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ICA's Videtich expects to "break some china." (International Communications Association incoming president Jane Videtich) (ICA Preview)

Expect change from the International


Communications Association's

incoming president, Jane W. Videtich, who chairs this year's annual ICA conference. Videtich, systems development manager/information

< resources for RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co., is used to organizational chess games--the term she uses to describe her network design job. "I was real adept at network design. I

< liked offsetting tariff changes against the engineering changes," she says of the early days of her work at RJR. In her current MIS position, she supports business applications for RJR's Winston-Salem, N.C., operations, including Planters/Lifesavers and 180 smaller sales locations across the country which are linked on multipoint circuits. Her group does not manage call centers--it designs them. Videtich has progressive plans both

< for her company and for ICA. "I want to break some china," she

< says, referring to RJR's "China Breakers" award program which honors employees who build successful programs running counter to established wisdom. "I want to look at things we do and

< be willing to do them differently if needed," she adds. Videtich built a career on doing things < in non-traditional ways. What she considers fun, most managers would consider a nightmare. Take the time RJR cut over 7,000 lines

< of centrex without a freeze date. Southern Bell broke ground on the service-providing CO six months before the scheduled cutover. RJR moved 1,000 employees into new offices and brought the 700 new people from Planters down the same weekend. "The most fun I ever had in this job,"

< she says. "We cut over in two sessions of 3,500 each. On the second cutover, we didn't have a single complaint." With a background like that, Videtich

< is probably ready to handle the serious questions facing ICA in the next several years. One key area will be state and regional

< issues. While ICA is arguably the leading user organization on the Washington, D.C., telecomm scene, state PUC actions--often not monitored by user groups--cost firms money and efficiency. "States are much less predictable and

< the politics involve small ratepayers," she points out. "What we have to do is watch for bellwether changes. "Maybe if we had gotten involved in

< the situation which arose in Florida earlier (the first place state taxes were imposed on phone bills), we wouldn't have the proliferation of state taxes which cost us so much money now," she notes. There will be an internal ICA education

< program under Videtich. "We need to provide training for the staff in the technology. If we add positions, we will look for marketing people in a telecomm environment more than in an association environment," she says. She wants ICA to be on top of the < merger which is occurring between the voice-data manager and MIS. On the problem of finding volunteers,


Videtich notes that active, well-informed people are in much demand in their own companies, so it is increasingly difficult to get a lot of time for them in association affairs. "My commitment takes a lot of private,

< personal time," she says. But she is making sure RJR is aware of the benefits it reaps--usually talking to management in dollar terms. She is proud of the 23 international < firms exhibiting at the Atlanta show. She says the two-year commitment to Dallas was mainly to firm up expo and hotel space. Chicago will be the site of the 1995 ICA show. ICA made a conscious decision not to return to New Orleans. She says ICA studies are split 50-50 on whether to stay in one spot or continue the traditional city rotation. She expects to look at the changing

< membership of ICA and to ask whether the group is meeting members' educational needs. One of her first acts will be to call a meeting of others on the officer ladder and obtain a consensus on major issues so there will be program continuity over the next three to five years. In addition to her ICA work, she chairs

< the telecomm subcommittee of the Carolina Utility Customer Association, which takes her into the tariff arena which she so enjoys. There are direct benefits to RJR from the time she spends studying tariff proposals for CUCA. "I've been able to save money for my company and save money for a lot of other people." Videtich started her career at North


State, an independent telco. The small size of the operation gave her the chance to learn a lot about the other side of the table. "I was prepared when divestiture came. Working for the telco helped my career a lot." Her success comes from being able to

< argue a point down to the level of the installer, but being able to do it in management terms. She sees no change in the in-house

< management of the ICA Expo. "It is working out well, and that's the way I want to continue," she says. Then, true to her spirit, she adds, "It's easier to change that way."

COPYRIGHT 1992 Nelson Publishing
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Author:Harler, Curt
Publication:Communications News
Date:May 1, 1992
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