Theodore N. Vail
Securing over $100 million in financing, Vail first set up a more unified operating structure for AT&T, the Bell companies and the so-called “Bell-Connected” independent firms, and then went on to form an affiliation with competitor Western Union. With this more centralized and efficient organization structure, Vail was able to concentrate on the development of electric communication, long-distance lines and more. AT&T’s achievements during his tenure include the completion of the first transcontinental line in 1915 and the development of radiotelephony, which enabled overseas communication.