IWD: Deb Honkus, "The Mother of Sports Production"

International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

NEP Group is celebrating women’s achievements in the broadcast and live events industries around the world all month long to help inspire more women to consider a career path in broadcasting and live events.

An industry veteran, Deb Honkus is recognized for her leadership at NEP Group and for paving the way for more women to enjoy successful careers in the broadcast technology industry. Dubbed “The Mother of Sports Production,” Deb was integral to the success of the remote broadcasting industry.

Deb grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In the early days of her career, Deb was the General Manager of Total Communications Systems (TCS) from 1978 until TCS' merger with NEP in 1988, when she joined NEP Group.

A TCS truck and an NEP truck parked together outside Radio City Music Hall in New York City after the 1988 merger.

Over the years, Deb earned her reputation as a visionary and effective leader who built a successful international business that values client relationships above all else. Deb, and NEP under her guidance, not only set the standard for client service and production excellence, but also built an organization where every employee is deeply valued and empowered to continually raise, meet, and exceed the bar for customer service and satisfaction.

“She has been a pioneer both as a woman in the field and in the field itself. As the television networks made the decision to get out of the truck business because of the capital-intensive nature of it, she and her colleagues had a vision to fill that void and the fortitude to step into it” said Howard Katz, SVP of Broadcasting and Media Operations for the NFL upon Deb’s induction into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

At NEP, Deb served in the roles of Chairman of NEP's Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer, President, Vice President and General Manager.  In 2012 Deb passed the day-to-day management of the company over to others and stepped down from her role as CEO but remains actively involved with NEP as Chairman Emeritus.  

Looking back at her groundbreaking career, Deb answered the following questions:

What do you consider to be the most significant achievement(s) of your career?

“Building a fantastic team of talented loyal staff over the years which enabled NEP to continue to grow as well as build & develop relationships with networks, clients, freelancers and on-site staff at remote locations all over the world.”

What is your advice for women who are looking to get into the industry?

“Work hard, be driven to learn and most of all love what you do.”

Deb has received numerous awards and recognition for her work in broadcast, including an Ernst & Young Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia Region Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2001) and five Sports Emmys (1992, 1993, 1995, 1996 and 2010).

In 2011 Deb became the first woman inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame, which honors those from across the entire spectrum of the sports broadcast industry who have had an impact on the way sports television is produced.

Deb and her husband Michael at the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in 2011.

To learn more about Deb's story, visit Sports Video Group's “Legends Behind the Lens” series featuring stories of people whose impact on the sports television industry is unforgettable: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2020/06/29/legends-behind-the-lens-deb-honkus/

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