Mike Whitaker has had an extensive management career, encompassing a variety of roles within the telecommunications industry as well as a City Manager, where he managed the municipal public works and telecommunications infrastructure. His experience in these positions also benefited from Mike’s outstanding entrepreneurial skills.
Mike served as Chief Operations Officer at Memphis Networx. At MN, Mike’s team designed, built and helped lead a collaborative public and private effort that allowed the City of Memphis to construct a 110 mile metropolitan communications fiber network that connected 12 Bell South central offices. The team developed a comprehensive operation support system that allowed for efficient provisioning, ordering, customer inventories, and billing.
One of Mike defining experiences was as the Vice President of Strategic Alliances for William's Communications, Inc. While at Williams, Mike headed a team that forged an alliance with SBC Communications, which was critical to SBC being granted relief to enter the long distance telephone market. Mike was a key member of a team that was responsible for the build out of a 43,000 mile fiber optic system.
Mike served as the City Manager of both O’Fallon, Missouri and Lake St. Louis, Missouri, immediately after their incorporations. He was responsible for the day-to-day operations and the development of a comprehensive plan for infrastructure and subdivision development in both cities. While City Manager of O’Fallon, Mike was a member of the Regional Waste Water Management team that designed and funded a regional waste water system for the 11 county area, including metropolitan St Louis. Mike was also elected to serve at large on the St. Charles County Ambulance District. Mike also served as the President of the Lake St Louis/ O’Fallon Rotary Club.
Dan Kennedy has had an extensive career developing, managing and marketing complex telecommunications networks throughout the United States in roles including corporate executive, entrepreneur and consultant. His skills include business modeling, product development, market development, network architecture, and design of data, voice and video networks.
At Fidelity Communications, Dan served for 6 years as the Vice President of Sales and Business Development. During that time, he led teams that implemented and deployed complex triple play solutions. He also managed customer (RBOC, MSO, Municipal, Utility, independent CATV, and Developers) relationships to provide successful end-to-end Triple Play solutions.
Corporate and community leaders in Memphis TN brought in Dan to serve as the Vice President of Engineering and Product Development at Memphis Networx. While there, Dan developed the strategy to build out a municipality-owned, 250 route-mile fiber network in the metropolitan area. He also developed all service offerings and brought the first Ethernet-based services to the community.
Dan began his telecommunications career in the US Army where he served as an essential member of the Army communications maintenance team, supervising and performing field and sustainment level maintenance on radio receivers, transmitters and communication security (COMSEC) equipment. During his deployment to the Middle East, he was awarded the Bronze Star for distinguishing and meritorious service assistance to subordinates. He performed complex repairs of defective components, sub-assemblies, and related cabling, ensuring that National Security Agency-approved components were used in communication security/controlled cryptographic equipment.
Dan received his BA from St. Louis University.
During his 30+ year career, Sam Valencia has developed deep and diverse expertise as an Assurance Partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PWC). During that time, he has developed and executed strategies to protect corporate assets, ensure accuracy in financial reporting, implement internal control strategies, and achieve operational excellence across a complex domestic and international market footprint.
An important element of Sam's experience has been in the area of mergers & acquisitions, where he has represented both buyers and sellers and, therefore, is attuned to their respective interests and requirements. In terms of his specific experience, Sam has managed a variety of issues related to the evaluation and selection of accounting pronouncements, purchase accounting, tax accounting, divestitures, internal control assessments, asset sales, tax strategies/structuring, and corporate expansion. He also has extensive experience working with public companies, assisting clients with the adoption and implementation of Sarbanes-Oxley Rule 404 requirements, 1933 Act equity and debt offerings, as well as other SEC filings and communications.
During his career at PWC, Sam was responsible for all services provided to his public, private and middle market companies in a variety of industries. In this role, Sam held a leadership position in PwC's human capital development program; directed large, often globally-based teams of consultants; and created solutions for complex accounting/tax issues.
Sam received his B.S. degree in Accounting from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. He has held CPA licenses in a number of states, and has held Board and officer positions with organizations such as the Association for Corporate Growth, The Mental Health Association and Meadowbrook Country Club.
Grier C. Raclin is an accomplished senior executive of Fortune 500 and other telecommunications companies. Among other positions, Grier was Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel of Charter Communications, the country’s third largest, publicly-traded provider of broadband cable services. At Charter, Grier had management responsibility for a variety of corporate functions, including Legal, Programming, Procurement, Government Relations and Business Development.
Prior to joining Charter, Grier was EVP and Chief Legal Officer of Savvis, Inc., a worldwide provider of virtual private network, managed hosting and internet access services, which was acquired by CenturyLink Communications. While he was with Savvis, the company nearly tripled its revenues, principally through acquisitions (such as Intel’s data centers and Cable & Wireless America’s assets) that Grier structured, negotiated and/or implemented. Before joining Savvis, Grier was EVP, CAO and General Counsel of Global TeleSystems (GTS), a London, England-based, publicly-held provider of fiber optic, voice and data services to businesses throughout Eastern and Western Europe, Russia and Asia. At GTS, Grier managed the company’s Asian operations; structured and negotiated over $6.5B in foreign and domestic financings and M&A transactions; and led the resolution of all legal and regulatory issues associated with the construction and operation of the first trans-European fiber optic network, and the largest, private, fixed and mobile telecommunications service provider in Russia and Central Europe.
Grier began his career in private legal practice. After serving as a senior Law Clerk on the Seventh Circuit Federal Court of Appeals in Chicago, Grier was an attorney with Sidley & Austin in Washington, D.C., and later Vice Chairman and Managing Partner of Gardner, Carton & Douglas in Chicago, Illinois and Washington, D.C. (since merged into Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP). Grier received his JD degree from Northwestern University Law School, where he served on the Editorial Board of Northwestern Law Review; received his BA cum laude in Philosophy from Northwestern University; earned a Certificate in Electrical Engineering from The George Washington University; and attended the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Grier has authored numerous articles and speeches that have appeared in the national press, such as The Wall Street Journal, and has provided commentary on national television networks and before governmental agencies. Particularly relevant is Grier’s presentation on “Competition In The Video Marketplace,” which he presented at the United States Department of Justice, Antitrust Division’s Telecommunications Symposium. Grier has served on numerous corporate and civic Boards, including those of Golden Telecom, Inc. (NASDAQ: “GLDN”); Northwestern University Law School; and the St. Louis Museum of Contemporary Art.