Entrepreneur Of The Year® US National Award winner

Cheri Beranek | Clearfield

Cheri Beranek


Cheri Beranek
President and CEO
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Founded: 2008

In the words of our judges

“Cheri took a failing tech spin-off and transformed it into an industry leader. During the pandemic, Clearfield outmaneuvered the supply chain, creatively found ways to bring connectivity to rural American homes and outperformed financially.”

Bridging a gap


Historically, Americans in rural areas have been underserved by broadband and telecom companies. Coming from New Ulm, Minnesota, Cheri Beranek has firsthand knowledge of such broadband shortfalls. As the leader of telecommunication company Clearfield, she has been changing the lives of Americans in the heartland by bringing affordable internet connections to their communities.


When Beranek took over Clearfield, then a failing tech spin-off, she recognized that an agile company that could respond to consumer demand and bring products to market quicker would be well positioned to close the digital divide. By revolutionizing the design of broadband and telecom networks in the field while her competitors remained in the lab, Beranek transformed Clearfield into an industry leader.


Guided by customer feedback collected from the field, Clearfield designs, manufactures and distributes fiber optic products for communications networks. Its signature “fiber to anywhere” platform is a fiber management and delivery architecture that scales to align capital equipment expenditure alongside subscriber revenue. It’s more than a catchphrase — one of Beranek’s proudest moments was when Clearfield’s product reached her mother’s house in small-town Minnesota.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for high-speed internet in rural America became more urgent. But while the pandemic caused demand for broadband to spike, quarantine guidelines prevented Clearfield’s contractors from installing fiber systems in homes. In response, Clearfield introduced an at-home deployment kit so customers could install hardware without frontline workers, reducing both labor costs and health risks.


With a long-term goal of shifting from wireline connections toward fiber connectivity with wireless integration, Clearfield is poised to continue to challenge the inadequate status quo and adapt its offerings as the market evolves.