Alumni leading the telecommunications industry

Roy Wilkens, EE’66, and Mario A. Padilla, MetE’60, worked for years to challenge and change the status of the telecommunications industry in the early to mid 1990s. 

Wilkens, founder, president and CEO of telecommunications company WilTel, worked to challenge and outpace the “big three” at the time of AT&T, MCI and Sprint. His 3,500 employees worked with business communications to provide network solutions. “All I had was a gimmick to start out with, and that was putting fiber inside a pipe,” says Wilkens about his fiber-optics cable project that turned into a company. 

Padilla was vice president of new markets business development for AT&T in Morristown, N.J. He stated in 1993 to Missouri S&T Magazine that “we have come to the age of The Jetsons,” when referring to a communications revolution that would affect our life as dramatically as interstate highways or televisions. 

For some, it is hard to imagine a life without the communication devices we have today, but perhaps future Miners can pick up the mantle of the two and continue to develop new technologies. 

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