Comcast Cable pres/CEO Neil Smit and former Suddenlink svp/chief programming officer Patty McCaskill took home NCTA's Distinguished Vanguard Award for Leadership this year. “In our industry, you don't have many near-death experiences except maybe during mergers… In some of my previous jobs, the odds are significantly higher,” said Smit, a former Navy Seal and a hostage negotiator. His fellow Comcaster vp, strategic integration Maggie Suniewick, received the award for young leadership. Vanguard Award for Programmers went to Showtime Networks pres David Nevins. WICT chief Maria Brennan received the award for associates and affils. The marketing award went to Turner Network Sales pres Coleman Breland while Viacom evp DeDe Lea was recognized for her work on government and community relations.