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Generation Next 2013: Josh Keller

Age: 37

Company: Cellular Sales, authorized Verizon retailer

Title: Director

Top accomplishments

• Opened first Verizon retailer in the Savannah area (2002)

• We’ve expanded to eight locations in the Savannah metro area. All of our distribution for the 21 locations in our region occurs in Savannah

• We employ about 160 employees

Top awards/accolades

• Awarded Verizon’s top retailer in the GA/AL region

• Awarded Verizon’s top productivity per location award

• Awarded Verizon’s best customer service

Top philanthropic leadership roles

• Board member of the Historic Savannah Foundation

• Committee for the revolving fund at the Historic Savannah Foundation

• Served on the board at the Savannah Children’s Choir

 

 

Q. Please share your vision of Savannah’s future. What growth or challenges do you foresee?

A. By the end of 2013: I believe it’s an ongoing challenge to balance tourism with residents’ quality of life.

 

Q.How will you do business differently in the coming year or decade?

A. I’ve seen the wireless business progress in the past 14 years from the bag phone to what is essentially a microcomputer that you carry around with you in your pocket/purse. I believe this change will continue to accelerate, which means we have to work hard to keep our salespeople educated and ahead of the curve to best serve our customers.

Q. What technological or cultural advances are you looking forward to in the coming year or decade?

A. I’m looking forward to the technological potentiality of phones, which includes “virtual wallets,” immersive technology and the end of the personal PC as we know it.

 

Q. What qualities or assets will distinguish Savannah and preserve/advance our local economy?

A. It’s going to take some really smart people to preserve what makes Savannah special and, at the same time, allow for growth in certain areas, such as the film industry and quality tourism. Tourism volume doesn’t always equal dollars for the local economy, and sometimes I feel like that isn’t given enough thought.

 

Q. What economic drivers and business sectors promise the most growth in the next year or decade and why?

A. Film and manufacturing. Logistically, Savannah has a lot to offer for manufacturing businesses, and there’s a natural fit for the film industry here with our talent pool and unique locale.

 

Q. What college degrees will be the most in demand in the Savannah area and why?

A. I’m a firm believer that people should learn trades and move away from general college degrees.

 

Q. What advice do you have for other Savannah leaders in the coming year or decade?

A. Your biggest asset is your people — your employees — and you must continue to focus on their development.

 

Q. What innovation of yours do you hope will be remembered by future generations?

A. I think about business rather unconventionally. For instance, I read everything from books about sociology to physics and put those concepts in the context of business and think about how they affect the employee and the customer. If I could pass along any idea to future generations, it would be that business isn’t always about business. Real innovators have to step outside the box.

 

 

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