ISE magazine’s monthly columnists combine over 100 years of industry experience providing readers with the most up-to-date information regarding engineering and deployment of broadband networks. From the outside plant to the latest in network transformations, our columnists address the issues with expert experience.


Think you have network challenges today? Ignore the HUMAN NETWORK and you’ll have more on your plate than you can handle. That’s why ISE Columnist’s cover the human network here to motivate, inspire and help you prioritize what truly matters during network evolution: YOUR TEAMS!

sharonvollman_0116_100x125Editor’s Note: Sharon Vollman

Sharon Vollman is President, Editorial Director of ISE magazine. She oversees all editorial processes and staff for ISE magazine, the ICT Spotlight e-newsletter,, and leads the educational content development for ISE EXPO and several events. Vollman has created educational partnerships with the major communications and entertainment providers including AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, Frontier Communications and Cincinnati Bell. She has covered the telecom industry since 1996, when she joined ISE magazine as editor. Prior to that she worked in advertising with Ogilvy & Mather and CME. Vollman has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/advertising from the University of Iowa.

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Copper Expert: Don McCarty

Don is the Copper Expert columnist for ISE magazine, providing tutorials and valuable training information for the telecom professionals and techs in the field. Don McCarty’s expertise spans over 43 years. Through McCarty Products, he provides on-site training for field technicians, engineers, training personnel and managers of CLECs and ILECs as well as executives and managers of major equipment providers. In his courses, he and his trainers discusses technical issues around cable fault locating in a digital world. McCarty also trains power company technicians and consults with managers about noise problems that occur in the gray area of responsibility between the telcos and the power providers.

McCarty Products is an industry-leading training and consulting organization for troubleshooting and maintaining telephone cable in a digital world. Their comprehensive outside plant training courses combined with training products provide telcos with excellent support to help them increase effectiveness of telephone repair technicians and managers while maximizing their investment test equipment.

McCarty Products, Inc. | Email: |

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Municipality Broadband: Greg Whelan

Greg Whelan, Principal at Greywale Advisors, experts on Alternative Broadband Strategies and Implementations. His research, Overcoming the 12 Challenges of Open Access Broadband in the United States, provides a playbook for a range of Open Access infrastructure business and funding models and strategies for both public and private entities. He has 25 years of broadband experience including working on the first ADSL standards in the US and at the ITU, and co-founding the Broadband Forum. He works with investment banking and private equity firms, technology providers, and municipal leaders, to deploy open access networks and shared communication infrastructure in the US, Europe, and Africa.

For more information, please call Greg at 978.992.2203, email, or visit Follow Greg on Twitter: @greywale.

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Research/Strategy: Gerry Christensen

Gerry is our ISE Columnist focused on key emerging and highly disruptive technology areas including: Artificial Intelligence, Broadband (LTE, 5G, 6G), Cloud Computing, Data Management and Analytics, Edge Computing, Immersive Technologies (Augmented and Virtual Reality), Industrial Automation, Internet of Things, and Robotics.

He is Founder and CEO, Mind Commerce. Gerry has more than 30 years of experience in telecom and IT. Mind Commerce is an information services company that provides research and strategic analysis focused on the ICT industry. Their ICT reports provide key trends, projections, and in-depth analysis, for infrastructure, platforms, devices, applications, services, emerging business models, and opportunities.

For more information, please visit Follow Mind Commerce on Twitter @MindCommerce.

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Network Transformation Insights: Tom Maguire

Until his retirement in January of 2017; Tom Maguire was the senior vice president of Verizon’s wireline National Operations Support team, a role he assumed in February of 2011. In this capacity Maguire was responsible for improving overall customer satisfaction, driving productivity and reducing operational expense. His scope of responsibility included field installation and repair, construction, network operations and wireline engineering.

Maguire also worked closely with Verizon’s IT, Fleet, Sourcing, Legal/Regulatory and HR organizations to drive customer focus and efficiency across Verizon’s processes and systems. An example of this; in November 2011 Maguire initiated a program to migrate customers from the copper network to newer alternatives, including Verizon’s state-of-the-art FTTH network.

These migrations saved the company more than 2.5M field service calls, significantly reducing
operational costs while improving customer service. In addition, his work on the industry’s first, recently patented customer-managed battery backup unit improves the customer experience by delivering state-of-the-art backup capabilities. This BBU also met the FCC’s stringent backup requirements two years before their deadline.

To share topic ideas, questions or comments, please email: And follow him on Twitter: @TheTomMaguire

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Fiber Expert: Larry Johnson

Larry Johnson started his career in fiber optics in 1977, coinciding with North America’s first fiber optic installation. As Fiber Optic Specialist for Tektronix, he was part of the team that developed the first field OTDR. In 1986, he founded the Light Brigade, providing worldwide non-vendor-specific training.

He has researched and written 20 fiber optic courses and 10 industry certifications. He continues to work with industry associations establishing fiber optic certifications for designers, installers and technicians. He works closely with the Fiber Broadband Association and the Utility Telecom Council, and is currently co-writing a book on fiber optic laser safety for communication systems.

FiberStory was founded by Johnson in 2008 to archive the history of fiber optics, including interviews with many of fiber’s inventors, including Nobel Prize winner Charles Kao. Leaving the Light Brigade in March 2018, he expanded the FiberStory mission to writing articles, coordinating special events, speaking at conferences, writing industry certifications, and representing the fiber industry for various organizations. Look for Mr. Johnson to address fiber optic technology, its applications, and its challenges.

To share ideas, questions, or comments, please email or visit Follow FiberStory on Twitter: Fiber_story.

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Michelle LaBrossKnow How Network: Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT, is an entrepreneurial powerhouse with a penchant for making success easy, fun, and fast She is the founder of Cheetah Learning, the author of the Cheetah Success Series, and a prolific blogger whose mission is to bring Project Management (PM) to the masses. Cheetah Learning is a virtual company with 100 employees, contractors, and licensees worldwide. To date, more than 50,000 people have become “Cheetahs” using Cheetah Learning’s innovative PM and accelerated learning techniques. Michelle also developed the Cheetah Certified Project Manager (CCPM) program based on Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality profiling to help students master how to use their unique strengths for learning, doing projects, and negotiating. Michelle is recognized by the Project Management Institute as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the world. For more information, visit

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THE UN-COMFORT ZONE with Robert Wilson is a monthly column that explores the many aspects of motivation from inspiring others (employees, customers, volunteers, even family members), to self-motivation – which is especially important in today’s economy. Everyone, at some time or another, needs to motivate themselves or others. THE UN-COMFORT ZONE talks about how motivation works and how to apply it in a variety of situations.

Robert Evans Wilson, Jr. is an author, humorist-speaker and innovation consultant. He works with companies that want to be more competitive and with people who want to think like innovators. Robert is the author of …and Never Coming Back, a psychological thriller-novel about a motion picture director; the inspirational book Wisdom in the Weirdest Places; and The Annoying Ghost Kid, a humorous children’s book about dealing with a bully. For more information on Robert, please visit

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Safety Tactics: Matt Forck

Matt Forck, CSP and JLW, is a former journey lineworker, and is a current board certified safety professional and keynote speaker supporting clients in over 10 countries. Matt works with clients to eliminate mindless shortcuts. His resources include Bucket List: Eliminate Shortcuts Today to Live Your Dreams Tomorrow. To learn more and find other free resources click onto You can follow Matt on Twitter @safestrat.

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