UP FRONT: ASCENT’s Kelly to Retire

Posted: 03/2002


ASCENT’s Kelly to Retire

Ernest B. Kelly III will retire as president of the Association of Communications Enterprises (ASCENT, on April 30, at the end of his current term.

Hired in November 1993 as the association’s first executive director, Kelly has served continuously as the head of the organization. He was named president of ASCENT, formerly the Telecommunications Resellers Association (TRA), in 1997. ASCENT’s board of directors has begun a search for Kelly’s successor.

“This has been a wonderful and rewarding experience for me,” Kelly said. “The opportunity that I have been given to develop a trade association for competitors in the telecommunications industry was a dream come true for me. ASCENT has been and will continue to be a premier organization for entrepreneurs in the industry and I will be forever thankful to have been a part of it.”

For his many years of dedicated service, ASCENT chairman Dan Lazarek said that “Ernie has been an integral part of the association and he will be missed by all.”

Lazarek added the ASCENT board, staff and membership are committed to building upon the solid foundation of programs and services that have been developed during the last eight years.

“We’re looking forward to 2002 and beyond as dynamic years for ASCENT,” he said.

In leading ASCENT/TRA, Kelly guided it through a tremendous period of growth, including a 1999 merger with the National Wireless Resellers Association and an organization name change in the spring of 2000.

He also was a key player on Capitol Hill lobbying on behalf of the association’s members for passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Kelly has served as ASCENT’s primary spokesman, as well as adviser to ASCENT’s nine-member board on its federal and state regulatory, industry, public and member relations programs. Kelly served on the board of directors of the Competitive Long Distance Coalition in 1995 and 1996 and PHONE+ magazine named Kelly one of the competitive long-distance industry’s 50 most influential people in 1997, 1998 and 1999.

Kelly previously worked for the Communications Satellite Corporation (COMSAT) as its director of government relations and before that served on the staff of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

Editor’s Note: Having worked with Ernie Kelly for seven years both at TRA (before it was ASCENT) and in my post as editor in chief of PHONE+, I feel it only appropriate to offer my personal best wishes to Ernie as he embarks on a new career. As of this writing, he tells me he hasn’t decided, but concedes his love of journalism. In fact, he arrives at this moment after a long detour from an early journalistic career. Perhaps his byline will grace the pages of PHONE+ from time to time.



In the Conference Solution Provider Directory published in February’s PHONE+ special section, PHONE+ Collaborate, the NetworkIP e-mail contact information was incorrect. It should be We apologize for the error.

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