MTA News Bytes

June 9, 2017

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

Action Items

>> Register Now for MTA’s Annual Golf Day!

>> Hands-On Authorized Tower Climber Certification Course

>> Sales and Use Tax Exemption Expanded in Omnibus Tax Bill

Informational items

>> ECN and SECB to Launch GovDelivery

Peer Group Bulletin

>> Don't Miss These 2017 MTA Peer Group Investment Opportunities!

Safety Corner

>> National Safety Month

People and Companies

>> Shannon M. Heim Joins Moss & Barnett

>> Paul Bunyan Communications Named 2017 Complete Marketing Campaign Award Winner

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

July 10, 2017: MTA Golf Day
Crow River Golf Club, Hutchinson

July 12, 2017: Hands-On Authorized Tower Climber Certification Course
Runestone Telephone Association, Hoffman

October 5-6, 2017: MTA Fall Conference
Minneapolis Marriott Northwest

March 26-28, 2018: MTA Annual Convention & Trade Show
Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

March 18-20, 2019: MTA Annual Convention & Trade Show
Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

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MTA Updates


TA 2017 Golf Day

Register Now for MTA’s Annual Golf Day!

Monday, July 10, 2017
Crow River Golf Course | Hutchinson, MN

Sign up today for MTA’s Annual Golf Day! This year’s event will again be held at the Crow River Golf Course in Hutchinson, Minnesota, on July 10.

Registration is $150 per player or $45 for the reception only. Don’t forget to bring extra cash for the chance board fundraiser!

>> Sign up your team or register as an individual online.

MTA Prize Giveaway

As a thank you for our members' continued support of MTA, we are giving away golf shoes to all registered golfers at this year’s event. Foot Joy will be at the course to size your feet and will then drop ship the shoes directly to you.You must be present at the golf event to receive the giveaway.

Interested in sponsoring Golf Day?

Now accepting golf sponsors! Visit the MTA Golf Day Sponsor Page for complete details and registration.

Current Golf Sponsors

Scoreboard Sponsor
Power & Tel

Cart Sponsors
Eagle Marketing
National Information Solutions Cooperative
Pinnacle Marketing Group
Power Product Services

Brat Sponsors
Cable Connection & Supply
Ewald Consulting
MP Nexlevel, LLC

Beer Sponsors
Comlink Midwest, LLC
Olsen Thielen CPAs
TelCom Construction, Inc.

Beverage Sponsor
Innovative Systems

Breakfast Sponsor
Bernstein Global Wealth Management

Field Sponsors
MP Nexlevel, LLC
Tel Rep Marketing
Unitel Insurance

Hole-In-One Sponsor
Finley Engineering Company

Putting Green Sponsor
TelCom Construction, Inc.

Hole Sponsors
Bernstein Global Wealth Management
Cable Connection & Supply
Comlink Midwest, LLC
Communication Network Engineering Inc.
Dakota Supply Group
Eagle Marketing
Ewald Consulting
Greenlee Communications
Innovative Systems
Interstate Telcom Consulting, Inc.
MP Nexlevel, LLC
National Information Solutions Cooperative
Olsen Thielen CPAs
Pinnacle Marketing Group
Power & Tel
Power Product Services
Ramstad Technologies, LLC
TelCom Construction, Inc.
Tel Rep Marketing

Hands-On Authorized Tower Climber Certification Course

Wednesday, July 12, 2017, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
Runestone Telephone Association | 100 Runestone Dr | Hoffman, Minnesota  56339

This Hands-On Authorized Tower Climber Certification course is designed to prepare individuals with little or no experience to be able to safely climb and work on various types and sizes of towers. This course combines the cognitive and the psychomotor domains of training, which assures that the student will develop the knowledge base necessary to safely climb and work on towers, as well as the practical skill sets necessary to be able to safely perform his or her duties.

This course will address a variety of subject areas including regulatory safety standards, equipment commonly used, engineering controls, work practice controls, and return demonstrations.

Upon completion of this course, the authorized climber should be able to demonstrate proper knowledge, understanding, and application of the equipment used, as well as safe practices to be employed at all times he or she is working on the tower.

Note: This course does not include Tower Rescue.

Cost: $600

This class is limited to 12 participants. Get the full details and register now!

Sales and Use Tax Exemption Expanded in Omnibus Tax Bill

From Olsen Thielen

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed an omnibus tax bill on May 30, 2017. This bill enacts many changes to various tax types, including one related to sales and use tax for the telecommunications industry.

Certain machinery and equipment purchased or leased for use directly by a telecommunications service provider to provide services sold at retail are exempt from sales and use tax. Prior to the bill, the definition of “telecommunications or pay television machinery or equipment” specifically excluded wire, cable, fiber, poles, or conduit.

Effective for sales and purchases made after June 30, 2017, the sales tax exemption on equipment purchases now includes fiber and conduit. However, wire, poles, and cable are still excluded from the definition.

Please be sure to work with your vendors to ensure this exemption applies to your fiber and conduit purchases after June 30, 2017. If not already completed, you should file the Certificate of Exemption, ST3 (example here) with your vendor. Out of state sellers may not be aware of this change to the exemption for fiber and conduit used to provide telecommunication services at retail in Minnesota.

If you are a fiber and conduit retailer, please be sure to have completed copies of the Minnesota purchaser’s certificate of exemption (Form ST3) on file before exempting these sales from sales tax. 

If you have questions, please contact Sara Hirsch in Olson Thielen’s tax department (651-621-8354).

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ECN and SECB to Launch GovDelivery

from MN DPS - Emergency Communications Networks

The Statewide Emergency Communications Board and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s division of Emergency Communication Networks (DPS-ECN) proudly announces the launch of a new messaging tool to communicate with public safety constituents and the public. ECN has partnered with other DPS divisions to utilize GovDelivery for future email, text, and social media messaging. 

When you visit the ECN or SECB websites, you will be invited to subscribe to topics of interest using the feature button on the right hand side of your screen. These will include:

  • Meeting announcements for the SECB and its committees
  • NG911, ARMER, FirstNet, and IPAWS topics
  • Status Board announcements
  • Training opportunities

Your only responsibility is to sign up for areas of interest to you. 

Other lists will allow the SECB and ECN to communicate with select audiences. These lists will be manually built and will not be available for public sign-up. Examples include:

  • SECB and SECB committee membership
  • PSAP managers
  • CASM users and administrators

GovDelivery will replace the ListServs previously used by the SECB and ECN such as Future emails from GovDelivery will come from the following addresses and should be marked as safe or saved to your address book.

Please note that GovDelivery will not replace the ListServs messages issued by MNDOT such as: 

We are excited about the benefits that this new tool brings and are confident it will improve the way we communicate with you! Please contact ECN if you have any questions about this new tool.

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

Don't Miss These 2017 MTA Peer Group Investment Opportunities!

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 2017.

Download the 2017 Peer Group Investment Opportunities for full details

Sponsor a Peer Group: Sign Up Online!

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Safety Corner

National Safety Month

National Safety Month

Every June, the National Safety Council (NSC) celebrates National Safety Month and focuses on reducing injuries and death at work, on the road and in our homes and communities by educating and influencing behaviors around the leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths.  This year during the month NSC suggests we concentrate each week on the following areas:

  • Week 1: Stand Up to Falls
  • Week 2: Recharge to Be In Charge (Focusing on Fatigue)
  • Week 3: Prepare for Active Shooters
  • Week 4: Don't Just Sit There (Focusing on Ergonomics)

In addition to those areas here are five more fun (pardon the pun) things you can do to focus on safety:

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Get a Suntan (farmers tan).  If you work in the office and have no idea what your outside personnel do all day in the 90 degree heat take a day and observe their operations.  By doing this not only will you have a better understanding of what they do, but you may also be able to see safety hazards and suggest on the job improvements.  Just make sure you wear your sunblock, safety vest, and hard hat as needed and watch out for wild parsnip.

Description: C:\Users\julmen\Desktop\untitled.png Start Gambling.  One of leading causes of injury are falls from ladders due to the use of broken or damaged ladders or the use of the wrong type of ladder for the job.  If you don’t want to bet your life, take a day to inspect all of your company ladders to ensure they are in proper working condition.  Additionally, most injuries happen when transitioning from the ladder to a roof top so ensure you have the right size ladder (it must extend it at least three rungs above the roof line); utilize the correct angle (there’s an app for that); and tie off whenever you can.
Description: C:\Users\julmen\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Outlook\WSAM5X5U\IMG_0413.JPG Build a Bon Fire.  Every year we talk about fire safety and fire extinguisher use, however, 90 percent of us have never actually used a fire extinguisher. Summer is a great time to take an expired fire extinguisher (or even buy an additional one), go outside and start a small fire and give your employees an opportunity to extinguish the fire. You never know when someone may have to extinguish a fire in an actual emergency.
Description: C:\Users\julmen\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Outlook\WSAM5X5U\IMG_0970.JPG Play Doctor.  We have first aid kits throughout the facility and in all of our vehicles, but some of them have very little in them or the supplies are expired. Take the time to inspect all of your first aid kits to ensure they are properly supplied. We can provide you with an OSHA recommend first aid kit supply list if you need one.  Inventorying your first aid kits will also give you an idea of what type of injuries or ailments your employees may be having on the job. We can also do makeup CPR/AED or First Aid training if anyone needs it. 
Have a Scavenger Hunt. If you want to test your employees’ knowledge on previous safety training sessions challenge your employees throughout the day to try and find a safety hazard on a particular subject. Give the person who identifies the most hazards a prize. By doing this fun game it gets all of your employees looking for hazards and increases their overall awareness throughout the facility.

As a reminder we will be visiting you facilities throughout the summer conducting safety audits and observations, updating training records, and completing hazardous chemical inventories. It’s also a great time for us to get out of the classroom and do some hands-on training. If you have a particular area you would like us to address or need additional resources please don’t hesitate to ask your MTA Safety Consultant for assistance.

Welcome to the MTA Safety Program

Our program continues to grow as Grand Mound Cooperative Telephone Association, Grand Mound, Iowa, joined as of June 1.   

Have a great summer!

Jeff Ulmen
Senior Safety Consultant

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People Companies

Shannon M. Heim Joins Moss & Barnett

Moss & Barnett is pleased to announce that Shannon M. Heim has joined the firm's regulated industries and communications law teams.

Shannon focuses her practice on the needs of companies doing business in the telecommunications and energy industries. She has advised telecom and energy companies on a full range of regulatory issues and has represented her clients before both state and federal regulatory bodies and courts. Shannon also advises companies, cooperatives, and trade associations on the negotiation of commercial contracts involving complex and contentious issues of business and law.

"Shannon knows telecom as well as anyone I know," said Rick Johnson, head of the firm's regulated industries team. "With Shannon on our team, our telecom clients get the benefit of another very-experienced and business-savvy lawyer."

Shannon was appointed by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton to the Governor's Task Force on Broadband on June 1, 2015. The Task Force develops policies to promote the expansion of broadband access throughout Minnesota. 

"Shannon is a perfect fit with our leading telecommunications and energy practices, and we are extremely pleased to have her join us."

Thomas J. Shroyer 
Chief Executive Officer of Moss & Barnett

Paul Bunyan Communications Named 2017 Complete Marketing Campaign Award Winner

Paul Bunyan Communications has been awarded a national TeleChoice Award by the NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association during their Annual 2017 PR & Marketing Conference. The annual awards program honors excellence in public relations and marketing.

Paul Bunyan Communications was given the TeleChoice Award for their complete marketing campaign of the GigaZone Gaming Championship, the first stadium style eSporting event in the region held last November at the Sanford Center. 

Entries were judged on innovative strategies, design, writing, creativity and other elements specific to each category.

“We are honored to receive this national award for marketing.  The GigaZone Gaming Championship was a first-of-its-kind event we brought to the region last year aimed at gaming enthusiasts of all kinds.  We spent a lot of time on the creative aspects of the campaign to ensure the message would resonate with the gaming community but also would appeal to the general public.  It was a very successful event and one that will continue in the years to come.  The 2017 GigaZone Gaming Championship is set for September 29-30 and will be even bigger and better than our first event last year!” said Brian Bissonette, Paul Bunyan Communications Marketing Supervisor.

“Congratulations to Paul Bunyan Communications on their 2017 TeleChoice Award” said NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield. “Creating their eSport event, the GigaZone Gaming Championship, and bringing it to customers in rural northern Minnesota is unique in the industry. It shows their commitment to their community and their willingness to be industry innovators and leaders, whether that's creating one of the largest rural all-fiber optic gigabit broadband network, or creating this wonderful gaming event. The marketing of the event was unique, creative and essential to its success. The award is well deserved and hard earned."

For more information about the GigaZone Gaming Championship, visit

For more information on NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, visit

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Minnesota Telecom Alliance: Minnesota's Broadband Voice
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