Making solutions a group effort for this tech leader
FROM THE EYES OF THE CUSTOMER: By seeing problems from the eyes of Cox customers, Patricia Martin solves them faster and better than many of her peers in the telecom giant’s national footprint.
PBN PHOTO/NATALJA KENT
By Michael Persson
Good communication skills are essential for any successful career. Using those skills to marshal hundreds of employees, build relationships within creative teams, and navigate the chains of command in the workplace is communications taken to a high level.
It also describes what Patricia Martin has done within her industry for more than 12 years. Today, she is vice president of network operations for Cox Communications Northeast region, and thanks to her accomplishments here, she is a Woman To Watch in technical services for Providence Business News’ 2013 Business Women Awards program.
John Wolfe, Cox’s senior vice president and general manager for the Northeast Region, cites Martin’s prowess at gathering groups and focusing their intention as an explanation for her strides in the business.
“She has a deep technical understanding in her ability to rally her team around a goal,” Wolfe said. “Getting ideas off the ground is about competing for investment within the company. She does that better than anyone. It’s why her teams’ innovations are always the first to go to market.”
Martin leads 242 employees located from Ohio to Connecticut and Rhode Island. The analogy could be similar to a plate spinner keeping several independent tasks moving at one time. It also speaks to Martin’s personality.
“I’m a risk-taker,” she said. “When technological ideas are arriving for implementation faster than ever before, I’d say that what I do comes down to walking a path that no one has walked before and with no guide to show the way.”
“At 18, I went to my bank manager to negotiate a car loan,” Martin said. “I had thought out a means of payment by producing a feasibility plan charting the number of hours at school versus my hours at work and how to generate enough income to pay back the loan. That’s just who I am.”
Raul Moreira is Cox’s director of construction and engineering for the Northeast. He and Martin were once peers when she worked in Oklahoma. With Martin’s move east, she became Moreira’s boss.
“When she arrived, we had a very high call-in rate from our video-on-demand service,” Moreira recalled. “Patricia made it clear that this was unacceptable. Within a short time, she had reduced that volume to the lowest around the country. That totally describes her. She looks at everything she’s faced with from the eyes of the customer.”
Martin is known as an expert in GPS technology that decreased customer outage arrival time and the average time to repair line incidents. With a team of employees, she created and implemented a revised collections strategy that recovered more than $150,000.
For all of her achievements, Martin represents a potent symbol for her gender in the business world. “She’s a female tech leader with a deep understanding of her abilities, which unfortunately is too rare in today’s world,” Wolfe said.
“I feel I’m opening the doors for other women to come through,” Martin said.
Martin sees collaboration as crucial. “One of things I’ve carried with me was a little advice from a fabulous female role model,” recalled Martin. “She would say ‘If I’m the smartest person in the room then we’re all in trouble.’ Solutions are about relationships.” •