October 16, 2015

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

Action Items

>> Save the Dates: MTA Annual Convention Is March 21–23, 2016

>> Customer Service Peer Group Fall Conference

>> Administrative Assistants Peer Group Fall Conference

Informational Items

>> NTCA Discusses FCC Bifurcated Approach for USF Reform

>> City-Run Broadband Internet Is a Disaster in the Making

Safety Corner

>> Contractor Safety Considerations

People and Companies

>> CTC Receives ESGR Above and Beyond Award

>> Arvig Names New Head of Marketing

>> Calix User Group Conference

>> David Pawlowski Joins Park Region Telephone/Otter Tail Telcom

MTA Staff

MTA President/CEO:
Brent Christensen
Team Leader:

Jacquie Durant
Event Planners:
Julie Cygan
Carissa Wolf
Member Services:
Chris Swanson
Joe Flannigan
Administrative Assistant:
Anne Christensen

Stay up-to-date on daily happenings at the MTA offices by following us on Facebook. From peer group meetings to annual conferences and everything in between, get the scoop on what’s happening at our offices!




Meetings and Events

October 28–29, 2015: Fall 2015 Customer Service Group Conference

November 4–5, 2015: 2015 Administrative Assistant Peer Group Fall Conference

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MTA Updates


Save the Dates: MTA Annual Convention Is March 21–23, 2016

Planning for the 2016 MTA Annual Convention and Trade Show is well under way, so mark these dates on your calendar. Opportunities for sponsorships and exhibiting will be announced very soon. Keep an eye on your inbox for further developments!

Customer Service Peer Group Fall Conference

October 28–29, 2015
Jackpot Junction Casino
Morton, MN

MTA is excited for the upcoming Fall Customer Service Peer Group Conference. It will be held October 28 & 29 at Jackpot Junction Casino Hotel. This event is for any and all individuals who deal with customers in the telecommunication industry. This is a great opportunity to attend (or send your staff) for very little cost.

We will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday evening with an icebreaker. We will serve appetizers in the Players Sports Bar & Grill, 6:30–8:30 pm. We will also have some Jackpot Casino Cash as a complimentary part of the Ice Breaker. Attendees will be able to try their luck in the Casino! The morning of learning will include a message from our own MTA President, Brent Christensen; and Cecilia Ray, attorney with Moss & Barnett Law Firm, will give us a refresher on CPNI rules.

Before lunch, Catherine Rasmussen, Extension Professor, Leadership & Civic Engagement at the U of M, will begin speaking on "Navigating Conflict More Successfully,” and return again after lunch on the same topic.

In the afternoon, we will break out into groups and do the ever-so-popular Peer to Peer Breakout Sessions.

We invite you to meet old and new friends and share your customer service experiences in the telecommunications business. Register now to attend this educational conference. The MTA registration fee is only $125.

You and your staff won’t want to miss this conference! Find the full agenda and registration form on the MTA calendar. You will register with MTA and then make your own hotel reservation. We look forward to seeing you on October 28 & 29.

P.S. Please consider joining the planning committee. Our committee consists of 4 people with 1 leaving each year. You would help plan four conferences. We communicate with each other through email and conference calls. It is a great way to get involved. If interested, please let one of the committee members know. We would like to have someone onboard before the end of this conference.

View Details and Register Online

Administrative Assistants Peer Group Fall Conference

November 4–5, 2015
Otter Tail Telcom
Fergus Falls, MN

View complete details and register online

We are excited for the upcoming MTA Administrative Assistant Peer Group Fall Conference scheduled for November 4–5, 2015 in Fergus Falls! This is a great opportunity to attend a very informative meeting (for a very minimal cost) and take advantage of the knowledge and resources that our Administrative Assistant peers have.

Registration Fee



Best Western Fergus Falls
925 Western Ave.
Fergus Falls, MN

Call (218) 739-2211 for reservations.


NTCA Discusses FCC Bifurcated Approach for USF Reform

From NECA’s Washington Watch

NTCA spoke with Commissioner O’Rielly’s Legal Advisor on October 8, 2015, to discuss materials submitted by USTelecom, NTCA, ITTA and WTA on the FCC’s potential use of a bifurcated approach to cost recovery as part of its USF reforms. NTCA also discussed the need to clarify the questions that are still outstanding related to the FCC’s bifurcated approach and other potential reforms.

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City-Run Broadband Internet Is a Disaster in the Making

By Kevin Glass, reason.com

Government Internet is coming to a city near you. The only question is if anything can be done to stop the politicians scheming to bring it.

Across the country, there's been an explosion in what are euphemistically called "municipal broadband" projects — government-funded and operated broadband services that are competing with community service providers that have been operating for years. All across the country, from Newark, Delaware, to Seattle, Washington, government officials are exploring the possibility of sinking hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into these projects.

View article

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Safety Corner

Contractor Safety Considerations

Keeping our own Telecom employees safe is a tough enough job, but add to that protecting the public, our contractors’ employees — and in turn, protecting our company’s liability — and it can seem like an impossible task.

As more and more companies are relying on contractors to support their business plans, and in many cases at multiple locations, contractor safety considerations are as important as they ever have been. Ignoring whether a contractor has a safety program or enforces it is not acceptable. If you don’t think so, just visit with your insurance carrier and see what their stance is on contractor safety... or take a look at the news.

The Campbell Institute, which is the center of excellence for environmental health and safety at the National Safety Council, has released a new research report collecting the best practices of world-class EHS organizations around the management of contractor and supplier safety. Through analysis and interviews with 14 Campbell Institute members and partners, the Institute collected recommended practices for contractor management along five crucial steps of the contractor lifecycle:

  • Prequalification
  • Pre-job task and risk assessment
  • Training and orientation
  • Job monitoring
  • Post-job evaluation

Prequalification: In this phase, companies assess contractors on their safety statistics, such as Experience Modification Rate (EMR), Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR), injury logs and other OSHA recordables, typically for the last three years. These safety statistics are just a baseline, as companies also look at the written safety programs and presence of continuous improvement programs.

Pre-job task and risk assessment: Before a contractor begins work, companies recommend that contractors have a method to evaluate the risk of the work to be performed. This process helps companies and contractors understand the scope of work and provide an opportunity for additional written safety programs to be put in place.

Training and orientation: Companies require safety orientation and skills training of contractors in order for them to be approved for work. All also require special permits or training for specific kinds of work, including (but not limited to) confined space entry, electrical work, energy control, forklifts, elevated work, trenching and excavating, hazard communication, ladder safety, work area protection, PPE, etc. Some companies even provide specialized safety training such as hazard identification, asbestos awareness, Hazcom, and fall prevention.

Job monitoring: During this phase, companies have periodic assessments during the contract period, which vary from daily checklists, incidence logs and/or safety talks to weekly walkthroughs, to monthly and annual assessments. Companies also require contract employees to designate a Site Safety Representative who has authority to shut down operations, submit written safety observations to report non-compliance or unsafe conditions. Companies are in agreement that it is also crucial to monitor contractor safety throughout the entire project.

Post-job evaluation: Companies agree there should be specific post-work evaluative procedures in contractor guidelines. Companies put so much effort into the vetting process for contractors that a sufficient evaluation stage is needed to determine if the work was done correctly and safely. Analyses of contractor claims, observations and injury rates are some ways to measure the effectiveness of contractor training and if the work was performed safely.

Research from the Campbell Institute demonstrates that contractor safety management is a sustainable business practice. Screening for high incident rates and avoiding contracts to high-risk contractors not only reduces liability and insurance claims, but creates safer work sites and increases the potential profitability for all parties involved — owners, contractors and subcontractors alike.

If you have any tips you’d like to share on how to keep temporary or contract employees safe, please feel free to submit them to safety@mnta.org — we’d appreciate hearing them.  Also feel free to download the full report from the link in the third paragraph.

Take Care,

Dan Berg M.S.
Senior Safety Consultant

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People Companies

CTC Receives ESGR Above and Beyond Award

Above and Beyond AwardConsolidated Telecommunications Company (CTC) recently was awarded the ESGR (Employer Support of The Guard and Reserve) Above and Beyond Award.

CTC was awarded the Above and Beyond Award as an outstanding employer for its support of the Guard and Reserve. A luncheon was held on July 22, 2015, in St. Cloud, MN to honor CTC. Kevin Larson, CEO/General Manager, received the award on behalf of CTC. On October 30, 2014, Ryan Rosenwald, Technology Manager for CTC, was awarded the Patriot Award from Stefanie Ubl, Central Office Technician for CTC, who is a First Lieutenant in the US Army Reserve and Signal Officer of the 367th EN BN, for his support of employees in the National Guard and Reserve from the ESGR.

The National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard conducts an awards program designed to recognize employers who support a strong National Guard and Reserve force. Employers qualify for recognition when they practice leadership and personnel policies that support employee participation in the Guard and Reserve.

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Arvig Names New Head of Marketing

Arvig, the area’s leading broadband provider, has announced the appointment of Lisa Greene as Senior Manager, Marketing. Ms. Greene is responsible for Arvig’s marketing strategy and execution and will continue to lead the company’s demand generation, online marketing, branding, and provide direction to the process of developing and managing the company’s new and existing product lines. She will report to David Arvig, Vice President/COO.

“Lisa has a proven track record of planning and executing successful marketing programs and campaigns. She will be using that knowledge and experience to develop and lead the execution of strategic marketing efforts to directly impact the company’s growth objectives,” Arvig said.

Ms. Greene has been a part of the Arvig team since 2009, having most recently served as the company’s marketing manager. She has more than 25 years of marketing experience in a wide range of industries, including automotive, travel, technology, cable television, and discounts and promotions to name a few. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan.

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Calix User Group Conference

Calix User Group Conference
October 24-27, 2015
Wynn, Las Vegas

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David Pawlowski Joins Park Region Telephone/Otter Tail Telcom

Park Region Telephone/Otter Tail Telcom is pleased to announce that David Pawlowski has accepted the position of Business Operations Manager effective October 12, 2015. David has been in the industry for 32 years, serving many of those years in various positions with Arvig Companies, and most recently as Director of Operations for Compass, Consultants, Inc., in Perham.

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Minnesota Telecom Alliance
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