We began the conference by welcoming the 30 or so in attendance and going around the room introducing ourselves. MTA President/CEO Brent Christensen gave an association update on the recent annual convention and changes in formats they are trying, the ListServ project, NewsBytes, the current MN Legislative session issues, bills and impacts on telco business, the "shape file” mapping project, competition and the safety program webinars for missed meetings and expansion of the program into Iowa.
- Cheryl Scapanski, GM of Benton Cooperative Telephone, presented the "Manager’s Perspective.” She described the company’s origins, organization and development, board and staff numbers, products, services and business philosophy. Cheryl shared some interesting statistics that have contributed to the challenges that their company and many others are facing and ideas for the future. She emphasized the trust and relationship you build with your customers will always be of extreme importance to your success.
- Roxie Hacker of Interstate Telcom Consulting, Inc., gave an industry update for us which included FCC Reform order components and impacts, reporting and audit obligations, data requests and their importance. Other issues discussed were call completion, NG911, TDM to IP transition and non-regulated revenues.
- We invited Bill Harley of Harley Consulting & Coaching for a keynote session on Communication: Creating a More Productive Workplace. He talked about fundamental leadership and organizational concepts including boss-direct report and authority dynamics, communication content and expectation, relational communication and tools to help you analyze, understand and focus your conversation methods.
- A networking event was held Thursday evening at Carlos Creek winery with wine tasting and a meal for those who were interested.
- Friday’s session began with Brian Crommett, Sales & Service Manager with 702 Communications on Business Productivity with Technology Apps. He asked us to complete a survey in advance to help him tailor his discussion to our interests. Topics included Smartphones, tablets, cloud storage, connectivity tips, printing with portable devices and he answered lots of questions!
- Our conference wrapped up with discussions and Q&A with Minnesota regulatory staff which included Lillion Brion of MPUC on USF, ETC, reforms, reporting and Lifeline changes and new TAP Administrator, Theresa Staples, with a demonstration of the website and the TAP filing Tools and compliance requirements. Jon Brown, Consumer Affairs at MPUC discussed the services they provide, typical questions and complaints from consumers and the steps in their process including mediation. Greg Doyle, Telcom Manager at the MN Department of Commerce, talked about customer and carrier complaints, TAM, MN Relay, TED, Telco petitions, EAS, recip comp and switched access. He demonstrated the Boundary Mapping Project and the efforts of two test telephone companies and answered audience questions.
We invite employees from all member and associate member companies with office management or human resource responsibilities, including assistant or general managers, to join us for future conferences.