Gene Retske is a respected telecommunications authority, with over 40 years of experience in all aspects of the industry. He began his career with AT&Ts Southern Bell subsidiary, and rose quickly through field sales management. He was promoted to AT&T headquarters in New Jersey, after opening AT&Ts first field office in non-AT&T territory following divestiture. At headquarters, he served on numerous management teams responsible for overseeing the design, production, marketing and sales for AT&T products and services. Among his accomplishments, he received a Vice Presidential commendation for his public relations efforts during the divestiture of the Bell System, which included over fifty speeches, newspaper interviews and television appearances.
After nearly 20 years with AT&T and the Bell System, he started a company that designed and built interactive voice response systems (IVR), and designed the first International Callback system using the AT&T Conversant IVR System. His experiences as a pioneer in building and managing international resale operations from “both sides of the desk”, led to the writing of the best selling book, The International CallBack Book, An Insider’s View, published by Harry Newton’s Telecom Library. Gene and this first book have been credited with assisting “more telecom startups than Tariff 12”, a reference to the FCC tariff that first permitted telecom resale. Retske’s second book, A Guide to Competitive International Telecommunications, has been recently published, and is sold in bookstores around the world, as well as on Amazon. His third book, Prepaid 101: Lessons in Prepaid is now available for ordering. All three books are available in bookstores and on Amazon.
He was closely involved with the opening of telecom markets in Europe, and designed and established the first authorized telecom reseller platform in Europe. He has worked with the largest telecom companies in the world, including MCI, TeleDenmark, Telia, NTT, and Singapore Telecom, in creating marketing and technical strategies, mergers and acquisitions and strategic partnerships. He was also the president of World Pass Communications in Aventura, FL, a privately owned international telecommunications company, president of Saratoga Telecom, a publicly traded telecom company and chairman of World Exchange, a VoIP carrier.
Retske founded the International Insider, a publishing and trade show company that produced the first independent telecom trade shows in Europe. The International Insider also published numerous reports on the industry, its technology and the companies that are involved in it. In 1998, he launched TeleCompete™, an international trade magazine devoted exclusively to international telecom resale.
Gene is a frequent speaker and moderator at industry conferences around the world. He was a paid participant in the Economist Magazine Telecom Summit in Hong Kong. His writing credits include over 1000 articles for trade publications and magazines, including Newsweek, Teleconnect, Computer Telephony, Phone+ Communications Week International, Intelecard News and The Prepaid Press, among others. He has been frequently quoted by industry and general business publications, and was the subject of a feature article in the Wall Street Journal Asia Edition. In addition to the popular “Retske Report”, a regular column in the International Insider, he also wrote regular commentaries for Communications Week Latinoamerica, a Spanish language magazine.
He has recently retired as the Editor-In-Chief of The Prepaid Press, an industry trade publication focused on the prepaid services industry. Gene was a principal in the founding of the American PrePaid Phonecall Association and served as its Executive Director until his retirement.
In addition to his telecom experience, Gene Retske is the Deputy Chief of Staff – Communications & Electronics on the South Carolina State Guard Headquarters General Staff, with the rank of Colonel.