Ever since David Servies took over a slew of Mediacom systems that include Florida’s coastal region, this Regional VP has weathered the storm. Quite literally, in fact. He joined the MSO right after Hurricane Ivan devastated the coastline in 2004. Then, just as Mediacom’s systems were starting to recover, Hurricane Dennis hit in 2005. And before Servies could even take a breath, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the entire Gulf Coast and flat-out destroyed some 150 miles of Mediacom’s plant between Alabama and Florida.
One area particularly hit hard was Waveland, MS. “Waveland continues to rebuild their lives, but the cable system as a whole probably took about nine months start to finish due to access to the area and getting to homes that were finally becoming occupied,” Servies recalls. Despite the devastation, Servies worked with corporate to turn tragedy into an opportunity to rebuild it better, stronger and faster, making Waveland the first of 8 systems Mediacom converted to all-digital that year. “I am extremely proud of the team of people that worked with me during a devastating disaster,” he says. “The employees were courageous and tireless during a tough time.” Lauding the “hard work and dedication of Dave and his team,” Mediacom chmn/CEO Rocco Commisso says “Dave’s ability to manage through difficult situations has been a tremendous benefit to the communities we serve.”
Interestingly, the last couple of years have been relatively storm free across the region, although the BP oil spill created a different kind of storm—economic—as the after effects hurt tourism and many local economies where Mediacom customers reside. But still, the relative calm in recent months has given Servies the opportunity to concentrate on operational efficiencies across his systems—as well as the ability to log a lot of drive time on the highway (Mostly day trips and overnights he can make from his central location in Gulf Breeze, FL). Servies says he and his staff are careful not to jinx the recent good fortune. “We don’t even like to say the word [storm] around here,” he says.
Natural and man-made disasters aside, Servies keeps plenty busy on a day-to-day basis fending off competition from satellite and AT&T U-verse across the region, which means that Mediacom works tirelessly to maintain its infrastructure and a high level of customer service. “Don’t forget that the customers make your payroll,” he says. “In today’s competitive environment, finding a big advantage is getting tougher every day.”