Wilt J. Hildenbrand Jr. Award

Wilt J. Hildenbrand Jr. Award


Identify a rising star in the cable industry, 40 years old or younger, who has made the most significant contributions to the innovations of the cable industry. This award is managed by the SCTE Foundation in Wilt J. Hildenbrand Jr.'s memory. Wilt Hildenbrand was a technology pioneer and industry legend who unexpectedly passed away in 2018 at the age of 70 after a lengthy career that included four decades in the Cablevision organization. In addition to the award, the SCTE Foundation also oversees a scholarship in his memory. For more information about the scholarship see the SCTE Foundation website.


Nominations for the 2022 award are due by July 1, 2022. To nominate an SCTE member, please use the nomination form. In addition to the online form, submit the nominee’s resume and photograph, and any supporting documentation, to

Rama Assaf-Smith

2021 Winner

Rama Assaf-Smith
Sr. Director, Engineering Ops
Comcast Cable Communications

This award is presented to a young leader who has made significant contributions to SCTE and the cable industry in his or her early career. 

Like Wilt Hildenbrand, Rama Assaf-Smith has the talent, the leadership skills and the drive that can push cable forward. As a senior director of engineering operations, she leads a team of data scientists who are improving Comcast’s core residential product portfolio. Her team’s work is improving results not just for Comcast and its customers, but for industry partners as well. Among other accomplishments, her team standardized measurement of KPIs to enable Comcast to work on common initiatives outside of its control.

Past Winners:

2020: Kerry Zinger, Charter Communications

2019: Chris Zydel, Altice USA

2018: Mariela Anabel Fiorenzo, Telecom Argentina SA*

2017:  Lisa Leaunvankham, Comcast Cable Communications*

* In 2019, the award was renamed to honor the legacy of Wilt J. Hildenbrand Jr., with the nomination process to be managed by the SCTE Foundation.