A Conversation with Jeff Gardner on Windstream's Growth, A Pivotal 2011

by Luke Jones  on Wednesday, Mar. 28, 2012 9:32 am  

Windstream CEO Jeffery Gardner

Gardner said the acquisition moved Windstream from its status as a regional company by adding $4.2 billion in revenue and granting thousands of miles of broadband cable across the country.

"I flew out there and I knew it was the right business to buy," Gardner said. "It said to the world, Windstream is really serious about getting into enterprise space. With that deal, we're a national player ... We're no small potatoes now. We're a Fortune 500 company selling to Fortune 500 companies."

Building Culture

Gardner said his leadership strategy at Windstream was to break down corporate barriers and push his workforce to better itself.

"From a leadership perspective, a big part of my job is to build that culture," he said. "The people I have working around me believe that stuff. These are not people who care about their titles, or if they have 2,000 or 3,000 people working for them. We're really just committed to making a difference every day."

Gardner said his team must have a sense of urgency as the telecom industry changes with each day. Now that Windstream has slowed down in acquisitions, Gardner said, he'll be focusing on execution of a business plan and integrating Paetec, as well as increasing the company's broadband reach.

In January, Windstream broke ground on a $340,000 broadband installation south of Harrison. The company is installing new broadband lines in 13 states using a $181.3 million grant fund from the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009.

More

More from Arkansas Business' 17 public company CEO profiles.

Gardner's 2011 executive compensation, annual meeting details.

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