Q: Describe your company.
A: Sprint is a communications services company that creates more and better ways to connect its customers to the things they care about most. Sprint served 60.2 million connections as of Sept. 30, 2016 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the U.S., leading no-contract brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 internet backbone. Sprint has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America for the past five years.
Q: Tell us about the connection in the suburbs.
A: Sprint has four major offices in Illinois: Chicago, Schaumburg, Oakbrook and Rosemont.
In addition to the corporate offices, we have more than 700 Sprint, Boost Mobile, RadioShack and dealer stores and more than 2,000 employees working in Chicagoland.
We're very tied with our community. Last year we announced with Governor Rauner our commitment to help more than 1,600 Illinois students stay connected at-home through a Sprint Wi-Fi hot spot.
Q: Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
A: Sprint has made a huge commitment in increasing the number of employees, store and capital in Chicagoland. In Chicago alone, Sprint has devoted to nearly $150 million spend, and $250 million in Chicagoland by the end of 2016. In addition, we've committed to hiring more than 1,000 new employees by the end of 2016.
Due to the massive commitment, Chicago was the first city for Sprint to launch LTE Plus. LTE Plus can currently deliver speeds up to 100 mbps, which is really ridiculously fast. We recently had a live demonstration for three-channel aggregation, which can provide peak download speeds of more than 200 mbps.
Imagine watching your favorite show, on your phone, with no interruptions. No buffering, no lag time. It's amazing how far we've come in the telecommunications world.
Q: If you could put your company name on a sports venue, which one would you choose?
A: The Cubs.
Q: What will your company's main challenges be in the next year?
A: From a branding perspective, we're changing perceptions, which takes time. Some potential customers associate Sprint as a smaller carrier with a network that's lesser than others, but in fact, Sprint just received the No. 1 spot for network reliability from a third-party vendor, RootMetrics.
The needle is slowly moving. We're so convinced that our network is great that we're offering customers a Sprint satisfaction guarantee. If they don't like our network, they can get their money back within the trial, guaranteed, but if they like our network, it's a great way to spread the positive message.
Q: What book is on your nightstand?
A: "The Founders Mentality," by Chris Zook & James Allen.
Q: Two people to follow on Twitter and why.
A: Mayor Emanuel and Tim Cook. We're very involved with the City and I like to follow the Mayor's feed to see where Sprint can assist even further. Secondly, Tim Cook because I believe he inherited one of the toughest jobs, to follow Steve Jobs, and it's interesting to watch him as he continues to drive Apple.
Q: What's the hottest trend in your industry?
A: Virtual reality is huge right now. Our blazing-fast LTE Plus network allows for an incredible virtual reality experience with no buffering. It's an incredible technology.
Q: Do you have a business mantra?
A: I've never had a bad year with great people.
Q: From a business outlook, who do you look up to?
A: Steve Jobs has been an inspiration for me for many years. Steve's vision shaped the wireless handset industry. I remember a quote I heard on the radio when he passed that said "It's a great tribute to Steve Jobs that millions of people are hearing the news of him passing on devices he designed." Very powerful.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: Outdoors, jogging, tennis, family.
Q: If you were not doing this job, what do you think you would be doing?
A: I love the nonprofit world and working to help people that need a hand.
Q: What was your first paying job?
A: I was a dishwasher in a small hospital in West Virginia.
Q: What is one interesting fact about you or your company that most people may not know?
A: I don't think that customers remember all of the innovations that Sprint has brought to the market. In fact, just recently Sprint was the first to deploy LTE Plus, and it started here in Chicago. It allows for incredible download speeds.
-- Kim Mikus
We were also the first to create a leasing program for devices which is a huge benefit to consumers.