Former Crown Castle chief and three key leaders to be inducted into Wireless History Foundation

In Associations News, Featured News by Wireless Estimator


Honorees, from left, John Kelly, Brian McAuley, Larry Movshin and Sue Swenson

The Wireless History Foundation (WHF) announced today that it will honor four individuals at its annual awards dinner on September 8, 2015 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas. The inductees are John Kelly, Brian McAuley, Larry Movshin and Sue Swenson.

The key industry movers and shakers join wireless luminaries such as Marty Cooper, inventor of the cell phone and Bill Carlson, a driving force behind the formation of the National Association of Tower Erectors.

Honorees are:

John Kelly – An industry leader at the forefront of expansion and consolidation in the infrastructure sector, John Kelly began his career in the carrier community. He served as President and COO of several Atlantic Cellular Company affiliates from 1990 to 1998, moving to the infrastructure sector by joining Crown Castle International (CCI) in 1998. At Crown Castle, he held positions including President, CEO, and Executive Vice-Chairman through 2008. In 2007 Forbes magazine listed him third among the best performing CEOs over a six-year period, noting that revenue had jumped 74 percent to $1.4 billion during his tenure. He also helped guide the trade association PCIA through its transition from a carrier to an infrastructure emphasis and served as chairman of the organization in 2005. He currently serves as a Director of Crown Castle, NEW Asurion Corporation, Telx, and Torres Unidas, and is the former Chairman of FiberTower Corporation.

Brian McAuley – The co-founder of Nextel Communications, Brian McAuley wove a patchwork of Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) licenses into a nationwide wireless company to challenge the cellular duopoly market structure in the 1990s.  Nextel convinced the FCC to adopt rule waivers that effectively allowed Nextel to build a digital communications system to compete with cellular providers. McAuley served seven years as Nextel President and CEO, and also founded NeoWorld Communications, Inc. At both startups, he was instrumental in developing financing and business plans, making acquisitions, raising capital, and executing day-to-day operations. Prior to Nextel, he served as CFO of Millicom Incorporated, an early company formed to participate in the new cellular telephone industry. He is a Certified Public Accountant, a member of various finance and telecommunications organizations, and a frequent lecturer at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He currently serves as chairman of Pacific DataVision.

Larry Movshin – A partner in the law firm Wilkinson Barker Knauer, Larry Movshin has served the wireless industry for over 40 years.  In the initial cellular licensing phase, he worked closely with clients and competitors to negotiate the initial Top 30 market settlements, and then to develop and implement the global settlement process that resolved non-wireline ownership of Markets 31-90.  Over the years, he has counseled clients in numerous M&A, business, and financing transactions, and on a wide range of regulatory issues and proceedings.  His clients have included wireless companies Graphic Scanning, Detroit Cellular, Dobson Cellular, PrimeCo, US West, United Wireless Communications, Sprint PCS, Nextel, Syniverse Technologies, L&G Smartmeters, and Verizon Wireless.  He is widely recognized as an expert on the FCC’s spectrum auction procedures and policies.  He has also held many leadership positions in the Federal Communications Bar Association as well as the FCBA’s Foundation.

Sue Swenson – Sue Swenson began her telecom career with Pacific Telesis, serving in various executive positions from 1979 through 1994.  Under her leadership as President and COO, PacTel Cellular became the first carrier to commit to CDMA technology in 1992. This support led to the development of CDMA as a second industry-wide standard for digital wireless systems. She later served as CEO and President of Cellular One in the Bay Area, as President of Leap Wireless, and as COO of T-Mobile USA. Beyond her roles with major carriers, she served as CEO of the software firm Sage Corp. She also sat on the board of CTIA in the early 1990s, guiding the industry through the technology debates over the transition to digital standards. She currently serves as Chair of FirstNet, the First Responders Network Authority, tasked with building a nationwide LTE network dedicated to public safety.

“These are outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions in all aspects of wireless development, and we are honored to induct them into the Wireless Hall of Fame,” said WHF Board member Rob Mechaley, CEO of Mobilesphere Holdings LLC, and chairman of the 2015 selection committee.

The Wireless Hall of Fame program recognizes outstanding achievement across all disciplines of the wireless industry. For additional information, or to participate as a sponsor of the 2015 Wireless Hall of Fame Dinner, please contact