2020 FierceWireless Rising Star — Dish's John Swieringa

John Swieringa, Dish Network (Dish)

For 2020 the FierceWireless editorial team has selected a diverse slate of wireless executives who are on the rise in their careers. We’re doling out the names of our winners, two per day, so that our readers have the time to enjoy reading their profiles. Next week, we’ll post our popular Rising Stars poll, giving everyone the opportunity to vote for their favorite top executive to watch in wireless.

Early on in his executive career at Dish Network, John Swieringa learned an important lesson at the hands of Dish Co-founder and Chairman Charlie Ergen.

“During an executive staff meeting, I took a victory lap for an accomplishment that in retrospect was important, but that was also expected and just part of doing my job,” Swieringa said. “Charlie gave me a really hard time about it, and when I followed up later he told me in an email that when you get to the end zone, you act like you’re supposed to be there, put the ball down and just run back to the huddle. That email is in my keep folder, and it has really helped me over the years.”

So, if Dish is able to succeed in its effort to become a viable fourth national wireless competitor, don’t expect Swieringa, now executive vice president and group president, retail wireless, to dance in the end zone.

Last year, Swieringa, a long-time executive on the pay TV side at Dish, was tapped to lead the integration of Dish’s acquisition of Boost Mobile. That deal closed in July, officially launching Dish into the national wireless fray. Shortly thereafter, Dish picked up more wireless subscribers from Ting Mobile in a deal with Tucows

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“I’m now leading the Boost and Ting brands as group president, as well as the operations and information technology teams that are launching side by side with our wireless teams to launch our 5G network,” Swieringa said. “We need to compete successfully as an MVNO by providing better wireless prices and choices to consumers, while simultaneously building out our team and our capabilities as we prepare to launch our 5G network. We’re running toward those goals in parallel.”

Swieringa said he took on the challenge of leading Dish’s wireless efforts because he likes to be where the action is, and believes that Dish can repeat what it accomplished years ago in disrupting the pay TV market with its Dish and Sling TV offerings.

“A couple years ago I didn’t know much about the wireless business, just that we had a lot of skills and capabilities that we thought would translate from our Dish and Sling TV businesses,” he said. “But with overseeing the Boost integration I feel like I have learned a lot, I’ve seen a lot, and I now know that we can compete and win.”