on how each of his marketing tactics is performing, and studies it and makes adjustments whenever he feels any aspect of his pedal-to-the-metal acquisition strategy is under performing. And yet, Maldonado might not ever have had such an opportunity if not for his time as a Walter Kaitz Fellow. The Kaitz Fellowship, which for years recruited minority candidates into the industry, had its share of critics and was eventually re-invented as a funding mechanism for other minority organizations. But Kaitz critics would need to spend just five minutes with Tony Maldonado or see what he’s doing in Phoenix, to walk away convinced that the entire program might have been worthwhile. "Unlike some others in the program, I looked at the Kaitz Fellowship not as an end, but as something that would give me what I needed most, and that was an opportunity. After that I was on my own and the only one responsible for my career was me." Ironically, Tony was the second Kaitz Fellow in his family, following in the footsteps of other brother Marty, who just recently left ESPN after twelve successful years in affiliate marketing. "I always asked Marty to get me information about Kaitz, because I was fascinated by the industry, but he told me I wasn’t ready yet and needed more experience doing what I was doing." And what he was doing was marketing for the Ohio Ballet in his hometown of Cleveland. Tony’s eventual Kaitz fellowship led to a job at Time Warner Cable, which in turn led him to Cox. A second irony of Maldonado’s being a Kaitz Fellow is the fact that as a kid growing up in a Rust Belt town he never thought of himself as a minority. In fact, he went so far as to hide his roots. His father, who came from Mexico as a young man to practice medicine, lost his accent, which in 1950’s Cleveland was a cultural imperative. He also married a beautiful, fair-skinned Irish girl. As a result, Tony grew up ambivalent toward his heritage. "To be honest, I never considered myself a Mexican. I used to tell people back then I was Italian." But a combination of his Kaitz experience and the burgeoning Latino influence on American culture changed him. He was a boy who hid his roots, but he’s been liberated. "I now consider myself a Latino and am proud of it," he says. "And when my wife and I start to have children, I’ll want them to know all about their Mexican heritage and not to ever be ashamed of who they are." And who Tony Maldonado is, is a tireless marketer, a fiercely dedicated employee, and a ringing example of all the Walter Kaitz Fellowship program could have and should have been.