OUR HISTORY . . .
Founded in 1911 as the Telephone Pioneers of America, our organization changed its name in 2002 – but our commitment to community service endures within the TelecomPioneers.
By 1910, many of the people who pioneered the telephone industry and had spent 20 or 30 years working together indicated they would like to stay in touch. "Where," they wondered, "were all those who had started out in this industry?"
The question sent both Henry Pope and his office mate, Charles R. Truex, to their AT&T desks in New York City to compile lists of old friends and co-workers. Thomas Doolittle, already retired, was quick to join the effort, and the notion of the Telephone Pioneers of America was born.
Once completed, the list was presented to Theodore N. Vail, then president of AT&T, who concurred in the plans and suggested an annual gathering of the group.
The first meeting of the fledgling Telephone Pioneers of America convened November 2, 1911, in Boston. Among those attending the meeting were Bell, and Vail, who was elected the organization's first president and who would serve for nine years.
Membership in the Pioneers was initially limited to those with at least 21 years of industry service and fellowship was the order of the day. The service requirement was gradually reduced over time, and today, any employee of one of the organization's sponsor companies can become a member from their first day on the job.
The focus of the Association has changed as well. In 1958, Pioneers adopted community service as a core value. Following the lead of Alexander Graham Bell, many Pioneer activities centered around putting the skills of the membership to work in meeting the needs of the disabled, particularly the hearing-impaired.
Over time, Pioneers would apply their talents to a range of community service projects – from preserving the environment to helping the homeless to providing relief in time of disaster. These are but a few examples of how Pioneers make a difference in their communities.
By 1994, Pioneers identified a Focus on Education as their primary area of concentration. As technology became more commonplace in the classroom, Pioneers were quick to respond by providing computer equipment and training and by wiring schools to the Internet.
Today's TelecomPioneers are committed to serving the communities in which they live and work and to maintaining a strong tradition of fellowship among members, employees and their families.
Today’s Pioneers are 750,000 strong and are active in communities across the United States and Canada.
Today’s Pioneers continue their heritage of service by utilizing the high-technology products and services of their companies to address community needs.