2008 Total compensation*: $2.05 million
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock grad started out at Arthur Andersen, then joined Alltel in 2002, working his way up to SVP of operations, before joining Windstream, a Little Rock-based phone, Internet and TV provider in 2005.
As one of the company's top executives, he helped orchestrate the imminent acquisitions of D&E Communications for $330 million and Lexcom Inc. for $141 million.
Source: Equilar Inc.
NEXT: Christine M. Beauchamp**
Note: To be eligible for the 20 highest paid list, candidates had to be 39 or younger on Nov. 1, 2009.