The FierceWireless editorial team has done it again. We’ve selected a slate of wireless executives who are on the rise. For 2019 we’re doling out the names of our winners, two per day, so that our readers have the time to enjoy reading their profiles. Later this week, we’ll post our popular Rising Stars poll, giving everyone the opportunity to vote for their favorite top executive to watch in wireless.
Heidi Hemmer likes to tell people she took a temporary job after college with a small startup called Bell Atlantic Mobile, and she never left the company. Today that company is Verizon, and Hemmer is VP of Technology as the carrier launches and builds out its 5G network.
"We've always been very successful at building and executing, but the numbers that we will do for 5G will be a step function up from what we've done in the past," said Hemmer. She is charged with creating a cross-functional team that will oversee the rollout of 5G while supporting new products and services on Verizon's LTE network, which Hemmer calls the carrier's "bread and butter."
"I definitely love to lead teams," said Hemmer. "I love coming to work to make a difference for our customers, but also for our employees."
Hemmer has held a number of positions at Verizon, including program management, procurement, and capital management. She said a career highlight was the migration of Alltel's 13 million subscribers to the Verizon network after Verizon purchased the smaller carrier. Hemmer was called back to manage the project after taking time off to be with her family. It was the first time Verizon had integrated data service from another network, and it was also the largest-ever migration of phone numbers from one wireless network to another.
Wireless technology is second nature to Hemmer now, but she's not an engineer by training. She majored in Zoology with a specialty in animal behavior, which she jokingly says was good training for corporate America. She never planned to become a corporate executive, but she found that she fit in perfectly at Verizon because the rapid changes in wireless constantly present new challenges.
"It has been all the changes that we've had that has resulted in me staying here," said Hemmer. "It's been a pretty amazing ride."