Jeff Gardner was born and raised in Hammond, Indiana. He attended Loras College from August 1978 to December 1979. While at Loras, he was active on the Duhawk cross country and track teams. He was a member of the six-man delegation from Loras in 1979 who traveled to the NAIA National Outdoor Championships in Abilene, Texas. That same year, he finished 15th in the Drake relays marathon – a competition that had 800 entries.
After leaving Loras, Gardner went to Purdue University where he earned a degree in finance. He also has an MBA from the College of William and Mary and he is a Certified Public Accountant. Jeff and his wife, Christine, have three sons: Blake, Brock and Broderick. Both Jeff and Christine are avid runners and have competed in 5k runs in the Little Rock area.
Jeff is past president and CEO of Windstream Corporation, an S&P 500 company that provides phone, high-speed internet and high-definition digital TV services in 16 states (including Iowa). Gardner left Windstream in December 2014, with more than 20 years’ experience in the telecom industry. Before joining Windstream, he served as executive vice president and CFO of Alltel Corporation. He joined Alltel in 1998 when the company merged with 360 Communications.
In 2005, CFO magazine named Gardner one of the top two CFO’s in the wireless industry. During his tenure as Alltel’s CFO, Gardner raised more than $10 billion in the capital markets as the company’s wireless business more than doubled in size.