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Wailin on the Mississippi Saxophone: Michael J. Howard

Some people call it a blues harp. Some people call it a mouth organ. Some people call it a tin sandwich. Michael J. Howard, president of agency Advanced Business Communications Inc., calls it his passion.



Michael J. Howard

This self-taught harmonica player remembers the exact day he picked up the instrument July 4, 1980. At the time, he worked as a railroad carmen, and the company had removed all of the radios from the carmens vehicles. Mikes solution to having no music during the long workday was to make some of his own.

He purchased a harmonica and a Muddy Waters/Johnny Winter album that the local record store recommended he listen to for harmonica. Mike instantly fell in love; and to make up for lost time, he practiced in his living room four to six hours per day for two years. I started sitting in with local jam sessions, Mike says. I got the fever real bad, quit my job and began playing full-time.



Mike jams on his harmonica at the Presidents Club party for PlanetOne Communications earlier this year.

His first band, based in Tucson, Ariz., was Highbeam. Later bands included The Torpedoes, Smokin Section and a few others. Mike has played openings for several notable bands and performers, such as John Lee Hooker, Canned Heat, John Hammond, Albert Collins, Paul Barrere, Catfish Hodge of Little Feet, John Cale of Velvet Underground and many others.

As most will tell you, playing music for a living is very tough, which brought me into telecommunications, Mike explains. I now play as a hired gun or just for fun. I have enough experience to jump in with any blues band and run with it, unrehearsed.

As president of Advanced Business Communications, Mikes day job keeps him focused on company growth and profitability. Mike says his company recognizes the need for a single-point-of-contact solutions provider that sorts out all the telecommunications companies and the complex array of options available. Our research saves business owners and their staff the time and trouble of researching hundreds of companies, rate plans and options, Mike says. Hence, our mission statement: Your Travel Agent For Telecommunications.

Mike says he is thankful to have lived the American dream. He left home at age 16, and after beginning in telecom as a salesperson for a small reseller after the divestiture, he has owned and operated his own successful company for 15 years.

Mikes first job: Hoeing in the cotton and watermelon fields at ages 13 and 14 in Buckeye, Ariz.

Avid collector of: Old magazines and newspapers, the oldest of which is from 1865.

Favorite song: Messin With the Kid, by Junior Wells.

Book he couldnt live without: Unlimited Power, by Tony Robbins.

Words to live by: Power is inward success, independent of external factors. Anwar Sadat

Thoughts on telecom: Telecommunications is in constant state of change. In recent years, the changes are making a huge impact on how businesses and the carriers operate.

Thoughts on Phone+: I really like the magazine. PHONE+ is very informative and cutting-edge I like the Ask Steve idea. (Editors Note: Thanks for the props, Mike. See Ask Steve.)

Do you know someone who has Personality+? Were looking for interesting characters in telecom to take the spotlight! Please send nominations to Cara Sievers at csievers@vpico.com.

Links
Advanced Business Communications Inc. www.advancedbusinesscommunications.com
PlanetOne Communications Inc. www.planetone.net

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