Davatzes and Lee Top List of 2003 Vanguard Award Winners

Industry Leaders to be Honored June 10 at The National Show

Washington, D.C.–
Nickolas Davatzes, President & CEO, A&E Television Networks, and Debra Lee, President & Chief Operating Officer, Black Entertainment Television, will be recognized for “Distinguished Leadership” in the cable industry and head the list of nine winners of 2003 Vanguard Awards, the cable industry’s highest honors, announced today by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA).

The Vanguard Awards will be presented on Tuesday, June 10, at an awards ceremony and evening reception during The National Show, NCTA’s 52nd Annual Convention & International Exposition, which opens June 8 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Inaugurated in 1965, the Vanguard Awards are presented annually to individuals who excel in both business and personal commitment to their colleagues, and whose accomplishments merit the recognition of the entire cable industry.

The Vanguard Awards will be presented by Maggie Wilderotter, Chair of the NCTA Vanguard Awards Committee, and Senior Vice President, Business Strategy, at Microsoft Corporation.

The complete list of 2003 Vanguard Award honorees follows.

Distinguished Leadership

Each year, two awards are presented, one to a man and one to a woman who consistently have demonstrated the highest level of cable industry leadership. This year’s recipients are:
  • Nickolas Davatzes, President & CEO, A&E Television Networks.
    Davatzes will be recognized not only for building some of the most prominent and highly valued cable networks, but for his strong support of the industry’s public policy and public affairs objectives. This includes being an early leader in creating Cable in the Classroom, demonstrating early and strong support for CablePAC, and serving as chairman of NCTA’s Satellite Network Committee.

  • Debra L. Lee, President & Chief Operating Officer, Black Entertainment Television (BET).
    Lee will be recognized for her longstanding commitment to BET and the African American community. Through her leadership, BET has used its platform to create awareness and address issues that are of paramount concern to its audience, including the creation of the BET Walk of Fame, which raises money for the United Negro College Fund, and the Rap-It-Up Campaign focusing on HIV/AIDS awareness in the African American community.
Young Leadership

The growth of cable is in large part due to the energy, vitality and creativity of the many young people working within the industry. This award recognizes young individuals who already have made a mark on the industry and its constituents. This year’s honoree is:
  • Lynne Elander, Vice President, Video Product Development, Cox Communications, Inc.
    Elander will be honored as a spokesperson and advocate for cable’s new services as well as her accomplishments in corporate marketing and development of new video products. In particular, she has played a significant role in shaping the industry’s thinking on pay-per-view, video on demand, and emerging products including high definition television, personal video recorders, and home networking.

Cable is a strong competitor in the home entertainment business because of the creative contributions of its programming services. This award was created to recognize the innovation, leadership and individual achievement of NCTA's programmer members. This year’s honoree will be:
  • Chris Albrecht, Chairman & CEO, Home Box Office (HBO).
    Albrecht has been instrumental in the production of a long list of HBO’s successful series and special events, including Sopranos, Sex and the City, Six Feet Under, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Oz, and Band of Brothers. He is the visionary who has attracted and secured the unique talents that are key elements in HBO’s success and have contributed so significantly to the value of cable.
Associates & Affiliates

This award recognizes the contributions of equipment manufacturers and service suppliers to cable industry growth and progress. This year’s honoree will be:
  • John D. Clark, Jr., President & CEO, Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE).
    As President of SCTE, Clark has been a leader in implementing professional development programs and member services to the benefit of the broadband industry’s engineering community. In particular, he has been instrumental in SCTE’s major standards expansion and the launching of its Operación Espaňol work diversity program.
Science & Technology

This award honors individuals who have played a major role in product improvement and design, and development of engineering techniques that benefit the industry. This year’s honoree will be:
  • Mark Coblitz, Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning, Comcast Corporation.
    Coblitz is being honored for his skills as a technologist, strategist and leader. Much of the success of numerous industry initiatives in which Coblitz has been involved, as well as the recent completion of the cable-consumer electronics “plug-and-play” agreement in which he played a key role, have been attributed to Coblitz’ strategic vision and consensus building prowess.
Cable Operations Management

This award recognizes the efforts of cable's system managers, who work under intensely competitive conditions in today's dynamic telecommunications environment, and are key to the cable industry's success at the local level. This year’s recipient will be:
  • Gary T. McCollum, Vice President & General Manager, Cox Communications, Inc.
    McCollum will be recognized for his oversight of the rebuild of Cox’s Northern Virginia system. He is credited for the dramatic turnaround of this high profile system in both customer service and satisfaction.
Government & Community Relations

This award recognizes those who have had a major impact on promoting a positive public image and advocating public policy positions for the cable industry at the national, state and/or local levels. This year’s honoree is:
  • Richard H. Beahrs, President & COO, Court TV.
    Beahrs will be honored for his significant contribution to the cable industry through his leadership and vision in the development of innovative public affairs programs and efforts to showcase the industry’s accomplishments.

This award honors an individual who has been instrumental in the development of marketing approaches that significantly enhance cable's public image and increase customer levels. This year’s honoree will be:
  • Kevin J. Leddy, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Development, Time Warner Cable.
    Leddy will be recognized for his leadership in bridging technology and marketing in several of the industry’s major interoperability projects, including the recent “plug-and-play” agreement between cable operators and consumer electronics manufacturers.
Reservations are needed for the Vanguard Awards and Reception at The National Show. For more information, please contact Michelle Ray in NCTA Industry Affairs at 202/775-3669.

The event is open to the media at no cost, but reservations are needed. Reporters and editors may make reservations by contacting Pam Ford in NCTA Communications & Public Affairs at 202/775-3629, no later than June 5.

Additional, up-to-the-minute information for The National Show, including a convention schedule and registration materials, is available via the official web site (www.thenationalshow.com) or from the NCTA Department of Industry Affairs (202/775-3669).

NCTA is the principal trade association of the cable television industry in the United States. NCTA represents cable operators serving more than 90 percent of the nation's cable television households and more than 200 cable program networks, as well as equipment suppliers and providers of other services to the cable industry.