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John D. "Jack" Goeken

Goeken also founded Railphone, Inc., CML Communications, a company made up of Comsat, MCI and Lockheed Aircraft, providing a domestic satellite service, Spectrum Analysis and Frequency Planning (SAFP), which at the time was the largest frequency planning company outside of AT&T.

Goeken has received numerous awards and commendations for his innovations and contributions to the communications industry. To name a few: In 1987, Southern Illinois University elected him "Entrepreneur of the Year." Also in 1987, the Joliet/Will County Project Pride inducted Goeken into their Hall of Pride. In 1990, The Radio Club of America presented the David Sarnoff Award to Goeken "for his establishment of air to ground nationwide telephone service." The University of New Hampshire awarded him an honorary degree of Doctor of Business Administration in 1989. In 1992, Goeken was inducted into the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. Saint Joseph Medical Center honored Goeken for his accomplishments and contributions to the healthcare field in 1997. The Joliet Chapter of UNICO National honored Goeken as the 1997 Citizen of the Year. Drexel University awarded Goeken an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in June 1999. Most recently, the CRN Industry Hall of Fame inducted Mr. Goeken in the fall of 2000, referring to him as the "Builder of the World's Largest Data Network".

Business Week magazine, which referred to Goeken as "the phone world's most prolific inventor," selected him as "Best Entrepreneur" for 1991. Federal Communications Commissioner Alfred C. Sikes referred to Goeken as "one of America's genuine communications pioneers [who has] "made a significant contribution."

Goeken has also addressed many prestigious audiences, including MIT, the White House, foreign governments, communications and regulatory agencies as well as numerous professional and educational groups. Mr. Goeken was the commencement speaker for the University of New Hampshire, Illinois Benedictine College, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Joliet Junior College, Marquette University, and Elmhurst College.

Most recently, Goeken served as the Chairman and CEO of the Goeken Group Corporation. The Goeken Group Companies include Global MED-NET, a company that sends a person's medical history (worldwide) to an Emergency Room within 60 seconds after notification, Personal Guardian, a company that enables an individual to request emergency help by the push of a button, and Illumination Polymer Technologies, a company that designs advanced lighting technology which makes possible new life-saving products. These companies provide life-saving services that are committed to the concern for customer's health, security, and safety.

Mr. Goeken passed away at the age of 80 on September 16, 2010.

Telecommunications pioneer John D. "Jack" Goeken is known worldwide in the communications industry as an innovative entrepreneur.

Born and raised in Joliet, Illinois, Goeken was introduced to telecommunications at an early age. He began a radio repair business in the back his friend George McCabe's Kirby vacuum cleaner shop while still attending Joliet Township High School. This early entree into the business world would prove to be extremely valuable to Goeken. Later, he furthered his knowledge in electronics as a microwave specialist in the Signal Corps of the U.S. Army.

In 1963, Goeken opened an office at 754 Ruby street in Joliet (at six corners), where he would proceed to build three worldwide companies.

He first founded Microwave Communications, Inc., better known as MCI, and began developing a microwave network. When AT&T, the world's largest corporation, opposed MCI, Goeken started a legal battle that led to open competition in the telecommunications industry. Today, MCI (n/k/a WorldCom, Inc.) has revenues approaching $40 billion and employs over 77,000 individuals.

Goeken founded several other companies, among them the FTD Mercury Network, the world's largest on-line computer network, processing more than 25 million floral orders each year.

In the mid 1970's, Goeken literally created the air-to-ground telephone industry by founding Airfone Corporation. The company was sold to GTE in 1986, with Goeken heading the firm until February 1989.

Not content to simply open open up a new world of communications to the flying public, Goeken sought to build a network that would eliminate many of the problems (static, fading) inherent to Airfone's analog technology. To that end, in 1989, Goeken founded In-Flight Phone Corporation. Realizing that the future of communications technology lies with digital transmission, he began building the world's first digital air-to-ground network. Completed in 1991, Goeken's digital network provides the quality and services that people have come to depend on in their offices and homes. His new system is now providing air travelers with clean air-to-ground telephone service and data communications.