Our Executive Team
We are committed to providing our teammates a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. Above all, teammates will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the organization that they are expected to share externally with every A Wireless Customer.
Founder and Executive Chariman
Richard ("Rich") Balot founded ABC Phones of North Carolina, Inc. (dba: A Wireless) in October of 1996 as a freshman in college. Under his guidance the company has grown from single store location to over 1,145 store locations across 45 states, and annual sales exceeding $1.5 billion. A Wireless has become Verizon’s largest exclusive premium retailer and Rich is considered a thought leader within the industry and among his peers.
Rich is an active member in Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and on the local council board of the Boy Scouts. He also volunteers with numerous local charities, participating with his family. Rich holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from East Carolina University.
Rich is married and has four children. He enjoys spending time with his family; watching his children play sports and gymnastics.
Chief Executive Officer
George Sherman is the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer at A Wireless. Sherman joins A Wireless from Advance Auto Parts, a national retailer and commercial provider of automotive aftermarket parts and services, where he served as president, as well as interim CEO. At Advance, he was responsible for the organizations over 4000 stores, merchandising and marketing teams, IT organization, supply chain, and commercial sales team. He joined Advance from Best Buy, a multinational retailer of technology and entertainment products and services. As a senior vice-president and President of Best Buy Services, Sherman oversaw the Best Buy Services Business Group, which included consumer services, small- and medium-business capabilities, channel partnerships and integrations, as well as Best Buy for Business.
Prior to joining Best Buy, Sherman spent 15 years with Target Corporation, where he held a variety of retail and corporate positions, including general manager, supply chain, district manager, and regional vice president in Dallas and Chicago. Sherman also was senior vice president of stores and executive vice president of operations for Target Corporation’s mid-tier retailer, Mervyn’s. In addition to his extensive Target experience, Sherman was senior vice president of operations and home services division president at Home Depot.
Sherman received his bachelor’s degree from St. Michaels College and his master’s degree from Central Michigan University. He served as an officer in the Air Force for nearly 7 years, leaving with the rank of Captain. An active community volunteer throughout his career, Sherman served on the board of directors for Literacy Instruction for Texas and as chairman of the Chicago Cares Celebration of Service, and on the board of KaBoom!, a non-profit organization focused on building safe playgrounds for children. He currently sits on the board of directors of Building Homes for Heroes, which builds mortgage free homes catered to the unique needs of disabled veterans. In his spare time, he golfs, skis and runs, as well as travels with his wife Laura and two children, Ashley and Evan.
Chief Experience Officer
Michael offers 30 years of experience through a unique combination of retail, ecommerce, loyalty marketing and consumer products goods. As Chief Experience Officer for A Wireless, Michael’s current responsibilities include overseeing Merchandising and Procurement, Marketing, Insights and Loyalty, Product and Program development, and eCommerce development.
Prior to joining A Wireless, Michael served as Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President at Lowe’s Foods, a grocery store chain with approximately 100 stores located in the Carolinas. Michael’s responsibilities included the rebranding effort across the store base and the redesign of the store brand product portfolio. Michael also led the complete reinvention of the ecommerce business. This included building a new company infrastructure, technology platform, order fulfillment process, curbside and delivery experience, and the creation of a new business-to-business model. Michael was honored by Retail Touchpoints as 2016 Innovator of the Year, and by the Category Management Association with the 2016 Best Practice Award for Omnichannel Experience.
Prior to Lowes Foods, Michael served as Chief Strategy Officer for LoyaltyOne, a company specializing in loyalty marketing and advanced retail analytics. Prior to Loyalty One, Michael served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at SUPERVALU, which was the third largest grocery company in the United States. Michael began his career at Procter and Gamble, the world’s largest and most profitable consumer products company. During his career, Michael held executive roles within sales, customer business development, marketing strategy and planning, global beauty care, and M&A.
Michael earned a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of North Dakota. Outside of work, Michael serves on multiple advisory boards and as a featured guest speaker and lecturer at industry events and at universities. Michael is married and has three sons. Michael enjoys competing in triathlons, golfing, wine tasting and traveling.
Chief Sales Officer
Gene serves as the Chief Sales Officer of A Wireless and is responsible for overseeing the retail sales team for the company’s store base. Gene was promoted to CSO in 2015, previously serving as Executive Vice President of Sales and Operations for Z Wireless beginning in October 2014.
Prior to Z Wireless, he served as President of the retail division of EZ Corp from 2012-2014, and was responsible for all aspects of this $750 million financial services company. Gene also served in senior roles at Radio Shack from 2009-2012 including Senior Vice President of US Operations, where he was responsible for leading the integration of the Verizon wireless partnership into Radio Shack. Gene started his career at Blockbuster where he held roles of increasing responsibility including Vice President of Operations in the United Kingdom and Senior Vice President of U.S. Operations, with responsibility for 4,500 US stores. Gene earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Toledo.
Gene is married and has four children. He enjoys spending time with his family, vacationing and watching his children play sports.
John Crolle has served as the General Counsel of A Wireless since July of 2011. John handles the drafting, review and negotiation of all leases, supplier, vendor and insurance contracts, contracts with Verizon Wireless, due diligence and mergers and acquisitions. John also manages outside counsel, provides counsel regarding employment and litigation matters, manages A Wireless’ lease administration department, provides counsel with respect to company policies, procedures, business issues and is actively involved in business discussions and strategy development for A Wireless.
Prior to joining A Wireless, John had a general business practice with Ward and Smith, P.A. where he gained significant experience in entity structure and formation, corporate governance, complex contract drafting and negotiation, start-up businesses, capital raises, mergers and acquisitions, and construction contracts.
Before joining Ward and Smith John served as a legal clerk for Judge Barbara Jackson at the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
John received his Juris Doctorate, Cum Laude, from Georgia State University College of Law and his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Cornell University.
John also served in the United States Marine Corps infantry and as a police officer in Metro-Atlanta prior to attending law school.