Cox Communications executive and business champion John Wolfe announced he is retiring after three decades and many major milestones with the cable provider, including rolling out gig speed internet in Arizona, the first company to do so.
“John advocated for the company’s investment and growth of our network to meet the phenomenal economic growth that was happening here,” said Susan Anable, vice president of public and government affairs, a position Wolfe once held.
Now senior vice president and manager of Cox’s Southwest region, which encompasses Arizona and Nevada, Wolfe is leaving behind a legacy that will be a tough act to follow, Anable said. Today, Cox is the largest private broadband company in America with Arizona its fastest growing and largest market for broadband, internet and cable.
Retiring but staying involved
Wolfe, who plans to become a snowbird between Arizona and New England, said he is ready to devote more time to having fun with his wife, Kris.
“I’ll miss the talented team at Cox, but I’m looking forward to staying involved in organizations and issues in Arizona that are important to me, traveling more with Kris, and spending summers back in New England.”
High speed internet for low-income students
A hallmark of Wolfe’s tenure is the Connect to Compete program, which offers high speed internet to low-income families with students for $10 a month. The program has helped thousands of families and it became a critical lifeline during the Covid-19 outbreak, Anable said.
“With the pandemic and a lot of kids learning at home, that service has become an invaluable connection for these kids. They would not have been able to continue going to school in many cases.”
Pushing for policies to make Arizona business friendly
Wolfe also has been a champion for policies that benefit the business community at large. Policies like Proposition 123, which authorized the infusion of $3.5 billion into K-12 education over 10 years. He also advocated on behalf of businesses on major issues like the Drought Contingency Plan, a seven-state plan to protect Colorado River water supplies, which are shrinking due to climate change.
“He understands that if we don’t have an adequate water supply and an educated workforce and good quality of life here, there’s no customers,” Anable said.
Wolfe said he is leaving Cox on a note of extreme pride over the company’s actions and performance during the pandemic.
“Looking back over this past year, I am most proud of how Cox and the Southwest team responded to the pandemic,” he said. “Every decision we made was designed to protect our employees and keep them safe, meet the work-from-home and learn-from-home needs of our customers, and support our communities.”
Dreams should be flexible
Wolfe’s advice as he heads out the door? Dreams should always be flexible.
“Stay curious and stay flexible, and challenge yourself to embrace what you don’t know. Out of college, I was a reporter in Washington, D.C. and thought I’d write the next great American novel. So while this isn’t the career I thought I’d have 40 years ago, it’s been far more rewarding than I ever could have dreamed, and I wouldn’t change a single thing.”
Four-decade career started as reporter
A 40-year veteran in the cable and telecom world, Wolfe has spent the bulk of it with Cox. Before he became general manager and senior vice president to oversee Arizona and Las Vegas, he was senior vice president and general manager of the Northeast Region.
Prior to moving into operations, John was vice president of government and public affairs for Cox’s Northeast region, responsible for the development of government, public affairs and communications strategies for the company.
He also held a number of other positions in the field including public affairs director for Times Mirror Cable Television, director of public information for the National Cable Television Association and managing editor and Washington bureau chief for CableVision Magazine.
In addition to his day job, Wolfe currently chairs the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors and also serves on the boards of the Arizona Commerce Authority and invisionAZ. He has been an active member in a number of organizations, including Greater Phoenix Leadership, the Southwest Cable Communications Association, and immediate past chairman of the board of directors of the New England Cable and Telecommunications Association.
About Cox Communications Cox Communications is the largest private telecom company in America, serving six million homes and businesses across 18 states. In metro Phoenix, the company serves about 2.5 million subscribers and in Southern Arizona, approximately 400,000, with residential and business digital television, 1G high speed Internet, security systems and digital telephone service over its own nationwide IP network.