Suddenlink

They say that character emanates from the top. In the case of Suddenlink’s community activities, nothing could be truer.

For the past seven years on the eve of The Cable Show, a hearty group of cable employees join staff from The Sportsman Channel to feed the homeless during the net’s “Hunt. Fish. Feed.” initiative. And every year, without fail or fanfare, you’ll find Suddenlink Chairman/CEO Jerry Kent and his team, doing what’s needed to transform large quantities of meat donated by area hunters into meals and later serving hundreds at a soup kitchen. “We invited Suddenlink to join us a few years ago,” Sportsman head Gavin Harvey said during this year’s event in Washington, D.C., “and they’ve come back every year. They’ve been great.” Although Kent’s prowess with a serving spoon is apparent, we’ve yet to see him in the kitchen. “There’s a reason they don’t let me prepare the food,” he once joked with us.

But Suddenlink’s commitment to community activities is far from a joking matter to Kent or his employees. We’ve consistently been impressed with the number and variety of projects the MSO engages in and the seriousness with which employees from all parts of the business carry out their tasks. Here are just a few activities from Suddenlink’s Texas systems that impressed us this year:

Drop by Drop: While employment has been booming in Midland, Texas, this growth has also brought traffic, overcrowded schools and strain on the city’s scarce water supply, depleted by years of drought conditions. Water rates have increased, sometimes quintupling monthly. As a result, in Midland brown is the new green as lawns and trees have suffered badly.

In 2010, Suddenlink responded with its Drop by Drop (DBD) water conservation effort. Led by Marketing Manager Cindy Martin, Director of Operations Dan Kelley, Plant Manager Jr. Torres and Account Executive Bryan Shores, the program emphasizes year-round conservation awareness via PSAs, water conservation kits, free seminars and a show for K-6 students.

The effort has grown each year as Suddenlink has added partners. Its reach in 2012 was truly impressive with nearly 3,000 plays of the PSAs, 64 seminars presented, reaching more than 5,000 residents, and 4,000 conservation kits distributed, including during customer interactions with Suddenlink employees. The latest reports show Midland has reduced water consumption by nearly one third, or 8 million gallons/day.

Suddenlink Open Tony Gibson Memorial Bass Tournament: In San Angelo, Texas, Suddenlink combined doing good with bass fishing, the area’s major pastime, and came up with an event that’s become a whopper. Begun in 2009 to benefit Hospice of San Angelo, the Open raises needed funds and cements Suddenlink’s reputation in the community. Speaking of whoppers, the winner in the March 2013 pulled in a record 10-lb bass and pocketed $850 in cash. In fact, several things about this year’s Open were record breakers, including the number of participants (184) and funds raised ($24,000). In 2013, 44 businesses or individuals sponsored the event and an additional 22 donated auction and raffle items. The sponsorships funded all tournament costs, including $10,000 in cash and prizes.

The Amarillo Family YMCA-Suddenlink Corporate Cup Challenge: Created in 2010, the Corporate Challenge pits corporations against each other in a four-week series of fitness challenges. After that, corporate teams compete in various sporting events. While the Amarillo Y is one of the city’s largest non-profits, it lacked a consistent business sponsor until Suddenlink came along. The 2012 Suddenlink Y Cup drew nearly 1,000 employees representing 20 local companies, a huge increase vs. 2011. Nine teams of 54 Suddenlink employees, also put in an estimated 200 volunteer hours. Besides improving the health of participants, who received free Y passes for 30 days, the event raised a record-setting $30,500, a 23% increase over 2011 and 48% over 2010. More than that, the Y reported an increase in membership and a major Amarillo employer is considering a bulk contract so its employees can get free Y memberships. – Seth Arenstein

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