2017 Spring Managers Conference Speakers

Richard Hadden, CSP — Keynote Speaker

Co-author, Contented Cows Give Better Milk
Makes the business case for creating a great place to work.

Watch video here

Richard Hadden is a Certified Speaking Professional who focuses on connecting people to profit.  
He is co-author of the popular Contented Cows leadership book series, including his latest book, Contented Cows STILL Give Better Milk, and also the book Rebooting Leadership.


Master of Business Administration from The University of North Florida, Jacksonville.
Bachelor of Science in Management from Jacksonville University.


Richard Hadden was a manager for a large savings and loan association in the 1980’s. He learned computer programming and worked as a programmer and systems analyst in the field of multi-user microcomputer software, before the advent of PC’s. He was Director of Product Development for a software developer in North Florida before starting his own software consulting business in 1986. Gradually, his consulting focus shifted from Information Technology to Human Resources, Leadership, and Management.

While consulting, he taught software design, principles of management, and international economics at Jacksonville University from 1988-1991.

Since 1990 he has delivered keynote presentations and training programs on Leadership and Employee Engagement for more than 850 audiences on five continents. In 2000, he received the Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association. This is the highest earned designation in the speaking profession.

Richard has appeared on CNN and MSNBC, and his work has been featured in Business Week, Entrepreneur, and Inc. magazines, as well as in many trade and professional publications.


Richard is a ninth-generation Floridian and makes his home in Jacksonville, Florida. His wife is a native of Scotland, and they have a daughter and a son.

Joey Anderson

Joey joined Nortex Communications in 1998 and was recently named CEO/General Manager.

During his tenure with Nortex, Joey is most proud of helping to unify the company under one corporate name, modernizing internal operations, deploying broadband services throughout the service area and taking the company beyond the traditional borders to succeed in neighboring communities.

Mr. Anderson is a board member and past Chair of the Texas Telephone Association and over the years, has served on various industry committees. Locally, he was a two-term Mayor of Muenster and a city councilman for over the years. He also volunteers with both church and civic organizations.

Mr. Anderson graduated with a bachelor and master’s degree from Texas A&M University. Prior to working for Nortex, Mr. Anderson held positions in health care strategic planning for companies in Nashville, Tennessee and Temple, Texas. He has been married for 28 years, is the father of two grown daughters, a ten-year son, and also has three granddaughters.

Charlie Cano

Charlie Cano is a 19-year veteran of the telecom industry. His diverse work experience includes working as an Outside Plant Design Engineer, a Project Manager, and then Director of Sales for a national consulting firm.  Working with companies of all sizes, Cano specialized in engineering and strategic planning.  For the last 13 years, Cano has been applying his business and engineering knowledge and guiding Etex Telephone (of Gilmer, TX) to the deployment of FTTH, IPTV, and a fiber ring protected transport system. He was named  CEO / General Manager of Etex in 2013.   His present focus is on regulatory balance and transforming the culture and sales initiative of the company.  A Texas native, Cano graduated from Texas Tech (Lubbock, TX) with a degree in Electrical Engineering and a minor in mathematics.

Charlie can be contacted using the following email:  [email protected]

Scott Lively

Scott Lively began working for NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association in January 2011 and currently serves as Director of Government Affairs. He advocates before Congress for sound telecommunications law and policy that will promote economic development and public safety in rural America. Born and raised in College Station, TX, Scott graduated from Texas A&M University in 2001 and Georgetown University Law Center in 2004. After law school he worked at Thompson & Knight in Dallas as a litigation associate for two years before moving back to Washington to join Congressman Louie Gohmert’s staff in 2006. Scott served as Rep Gohmert’s Legislative Director and Counsel for nearly five years and worked on a wide array of policy issues, including telecommunications and homeland security.

Wade Maner

I graduated from Coronado High School Lubbock, Texas in May 1987 as an honor graduate.

October 01, 1988, I married my high school sweetheart, Kelly Bishop

I began my career with South Plains Telephone Cooperative, 23 April 1990, as an equipment operator burying and maintaining copper facilities.

In May of 1997 I promoted to the Installation and Repair Department where I would install dial tone services, CPE, subscriber carrier equipment and maintain T1 span lines. Late in 1997 we began deploying dialup internet service and in 1998 I was the first installer to begin installing DSL service to those fortunate few who lived close enough to qualify for it.

In September of 1999 I promoted into the Central Office Department where I would learn to maintain and provision our Nortel DMS10 digital switches. I spent the following six years in this department doing a multitude of jobs such as translations, deploying equal access, deploying Local Number Portability and maintaining our growing DSL network including routers, servers and switches.

In July of 2002 came the birth of our one and only daughter, Amy.

In October of 2005 I was once again promoted, this time to Assistant Plant Manager as our then Plant Manager, Windell Lamberson announced that he would soon retire. In January of 2006 Windell did retire and I was then promoted to Plant Manager. In the years as Plant Manager we purchased equipment, built up our construction department and started the undertaking of building out fiber to the home with the goal of getting to every customer we serve with fiber. During this time, we also transitioned from the Nortel DMS10 switches to Nortel, now Genband, CS1500 soft switches and completely replace our OC192 SONET network with an all Ethernet network.

In December of 2014 I was promoted to my current position of Assistant General Manager. We have reached 60-65% of our customers with fiber and we are on track to get to the remaining in just a few short years. We began looking at the need to offer video, cable TV type service, about 2005. In late 2010 and early 2011 South Plains Telephone along with three other cooperative’s began the process of building a shared headend and forming a consortium organized today as TNMTV Cooperative.


James Mardis | VP, Plus One

As Vice President, James leads the marketing and management consulting team at Plus One. He currently serves as the Chair of NTCA’s Associate Member Advisory Council and most recently served as the Director of Industry Affairs at the Rural Wireless Association. Before joining Plus One, he was the manager of member and industry relations at NRTC and the manager of external relations at USAC. He focuses on measuring and improving the customer experience and helping companies develop a sales culture.

Toni Rivas

Toni Rivas, a 30 plus year business veteran, is the Senior Manager — Sales and Marketing for VTX1 Companies headquartered in Raymondville, Texas.  VTX1 Companies is a telecommunications provider serving south Texas from just south of San Antonio to the Mexico border.

Ms. Rivas began her career working in the retail industry for Target Corporation. She held a number of positions ranging from store operations, financial services, and marketing. After 15 years with Target, she moved to Marketing for Boston Scientific, a medical device company. With six years under her belt in the Medical Device Industry, Ms. Rivas went to work for a medium sized Advertising agency which focused the field of Healthcare.   

In 2008, Ms. Rivas made a personal decision to relocate to South Texas to be closer to family. Here she found employment at Valley Telephone Cooperative in Accounting. After an 18-month stint in Accounting, she moved to roles in Sales and Marketing.

Ms. Rivas holds a BS degree in Marketing and a minor in Music from Moorhead State University in Minnesota. She earned an MBA with a concentration in Management from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.   Ms. Rivas, her husband, three rescue dogs, a rescue cat and a pet Mallard duck live in Raymondville. Her oldest daughter is pursuing a PhD from Old Dominion in Norfolk, VA and her youngest daughter resides in San Antonio attending a graduate program at the University of the Incarnate Word.

Steven Steele

P.E., General Manager, Peoples Telephone Cooperative 

Steven is General Manager of Peoples which includes Peoples Telephone Company, Peoples Wireless, Peoples Communications, Inc and Peoples Fibercom.

Prior to coming to Peoples, Steven held several positions at CHR Solutions and the predecessor company, Hicks and Ragland Engineering. Steven engineered Central Office Equipment back in the days when customers actually wanted a telephone. He also led the Project Management group and Business Development team. After annoying senior level people, Steven was appointed the GM of the Midwest region in Minneapolis for CHR Solutions. 

Now before all that excitement, his education began with serving four years in the US Air Force as an electronics technician and going on to graduate from the University of Texas at Arlington with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering. After graduating, Steven worked for American Airlines in the Controller’s department developing processes and procedures for airline operations; one year for Aerospatiale developing techniques for manufacturing helicopters; and nine years for Nortel holding various positions in network design, product management and sales support. While at Nortel, Steven was very active in the ANSI standards committees for defining future standards and protocols for interoperability of telecommunications systems which are now all obsolete.

Barbara Vrahnos

Barbara began her telecommunications career in 1981 working for a telecommunications consulting firm in northern New Jersey. She joined NECA in 1998 and has since held a variety of management positions in NECA’s Tariffs, Rates, Costs, Average Schedules and Technical Planning/Implementation groups; as well as NECA’s Demand Assurance and Network Analysis Group. 

Barbara is a graduate of Upsala College with a B.A. in Psychology, a graduate of the College of St. Elizabeth with a M.S. in Business Management and a graduate of Seton Hall Law with a M.S.J. in Intellectual Property. 

Scott Warunek

Scott Warunek is the Senior Product Marketing Manager for VTX1. Working from the company headquarters in Raymondville, Texas, Scott is responsible for the creation, implementation, training, and ongoing management of all current & new products.  Some of the products brought to VTX1’s customers are: Home Security, Residential VoIP, Hosted Phone Systems, Premise-based PBX Systems, Whole Home DVR, TVAnywhere, TV Everywhere, and many more.

Prior to joining VTX1 in 2013, Scott worked for several telecommunications companies including: Hi Beam Internet & Voice, Cellular One, Xanadoo Wireless Internet, SOL Communications, Alltel, Sprint and Centel.  He has lived and worked in Texas, Illinois, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Nevada.

Scott calls Rio Hondo, TX. home these days, where he lives with his wife Kim, 7 dogs, 5 horses, a cat, a cockatoo and 5 sugar gliders.  (Those are all Kim’s!)  His 3 children and 6 grandchildren are spread across the US, but he sees them often.  Scott enjoys watching great television shows, sports (Go YANKEES!), everything in technology, and has often been called the “gadget guy”.



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