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U.S. Cellular CEO John E. Rooney Visits
University of Tennessee MBA Program


Jack RooneyJohn E. “Jack” Rooney, president and CEO of U.S. Cellular, and Myra Kruger, founder of Esler Kruger and co-author of the book “The Pursuit of Something Better,” served as guest lecturers at the University of Tennessee Full-time MBA program on Tuesday, March 30. Their presentation to University of Tennessee MBA students and faculty, local U.S. Cellular leaders and other guests focused on ethics, leadership and business transformation as well as “The Pursuit of Something Better,” which chronicles the success of U.S. Cellular under Rooney’s 10-year term as CEO.

Jack Rooney & MBA studentsThe book, “The Pursuit of Something Better: How An Underdog Company Defied the Odds, Won Customers’ Hearts, and Grew its Employees Into Better People” by consultants Dave Esler and Myra Kruger, presents a rare and inspiring case study for CEOs, executives, consultants and entrepreneurs. It tells the story behind the leadership of U.S. Cellular, a regional wireless service provider with nearly 9,000 associates. While most companies are using traditional recession-era tactics, battling unfavorable press and earnings reports, this organization is giving millions of dollars to its communities, revamping its infrastructure and planning for the future. Ninety-five percent of its associates have confidence in the U.S. Cellular leadership, and associates report they that have become better spouses, parents and citizens because they work in this company.

Knoxville serves as the East Region headquarters for U.S. Cellular and the location of one of the company’s five Customer Care Centers. Regional vice president and local leader Tom Catani, as well as the Knoxville Customer Care Center, are highlighted in “The Pursuit of Something Better” as early champions of the new business model and corporate culture transformation.
U.S. Cellular employs more than 700 associates in East Tennessee and has contributed more than $1.2 million to Tennessee nonprofit organizations and schools over the past five years. Local associates have volunteered more than 2,900 hours over the past three years. U.S. Cellular was named “Best Wireless Phone Service” and “Best Place to Work” in the 2009 News Sentinel’s East Tennessee’s Best Readers Poll.

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