Juli Blanda didn’t start out in the cable industry, but she quickly became a recognized cable leader and rising star. Now general manager for the Texas Coast Operationsof Sparklight (formerly Cable One), she is chair of the Texas Cable Association and was recently appointed to the Governor’s Broadband Development Council where she will provide the viewpoint of the cable industry. A self-described “consummate volunteer,” Juli doesn’t just work and live in her community, she also gives back through involvement in numerous nonprofits and boards. She also mentors other women in the cable industry as a member and board officer of the Greater Texas chapter of Women in Cable and Telecommunications, which named her its 2015 Rising Star.
Get to know cable leader Juli Blanda.
What attracted you to a career in the cable industry, and how did you get started?
I didn’t seek a career in cable – it found me. A friend in the telecommunications industry referred me to her boss, and I began my career in 1998 as a routing specialist, building routes for long distance calls. This job led me to another position as supervisor of routing, and our company was acquired by a start-up cable company. After five years working on the telecommunications side of the business, I had the opportunity to become the community relations manager for the cable side of the business. This transitioned to retail customer operations, where I was able to meld my passion for serving the community and leading people together. In 2013 I was hired as the general manager for Cable One (now Sparklight). Hurricanes withstanding, I am enjoying overseeing our operations along the Texas coast.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I enjoy making a difference in peoples’ lives, both customers and associates. After Hurricane Harvey, it was evident how important it was to have access to the internet. We set up a free Wi-Fi hot spot in our parking lot. I had people stop me every morning, sometimes as early as 5:30 a.m., thanking us for providing the service. Many didn’t have homes, and this allowed them to stay in touch with family and friends. More than 90% of our customers had their service restored in two months.
What would you like Texans to know (that they may not) about the cable industry that serves Texas?
We have quietly been spending millions of dollars to enhance, fortify and grow our broadband fiber networks to provide the best experience for our customers. Additionally, we provide service not only to residential customers, but to small and large businesses.
Why did you want to be appointed to the Governor’s Broadband Development Council, and what do you hope it accomplishes?
I am excited about this opportunity to be a part of the solution to find ways to bring broadband to unserved areas. My experience with small communities as well as with the logistics of deploying and operating a broadband network should provide perspective to the council. I hope we can come up with fiscally realistic solutions to get broadband to all parts of Texas through technology and collaboration.