SCTE Charter Member (since 1969) Title: Director of Business Relations for Broadband Services Line, Mastec Broadband background: After eight years in the Air Force, Porter made the switch from radar to cable TV in Decatur, Alabama, in 1964. He has been in cable almost continuously since then, in roles that include building, managing, operating, and owning cable systems. He also formed, managed and sold for companies that provide equipment to cable operators. He was inducted into the Cable Television Pioneers in 1977 and the SCTE Hall of Fame in 1979. He remains involved in many industry organizations and committees. Porter is also the former editor in chief of Communications Technology. Could you tell us a little about Mastec? We don’t just build networks. We also provide engineering and design for advanced systems, install MDUs, modems, provide telephony installations, perform system audits, FCC testing and other services which reduce overhead costs for MSOs and their systems. What do you hope to accomplish? Well, there are numerous projects facing MSOs and systems that negatively affect their bottom lines. Mastec can provide the manpower, equipment and vehicles for these projects and this will ultimately reduce system and MSO overhead on P&L statements. For example, we are meeting with MSOs about maintaining their towers and antennas throughout the year. There are many other ways that an infrastructure-service provider can save money for system operators and MSOs. Why did you choose to work at Mastec? I have always been involved with organizations within cable-broadband. I wanted to associate with a company that also is active with these groups and large enough to support my involvements. I was pleased that Mastec-Broadband has Andy Healey and Bruce Clark leading that service line. A great number of Mastec’s principal shareholders had given a $100,000 donation to the Cable Center to commemorate the use of fiber optics in our HFC networks. One of our first conversations was about the importance of industry support and service going forward. Isn’t Mastec also busy on the telco side? Mastec is busy with construction activities in telephony. We’re busy with telephony provision within the cable-broadband networks. We are also providing networks of fiber for various customers. Mastec serves the Power/Energy industries. We design and build Intelligent Transportation Systems for city streets and highways, which have evolved also to include many homeland security applications. I was pleased to learn about that, since I believe cable-broadband will be useful in the case of a regional or national emergency. What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the past five years? Obviously, the merging of many individual systems into just a few MSOs and independent ownerships. That changes the way things are done. People who reject change find their future getting difficult. We must remember that we are in the business of communications. It’s not cable or telephone or single-service competition anymore. It’s communications! We have to remember the position the railroad industry took years ago and not make the mistake of saying, "If it don’t run on rails, it ain’t transportation." What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the past ten years? The use of fiber optics and the impact of HFC networks to allow all of the new advanced services we enjoy. Of all your accomplishments, which ones mean the most to you? That’s a difficult question. I’m pleased that I was able to be involved in the building of 25 cable systems by the time I was 26 years old. I was honored to be running an MSO by the age of 27. I am happy I was a member of the team that introduced fiber optics to the cable industry at the Western Cable Show in 1976. I was humbled by my induction into the Cable Pioneers in 1977, especially to have been inducted with so many much more important members of that class. I was astounded when Larry DeGeorge made me a partner in the LBO of Times Fiber from Insilco Corporation in 1986. And then, I loved my years as editor-in-chief of Communications Technology. But my greatest accomplishment may have been getting to meet so many great people and make so many good friends. So how did that flamingo really become the Loyal Order of the 704’s mascot? I can’t take credit for that one, Jonathan. Ted Hartson and I used to share MC honors during the 704 dinner. Hartson always had some kind of stuffed animal he used during the initiations into the club. We were getting ready to get the meeting started and Ted realized he had no prop. So he left the meeting and found a small pink flamingo at a gift shop and returned with it. As a joke, he said that flamingo was the 704 mascot and required every new member to pay homage. Later, I purchased a larger one, named it "Pinky," and I’ve kept it with me in my office until it’s time for the next Expo. That Flamingo has helped us raise over $60,000 for the Cable Center’s elevator shaft!