ALM Properties, Inc.
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The Weather Channel GC's All-Weather Protection
Years before George Callard got his current job at The Weather Channel Companies, he found himself, a newly minted lawyer, driving a U-Haul through the tallgrass prarie on I-35 outside Wichita, and asking himself, "How the H did I get here?"
Callard got to the Flint Hills of Kansas by a circuitous route. His background included a B.A. in Comparative Communist Studies from Union College and physiology classes taken for a medical career (a dream deferred). He also endured a flopped interview with the deputy commissioner of Major League Baseball for another dream job, counseling his hometown Cincinnati Reds.
Instead, on leaving law school Callard became associate counsel for Multimedia Cablevision Inc., and this led him into telecommunications law. The trail also led him on that trek to Wichita, where the then-GC of Multimedia kept his office. Callard's next job was as counsel and assistant secretary at what was then Ameritech Inc. (now owned by AT&T Inc.). He did a two-year stint in private practice with law firm Cinnamon Mueller, then moved back in-house as senior counsel for what was then SBC Communications Inc. (now also owned by AT&T).
In 2008 he moved to NBC Universal Inc., where he pulled all-nighters as the company's go-to dealmaker, negotiating record numbers of contract renewals with the top 10 cable and satellite distributors in the United States. In 2011 Callard joined The Weather Channel, where he's been in a relatively low-pressure system since, serving as senior vice president for legal and business affairs.
Callard replaces Becky Powhatan, who retired in July 2010; no official successor was named for almost two years. Callard was promoted to executive vice president as well as GC.
For the company's five-year forecast, Callard anticipates more work on the Federal Trade Commission's regulations over mobile applications like The Weather Channel's smartphone, mobile Web, and tablet apps. The company recently launched an app for Nokia phones, part of a strategy to go global via mobile.
Callard likes working on business and development with new mobile technology. For the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he worked with the team that created NBC's first-ever authenticated platform for live-streaming the games online. Their product was the precursor of paid subscriber log-in systems like HBO Go and ESPN360.
During this year's London Olympics, Callard checked back in on the system, tuning in to men's badminton doubles on his iPad.
"Here I am watching a sport that I would otherwise never have seen," Callard says, because NBC likely wouldn't have run the less popular sport on valuable prime-time TV. "And it's actually really cool! I learned that the shuttlecock leaves the racket at 200 miles an hour." Callard says these types of platforms are the future of the broadcast industry.