Cablefax The Magazine - July 2014 - 26

INDEPENDENT LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Dan Mulvenon
National Cable TV Cooperative
We're supposed to be impartial, but for reasons of transparency,
we'll say upfront we like Dan Mulvenon. A lot. You'd be
hard pressed to fi nd anyone in the industry who doesn't. As
former NCTC chief Mike Pandzik says, " Dan is one of those
perfect guys who make both great friends and great coworkers.
He's smart, funny, hard-working, experienced and a
steady hand in a crisis. Geez-what's not to like? "
A 20-year NCTC veteran, this soft-spoken VP, Communications
is retiring from the co-op after the Independent Show this
month. While he has left an indelible mark on the organization,
he argues NCTC has been " a life-changing experience " for
him. In a story we told in our 2010 edition, Dan's younger son
James socialized with Corie Garrett each summer at the NCTC
annual shows-later the Independent Show. James and Corie
were married in 2010. Corie's dad, Ty Garrett, is a longtime
cable operator, based in Sykeston, MO. " I got a daughter-inlaw
and a family from this job, " Mulvenon says.
Need more evidence that cable is in Mulvenon's DNA?
Dan has spent nearly his entire adult life in the industry.
Even his wife has a cable connection [see page 24]. As his
high school's newspaper editor, Mulvenon was asked to
do a school news show on the Salina, KS, local origination
channel. The lad's talent led to his becoming a reporter
and anchor even as he began matriculating at the University
of Kansas. Later he was asked to do weather. " I
took a meteorology course in college, but I was far from a
meteorologist, " Dan quips.
After college Mulvenon joined HBO's regional sales offi ce
in Kansas City, working in management training and customer
service. A bit later, he left cable for the Miller Brewing
Company, helping to train beer salesmen in classrooms and
through videos. Pandzik brought him back to the cable fold
in 1994 to join NCTC.
PROUD GRANDFATHER: Mulvenon likes nothing better than
spending time with granddaughter Ellie.
Always ready to help and with a perpetual smile on his
face, Mulvenon played a critical role in the co-op's early
years. " Many independent operators felt like they were alone
on an island, " says ACA EVP/Chief of Staff Rob Shema.
" Dan was the answer man when members called in to ask for
help. " Mulvenon says the genesis of this function was serendipitous.
" My offi ce was near the front desk, " he says. " When
the receptionist needed help on a call, I was nearby. " But he
went the extra mile. " I kept notes, so I could be more useful
and refer newer operators to more experienced members...
that's still a great thing about NCTC, the comradery and the
peer-to-peer sharing. "
He's also proud of NCTC's growth to 900 members. " What
As an 18-year-old cable journalist, Mulvenon interviewed
Walter Cronkite, admitting it was a bit intimidating. He also
chatted with " Brady Bunch " maid Ann B. Davis, " a very
nice lady, much smaller than I had imagined. "
Former NCTC chief Mike Pandzik hired Mulvenon 3 times:
at HBO's regional office in Kansas City, at Studioline, and
at NCTC. " I don't know if I'll get the chance to hire him a
fourth time, but Dan's phone number is on my iPhone, so I
know where to find him! "
26
cablefaxmag.com
we've been able to accomplish here has been tremendous, "
he says. NCTC, Mulvenon believes, was " well conceived and
well managed and that's why it's thriving 30 years later. " The
need remains too. " It's a diffi cult environment for independent
operators, struggling with rising program costs and
retransmission fees... but I'm very proud of our members,
they were so quick to introduce broadband. " He also salutes
independents who invest in local programming. " That's my
roots... They produce impressive programs... I'd like to see
more of them do it. "
What's next for this Cable Pioneer? In the fall, Mulvenon
will begin leading a program in his local school district
that assists special-needs students in acquiring job skills.
" It's a way to help the community and students. " Once a
helper, always a helper.
- Seth Arenstein
July 2014
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Cablefax The Magazine - July 2014

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