By Renetta Perry Data Staff Writer
AT&T recently announced the appointment of David Aubrey as its Louisiana President. This promotion follows Aubrey’s lengthy tenure with the company, which he joined in 2014 and served as Regional Director of External Affairs for North Louisiana and was promoted to Director of External Affairs for AT&T Louisiana in 2015.
Aubrey, a native Louisianan, was educated in the public schools system and is a graduate of Grambling State University. He says about his love for the state, “Louisiana is always home. I’ve always said that Louisiana has really just made a mark on me and I don’t know if I’ll be any other place.”
In 1988, Aubrey was elected mayor of his hometown, Homer, Louisiana and was the city’s youngest elected mayor as well as its first African American Mayor. “From Valedictorian to Student of the Year, to active with FBLA on a National Level to being a local NAACP Chapter President to doing economic development work, to being elected mayor, I’ve just been on a path to being community focused. Be it with the public sector, private sector or non-profit, I have a really broad background of experiences, really on the ground being a champion for Louisiana,” he states.
Of his appointment as Louisiana President, and the hard work that lead to such a successful career Aubrey says, “that’s what it’s all about: being where you need to be, God certainly ordaining and opening doors, and being ready when the horn sounds. That’s the key. That’s the key for a lot of us. Don’t wait until an opportunity hits a website, you’ve gotta be preparing yourself and doing the work when nobody’s counting, when nobody’s expecting it.”
In his work to close the digital divide which exits in rural and disadvantaged communities across Louisiana, Aubrey says, “we’ve been able to build investments and promote AT&T across rural parts of the state, where in many cases they didn’t think that we cared. We’ve reinvigorated our team to let them know that while we are a big company, we have a big heart.”
He continues, “last year we hit a milestone and last week we celebrated a milestone. We hit 500,000 locations of AT&T fibers. They are the most aggressive and the largest build of any telecom provider in the State of Louisiana. From Bossier City, to Benton, Louisiana, to Bogalusa, to Baton Rouge and Baker, all of those – we have been across the State of Louisiana, building as fast as we can, to as many customer locations as we can, given the constraints of supply chain and labor; but we’re on the forefront of pushing it out and we’ve done that without government subsidies.”
Elaborating on the State’s Broadband Program called “Gumbo,” Aubrey says they are “super, super excited” about the upcoming expansion of their broadband fiber optics and the capabilities to go further into more rural areas utilizing the Gumbo Program’s Awards. But he cautiously points out that the issues regarding the digital divide are varied. “There is an access issue, an affordability issue, and an adoption issue, meaning when you get it, will you know how to use it?” To that end he speaks of training initiatives for senior citizens and of other opportunities brought about via the $1 million in Outreach Grant Awards provided by the FCC through the Affordable Connectivity Program. His goal is to give all Louisianans the affordable access needed to thrive in the rapidly advancing digital age.
“From the Bell South days to the AT&T days here in Louisiana, we’re still one AT&T. We are one big family and that’s one of the goals of mine, to bring back that type of behavior to our consumers and to our customers. And we’re doing it,” he states.