For his company’s continuing support of Rend Lake College and its endeavors, Terry Addington, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Cellular of Southern Illinois, has been granted the 2005 RLC Foundation Presidential Award.
The Presidential Award is given to a Foundation board member who has provided exceptional service over an extended time period. Addington has served as an ambassador, a participant of meetings and special events, a contributor and one who encourages others to give. He has gone the extra mile by devoting his time and his business as advisors of Rend Lake College’s new Wireless Communications Technology curriculum.
Addington’s services on the RLCF Board of Directors began in 1999, the same year his company stepped forward with a $10,000 gift to endow annual scholarships for future RLC students. Following that lead, Harrisonville Telephone Company, one of the seven local partners which own First Cellular, also donated $5,000 toward the RLC Murphy-Wall Pinckneyville Campus.
First Cellular enhances the community by not only being a leader in the cellular field, but also giving back to the area through its support of community college education. Three years ago, First Cellular reached the Gold Major Gift level for contributions of more than $50,000. To date, First Cellular has supported Rend Lake College with a total of $93,500 in contributions.
Last year, Addington’s company continued its contributions to its community by making the $25,000 lead gift in the Challenge Grant II campaign, which is a federal Title III Strengthening Institutions grant, potentially worth $1.8 million. The grant is being used to create a new Associate in Applied Science Degree and six occupational certificates in the field of Wireless Communications Technology.
Addington has set aside time for his management team to help with the design and structure of the new program. According to RLC Foundation CEO Pat Mitchell, Addington “has the foresight to know the graduates of the Wireless program will be his future employment pool.”
Addington frequently travels to Washington to serve as the National Chairman of CTIA-The Wireless Association.
“There are few people in the industry who have the energy, focus and vision that Terry Addington does,” said CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent. “His commitment to ensuring that consumers everywhere are afforded the opportunity to use and enjoy wireless is second to none. Terry has been a tremendous leader.”
According to Mitchell, it was Addington who first approached the college about providing training in the wireless field due to the growing need for technicians.
“We hope to support the college through some input on the realities of the curriculum,” said Addington. A First Cellular representative will sit on the Wireless Communication Technician program advisory board, he noted. Addington said he expects to offer internships to students in the program and hopes to hire from Rend Lake College’s pool of Wireless Communication Technician graduates.
“Many Rend Lake College graduates in this program will be provided with outstanding career opportunities through First Cellular of Southern Illinois and other major wireless providers nearby and around the world,” said Mitchell.
First Cellular, which is owned by a partnership of seven independent Illinois landline exchange carriers, began service in 1993.
“First Cellular is unique by allowing Southern Illinois dollars to stay in Southern Illinois,” according to Addington. “First Cellular focuses on doing business with its neighbors and taking special pride in providing the best quality of service and technology available to its customers.”
First Cellular is owned by a partnership of local landline telephone companies consisting of Crossville Telephone Company, Egyptian Telephone Company, Hamilton County Telephone Cooperative, Odin Telephone Exchange Inc., Shawnee Telephone Company, Harrisonville Telephone Company and Wabash Telephone Cooperative Inc. Each of First Cellular’s partners is a local, well-established company in its respective community.
Addington “is a community college graduate and a true proponent of Rend Lake College,” said Mitchell.
Addington first turned to the community college system after enrolling at the University of Washington as a freshman and being “totally lost,” he said when he was first appointed to the RLCF Board. He earned an Associate Degree from Shoreline Community College and went on to graduate with a degree in Economics from Central Washington University.
He had been involved in the wireless industry for 15 years in San Fransico, Mobile, Ala., Atlanta and Louisville before moving to Southern Illinois in 1989. He was a member of the original Board of Directors for both the National Association of Wireless Carriers Nationwide and the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, and has served with the Rural Cellular Association and the Illinois Telecommunications Association.
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