Business Leaders Share Secrets to U.S. Cellular’s Success in the Recession

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KNOXVILLE — John E. “Jack” Rooney, president and CEO of U.S. Cellular, and Myra Kruger, founder of the consulting firm Esler Kruger Associates and co-author of the book “The Pursuit of Something Better,” will serve as guest lecturers on March 30 at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Full-time MBA Program.

Their presentation to MBA students and faculty, local U.S. Cellular leaders and other guests will focus on ethics, leadership and business transformation as well as “The Pursuit of Something Better: How an Underdog Company Defied the Odds, Won Customers’ Hearts, and Grew Its Employees into Better People,” which chronicles the success of U.S. Cellular under Rooney’s 10-year term as CEO.

The book by consultants Dave Esler and Kruger presents a case study for CEOs, executives, consultants and entrepreneurs. It tells the story behind the leadership of U.S. Cellular, a regional wireless service provider with nearly 9,000 associates. While most companies are using traditional recession-era tactics, battling unfavorable press and earnings reports, this organization is giving millions of dollars to its communities, revamping its infrastructure and planning for the future. Ninety-five percent of its associates have confidence in the U.S. Cellular leadership, and associates report that they have become better spouses, parents and citizens because they work in this company.

Knoxville serves as the east region headquarters for U.S. Cellular and is the location of one of the company’s five Customer Care Centers. Regional vice president and local leader Tom Catani, as well as the Knoxville Customer Care Center, are highlighted in “The Pursuit of Something Better” as early champions of the new business model and corporate culture transformation.

U.S. Cellular employs more than 700 associates in East Tennessee and has contributed more than $1.2 million to Tennessee nonprofit organizations and schools over the past five years. Local associates have volunteered more than 2,900 hours over the past three years. U.S. Cellular was named “Best Wireless Phone Service” and “Best Place to Work” in the 2009 Knoxville News Sentinel East Tennessee’s Best Readers Poll.

The mission of the College of Business Administration is to provide innovative leadership in management research education and practice. The college consistently breaks new ground with both its scholarship and award-winning, integrated curriculum that is taught within its nationally recognized undergraduate, graduate and executive education program. The college is fully accredited by AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

For more information about the College of Business Administration, visit http://bus.utk.edu.

C O N T A C T :

Cindy Raines (865-974-4359, craines1@utk.edu)

Whitney Holmes (865-974-5460, wholmes7@utk.edu)

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