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The Big Picture

3:30 PM -- This is the first installment of "Technically Speaking with SCTE," a new monthly blog of interviews and columns to provide Light Reading Cable readers with timely updates on the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) 's initiatives and activities.

This first entry is a brief Q&A with Mark Dzuban, who took the helm of cable's standards body in February 2009 as president and CEO. (See Dzuban's the Man.)


Light Reading Cable: SCTE recently announced an education program with the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. How does this fit with your near-term goals of the Society?

Dzuban: This is an important piece of our education program that's been in development in 2010 to be launched in 2011. The intent is to fulfill the ability of members and our associates to come up through the ranks in a number of different institutional relationships that literally start from the entrance-level folks.

The top [centers] around the ability to leverage all the technical and operational skills we have learned into leadership skills. We have created a "workforce triangle" that has broken up the levels so we can really target programs that will optimize the ability for the workforce to evolve from literally the entrance level all the way up to leadership programs.

They really fit the need to continue developing skills, not just for those that are retiring but for new positions that are opening up based on expanding our businesses and creating much more competitive analysts, planners, and designers.

Light Reading Cable: Is there a limit to the number of SCTE members who can enroll in this program?

Dzuban: The target is about 40, give or take.

Light Reading Cable: Cable engineers have more on their plates today than ever. If you had to boil it down, what is the biggest issue facing your membership today?

Dzuban: I think there are several, but the intent is to do a better job with the larger cross-section. Certainly, we provide a lot of content for the customer-facing and the field folks. We're working on creating more content for the corporate engineering and senior leadership, so our value proposition covers literally from the customer-facing folks all the way up to the "C-suite."

Light Reading Cable: What are your top three priorities for SCTE as you head into 2011?

Dzuban: The first is relevance in the marketplace, becoming aligned with the technical needs and the operational needs to help build a company workforce and build a foundation for the next generation of technologists.

Last year, we had our 40th anniversary -- that was my first year on board -- and the intent is to say, hey, let's build a foundation of granite and really drive toward more higher levels of engineering and operating skills that support a much broader spectrum of existing and potential SCTE members and really the next level of engineering focus from a skills perspective.

Number two is, from a business perspective, how can that content drive bottom line? How can we improve our business opportunities, which naturally will help our constituents with career paths, jobs, and being able to position themselves better with work that is very aligned with their business?

You'll see that manifest itself at Cable-Tec Expo and the work we're doing with the NCTA (National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) ) and CableLabs . [Ed. note: The Cable Tec-Expo 2011 is set for Nov. 15-17 in Atlanta.]

The third one is to evolve SCTE into a position where we work with NCTA and CableLabs as a tri-party. We're the applied-science folks who roll up our sleeves and build and operate these networks and have skills that can meet the challenge of the next generation of technology and services. You'll hear next year about the incubator project and you'll hear about the continued development of programs with CableLabs. You already saw us this year partering with CableLabs on tools that optimize the customer experience and network performance.

— The Staff, Light Reading Cable

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