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Viaero’s Executive Team, an accomplished group of strategic leaders, is comprised of both business veterans and entrepreneurs. Their leadership and collective decision-making have created a solid foundation for the company’s outstanding growth. Careers span from 15 to 35 years in business and telecommunications – creating a team with vast experience who truly complement each other’s talents. 

The Executive Team is also fully committed to the communities they serve, focusing on superior technology and connectivity throughout Viaero’s wide-ranging service area. That commitment is why the Executive Team has focused on innovation like new technologies and devices, quality towers and infrastructure, and advanced networks. It’s also why customers trust the group’s ability to ensure outstanding service and support their personal and business communication needs.

    Frank DiRico, President

    Viaero’s President, Frank DiRico, has guided the company’s success for 20 years by taking the long-view. To reinvest in the company; and to provide highly reliable, wide-ranging coverage to communities all across Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas and Wyoming. 

    It’s all been an effort to maintain the network’s reach, reliability and capabilities – and to deliver an outstanding, powerful connection. These are the insights and skills DiRico has focused on throughout his 35 years as a telecommunications entrepreneur. In 1991, he established a new wireless service in Fort Morgan: Cellular One of Northeast Colorado. Soon, Nebraska Wireless Telephone Company was acquired in 2003 and re-named Viaero Wireless. Today, Viaero is still headquartered in Fort Morgan and honors its neighborly roots with 44 retail locations and 20 dealers to ensure that unparalleled wireless service is delivered to every community – and every customer.  

    DiRico shows his commitment to his community and company in many ways. Being a helicopter enthusiast and pilot, he has offered to take officials aloft to survey flood and property damage. That same commitment is valued at Viaero, too; as the company focuses on quality infrastructure with close to 600 towers and the goal to provide a powerful and reliable connection. That’s why infrastructure is so important, and it’s why towers are highly rated and designed to withstand tornado-force wind and severe weather.

    Providing outstanding service and embracing innovation are mainstays of DiRico’s long entrepreneurial career. In 1974, he started what would be a decades-long venture, Industrial Communications and Electronics (or Industrial) which continues to this day. He also holds a U.S. Patent for the Skycell® tower-top equipment building. 

    Industrial grew to the third largest SMR operator and Motorola Radio Dealer in the United States until the profitable sale of 800 Mhz frequencies to Nextel in 1998. The company’s leasing, radio sales and service business, based in New England, expanded to the Miami, Florida, area. 

    DiRico’s service to community has been a true highlight of his esteemed career. He served on the Ocean Reef Academy school board in Key Largo, Florida. He is also closely involved with the American Telecommunication Association in Washington, D.C. serving on the Board of Directors; and is a Board Member of the Founders Society Baptist Hospital System. Personally, DiRico is an avid helicopter pilot, having achieved Chief Pilot status in 1994 with Altar Helicopter Corporation. He enjoys time with his family and resides in the Fort Morgan area with his wife, and has four adult daughters.

    Mike Felicissimo, Executive V.P. & C.F.O.

    Mike Felicissimo has been in senior management in the telecommunications industry for more than 15 years, and Viaero is in great hands with Felicissimo as Vice President & CFO. His vast business and educational background has given him deep skills to run the Accounting and Finance, Customer Care, Product Marketing, Billing, Collections and Logistics departments. Felicissimo’s range of experience in strategy, planning, and financial operations brings in-depth background to Viaero’s future planning. 

    Felicissimo also has a history in entrepreneurialism, joining Viaero after being the CFO with Extend America, Inc. (a wireless company that’s located in a rural area as well: Bismark, North Dakota). While there, he developed the company’s financial model, business case, operational metrics and financial statements.

    That entrepreneurial spirit was equally demonstrated as he managed the financial operations of U S West Wireless, helping lead its growth from a start-up venture. That was in late 1997, and Felicissimo was soon promoted to Vice-President and CFO of U S West Wireless in 1998. He then became the financial steward during US West’s acquisition by Qwest Wireless LLC in 2000 - and 1.1 Million more subscribers. At Qwest, he led financial planning, reporting, analysis and complex transactions – and also directed the $1.7 Billion network build-out. 

    Having attended graduate school at the esteemed Thunderbird, or the American Graduate School of International Management, he completed a Master of Business Administration. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Connecticut.

    Prior to graduate school, he was with U.S. Electrical Motors, a division of Emerson Electric. From 1980 to 1985 he conducted business development for Middle East markets, and rose to International Sales manager in 1981, overseeing sales for the division with an enterprise value of approximately $125 Million.

    Wes Burnett, C.T.O.

    For more than 20 years, Burnett has been designing and supervising the development of both urban and rural wireless networks as a senior-level executive. His experience has brought a wealth of knowledge to Viaero, and he’s been at the helm of managing Viaero’s network and its operations teams since 2004.

    Burnett designed one of the nation’s largest high-bandwidth microwave networks – and the construction of a PCS network consisting of more than 360 telecommunications towers. Structures also included two major switching centers, a network operations center and other related facilities. With Viaero’s consistent growth, he has also been developing the networking and construction of new towers – 600 and counting.  

    Prior to his time at Viaero, Burnett designed a breakthrough network for the aviation industry. At AirCell, Inc., (a company that specializes in airborne voice and data services utilizing AMPS and CDMA technology), he developed, designed and implemented the world’s first air-to-ground data network. Serving in the aviation department, he managed product flight tests, and managed licensing issues with the FCC. During his tenure at AirCell, Burnett helped expand the company’s reach from 30 to 142 cell sites.

    Burnett’s insights come from years of experience operating a wide range telecommunications platforms ranging from traditional telephone service to Global System for Mobile (GSM), EDGE, UMTS, CDMA and TDMA platforms. He also has deep knowledge and experience with all major vendors’ switching and radio frequency (RF) equipment. 

    He is a graduate of Texas Tech University, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1979. Burnett holds an FCC General Class License and is a NARTE Engineer Second Class with Master Endorsement. Throughout, he has continuously learned about new networking equipment and technologies. Courses and technical training he continues to focus on include some of today’s most advanced networking and communications technologies: Lucent 5ESS, Autoplex Series 2, Nortel, Motorola, LCC, Farinon, Avantek, Alcatel, Nokia UltraSite, Lenkurt, Western Electric, Southwest Bell, GTE Transmission Engineering.

    Burnett is an avid pilot, holding an FAA airline Transport Pilot Certificate and First Class Medical certification.

    Jeff Brown, V.P. of Roaming & Data Services

    Brown brings a history of commitment and steadfastness to Viaero. He’s been a long-term employee, and a highly respected contributor to community organizations in Morgan County and Northeast Colorado. Brown has 25 years of telecommunications industry experience and directs Viaero’s Roaming & Data Services. 

    Previously, he was the Operations Manager from 1992-1998 when the company was known as Cellular One of Northeast Colorado, and prior to the acquisition and name change. That provides a unique and valuable perspective as a long-term employee, having lived through the strategic development and execution of Viaero’s growth. 

    Brown also brings executive-level experience to Viaero, having held the CEO title at FiberLink Connection LLC., (an Internet services company), and as Manager of Information Technology at Morgan County Rural Electric. As a third generation telephone-man, he carries the deep understanding of the importance of reliable, consistent telecommunication service in the wide-open rural country of Viaero’s service areas. Both, Brown’s father and grandfather were in the telephone business with the Bell Telephone Companies and AT&T respectively.

    This is why Brown is such a charitable and committed member of the Northeast Colorado community – and business advocate. And why his values match that of Viaero’s: the neighbor that knows about the importance of reliable telecommunications and connectivity for public safety as well as business and personal communications and data. That’s why Brown also serves on the Colorado Broadband Deployment Board established to provide broadband service in non-served areas of Colorado.

    Brown’s community involvement is translated to developing business in the region. He is committed to business and community growth and served in leadership positions with the Morgan County Economic Development Corporation, the Morgan County Quality Water District, and the Weldon Valley School District.

    Brown and his wife have 5 children, all of whom still reside in the Greeley, Colorado, area.

    Jon Becker, V.P. of Government & Business

    Effectively managing the intersection of business and government in telecommunications requires an executive who has solid leadership skills in both arenas. That’s Becker’s role as Viaero’s Vice President of Government & Business – and he heads the group that locates and then develops and works on permitting for new tower and retail locations, as well as all leases and easements.

    Becker brings unique perspectives to the relationship between government and business, not only by holding office in the Colorado House of Representatives, but also for his support and guidance toward growth and the development of business opportunities. He also served as Executive Director of Morgan County Economic Development Corporation, successfully bringing many businesses to the area.   

    When Becker was elected Morgan County Commissioner in 2008, his office oversaw the $30 Million budget, 300 employees, two enterprise funds, and the dutiful management of day-to-day operations. In 2010, Becker was named Chair of the Morgan County Commissioners and aspired to win the race for Colorado House of Representatives. He won. Soon, the freshman legislator was appointed to the powerful Joint Budget Committee which develops the annual budget. Becker also served as the Chair of the Appropriations Committee; and now serves on the Transportation and Agriculture Committees. 

    He has a life-long connection to Morgan County and Colorado, (he is a native of Morgan County, Coloradoan, after all) and is a graduate of both Morgan Community College and Colorado State University, completing a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Organizational Management. After graduating, he began his career as an insurance adjuster for Farmers Insurance Group and went on to receive a Master of Business Administration from Colorado Christian University.

    Becker still lives in Morgan County with his wife of 17 years, Christal, and their two boys Grant and JT.

    Roger Brown, V.P. of Construction

    Supervising the construction and maintenance of more than 600 towers and 40 retail stores requires years of leadership, exactly what Roger Brown brings to Viaero as Vice President of Construction. Throughout 25 years in construction (21 of which have been with Viaero), his skills and experience have been integral in building-out Viaero’s ever-growing wireless footprint and coverage area

    In addition to contributing his leadership skills to the executive team, Brown also personally guides and shares his leadership out in the field with his team. He can often be found on-site helping direct new projects. He still enjoys climbing towers and taking a hands-on approach to day-to-day operations. His personal leadership style projects a sense of motivation and sets a positive example that always empowers his team. 

    Brown is closely involved in the actual delivery of Viaero’s reliable and powerful wireless connections, ensuring towers are fully-operable. He began as a Tower Climber in 1994 and has been part of the company’s outstanding growth and many new towers. He has traveled to all areas of Viaero’s footprint, playing a central role in expanding the full coverage area. 

    Eric Preston, General Counsel

    Monitoring telecommunications and corporate legal affairs is one area Viaero focuses on closely; another is the corporate legal aspects of business management and operations. These are the skills and long-term expertise Eric Preston brings to Viaero as Corporate Legal Counsel. 

    In the spirit of entrepreneurialism that’s also a Viaero trait, Preston previously founded his own practice in Aurora, Colorado, to work on operational legal requirements for the media - more than 200 radio and television stations and outdoor advertising acquisitions. More recently, he was “Of-Counsel” with a Denver PC firm advising media and wireless companies. 

    Preston’s education comprises a unique nexus between law and business – perspectives that have proven highly valuable on Viaero’s executive team. He was awarded his Juris Doctorate from Vermont Law School in 1997, and received a Master of Business Administration from the University of Wyoming in 1996. Preston completed his undergraduate studies at Pennsylvania State University in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance. 

    His deep legal knowledge and perspectives have brought 18 years of legal counsel to senior management in the telecommunications industry. Prior to his time with Viaero, he served as an attorney representing media, telecommunications and wireless clients with legal firms in both Denver and Omaha. Preston is licensed to practice law in the States of Colorado and Nebraska.

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