Adelphia’s Zeuli Changes with the Times Adelphia’s VP of National Sales Fran Zeuli is anything but typical – in fact, he’s one of the most extraordinary people I know – but when I first met him almost ten years ago he was in many ways a typical cable person. At the time he was working for Continental Cablevision in his hometown of St Paul, a local kid who got a job with the local operator out of college and who, like Continental, eventually became a fixture in the community – to the point that it seemed that Fran and the company he worked for would be there forever. But then consolidation kicked in and this industry – and Fran’s life – began changing. When Continental sold to MediaOne, Fran had to move his family to Denver. For many, such moves are expected, even welcome, but for the Zeuli family, whose entire existence had been among people who walked and talked like extras in the movie "Fargo," moving to Denver was like transplanting an oak tree. Not only did Fran and Wendy Zeuli have to make new friends in a place they’d never been, but their three children had to do the same. There were new schools, a new church, and, of course, a new home. I remember talking to Fran just after he heard the news. In his trademark upbeat manner, he told me was excited about the move. But at the same time he admitted he was apprehensive, worried about how Wendy and the kids would adjust, concerned about buying a house in a market he didn’t know, and restless over the uncertainty of a new job in a new office with a new boss. One thing he had going for him was the amazing sense of family he and his wife had instilled in their children. Their faith in God and each other allowed them to see the change as a source of strength. I thought of Fran earlier this month when I heard about the Adelphia sale. Last week I saw him in Denver. What I found was the same solid person I’d always known, only one whose view of life had been altered by the enormous changes he and his industry had undergone. Now, rather than a young man who learned the business from the ground up, and one who worked like a dog for the only company he had ever known, I found a man who was a little more worn around the edges, but otherwise a whole lot wiser. And I guess, in that way, Fran Zeuli was once again a typical cable person. We talked about what’s next, and unlike the last time the uncertainty didn’t seem to faze Fran. I looked around at his family one night over dinner, in their beautiful new house overlooking Pike’s Peak, and realized that for the Zeuli family home is, and would always be, where the heart is. "It’s much different now," he told me. "The kids know that this is the nature of the business that daddy has chosen, and they’re fine with it." His sense of peace also comes from the pride he takes in the work that has been done by the small management team assembled by Adelphia heads Bill Schleyer and Ron Cooper. "We all knew going in that this might not last forever, so it’s not like this is a big surprise. Granted, we thought it might happen after we got out of bankruptcy. But that’s a minor point. The biggest issue for me is that whatever happens in the months ahead, I’m very proud to have been part of this unique group of people." As for what’s next, Fran mentioned he’d like to teach someday, and says what he and his family went through allowed him to impart an important life lesson to his teenage children. "They see how much I love my job and how much growth we’ve all experienced as a result of these changes. If anything, I think they’ve learned that because it helps you grow, change is good."

The Daily


So Long, Rob Stoddard

Many years ago, Cablefax: The Magazine bestowed NCTA’ s Rob Stoddard with its first “Nicest Guy in Cable” award. It’s a moniker that stuck, despite Stoddard’s humble protests, for reasons obvious to

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