Delivering a eulogy is never sought, but always taken to heart. In this spirit we say farewell to one of competitive telecoms pioneers. Michael L. Bird, 62, died at his home in Park City, Utah, Saturday, July 30, following nearly a year of respiratory difficulties.
Mike was born in 1943, and spent his early years in Loveland, Colo., and Albuquerque, N.M. He completed high school in Enumclaw, Wash., and served in the U.S. Navy as an aviation electronics technician. He earned a bachelors degree in business administration from University of Washington. He is survived by his son Jordan Michael Bird, stepson Tyler Hamilton, a brother and three sisters.
Bird retired last fall from a sales career that spanned nearly two decades at various companies in the competitive telecom market. Most recently, he worked for OSC, now Excell Services, as vice president of telecom sales. Previous employers included Teltrust and Call America. At Teltrust, he was responsible for the development, implementation and sales of the first national directory assistance service in the United States.
Though his contributions and leadership in the deregulated telecom industry are noteworthy, most in the industry will remember Mike for his striking looks and sense of adventure.
It would be hard to miss him at a trade show, with his trademark white hair and deep tan, recalls Jerry Romney, managing partner for Video Renditions LLC. Romney worked with Mike at Teltrust during the late 90s and the two became close friends.
He always seemed to be at the center of the action.
Mike loved to golf and ski, says Romney, noting that he often found a way to inject sports into his work.
Any outing was an adventure with Mike, says Romney. He was one of those people who acts as a catalyst within a group to spur activity. Most of the time this was good; all the time it was memorable.
Mike is most often described as a people person, quick with a joke behind a mischievous smile.
PHONE+ Group Publisher Marla Ellerman says Mike was one of the first people she met in the telecom industry and soon became one of her first advertising customers. He was always a friend to me and PHONE+ wherever he worked, she says. I will miss him dearly.
Mike never met a stranger, says friend Marc Hitchins, sales director for Excell Services. Upon meeting someone for the first time, he could catalog the details of that person in his mind and remember them.
Those who worked with him say his enthusiasm spilled over into his work. He was known as a man who got the job done. Mike was a great leader, says Romney. He immersed himself in his work and really watched out for his customers interests. Mike also was known for his support of others in his marketing team. Most people in the industry will remember Mike as a hard worker who also liked to have fun.
Indeed, says Hitchins, Mike really never grew old. At times, his wit, comments, attitudes and enthusiasm would make you think he was just launching into lifes adventures. He looked young, acted young, and lived young. To our tremendous loss, he also died young.
The family suggests donations to the Jordan Bird Scholarship Fund, made payable to Judith Staed, Mikes sister and executor of his will, and sent to 1474 Meadows Connection Drive, Park City, UT 84098.
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