Springfield, MO

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Area Manager, Southwestern Bell Telephone, 600 St. Louis. Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. provides telephone services and products to more than 14 million business and residential customers (a total of more than 15.7 million access lines) in Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas, including 2.5 million access lines in Missouri. Vaught was appointed area manager for Springfield Sept. 1, 1997. His service area includes Springfield, Nixa, Rogersville, Strafford, Walnut Grove and Willard. Vaught manages the day-to-day activities of Southwestern Bell customer service, including coordinating business partnerships, sponsorships and community relations. He is active in all Chamber of Commerce, economic development and United Way organizations throughout the area. He is also serving on the Safety Council of the Ozarks, Retired Seniors Volunteer Program, Ozark Technical Community College Foundation and Boys and Girls Town's board of directors. Vaught is a member of Southeast Rotary Club and SWBT Pioneers.

Age: 44.

No. of years in Springfield/area: Moved here in September 1997 from Norman, Okla.

Education: Bachelor of science degree in business administration from University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma.

Early career: Vaught first started mowing yards at age 12 before moving on to the grocery business during his high school years. He began his career as an occasional employee with SWBT at age 19. He worked as a telephone installer, repairman and combination man before being promoted to management in 1980. As a manager, Vaught served as installation foreman, repair foreman, maintenance center foreman and area manager in several communities throughout Oklahoma prior to coming to Springfield. By working his way up through all the technical positions within SWBT, Vaught "understands how the telephone company is supposed to operate and how important customer service is to every customer," he said.

Current projects: "We've been conducting an ongoing awareness campaign about the problem of slamming, which is when a customer's long-distance provider is changed without the customer's understanding or consent, and cramming, which is when unwanted products or services appear on a customer's bill. We have also been busy wiring schools to the Internet free of charge through our Operation SchoolNet program," Vaught said.

Management philosophy: "Treat every customer and employee with respect. Treat them the way you would like to be treated. It shouldn't matter if our customer is a multi-line business or a single-line residence, they're still our customer. Southwestern Bell employees demonstrate daily our commitment to being your friendly neighborhood global communications company," Vaught said.

Spare-time pursuits: Spending time with family and friends, playing golf, fishing and landscaping.

Family data: Married for 25 years to Pat, an elementary school teacher; daughter Jill is a junior at the University of Oklahoma.

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