January 22, 2016

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

Action Items

>> Telco Marketing Peer Group Conference

>> Online Convention Registration Now Available!

>> 2016 CSR Spring Conference

Informational Items

>> Governor Dayton Appoints Matthew Schuerger to Minnesota Public Utilities Commission

>> 2016 USDA DLT Grant Application Period Opens

>> FirstNet Issues RFP for the Nationwide Public Safety Network

>> MTA and MCCA Announce Broadband Conference

Peer Group Bulletin

>> MTA Peer Group 2015 Investment Opportunities

Economic Development Corner

>> Share Your Story

Safety Corner

>> Safety Bytes

MTA Staff

MTA President/CEO:
Brent Christensen
Team Leader:

Jacquie Durant
Event Planners:
Julie Cygan
Carissa Wolf
Member Services:
Jeanne DeMartino
Anna Wrisky
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

Feb. 3-5, 2016: Telco Marketing Peer Group Winter Conference

Feb. 18, 2016: Broadband Conference

Peer Group Investment Opportunities Open for 2016. View Details

March 21-23, 2016: MTA Annual Convention and Trade Show

April 19-20, 2016: CSR Spring Conference

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MTA Updates


Telco Marketing Peer Group Winter Conference

February 3-5, 2016
DoubleTree by Hilton Minneapolis - Park Place
Minneapolis, MN

View Details and Register Online

The 2016 Winter Telco Marketing Group conference includes a well-rounded list of speakers that will give anyone in your organization actionable insights for your 2016 Marketing Plan. Topics include: New Social Media Stragies, Internet Data Cap Answers, Rural Demographic Update, Rural Demographic Update, Regulatory Refresher, Community Building Concepts.

Download Agenda


Registration is $165 for members, $175 for non-members
College students are welcome for 50% of the registration price.


DoubleTree by Hilton Minneapolis - Park Place
1500 Park Place Blvd, Minneapolis, MN 55416
Hotel (952) 582-5305

Make your reservations online
Group Name: TMG-Telco Marketing Group
Deadline: January 29, 2016

MTA Annual Convention and Trade ShowOnline Convention Registration Now Available!

The 2016 MTA Convention is fast approaching and it's time to get registered!

Register Today

March 21-23, 2016
Hyatt Regency Minneapolis
1300 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN

Be sure to register by going to www.mnta.org and completing the online form. Don’t miss getting your early bird registration discount by signing up before February 26, 2016.

Don't miss the action. Register Now

Sponsor and/or Exhibit at the 2016 Annual Convention

Early Rates end on Monday, February 1

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to meet and network with more than 1,100 professionals from throughout the Upper Midwest. Register to exhibit at the 2016 Annual Convention today! It is a "do-not-miss" opportunity to showcase your company, products and services.

Download the Exhibitor and Sponsor Prospectus | Register Online to Sponsor or Exhibit

Plan to join us on March 21-23, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis. The MTA Annual Convention continues to be the largest state telecommunications association convention in the nation. It represents the interests of more than 80 small, medium and large telecommunications providers that provide advanced telecommunications services like voice, data, wireless video, and high-speed Internet access to Minnesota’s metropolitan and rural communities.

Register for your booth space today!

The convention is a great way to get your message out to this group and the support of our exhibitors and sponsors is what makes this convention possible. Consider becoming a keystone of our pinnacle event! Multiple levels of conference sponsorship opportunities are available.

Interested in demoing your products and services live to the Convention attendees? Consider upgrading your sponsorship to a Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum Sponsorship! The vendor demo area will be located in the middle of the MTA Exhibit Hall. An opportunity you don’t want to miss.

If you have questions about the exhibitor or sponsorship information, please contact Carissa Wolf at the MTA office at carissaw@mnta.org or (651) 265-7849.

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2016 CSR Spring Conference

April 19-20, 2016
Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center
Alexandria, MN

View details and register online

MTA is excited to announce the upcoming Customer Service Peer Group Conference, to be held April 19-20 at Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center in Alexandria, MN. This event is for any and all individuals who deal with customers in the telecommunication industry. The conference is a great opportunity to attend (or send your staff) for very little cost.

More information will be provided as the conference approaches.


MTA Member: $125
Non-member: $150


Arrowwood Resort
Phone: 320-762-1124
Block of rooms reserved under MTA Customer Service Conference.

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Governor Dayton Appoints Matthew Schuerger to Minnesota Public Utilities Commission

ST. PAUL, MN – Gov. Mark Dayton announced his appointment of Matthew Schuerger to serve a 6-year term on the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Mr. Schuerger will replace Betsy Wergin, whose term expired on January 4, 2016.

“It is my pleasure to appoint Matthew Schuerger to serve on the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission,” said Gov. Dayton. “Mr. Schuerger brings with him an impressive record of private-sector experience running a company focused on sustainable energy systems, and has admirably served as a technical advisor to both the State of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota.”

Mr. Schuerger is the President of Energy Systems Consulting Services, LLC, an engineering and management consulting firm focused on planning, development, and analysis. His recent work includes serving as a technical advisor to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the University of Minnesota. Previously, Mr. Schuerger was the Executive Vice President for District Energy St. Paul, Inc.

Mr. Schuerger is a licensed electrical and mechanical engineer, and earned his B.S. from Purdue University, his M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas, and his M.S. from the University of Minnesota.

2016 USDA DLT Grant Application Period Opens

From MN DEED Communications

The Rural Utilities Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced the opening of its application period for the fiscal year 2016 Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grants. Applications are due March 14, 2016. Grant awards will range from $50,000 to $500,000.

The DLT Program provides financial assistance to encourage and improve telemedicine and distance learning services in rural areas through the use of telecommunications, computer networks, and related advanced technologies that students, teachers, medical professionals, and rural residents can use. The grants, which are awarded through a competitive process, may be used to fund telecommunications-enabled information, audio and video equipment, and related advanced technologies which extend educational and medical applications into rural areas. Grants are intended to benefit end-users in rural areas, who are often not in the same location as the source of the educational or health care service.

More information on the DLT program is available in the Federal Register announcement and on the USDA website.

FirstNet Issues RFP for the Nationwide Public Safety Network

From MN DEED Communications

After many years of work, FirstNet has issued the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the build out of the nation’s public safety network, marking a major step forward in FirstNet's efforts to modernize communications for first responders and other public safety personnel across the U.S. Please visit the www.firstnet.gov for additional information and a direct link to the RFP.

MTA and MCCA Announce Broadband Conference

For the second year in a row, the Minnesota Cable Communications Association and the Minnesota Telecom Alliance with partner companies is hosting a policy conference in Minnesota — Broadband Networks, the Backbone of the 21st Century!

The purpose of our event is to bring together policy makers, providers and community leaders interested in fostering the advancement of broadband networks in Minnesota.

The conference will be held in St. Paul on February 18, 2016 at 317 on Rice Park, 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This is the premier broadband conference of the year.

Here is a list of those invited and or already committed to participate as a speaker or panelist. A formal agenda for the conference is forthcoming and will be posted on the conference registration site.

I hope you will mark your calendar and join us. Last year we sold out with over 120 leaders in attendance. We were pleased the conference received very positive feedback from this wide range of stakeholders. View details and register online.

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Peer Group Bulletin
All MTA members are welcome to join a Peer Group

MTA Peer Group 2016 Investment Opportunities Open!

MTA’s core purpose is to enhance the success and viability of its telecommunications industry members. You are an important part of helping us fulfill this mission. Here is your opportunity to maximize the impact of your event sponsorships for 2016.

Download the 2016 Peer Group Investment Opportunities for full details

Sponsor a Peer Group: Sign Up Online!

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Economic Development Corner

Share Your Story

Economic development is an important part of what MTA member companies do. To showcase that effort, we are adding this new column to NewsBytes. If your company has a success story of how you helped a community you serve further economic development efforts, please consider sharing it with us. You can send it to MTA President/CEO Brent Christensen at bchristensen@mnta.org.

Ben Winchester, Research Fellow at the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality wrote a paper, Continuing the Trend: The Brain Gain of the Newcomers”. Mr. Winchester presented at the GM Peer Group meeting last December and will also speak at the upcoming Telco Marketing Group Peer Group meeting on February 4-5. The study brings to light a little-examined phenomenon regarding the migration of people age 30-49 into rural areas across Minnesota and is very interesting in understanding migration patterns of different age groups in and out of rural Minnesota.

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Safety Corner

Most Must Post OSHA 300A Summary Feb 1 - April 30

A reminder, that if you employ more than ten people, you must post a summary (Form 300A) of your 2015 OSHA recordkeeping log, from February 1 - April 30, 2016.

On the summary form, list total number of injury and illness cases, days away from work, days of restrictions or job transfers, and types of injuries and illnesses which occurred in 2015 and were recorded on the log. Be sure to include the date and establishment information in the appropriate spots. If you had no injuries or illnesses, you’re still required to post the form, with zeros on the total line.

The summary must be certified by a company executive and posted in a common area where you typically display notices to employees. For details about recordkeeping requirements, see www.dli.mn.gov/OSHA/Recordkeeping.asp

The following link provides helpful information to answer some of our questions regarding OSHA recordkeeping: Ten tips to improve your OSHA log.


Winter driving can be hazardous and scary, especially on snow and ice. Additional preparations can help make a trip safer, or help us deal with an emergency. The following provides safety information for us to follow when driving during the winter.

The Three Ps of Safe Winter Driving:
» PREPARE for the trip; » PROTECT yourself; and » PREVENT crashes on the road.


Maintain Your Car: Check battery, tire tread, and windshield wipers, keep your windows clear, put quality fluid in the washer reservoir, check your antifreeze and top off your fuel tank.

Have On Hand: Flashlight, jumper cables, abrasive material (sand, kitty litter, even floor mats), shovel, snow brush and ice scraper, warning devices (like flares) and blankets. For long trips, add food and water, medication.

Stopped or Stalled? Stay with your car, move off roadway as far as possible, don't over exert, use emergency flashers, and, if you run your car, clear exhaust pipe and run it just enough to stay warm.

Plan Your Route: Allow plenty of time (check the weather and leave early if necessary), be familiar with the directions, and let others know your route and arrival time.

Practice Cold Weather Driving!

  • During daylight, rehearse maneuvers slowly on the ice or snow in an empty lot.
  • Steer into a skid.
  • Know what your brakes will do: stomp and apply continuous pressure on antilock brakes, pump non-antilock brakes.
  • Brake before entering a curve, hold a steady speed during the curve and accelerate after leaving a curve, if needed.


  • Buckle up and keep your vehicle free of clutter.


  • Stay focused and avoid distractions.
  • Check road conditions before leaving.
  • Slow down and increase distances between cars.
  • Keep your eyes open for pedestrians walking in the road and stalled vehicles.
  • Avoid fatigue – Get plenty of rest before the trip, stop at least every three hours, and rotate drivers if possible.
  • Leave early and allow extra time.

Take Care
Dan Berg M.S.
Senior Safety Consultant

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