Success in today's competitive world depends on the ability to cope with change, according to Jack A. MacAllister, chairman and chief executive officer of US West Communications Inc.

At a forum sponsored by the University of Utah's Graduate School of Business, MacAllister used the experience of US West adapting to the 1984 breakup of the Bell Telephone System as an example of changing to compete in today's consumer-driven society."We have moved from a local telephone monopoly to a competitive marketing company" focusing on customer needs, he told an audience of local business leaders, university officials, faculty and students.

Although the company remains a basic communications concern operating in 14 states, MacAllister said, US West is also involved in data and software services, marketing, corporate financing and leasing services.

MacAllister also stressed the need for change and improvement in America's deteriorating educational system. "Good educational systems are basic to any economic development in America," he said.

Too many students leave the public education system unprepared to work in a competitive marketplace, MacAllister said, noting that US West spends some $50 million providing basic training and education for entry-level employees.

He explained that business pays twice for educating its work force: first through tax dollars, and then by training employees.