‘It’s a great moment for us.’

Genia Wilbourn praises our network teams across the U.S., plus, a full news rundown.

Full Transparency

Our editorial transparency tool uses blockchain technology to permanently log all changes made to official releases after publication. However, this post is not an official release and therefore not tracked. Visit our learn more for more information.

Learn more

On today’s Up To Speed Live, host Diana Alvear and special guest Senior Vice President of Global Network Operations & Assurance Genia Wilbourn shared the following updates:

This week

Genia offered a big shout out to the network teams for keeping our customers and communities connected across the U.S. during an unprecedented week of extreme weather. “Our people are 1,000% committed. We throw away the titles and lead from the front line and our people are the best at doing that.”

Genia stressed that the safety of our V Teamers remains our number one concern. “It’s times like this that show the capabilities of our network as well as the people behind the network,” she said. “Across the country, our network has held up well and that’s because of all the planning and preparation. It’s a great moment for us.”

Relief for customers impacted by Hurricane Ida and California wildfires

We’ve seen surprising devastation in parts of the Northeast. Verizon is offering unlimited calling, texting and data to its consumer and small business customers in areas most impacted by this disaster, including parts of Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. This offer runs through September 7.

A reminder that our relief offer for customers hit hard by Ida in Louisiana and Mississippi has been extended through September 10.

We’re also offering unlimited talk, text and data to our customers in the areas most impacted by several wildfires in the West, including those areas devastated by the Caldor, Dixie, French and Monument fires.

If you’re in an eligible area, you don't have to do anything to get this relief.

Reconnecting the Northeast

On the ground, our tireless network teams continue to work from California to the Gulf Coast and now the Northeast. One example: technicians in New York State are in the field dealing with storm-related damage and pushing to get everything restored as soon as possible. These are the same teams who worked through Hurricane Sandy and are consummate pros. Thank you for running to this crisis.

Running to a storm

Most of us have been hoping this week’s storms track away from our homes and families, but there are some people who actually get as close as they safely can to tornadoes and other storms. We caught up with independent storm chaser Phillip McGee, who has been chasing for over a decade and has been a Verizon customer for nearly as long.

“Verizon has never let me down when I’m in the field,” said Phillip. “I’ve been in remote areas and the signal has not deviated. The data we have that is delivered to our vehicle is imperative to our positioning and safety.”

The video and mobile data that Phillip and his team collect and distribute are used to give meteorologists and the public up-to-the-minute awareness of where dangerous storms are forming or changing course, which can ultimately save lives.

Helping first responders respond

We caught up with members of the Verizon Response Team, who bring in devices and portable assets to ensure first responders can do their jobs. The team has set up a base camp in Louisiana to support Hurricane Ida relief, providing Cradlepoint routers, jet packs, smartphones and batteries, as well as larger assets like SPOT trailers. This allows first responders to do a variety of things, including make calls to loved ones, which can make such a difference.

“We always hear how much the people around here love Verizon,” said Jake Hayes of the Verizon Response team. “I love this job. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Opening our doors where possible

Despite the challenges impacting Louisiana, our retail teams there have managed to open two stores to serve their customers. Our Up To Speed team caught up with a few V teamers at our Siegen Lane location in Baton Rouge.

“We’re seeing a lot of customers coming in who need battery packs and hot spots to help them get in touch with their family and loved ones,” said Assistant Manager Sara Gongora.

One of those customers was a new one, Robert Johnson, who explained why he recently switched carriers. “With everything going on, Verizon has kept their towers up. Today I wanted to make a change because I needed better coverage. It’ll help me connect to the people most important to me and take care of the business that needs to be taken care of.”

That’s the type of validation that our retail folks love to hear. “It gives us a sense of accomplishment knowing that we’re there for them,” said Sara. “We take care of our people as well as our community.”

VtoV Employee Relief Fund

It is times like these that our V Teamers in need turn to the VtoV Employee Relief Fund. Many of our fellow employees have had to leave their homes and they don’t know when they’ll be able to return. VtoV is a charity that provides aid for Verizon employees displaced from their homes due to a natural or personal emergency. It’s entirely supported by employees and the Verizon Foundation which matches every donation, with 100% of all donations going to the employees who need it most. Please give today.

Verizon Media sale closes

On Wednesday, our sale of Yahoo, formerly Verizon Media, to private equity firm Apollo Global Management was officially complete. We wish CEO Guru Gowrappan and all of our friends in Yahoo well as they embark on this exciting next chapter. That said, we aren’t totally saying good-bye, as we’ll be retaining 10% of the new company.

Integrity survey

Ethics is such an important core component of who we are as V Teamers that we want to make sure we’re truly excelling, both as individuals and as a company. That’s why our Compliance team is sending out the second annual Integrity Survey, a short questionnaire to help us understand what we are doing well and where we need to improve. The survey is voluntary and confidential. Check your inbox for the email from David Kass. You have until Tuesday, September 14, to take it.

One happy pooch

Verizon Response Manager Trent Griggs found a lost dog wandering in the area outside one of the state’s emergency operations centers. Trent was able to locate the owner and now Maizie is back home and happy. It’s good deeds like this, great and small, that are getting us through the craziness of this week!

To all those who have pitched in over the past few days, whether it’s rescuing a lost pet, responding to hurricanes and wildfires or just helping our customers as you do all year long, you make the name ‘Verizon’ stand for something and for that you have our thanks and appreciation.

If you have any questions, email them to live@verizon.com.

Click here for a transcript of the webcast.

Tell us what you think of Up To Speed.

Related Articles


Get all the details on what it means for the community, customers, and network as Verizon becomes the first Cornerstone partner for the Titan’s new stadium. Plus, Galaxy Day is tomorrow!


Keeping you up to speed on everything inside and around Verizon. Bringing you stories on how technology and the people behind it are building the future