SCTE's 2002 Conference on Emerging Technology(9)

Wed, 08/31/2005 - 8:00pm
The Fairmont San Jose San Antonio, TX January 8 - 10, 2002 Show Daily Topics: Customer premise equipment |  Deals & orders |  Fiber optics |  Headend equipment |  High speed data equipment |  ITV |  Network management/ monitoring |  Outside plant |  People |  Powering equipment |  Services |  Software/customer care products |  Telephony |  Testing Equipment |  Tools |  Training |  Transmission/ distribution equipment People Taking home the hardware Pendarvis named 'Young Engineer of the Year,' Donaldson awarded 'Polaris,' and Rutkowski bestowed 'Star of Integrity' Robert Pendarvis, Gary Donaldson and Bryan Rutkowski will take more than their suitcases home with them from this year's Emerging Technologies Conference. They'll also be carrying with them a piece of Stueben crystal, manufactured by Corning Inc., to mark their significant contributions to the cable industry.  The industry's first Young Engineer of the Year award winner, Robert (Rob) Pendarvis, manager of network engineering and technology deployment for Comcast Cable Communications in Philadelphia, was introduced to ET attendees before yesterday's keynote speech. The new award, sponsored by the SCTE, Pace Micro Technology and the Cahners Television Group, was created to recognize the achievements and contributions made to the cable telecommunications industry by engineering professionals under the age of 30. Pendarvis has served in his current position since February 2000. Before that, he held posts as manager of telephony communications for Comcast in Tallahassee, Fla., and also as electrical engineer, enhanced services, for Comcast's Southeast Region. He graduated from the University of Delaware in 1994 with a 3.54 GPA, which put him on the university's Dean's List four consecutive years. He also received the Electrical Engineering Faculty Award in 1994 as well. Among his accomplishments, Pendarvis developed a bandwidth estimation tool that Comcast has used in several of its regions for calculating the bandwidth requirements of various types of communications formats. He was also chosen as one of four members of the company's Architecture Evaluation Team, whose purpose was to monitor industry trends in HFC network architectures. Receiving this year's Polaris Award, a prize given for outstanding achievement in the world of fiber optics and sponsored by Corning and CED, was Gary Donaldson of AT&T Broadband.  Much of Donaldson's efforts have focused on extending fiber further into the MSO's upgraded HFC plant, and he's worked to design greater efficiencies along the network through the development of mapping standards and the analysis of geographical spatial data. Donaldson is the lead developer of an advanced network architecture called Power Domain Node (PDN), whereby powering of network components becomes the key factor in upgrading or building greenfield HFC. As cable transitions to offer lifeline voice along with video and data, powering will be a key consideration in designing the hybrid networks of tomorrow. A heavy dose of creativity and some homespun ingenuity paved the way for Bryan Rutkowski, this year's Star of Integrity winner.  The Star of Integrity, sponsored by, CED and Multichannel News' Broadband Week, recognizes individuals who have displayed exceptional innovation in the deployment of emerging technology over hybrid fiber/coax.  In the case of Rutkowski, Comcast Communications' online engineer for the MSO's West Florida systems, he created a router diagnostic tool to help troubleshoot high-speed data services. More specifically, the tool is designed to help dispatchers and call centers increase productivity by troubleshooting and diagnosing cable modem ailments without field technician intervention or a truck roll. Rutkowski, who has a degree in computing, developed the technology behind his cable modem routing tool and originally coded it in Visual Basic.  As a stand-alone application, Rutkowski's diagnostic tool basically tells the router to obtain modem information, then displays it via a graphical user interface for the customer service representatives and dispatchers.  "When a tech is in the field, he can't see what a modem is doing on the router, but this [tool] gives us the visibility into the equipment instead of giving passwords out to the dispatchers," Rutkowski said. "It's a big time saver, especially for the dispatchers. They're pressed for time all day."  Rutkowski, who joined Comcast in 1996, was one of two installers who handled the initial cable modem deployments for the MSO in Baltimore, Md. as well as Florida, where today his territory stretches to systems encompassing about 750,000 subscribers.  Because he has seen cable modem technology evolve from its proprietary infancy to today's mature standards-based platform, Rutkowski's invention also had to evolve with the times and trends. "It was originally designed for our Motorola routers, which were the first generation cable modem routers," Rutkowski explained. "Later, we adapted it to the DOCSIS routers." SCTE revamps job bank The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers is teaming with BroadbandCareers.Com on an enhanced online job bank. The service targets engineers, managers, technicians and installers, and connects them with broadband employers, the organization says. The new service allows seekers to post resumes and receive notice of relevant job postings, SCTE says. For their part, employers can peruse resumes and post detailed company profiles and job listings.  -Anne Kerven, CED Web Editor SCTE's Oksala joins ANSI board Stephen Oksala, VP of standards for the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers, was elected vice chairman of the board of directors for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the U.S. national standards body. As vice chairman, Oksala will be involved with the governance and development of policies for ANSI. Oksala has been a member of ANSI's board since 1990 and was the 1999 recipient of the ANSI Edward Lohse medal for standardization in Information Technology. Somers re-surfaces Daniel Somers, the former chief of AT&T Broadband, has joined Blaylock & Partners as Vice Chairman.  The banking firm, which specializes in the telecom and cable sectors, said Somers will work closely with Chairman and CEO Ronald Blaylock to expand the company's investment banking activities, particularly advising on mergers and acquisitions.

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