I envisioned the perfect title for a video interview that wasn’t to be. Since this was his last day in the industry before setting off for warmer climes, a video interview would be a great way to recognize and capture parting thoughts from an affable and humble GM who led the transformation of a telephone cooperative into a broadband provider of multiple services. Of course, his answer to my query of what made him successful would have been, “It is the team.”
His deflection of credit to his team would have been correct, but he was the one who assembled the team and nurtured the culture of the company. He showed the industry how to diversify and create new lines of business. Working with other local leaders and businesses, he helped make his community better and the results spoke for themselves as his company’s customer-base grew by over 300% since the late 1990s; during a time when many companies were in decline.
As is characteristic for this modest mid-westerner, Paul Freude didn’t want to be on camera this week to talk about his accomplishments. It was a bit disappointing, as I wanted to thank him on camera for his personal support of Viodi through the years.
Brent Christensen, President/CEO Minnesota Telecom Alliance sums up Freude’s influence in this statement, “It’s hard to even put into words the impact that Paul has had on the industry and, even more importantly, the members of Paul Bunyan Communications. It’s overwhelming when you look at all the accomplishments achieved under Paul’s leadership.”
As I was writing this article, I decided to search ViodiTV for Freude and I found this video that provides pearls of wisdom from an industry leader who will be missed. Fortunately for the members of Paul Bunyan Communications, their company is in good hands with the team Freude built and led by new GM, Gary Johnson. Congratulations Gary and best wishes Paul at the start of your new journey in retirement.