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SCTE Panel 3 - The Current Years and the Future

Interview Date: Thursday October 18, 2012
Interview Location: Orlando, FL
Interviewer: Lela Cocoros


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COCOROS:  Hello, I’m Lela Cocoros and the SCTE Cable Tec-Expo. It is October 18, 2012 and I’m here with Keith Hayes, who’s senior vice president of Network Operations for Charter Communications and Mike LaJoie, who’s executive vice president and chief technology officer for Time Warner Cable. So gentlemen, thank you for joining us today. And I think I’m going to start by asking about each of your, how you got into the cable industry, your early career in the business.  Keith, why don’t we start with you?

HAYES:  Okay, I was going to school at Georgia Tech in 1981 and needed a summer job and a local cable TV company was installing setback box decoders made by the  Hammond Company.  At the time minimum wage was probably $2.50 an hour, they were paying 3 bucks a box to put these in. You could put in 3 or so an hour, so I applied there and got hired on as a contractor and after the project concluded, they offered me a job as an installer technician and have been in the industry ever since. Moving up in increasing technical and managerial ranks. So I’m in my 31st year in the industry.

COCOROS:  That’s terrific. Mike?

LAJOIE:  I was actually I came over from the record industry. Prior to that I was a stockbroker. I actually got involved – I met the folks at Warner Brothers Records, Warner Records Group – in the early days of compact disks. So we were laying out how do you put music down on compact disks.  I was involved in describing how well that worked. As a consultant worked on and off with Warner Records and then at the time of Warner merger, when ATC and Warner Cable merger, we decided to do the Full Service Network here in Orlando, Florida actually where this conference is. They really didn’t know much about software there so I was the guy and I got involved with the Full Service Network in 1992, in the early specifications and haven’t looked back.

COCOROS:  Well, great. Let’s talk a little bit about SCTE. How did you each get involved in the organization?

LAJOIE:  Well, for me, it just came about naturally. When you work in engineering, you meet a lot of folks and the next thing you know somebody says you ought to join the SCTE. I think my first involvement was, I was invited to an event in New England and it was a golf tournament by Jim Kunowsk? And he was the chapter leader of New England. And Jimmy said “You ought to join the SCTE” and I said “Really, what’s that?”  And he said, “Well we’ve got this thing and we’re going to play some golf and we’re going to meet some vendors.”  And I said “Well okay, if there’s golf I’ll come.”  That’s how I got involved. Boy I don’t know when that was. ’94 I guess.  It was fun.  It was, you meet a lot of great people, learn a lot, it’s a great place to exchange ideas.  It’s been a great way to grow with the industry.

HAYES:  I was a maintenance technician working on the outside plant in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s and we would have Chattahoochee chapter meetings several times a year and our supervisor would send two or three of us to each of those sessions depending on what the topic was and where he thought we had training gaps.  I benefitted from filling in some knowledge I didn’t have and then got to meet other operators because there were other cable folks, Scripps Howard, somebody else and we could see what their best practices were. I found it to be a great place to both learn and exchange knowledge and develop some relationships outside of the company I was working for.

COCOROS:  What do you think the greatest needs are of the industry and where you might see the strongest need, if there were any students watching this? Is there something in terms of the next generation and how can SCTE help build those skills?

HAYES:  The industry’s in a unique point now. We’ve got extremely advanced technology running on the network. The network itself is very physical. It requires wrenches and pliers and hands-on work to maintain the HFC network that’s carrying signals that have to be analyzed with very extensive test equipment so the people working on network have to have a blend of mechanical skills, of electrical skills, likely of optical skills and a digital technology and how the digital signals are transmitted on RF carriers in a HFC network.  And we’ve lost a lot that blend of skills because we’ve had people that have learned the RF side of things over the years and they have added on digital, have added on hybrid fiber coax, and many of them are getting old enough that they are retiring and we’re not seeing people that have come up building ham radios and building their own little remote control cars and it’s easy to find computer skills, not so much to find somebody who’s got computer and data skills and the analog electrical skills.

COCOROS:  So it’s kind of a unique blend of that hands-on and also the newer technologies and finding that hybrid?

HAYES:  Yes, ma’am.

LAJOIE:  I think, I couldn’t argue with anything that Keith said. I think that maybe to add to it a little bit. The wonderful thing about the cable plant, especially the access network, is its longevity. HFC, when we first started stringing coax out there, 60 years ago and while we replaced the coax, it still essentially the last mile of plant. It’s getting shorter and shorter. But the ability to actually add on new services and continually introduce new technologies on top of it and change that core infrastructure is really I think the strength of the cable industry. As we do more and more and more with that core infrastructure the need to continually learn more skills, while maintaining the low level understanding of how it all works, finding those individuals that actually have that entire panoply of skills is actually pretty difficult. So I would say get a really good grounding on how things work, at the access network level and if you want to go places in this business, going forward, learn how new services lay on top of that core infrastructure.

COCOROS: Tell me a little bit about the SCTE Foundation because they provide grants for students, for people who want to advance their knowledge and their careers.

HAYES: Okay. So when I was SCTE chairman, we were approached by a couple of different organizations that wanted to donate to help fund scholarships. So SCTE at the time had a scholarship committee and we would take those donations and put them to use but we didn’t have 501(c)3 tax free ability to take it in a tax efficient manner.  We thought, once we started thinking about that, we thought there’s way more that we can do than just an occasional grant. You can potentially do a lot more in the industry. So there was a committee put together to study what it takes to create a foundation and a couple of years later it was created and they asked me to serve as the first president of it. So I have spent the last 5 or 6 years being on that board and going through all the minutiae of IRS filings, filing for tax certificates in 50 states plus the District of Columbia. Asserting that we’re not a terrorist organization, sending money to somebody in the Middle East, all kinds of nonsense to create a 501(c)3 but we got past all that and it’s focus is really on helping anybody in the industry. You don’t have to be a MSO, you can be a programmer, somebody working for an accounting firm, as long as you’re an SCTE member and it’s helping you advance your career. Our focus is to add on to what operators already provide for educational assistance or if you work for a company that doesn’t offer educational assistance to give you an avenue to help you further your career. Then there’s more we hope to do, will do in the future outside just training and education, but that’s been our core focus since we started.

COCOROS:  How does the organization encourage women and minorities to participate, this is open to all members. We’re talking a little bit about the fact that there aren’t as many women in technology in general as people would hope there would be at least by now. How do you think SCTE can help encourage more women and people of color to get into the industry?

HAYES:  SCTE has always been very, I remember when I was on the board, I served with Peggy Marks, that was one of the first women technologist that I’d ever worked with that had done the same kind of things that I did. She had climbed poles. She had dug ditches. Worked with her hands and her brain and I think that the number one thing that we can do is have people like her serve as mentors for other women that don’t think that this is an industry that could be successful in or that they might enjoy. In the 30 years that I’ve been in the industry, when you would come to Cable-Tec Expo 20 years ago, there might be one woman in 20 here. Now it’s probably 3 in 1 or 4 in 1. We’re seeing  more and more, we’re seeing a lot more minorities and I think that’s because, my company’s that I’ve worked with we’ve focused on hiring from the military, we’ve gone to local trade schools demonstrating what we do with technology days. This is the one industry it doesn’t matter where you went to school, it doesn’t matter who your Mom and Dad were, what neighborhood you grew up in, if you come here and you work hard and you are willing to learn, you can go pretty much anyplace you want to go. That’s a great message for somebody who’s in a minority that maybe has not seen those opportunities in other parts of the industry.

LAJOIE:  So to add on to that, in the last couple of years, the SCTE has now a focused diversity inclusion program. We are now partnering with NASB, we’re partnering with Women in Technology organizations. We attend job fairs with those organizations. We’re actively recruiting people of color and women to participate as technologists in the SCTE. We recently announced the vet program and that’s been a great avenue. It’s a challenge. It’s a challenge to folks involved especially to get women involved in technology but we’re highly focused on that. It’s another core objective of the foundation to provide education and assistance to those people who can’t afford it and often times, it’s people that come from a diverse background. So we actively recruit for it and we actively support in the point that Keith made about this industry it doesn’t matter where you went to school or if you went to school, you can come and you can learn and we’ll provide the education for you and the SCTE is dedicated to that.

COCOROS:  How has SCTE changed over the years since you’ve been involved in it?

LAJOIE:  Recently it’s changed quite a bit. I think the grassroots of SCTE is really the folks that were, the folks that were figuring out how to make all this stuff work technically and how to get television signals across a community access television plant.  It was figured out on the poles and so it was really driven by the need for people that were finding the solutions to get together wherever they were and to share that information and to drive best practices. That’s where it started from. So it’s really grassroots organization. And the membership has largely driven by, or initially has been always driven by the folks in the trucks, the guys in the poles, the guys in the people’s homes that are trying to figure out how to make all this stuff work and improve. Here recently, I think that we’ve reorganized at least at the board level. And we’re trying to, while maintaining that membership focus and that chapter led focus, we’re trying to make sure that SCTE can provide as much value to the industry as possible. We’re trying to drive it to be more of a pure organization than CableLabs or NCTA. So NCTA does policy. CableLabs does innovation, does specification and we do applied science and standards and personal development. 
HAYES:  Adding on to that, I think that SCTE changed.  It was a lot of focus early on with chapters. There’s still a lot of focus with chapters but now that chapter focus is tied in with working with MSOs. What’s their needs and how can chapters supplant what they’re doing internally with training. There’s a lot better coordination. We created the standards process 8 or 9 years ago that created the first avenue for the industry to promulgate standards because it’s not something that NCTA or CableLabs can do because those are both closed environments. SCTE’s open to anybody that wants to be a member here and that’s one of the requirements of ASCII and other’s to allow you to create standards, so that now with the new coordination with CableLabs and NCTA creating this good ecosystem of number one ensuring we’re not doing anything that’s at cross purposes of what the industry needs and number two: ensuring that we’re doing our best to cover gaps that the others aren’t set up to pursue and number three:  that we’re all in alignment about how technology’s going to change so SCTE can be preparing training and certifications and other things to ensure that our workforce is ready to support those new technologies.

COCOROS: Talk a little bit about how the standard setting came about and how SCTE goes about creating standards for the industry?

HAYES: We put this together, I was all aboard and somewhat involved with that timeframe. First of all we had to find a way to fund it. So we went to the MSOs and to the major technology vendors and laid out a business case that said you can develop technology more rapidly at a higher profit margin and with more capabilities if we can set up some core standards in certain areas. It really started with the DOCSIS requirement because that was some of the first standards that the industry.  We had some minor ones on F connectors and things like that. DOCSIS was the first comprehensive standard that the industry had put together. So we went up for funding and if you are an MSO of a certain size, your fee was X number of dollars per year and that helped fund all the people that it takes to put standards together. A lot of it’s done by volunteers. It does require some standards.   There’s filing fees with the certification and it has to be done with ANSCI and those standards fees help fund all that so we can provide that open forum for the standards to be created. What are we up to 140 standards, something like that? We’ve very busy there and the standards are, used to we were standardizing something that was already quasi-standard, we were just documenting it so going forward it could be adhered to. Now the standards are pretty much caught up and we’re on the cutting edge in many cases. We’re creating standards before there’s an immediate business need for it, so that developers can go on and put their equipment together and adhere to the standards and not have to go through two or three spins of pre-standard silicon that may not be long term.

COCOROS:  Right, so you’re looking ahead, they’re actually catching up.

LAJOIE:  We are but there’s also the continuity too. So as an example, if you want to insert an advertisement in a video stream, mostly the national broadcasters and national cable networks, they insert their ads at the origination point and you see that ad across the entire United States or a footprint if you have any signal, that’s the footprint. But the cable industry we have the opportunity to do local ad insertion and then so how do you identify when you have that opportunity? When the video streams come across, how do you identify that? And originally when we started doing that, everybody was doing it differently. So the SCTE got together and we formed the standard called SCTE 35 and that’s how ad insertion was done.  That SCTE 35 is also feeding into how we are doing things on IP streams, Howard doing things VOD because it’s that same notion, where do you find the time in the video stream to insert the commercial and whatever opportunity you might have based on your distribution agreements. So it creates this every growing set of methods. It’s the interesting thing about technology once you figure one trick, you use that trick over and over again and you expand on it and extend on it. So you know, the legacy of the standards that the SCTE has helped put in place actually continues to grow.

COCOROS:  So tell me a little bit about the professional development side of SCTE? A lot of companies have a lot of things that they do on their own with their employees but SCTE takes the lead, I think, in a lot of areas. For obviously certification and that’s really expanded over the years of the organization’s history. What’s the newest programs that help develop the membership in terms of their knowledge and skills?

LAJOIE:  I think part of what’s required to have the certification put in place is you need course work. You need good solid documentation that can be the basis of whatever certification that you put in place. So the SCTE does develop that course work and develops excellent documentation that will allow, whether a particular company wants the SCTE to collaborate and lead through the learning process or they want to use those materials to conduct their own learning process. Either way it works just fine. As you talked about the certification, the actual testing, we also do things like with the Cisco certified network engineering program. So we’re authorized to take Cisco’s curriculum and then use that curriculum and someone can come to the SCTE and use our eLearning or take the course work itself and get certified in the Cisco program. Probably some of the most exciting developments are recently that we’ve been trying with some technical schools. So we’ve actually provided coursework in the technical schools. Somebody can go attend a technical school based on the SCTE training and come out with certification. So whether they are in the industry or not, they can go and get pre-certified and come to work for us and it actually saves MSOs, it saves contractors the time having to train them and it’ll turn maybe a 160 hour job of training somebody into maybe a 3 or 4 day process because they’ve already come with the certification. I mean add to that, the executive leadership training, now that we’ve instituted in partnership with Georgia Tech, which targets folks that coming up the ranks and heading into manager or director positions. And the program we’ve set up with Tuck for executive leadership for folks that want to move from, they’re already in middle management but they’d like to take that next step and they’d like to get exposure to executive management.

COCOROS:  There are also opportunities to get, to work towards a degree as well.

LAJOIE:  Much of the course work actually applies and is accredited. So yeah, it applies directly to your two or four year degree. It’s great.

COCOROS: That’s fantastic. That’s great.  Another thing a lot of the organizations do, that the SCTE does particularly well, is networking.  Just the opportunity to really connect with your colleagues and meet with people from both on the operator side and the vendor side to collaborate and connect at least a couple times of year or within the chapters or whatever. Talk to me about that. Is that something, obviously social media has a lot to do with our lives today and people connect through those channels but the face to face is still a component.  So can you…

HAYES:  Very much so. I’ve been in technical session this year and my first session was early this morning and at the end of the session a guy I had never met from a company I really didn’t know much about, Shaw Communications in Canada, came up to me after the meeting and said “The problems you are describing, we are have the exact same thing. Tell me how you have gone about mining your data to identify where your weak areas of the network are and then what you did to augment that?”  And so hopefully, I’m going to save him a lot of the pain that we’ve gone through and get ahead of the curve in this particular problem. And that’s happening tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of times over these 3 days here. And then it happens millions of times in all the chapter meetings across the years and not that we couldn’t go on Facebook or Twitter or whatever and ask a question and get it, it’s you don’t think about asking that question until maybe you’ve heard somebody else’s experience and context and said “Uh-huh, maybe they know something I don’t and let me dig into this.” 

LAJOIE:  You know I think the other thing too, especially at this conference –if you were to compare this to like an NCTA conference or a CTAM conference, this is hands on. So the vendors are still here and the senior executives of the vendors and the engineering leadership of the vendors are definitely here. They are here to get the opportunity to talk to the guys who are actually hands on with the equipment. While certainly there are business discussions that go on here.  It’s an opportunity for a vendor to come to this show and make a sale. It’s really an opportunity for the folks that are hands-on with equipment to connect directly with the people who are developing that equipment and come to solutions together. The vendors learn, the technicians and the engineers learn. The other really amazing thing about the SCTE and the chapter organization is we have vendor days and we have Cable Tech Games. When you get to the executive ranks in the cable industry, the numbers are very few. When you get to the technical ranks, we number in the tens of thousands. I can’t afford to send everybody that needs to understand these, I can’t afford to send them all to Orlando but through the chapter organizations and through vendor days and through Tech Games in the chapter organizations, they can attend those things and pretty much get the same experience, get that hands-on experience and learn what’s coming down the pike and be able to share the experience with others and ask those questions. So the SCTE and the chapter organization is really vital for driving new technology into the field and into our industry and for improving operations for technology.

COCOROS: And that leads to my next question, the organization has a lot of recognition and awards and different types of conferences and areas to focus on events, etc. and it seems like it has made a lot of changes over the years to keep up with what’s the latest and greatest or what’s on the horizon for the industry. What’s important and relevant to the industry, my question is for instance the Smart Energy Initiative. Some of those kinds of newer things that are coming along. Talk me through the process of being at the leadership level and look at evolving those programs and recognition opportunities so that it stays fresh.

HAYES:  This is a volunteer organization and recognition is incredibly important. You’ve got to recognize the people that are giving their volunteer time to organize their chapter, to sit on committees, to be on program chairs for Expo and there is a number of areas of recognition and their longevity in the industry and in the SCTE. So there is recognition for Senior Member, Fellow Member, Hall of Fame, Program committee and that serves as a thank you, a public thank you for all the time you’re putting in to help move the Society forward. The Society is looking for and we need more recognition for like women in cable so we created the Women in Cable Technology Award 10 or 12 years ago as it was becoming evident that we didn’t have as many females in the workforce as we would have liked and we certainly wanted to encourage them to come in at any level of the industry. Technology leadership was open and available for them and we wanted to show the world and all the women out there that here’s successful women, Yvette Kanouff and others that, bestowed that award. There’s an ongoing committee called the Awards Committee that’s charged not only with identifying candidates for current awards but looking for ones that may need to be developed in the future as the needs of the Society change.

COCOROS:  So do you think organizations such as the SCTE are still relevant in today’s world and obviously you’ve kind of answered that question already but tell me how you think the SCTE goes about staying up to, there’s so much to do, there’s so many things changing and moving so quickly, how does the SCTE being a volunteer organization, how does it keep up with all of the changes and anticipates the next, what’s around the corner the next year or so or couple of years.

LAJOIE:  The SCTE is a membership, volunteer organization that is really peopled by a bunch of engineers. Engineers are problem solvers. Engineers are always looking forward and the way that engineers thrive is that they work together. They share ideas. They collaborate. You mentioned the sustainability and the management initiative. That’s something we started up 2 ½ years ago before there was a lot of concern and a lot of noise in Washington about “Oh gee, look what’s happening with industry.” We’ve been looking at this problem for a while. This is what we do and these problems aren’t solved by individuals and they can’t really be solved through some kind of, through electronic, the solutions are aided through electronic communications and social networking. Certainly most things are aided or our efforts are aided by those things but there’s nothing like a bunch of folks sitting down together with a white board and knocking this stuff out. You don’t come to solutions without actually sitting down and putting your heads together.

HAYES:  I think another key aspect of SCTE is to help people in the career move to the next step and maybe your company has training available but it’s scheduled out for six months but you want to learn about this new technology. You can go get training either at the local chapter or through some of the white papers that’s on the website. You can network with others through their SCTE email list. That’s one of the things that I found as I was going through my career, you know, I wanted to go to the next step, I wanted to be headend tech but I’d been a maintenance tech so what is my situation, how does it work? SCTE had avenues for me to go get that training and then certification programs to allow me to demonstrate to my employer or somebody else that I had appropriate competency in that particular technology. It basically helps you guide your career outside what maybe immediately available to you in your current job.

COCOROS: Right, so individually you can kind of create and chart your own course in terms of developing your knowledge and skill sets.

HAYES:  Yes.

COCOROS: That’s great. Just from each of your individual perspectives what is, from your perspective what is the most significant technological development in cable that you’ve seen at least in your careers? What was that big moment for you in terms of technology?

HAYES:  For me it was the hybrid fiber coax network. What an awesome scalable almost feature proof technology that is immensely modifiable to allow more services, different services. You can segment your nodes. You can do different VOD service loops based on the need. Different modulation types. You know, I think there was term when it first came out that somebody coined – fiber to where you can make money. It’s really what the HFC network is. You can continue to extend fiber deeper and or segment. Fiber now when we first launched it, it had one color of light on it and now we can put dozens of color of light on it and increase the density, increase the amount of services we are doing without having to go touch the glass that we put down 15 or 20 years ago.


LAJOIE:  Boy, HFC that is certainly a hugely enabling technology and when you ask the question what is the most critical invention or most critical technology in cable, that’s a tough one. I looked at the question and then the notes and I thought about the integrated circuit. The integrated circuit and what’s happening with the continuing expansion of and the continuing progression of Moore’s Law and what impact that has on us. And by the way, HFC is something that is in place and in the ground and certainly benefits for everything that happens on Moore’s Law. So it’s just gets smaller and denser and the capacity of electronics gets faster and better because of Moore’s Law and the integrated circuit. It benefits everything that we do and the introduction of all these services, I think without the integrated circuit we wouldn’t be doing high speed data. We wouldn’t be doing digital video. We wouldn’t be doing phone. We wouldn’t be offering commercial services. EPON would never have come about, so I don’t know, I think VIC on the biggest, one of the most important inventions that ever happened.

COCOROS:  They both sound pretty important. They complement each other. As things move along, there’s certainly more to come, I’m sure. (Laughter) Which leads me to my next question, where do you see the industry headed and where do you see SCTE moving along into the future in several years? Where do you think we’re headed?

LAJOIE:  I believe our industry is positioned better than anybody else. We have the greatest networks on the planet. The absolutely greatest networks on the planet. And that ability to actually provide services into people’s homes and to people’s businesses and to continually extend and expand the kinds of products and services that we offer them on top of it – that network and the folks that we have on the ground that support that network to go into people’s homes and into their businesses and provide those services and to continually provision them, I think that there is no end to what we can do with this industry with this network. And where the SCTE fits into all of that stuff is to continue on the course. To continue changing and growing and morphing. As our industry changes, the services and the technologies we use change, the SCTE will continue to change and grow and stay ahead of the curve and provide the learning and provide the training and provide the environment for all of us to work together and just keep growing. I love the cable business.

HAYES:  Commercial services are the big growing part of our business and continue to be. I see SCTE has been staying ahead of that with some training and certification to support commercial technicians. The unique that need to be dealt with when you are integrating with the local PBX phone environment or with the IT environment hanging off a broadband connection, the specifics about cellular backhaul, that’s going to continue to grow and we’ve just barely tapped the business aspect. On the residential side, we’re going to continue to move to more and more digital. Some of the operators, Comcast is already largely there. But we still think in an analog, single channel mindset. As we get past that, the opportunities for additional modulation types allow us to do things like high definition video conferencing perhaps. That’s come up in a couple of sessions this week is what might be in the future. We’re the only ones who really have the capability of doing that and to what environment the Uverse is already tapped out with DSL on steroid speeds. Fios can do it. They are basically the same architecture we are. Their fiber is just a little bit deeper. The satellite guys can’t touch it. So there are so many things that we can do that are consumer enabling. Customers want to get their content anytime, anywhere, on any device and we‘ve got the best network that can enable them to do that.

COCOROS:  On a personal note, what has benefitted you, how has SCTE benefitted you in terms of your career and being in this industry?

LAJOIE:  You know it’s funny, Keith started from the pole side of things and I really started from the software side of things and on the other side. What SCTE has done for me is it has allowed me to learn and grow and understand the stuff that he started with. Right? It allowed me to meet the folks and to learn and to understand how the heck, what role does an amplifier play in this thing. What is a diplex filter?  An f-connector. What the heck is an f-connector anyway? I didn’t know any of those things.  As long as the green light was on in the back of the computer I was happy. So coming from that end of things, I had to learn all of that and SCTE provided me not only to go research it and learn it myself, by the ability to go interact with and learn from all the other folks that had gone before me.

HAYES:  SCTE helped me -- it helped me turn my job into a career. I went through a couple of the SCTE certification programs and at the time, we’re doing an oral history here, at the time training was almost in an oral tradition type. You think about cavemen being around the campfire, it was technicians around the supervisor in the parking lot. That’s how a lot of training happened. Some of it was good, some of it not so much. It was all usually customized to exactly what you had in your local system, so you didn’t know how another manufacturer’s amplifier worked or how some other service that your particular company wasn’t carrying operated but SCTE certification program covered everything in a technology agnostic manner.  And you had to learn all these other things that when your system got bought by somebody else and you had to go work on different gear you already had those fundamentals. You could prove to a new owner that you had covered that aspect of technology. You could prove that you are applying for a more advanced position that you had gone over and above what somebody who hadn’t done that. You had proven competency and more importantly it allows you to fill in the gaps. You know I thought I was cooking my own toast there because I was moving up in the industry without having to really apply myself and when I got into the certification program, I found how big my knowledge gaps were and that allowed me to plug them and then to take the training on and to encourage others to go through the certification programs too.

COCOROS:  And obviously you’d encourage other people to join the SCTE for at the very least that reason in terms of just developing their own skill sets and filling the gaps.
HAYES:  Absolutely.  It’s the best 68 bucks you can spend. I’m a

member of several different professional organizations like IEEE and Big C but SCTE has one of the lowest fees and the services you get for that fee far outweigh, just access to one white paper that you know, gives you some information that allows you to answer that one extra question in an interview that makes you the guy they choose or that maybe gives you a self-promotion opportunity. It’s huge. And it benefits the operators because that one question might be one or that one piece of information might let the operators save $10,000 a year because you’re not having repetitive outages someplace because your technicians have learned from something they’ve trained on at a SCTE chapter meeting or through some other media.

COCOROS:  That’s a good point.

LAJOIE:  I can’t think of any other industry that has a society like the SCTE. I can’t think of anywhere else where companies that operate and exist in the same industry, their employees get together and share information for the betterment of the industry as a whole and the improvement of everybody. I can’t think of one example anywhere else. I think that the SCTE is unique. I think our industry is unique because of that and part of it is because of how we got formed and local franchising works and all that other stuff but I think that this is the most collaborative collegial industry that I’ve ever seen. And the SCTE is a big part of that.
COCOROS: Well on that note is there anything else you want to add to this just in closing about the SCTE or your careers with SCTE?

HAYES:  It’s been a great organization to be part of. You know the

SCTE is now part of my family. My wife knows, she’s asking, she knows a bunch of people I’ve met here over the years. She knows their wives. She’s asking how they are. She’s asking what are you seeing in technology that you’re going to be bringing books home that are going to be on my dining room table and I won’t’ have to fuss at you about.  But it really helps tie the cable family together, technology family together. We are all here to support each other. We’re all here to hopefully prevent people from stubbing their toes in ways that we have and get ahead and be successful in business and delight our customers so that SCTE will be here hundreds of years in the future as technology continues to advance.

COCOROS:  Well said. Okay, well thank you both very much for your time and your insights. We appreciate it.

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