Approximately 300 attendees honored four individuals last night at a sold-out event. The honored guests joined the 76 wireless industry pioneers and innovators inducted into the prestigious Wireless Hall of Fame in Washington, DC.
The event, hosted by the Wireless History Foundation (WHF), a nonprofit organization that has honored the hall of fame members for over fifteen years, celebrated Meredith Attwell Baker, Alex Gellman, Rob Mechaley, and Ed Whitacre.
“We had a record-setting event honoring these luminaries of the Hall of Fame Class of 2023,” said Jenifer Snyder, Executive Director of the Wireless History Foundation.
“Their contribution to the wireless industry paved the way for future innovation, connectivity, sustainability, and infrastructure for all wireless companies. Our existing Hall of Fame members and program sponsors are honored to welcome this impressive group of trailblazers into the Hall of Fame.”
Meredith Attwell Baker, President and CEO of CTIA, was a former FCC Commissioner and Acting Assistant Secretary for NTIA. As an industry advocate and a policymaker, Baker has played a role in nearly every primary spectrum and wireless infrastructure decision of the past 25 years that have yielded nationwide 3G, 4G, and 5G networks, carrying trillions of megabytes of broadband data each year for hundreds of millions of consumers, and supporting millions of jobs.
Alex Gellman is Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of Vertical Bridge, the largest private owner and operator of wireless communications infrastructure in the US. He was one of the first individuals in the industry to recognize the value of cooperative infrastructure resources. Gellman was formerly with Horizon Cellular, SpectraSite, Block B Cellular Corp., and Global Towers Partners.
Rob Mechaley was formerly with McCaw Cellular Communications, co-founder of Clearwire, Chief Scientist with AT&T Wireless, founder of RadioFrame Networks, and holds over 60 patents in the communications, technology, and healthcare sectors. Mechaley led the team that designed and implemented the North American Cellular Network (NACN), which enabled intercarrier operability throughout the US and Canada. He was also responsible for proving and implementing CDPD as the first data capability on analog networks.
Ed Whitacre, a former CEO of Southwestern Bell Corp. and the former Chairman of General Motors, is credited with driving the US cellular industry to become a truly national network and serving as one of the longest-running wireless carrier CEOs. Whitacre led Southwestern Bell to join BellSouth to create Cingular Wireless in 2000, and then in 2004, it prompted Cingular to acquire AT&T Wireless, making it the most significant national wireless carrier.
In addition, the Foundation was proud to announce four scholars as recipients of the Wireless Hall of Fame Scholarship Program, which seeks to provide scholarships for students pursuing a course of study in, or related to, the wireless industry, including areas such as law, policy, and engineering. Eridan was also honored as the inaugural Spark Award winner, recognizing companies making advancements and innovations in the wireless industry.