Entrepreneurs Unplugged: Charlie Ergen, Chairman, DISH Network

Tags: Entrepreneurship


Silicon Flatirons presents Charlie Ergen as our featured entrepreneur with moderators Brad Bernthal and Phil Weiser.

In 1980, Charles W Ergen started DISH Network Corporation (formerly EchoStar Communications Corporation), which sold C-band satellite TV dishes to rural homes in Colorado. Under his vision and leadership, DISH Network, which was launched in 1996, has become the fastest growing direct-to-home satellite television company in the United States, currently serving more than 13.815 million customers. In 2007, Barron’s magazine named Ergen as one of the World’s Best CEOs. He had previously been named to the Forbes Magazine Top Ten CEO’s list and as the Frost & Sullivan 2001 CEO of the Year of the Satellite Industry. The same year, Ergen was the first person ever to win the Rocky Mountain News’ Business Person of the Year for a second time, having been recognized for the same award in 1996. In 2000, Aviation Week Magazine named him Space Industry Business Man of the Year. In June 1991, INC Magazine named Ergen Master Entrepreneur of the Year for the Rocky Mountain region. In 1988, he received the Home Satellite TV Association Star Award. Ergen was instrumental in fighting for consumer rights, in 1999 with the passage of the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act, which gave American consumers the right to watch local TV channels via satellite. He has also testified before Congress regarding other video competition issues on numerous occasions and was a co-founder of the Satellite Broadcasting Communications Association. Ergen received his BS in General Business and Accounting from the University of Tennessee and his MBA from the Babcock Graduate School of Management at Wake Forest University.

Entrepreneurs Unplugged is a meeting place where faculty, students and community members with technical backgrounds learn about and get involved in entrepreneurship. In particular, the program offers students and faculty an opportunity to learn how a successful start-up is created. It is also an opportunity to network. Each Entrepreneurs Unplugged meeting features food, drink and, most importantly, an experienced entrepreneur to discuss his/her start-up experiences.

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