CTC Member News & Info
CTC Member News & Info

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Digital Digest - Spring 2020
Welcome to the DIGITAL DIGESTReplacing our printed Dialer's Digest, this quarterly e-newsletter is chock-full of information for our members including money-saving tips, industry news, community events, and updates from our leadership.  
FYI from the CEO
Kristi's Digital Digest - Summer 2020
Here are links to a few things that Kristi referenced in the video:  
Community Connections

AREA HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS RECEIVE $3,000 


Six area seniors each received a $500 scholarship from CTC last spring. Selected by their school's scholarship committee, the recipients included:
  • Andrew Becker, Brainerd High School
  • Samantha Bennett, Pillager High School
  • Madison Hoheisel, Pierz Healy High School
  • Destiny Holmin, Crosby-Ironton High School
  • Samantha Mrazek, Staples-Motley High School (At-Large Winner)
  • Zachary Stich, Little Falls Community High School

If you have, or know of, a high school senior who is interested in applying for a 2021 scholarship from CTC, please encourage them to contact their counselor or email Lisa to learn more. 

COVID-19 PANDEMIC UPDATE

As a result of the current global health pandemic, CTC began making changes to their operations and processes in early March.
Currently... 
To review details of these activities and other helpful resources related to COVID-19, please visit the CTC website at www.goctc.com/covid
Note: Although the Brainerd and Crosby offices remain closed to public visitors, we are always available and ready to assist you over the phone 24/7 at 800-753-9104 or 218-454-1234, online at www.goctc.com, or via email at support@goctc.com.

CTC PARTNERS WITH ISD 116


In May 2019, community members within the Pillager School District voted in support of a referendum that included maintenance and remodeling projects to school facilities as well as the construction of a new auditorium.

Due to a new partnership with CTC, the Pillager School District announced that the new auditorium, which will include a state-of-the-art performing arts center, will be named the CTC Center.

The school district doesn’t currently have an auditorium. Instead there’s a small 80-year old stage in the elementary cafeteria. The new auditorium will serve as a multi-functional community facility and will include tiered 350-seat theater seating, quality sound and lighting, ground-level entrance, and large, flexible space for a variety of meetings, events, and activities.

The site for the auditorium is currently being prepared for construction. A groundbreaking ceremony (photo above) took place on June 16, 2020. Read the full news release here... 

Q&A with Finance
At CTC, our employees tackle a wide variety of jobs - everything from standard business operations like accounting, marketing, customer service, and sales to industry-specific tasks such as engineering, networking, and product installation, training, and troubleshooting.
For this edition of Digital Digest we visited with Joe Buttweiler, our Director of Business Development, to chat about what a "day in the life" looks like for him and his teammates.
1. How did you end up at CTC?
While working at Arrowhead Electric Cooperative (Lutsen, MN) we found that a lack of broadband availability hindered our abilities as a utility and in our personal lives. In my case, it was online youth hockey coaching refresher courses. I spent days watching snipets of video and then waiting for the blue spinning wheel to stop so I could watch a few more minutes of video. The constant buffering over my home satellite internet connection was painful.  

In 2010 Arrowhead Electric was awarded a grant to build out a fiber optic network across our service territory. We attached nearly 800 miles of fiber optic cables to our power poles and buried them beneath the rock of the north shore along Lake Superior and alongside the Gunflint Trail. All was well until we realized - as a utility company and an incredibly small one - we didn’t have the depth of technology knowledge and skill on staff to be an all-star internet cooperative right from the start. That led us to search for a partner. We selected CTC and they became an immediate and welcomed injection of industry intelligence and employee passion. Our relationship represented a pillar of the cooperative model – cooperation amongst cooperatives. This led me to CTC where I’m extremely fortunate to be able to continue working to deploy fiber optics to those with little or no service.


2. What does a typical day look like for you?

For the most part, I have two types of days: office days and travel days. Office days consist of researching the variables required for each specific grant or other funding program while evaluating proposed or new government legislation seeking the pros and cons of how it may impact CTC’s membership and our ability to fulfill our mission. Part of the "office days" also involve working with our product, engineering, marketing, and sales teams to assemble project plans and work with our partners (such as Arrowhead Electric and Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative) to help grow their networks. On travel days I prepare for and and meet with our partners (townships, counties, cities, lake association or other community groups) who want to work with CTC to expand our services and get them connected. We talk about the process, all the factors for engineering and financing, and basically... how to get from A – Z. Sometimes this process can take many years to find the support and funding for a new project!

3. What’s the biggest challenge for you or your team?
FUNDING. Building networks is expensive and in particular it's difficult in rural areas where there's a low density of homes and businesses. It's challenging to balance fiscal responsibility and fulfill our mission of serving those who do not currently have service. There is great desire on the part of CTC to build and build and build which is why grant programs and/or low interest loan financing is critically important to help balance this effort.

4. What’s on the horizon or changing most in the industry?
The pandemic has put an even greater spotlight on families, businesses, and entire communities that do not have good connectivity. There is a lot of pressure to build right now but we face funding obstacles and supply chain issues.
If we weren't living in a pandemic, we would likely be tracking on the wireless industry and its advancements. Despite claims by some, we believe wireless is still is not comparable to fiber-to-the-premise, especially in terms of speed and reliability. (If it were, CTC would begin investing more in wireless!) We want our members to have access to the best technology solution available. We believe the future continues to be fiber optics, which provide long-term scalable solutions for our membership.

5. What do you enjoy most about your job? 
The best part is working with people who don’t have broadband but want/need it badly, then being able to develop a project which eventually provides them service. Hearing their stories of how technology and connectivity has improved their lives and that of their families is fantastic and never gets old!
To learn about Joe's work, visit our website at: www.goctc.com/partner.
From the Boardroom
2020 Annual Meeting & Board Member Elections
On June 3, CTC held our first-ever virtual annual meeting. We had great attendance for the meeting and a tremendous response to our request for the mail-in ballots for our Board of Directors election. Congratulations to Leland Segler and Jerry Palm as they retain their seats for the District 2 and the At-Large positions, respectively.  
2020 Board of Director Candidates
2019 Capital Credits - Returned Checks
At the 2019 annual meeting, it was announced that the board had issued capital credit distributions from 1993 and 1994. 
Since the checks for those distributions were sent out over a year ago, over 700 were returned to us. Please review the list on our website to see if you - or someone you know - is one of members who has a check waiting for them. 
In early July, our friend and coworker, Mike Whistler passed away. He was a member of our team for six years and thrived as our Purchasing and Supply Agent. Mike was our go-to source for music, conversation, and laughs. He will be greatly missed by all of us.  
Facebook Review
REMINDER! 
Be sure to dial 811 before you dig in your yard, ditch, by the lake, or anywhere this fall! You can also submit a ticket online via gopherstateonecall.org. Planning a Saturday project? Be sure to contact them by Wednesday at 5pm. It's the law and it keeps everyone safe, services running, and utilities working.

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