AT&T Presents Company’s Highest Honor for Outstanding Customer Service and Heroic Dedication by Employees
Whitacre Award Winners Left Safety of Shelters in Greensburg to Resume Work After Devastating Tornado
Other Honorees Faced Severe Ohio Snowstorm to Repair Vital Communications Network
San Antonio, Texas.-Whether facing one of the most disastrous tornadoes in Kansas history or the extreme conditions of an Ohio snowstorm, AT&T employees continue to prove that real heroes live and work around us every day — heroes who care about keeping customers connected under the most extreme circumstances. In honor of this commitment, AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) has announced the first Whitacre Award winners for outstanding customer service. The Whitacre Award is the highest honor that can be bestowed on AT&T employees.
Ed Stauth and Melissa Lucht, two Network Services employees in Kansas, have been presented the award for going above and beyond the call of duty to keep AT&T customers connected after a massive tornado devastated the Greensburg community last spring. The company also recognized Paul Ide and Shane Belew, Global Network Operations employees, who also went to great lengths during a brutal snowstorm in Ohio last winter to keep data traffic flowing for a major business customer.
The Whitacre Award was created earlier this year to honor former Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre, a tireless advocate of outstanding customer service during his 44-year career at AT&T.
“A passion for superior customer service and personal dedication are what this company is all about,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. “These characteristics are part of our culture. They’re the most important part of who we are. They’re in our DNA — and the Whitacre Award celebrates that.”
About the Winners: Melissa Lucht and Ed Stauth, Greensburg, Kan.
* Lucht and Stauth, the inaugural winners, are AT&T’s only employees in Greensburg, Kan. Stauth is a customer services technician, and Lucht is a communications technician.
* Last May 4, one of the worst tornadoes in a decade tore through Greensburg, killed 10 people, destroyed or damaged nearly every building in town and knocked out power and phone service. Lucht and Stauth rode out the storm in their basements and then headed to the central office.
* The central office had sustained severe damage — windows were blown out, aerial cables were down and much of the roof was gone; rainwater showered telephone-switching and transport equipment. Together, they worked in ankle-deep water to protect telephone equipment and keep the city’s only central office operating until help arrived.
Other Honorees: Paul Ide and Shane Belew, Columbus, Ohio
* Ide and Belew were recognized for their fearless work on a major fiber-repair plan for the Bank of New York, an AT&T customer. Ide is a senior technical network analyst from Kansas City, Mo., and Belew is a network manager for Technical Support from Columbus, Ohio.
* On the day before a scheduled physical inspection of the fibers last February to determine how to fix a section of the network that was experiencing problems, one of the largest snowstorms of the year struck Ohio. More than one foot of snow fell, with drifts of three and a half feet.
* Ide and Belew were stranded in Columbus but managed to work their way to Cleveland and Medina to identify good spare fibers to support the customer’s traffic, which was being affected by the bad weather. They arranged to have the road plowed to the Medina site and ensured that the bank’s traffic would not be interrupted.
The Whitacre Award will be presented annually to recognize employees who rise to the challenge of extreme circumstances and make personal sacrifices to support customers. Winners and honorees receive trophies, plaques and cash awards.
According to Stephenson, AT&T considers the customer experience a vital component of the company’s ongoing, day-to-day operations:
“Providing a superior customer experience is crucial to the success of any business. At AT&T, it is an integral part of everything that we do, every day of the week.”
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