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Generational Leadership In the Middle Market

It’s a rarity in business for a company to survive, much less thrive, through three successive generations. The Cellular Connection, headquartered in Marion, Indiana, stands out as a company which has successfully navigated this most difficult test.

It’s a rarity in business for a company to survive, much less thrive, through three successive generations. The Cellular Connection, headquartered in Marion, Indiana, stands out as a company which has successfully navigated this most difficult test.

The Cellular Connection started as Moorehead Electric in 1937. By 1969, the company began offering phone service as Moorehead Communications. One year later, Communications’ cellular division, The Cellular Connection, was founded by Steve Moorehead with one store. Today, the company is the largest Verizon Premium Wireless Retailer in the U.S. with more than 750 locations. Additionally, TCC is one of the leading DISH Network dealers in the nation.

Scott Moorehead learned early on that the business established by his grandfather and built by his parents wasn’t just going to be given to him; he was going to have to earn it. Starting as a self-described “snot nosed brat,” Moorehead began proving he was capable of running the family business. Moorehead climbed the corporate ladder by working every position within The Cellular Connection, including selling in the stores, driving delivery trucks, installing satellite systems, working in the call center and handling accounts receivable. This afforded Moorehead the opportunity to learn every aspect of each department and where efficiencies could be implemented.

Upon completing these assignments, Moorehead not only knew each job, but better understood that at the core, The Cellular Connection was a family business. “Although that might not be the core of all companies, every CEO needs to know their core and never stray from it,” says Moorehead, “Every decision I make today points back to being a family business.”

Moorehead views his associates as one (very large) family. Communication and transparency are keys to keeping the family happy. Moorehead posts a weekly blog and 2-minute videos so associates are kept abreast of what the company is doing and where it is going. Moorehead also does a Town Hall style meeting every 60-days with 20-employees chosen at random. “When you come from being on the bottom, it’s easier to remember how that feels,” says Moorehead, “My experience made me a very employee-centric CEO.”

Moorehead is quick to say that he is not an innovator. Instead, he says he is one of the world’s best copy cats. He has a knack for observing what works for other companies and then determines if those practices will make The Cellular Connection a better, and more profitable, organization. Moorehead states TTC’s innovation is how they treat their employees.

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Scott Moorehead

CEO: The Cellular Connection

Size: 1,250 Employees

Location: Marion, IN

Goal: Keep your eye on customer satisfaction. Moorehead says you can make seven customers happy, but those seven can be neutralized by just one who is unhappy.

Fact: Although TCC has some 1,250 associates, less than 50 work in the company’s corporate offices.

Unique: While CEO, Moorehead had a skateboarding accident which took him out of commission for 2 ½ months. During his rehabilitation (Moorehead suffered muscular and neurological damage), The Cellular Connection ran smoothly, reinforcing his conviction that part of strong leadership means hiring the right people.

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About Steve Rosenbaum