For almost 15 years Rob Shema served with us at ACA Connects, helping our Members and association. He worked with our Members as a trusted friend and colleague, shepherding them through their questions and issues regarding industry and regulatory matters, overseeing our budgeting and financing, and working hand-in-hand with our ACAC Team to build and grow. In 2020, Rob left to become President and CEO of Com Net, Inc., in western Ohio, but his mark on ACAC, our association and our Members will never be forgotten.
Earlier in 2020, ACAC President and CEO Matt Polka and COO John Higginbotham had the chance to visit Rob and to provide him with a “Servant Leadership” award to thank him for his many years of commitment and dedication to our Members and our Team. Whenever our Members or the Team needed help, Rob was always there.
Shema states, “It’s engrained in me to serve from the bottom. It’s who I became. Providing customers with the best possible service is what we all want to do.”
To further honor Rob’s dedication to service and to remember his many selfless contributions, ACAC has established a new award given to Members of our association who have distinguished themselves in their service and dedication to our association and our industry. This new award, called the “Rob Shema Service Award,” is being awarded for the first time to two long-serving ACAC Board Members – Tina Pidgeon, formerly of GCI in Alaska, and LeaAnn Quist of Great Plains Communications in Nebraska.
Tina served for many years on ACAC’s Board and was the General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer & Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs for GCI where she led the company’s legal, legislative, and regulatory efforts and served on many industry boards. Whether in Anchorage or Washington, D.C., Tina was a well-known and sought-after voice in our industry, and today she lives in Philadelphia with her family where she is developing a thriving new consulting business on organization, workforce and industry issues.
“Working towards a broader, collective, purpose is what really means a lot to me,” says Pidgeon.
LeaAnn is the Senior Director of Product Management at Great Plains in Blair, NE, and she was with ACAC from the very beginning in 1993 serving as a Board Member, Secretary, and a Board Member again until she stepped down from the Board in 2019. LeaAnn served for many years too as a Board Member of the National Cable Television Cooperative and in other state and industry positions.
Quist says, “It has become part of my DNA. Live by the golden rule – put yourself before others. The reward is so much greater than what you give to yourself.”
“We are so honored at ACA Connects to recognize Tina and LeaAnn with the inaugural Rob Shema Service Award, because in their years at ACAC they exemplified the serving spirit to us and our Members, just as Rob did every day,” said ACA Connects President and CEO Matt Polka. “Service is the key to all we do at ACA Connects, and there are no finer examples of this than Tina, LeaAnn and Rob.”