Frank Drendel has overseen the growth of CommScope from the fledgling cable manufacturing company he founded in 1976 to a global leader in connectivity and bandwidth for wireless, business enterprise, cable television and residential broadband networks. Just as importantly, he was instrumental in the transformation of our industry.
Long before the era of hundreds of cable TV channels, on-demand movies, round-the-clock news and live sports programming, Frank saw the potential of cable television and started CommScope to help make it happen. Frank, who is currently CommScope's chairman of the board, understood how cable television would connect all of us. He saw that cable television would entertain us and educate us. And he saw it as a growth engine for the overall economy and quality of life.
Through his work at CommScope and the countless relationships he established, he became one of the biggest champions and promoters of the cable television industry. He was tireless in looking for ways to help the industry grow, and to bring its tremendous benefits to everyone. Frank's fingerprints certainly are all over the cable TV explosion that we experienced in the 1980s and 1990s, and the thriving networking industry we participate in today.
The North Carolina technology community gathered November 7 to honor Frank and his illustrious career. During an awards ceremony in Raleigh, the North Carolina Technology Association awarded Frank the 2013 Outstanding Achievement Award. The award is presented to someone who has made substantial contributions to the advancement of the technology industry throughout their career.
I think it's safe to say that Frank has done that throughout his years at CommScope. In building a company that now spans the globe, he has created a vast ecosystem that extends far beyond just the company itself. It includes thousands of customers, approximately 12,000 current employees, thousands of suppliers and others that rely on and benefit from CommScope.
Frank has received various NCTA awards, including the Challenger Award, Associates Award and the President's Award. In addition, he has received numerous prestigious honors for his contributions to the industry, including:
- Induction into the Cable Center Hall of Fame, the cable television industry's highest honor, in 2002.
- An Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Development in 1985 for his and M/A-Com Corporation's (of which CommScope was a subsidiary) contribution to anti-pirating satellite TV encryption and scrambling technology.
- The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian award given by the State of North Carolina, in 1999.
Frank and CommScope also were instrumental in the 1979 launch of the C-SPAN network by donating fiber-optic lines and equipment to link the U.S. House of Representatives to the C-SPAN studios. This industry initiative enabled live broadcast of congressional proceedings for the first time and provided transparency to the operations of the US Congress for millions to see.
As he prepared to receive his NCTA honor, we asked Frank about some of his achievements and recollections from a noteworthy career.
On behalf of the CommScope team and all those who have benefited from your work, congratulations Frank!