On May 2, ACA Connects chair Patricia Jo Boyers, vice chair Mike Bowker and president and CEO Matthew M. Polka announced a plan initiated by Polka to make an organizational leadership change in July 2022. The collective said its goal is to prepare and position the organization for success amid rapid technology developments and expansive legislative and policy challenges.
“I have been blessed every day to lead ACA Connects, but after 25 years I believe it is time to pass on the privilege of leadership for the healthy growth and future success of the organization,” Polka commented. “I know that new vision and energy will take ACA Connects to even greater accomplishments, built upon our solid foundation of doing things the right way and never backing down or giving up.”
Boyers, ACA Connects chair since 2019, expressed her deep appreciation for Polka’s decades of service to the organization and his commitment to completing a smooth leadership transition over the next three months.
“First and foremost, ACA Connects will continue its steadfast commitment to its Members just as Matt has demonstrated every day,” Boyers said. “As the premier communications association, we stand by our mission to deliver critical advocacy support for independent broadband, video and communications providers. This is who we are and what we do every day.”
Bowker, who is chief operating officer for Cable One in Phoenix and joined the ACA Connects board in 2018, thanked Polka for his vision and leadership over an extended period of time that witnessed constant disruptive change.
“Matt recognized that the pace of change in our businesses, combined with the dynamics in Washington, D.C., created the perfect time for the organization to look forward and ensure continued thought leadership, influence and impact,” Bowker said.
Boyers, Bowker, and Polka began discussions last fall to develop a plan to bring new leadership to ACA Connects this year, while keeping the trade association focused on its key priorities.
“This decision was Matt’s, as he has always looked out for what’s best for the association,” added Boyers, who is the co-founder and president of BOYCOM Vision in Poplar Bluff, Mo. “In fact, he first came to me in October 2021 with a plan that allowed for a careful transition of leadership and would result in healthy growth for the organization. And here we are.”
After stepping down from ACA Connects, Polka said he plans to write, enjoy time with his wife, Sharman, and their two daughters, and more deeply commit to serving in his local church, adding that he also hopes “to find ways to give back to our members, association and industry for all I have been blessed to receive.”
Polka commented, “It’s onward and upward for ACA Connects. I will always be there for our members, the board, and the experienced ACAC team, whom I have been privileged, honored, and blessed to serve for 25 years. But what is most important is the future success of our members and association, and that’s bigger than any one person.”
According to a press release, the search for a new ACAC president and CEO is near completion, and Boyers plans to announce the association’s search committee’s selection during the ACA Connects Board meeting in mid-May.
An official introduction and celebration are scheduled to take place during the 17th Annual Independent Show in Orlando, Fla., July 24-27.
Polka recently sat down with ACA Connects executive vice president and chief operating officer John Higginbotham for a discussion on his decision to step down, the transition to a new leader, and his outlook for the future.