March 21, 2014

March 21, 2014

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

>> Senator Johnson Introduces Bill to Address Rural Call Completion Problems

>> 2014 Customer Service Peer Group Spring Conference

>> MTA Peer Group 2014 Investment Opportunities Are Now Available!

>> MN OSHA Compliance – Who Gets Inspected

People and Companies

>> Walker and Associates Announces New CEO

MTA Staff

MTA President/CEO:
Brent Christensen
Team Leader:

Jacquie Durant
Event Planners:
Julie Cygan
Carissa Wolf
Member Services:
Chris Swanson
Janey Duntley
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

March 24-26, 2014: MTA Annual Convention & Trade Show

April 9-10, 2014: 2014 Plant Manager & Superintendant Peer Group Meeting

April 24-25, 2014: 2014 Office Manager/HR Peer Group Spring Conference

May 14-15, 2014: 2014 Customer Service Peer Group Spring Conference

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MTA Updates


Senator Johnson Introduces Bill to Address Rural Call Completion Problems

From NECA’s Washington Watch

Senator Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) introduced the Public Safety and Economic Security Communications Act on March 13, 2014. The bill would take steps to address the call completion problems affecting rural communities. The proposed bill would require providers that transport voice calls to register with the FCC and comply with basic service quality standards, and these standards would be established by the FCC within 180 days of enactment to help prevent the discriminatory delivery of calls. Senator Johnson sent his Senate colleagues a letter to invite them to become co-sponsors of the legislation.

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

2014 Customer Service Peer Group Spring Conference

May 14-15, 2014
Le St-Germain Suite Hotel
St. Cloud, Minnesota

MTA is excited to announce the upcoming Customer Service Peer Group Conference. This is to be held May 14 and 15 at Le St-Germain Suite Hotel–St. Cloud, MN. 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 7 p.m. on Wednesday evening with an icebreaker meet and greet in the hotel bar & lounge. Chair massages will be available. On May 15, the morning of learning will include a message from our own MTA President Brent Christensen and a representative from Independent Emergency Services (IES).

Back by popular demand will be our “Peer to Peer Breakout Sessions”. We will work on some great team building skills. These are totally interactive & informative. Come ready to participate & share.

After lunch, Steve Gasser will present “Growing Bigger EARS!” – 10 steps to using social media to increase sales and customer loyalty.

There is plenty of time to meet old and new friends and share your customer service experiences in the telecommunications business. Register now to attend this learning conference. The MTA registration fee is only $99. Le St-Germains’ room rate is $89 until April 25. 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 May 14 & 15.

P.S. Please consider joining the planning committee. Our committee consists of 4 people with 1 leaving each time. You would help plan 4 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.

MTA Peer Group 2014 Investment Opportunities Are Now Available!

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 2014.

Sponsor a Peer Group: Download the PDF or Sign Up Online!

Would you like to be added to a Peer Group listserv?
Email Jacquie at to be added – please specify which listserv(s) you would like to join:

Administrative Assistant (AA)
Customer Service (CSR)
Office Managers (OM)
Human Resource (HR)
Plant Superintendents (PM)
Telco Marketing (TMG)

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Safety Corner

MN OSHA Compliance – Who Gets Inspected?

We get the question from time to time as to how likely is a company going to be inspected, and instead of saying it depends, we will take a look at what OSHA has to say about it. The following information comes directly from the Minnesota OSHA website, which attempts to answer this very question.

Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) Compliance conducts more than 2,500 enforcement inspections each year. With approximately 180,000 worksites in Minnesota on any given day, how can you figure out if your company is likely to be inspected?

MNOSHA Compliance will give priority to an inspection if:

  • someone sees or reports an imminent danger;
  • an employee has died at work;
  • more than three employees have been hospitalized following a workplace incident;
  • an employee has complained to MNOSHA about a safety or health hazard; or
  • the company is in an industry with high injury, illness and workers' compensation rates.

Industries with high injury, illness and workers' compensation rates include:

  • manufacturing; and
  • construction, including demolition, bridge work, fall hazards and roofing work.

The U.S. Department of Labor and MNOSHA have identified industries where employees are likely to be exposed to hazards that might lead to injury. The two agencies work cooperatively to improve safety in these areas by focusing their inspection activities on these industries:

  • occupations where employees might suffer amputations during work;
  • worksites where employees are exposed to combustible dust, lead, silica, isocyanates or hexavalent chromium;
  • health care;
  • trenching and excavation work;
  • window washing;
  • grain handling; and
  • meatpacking facilities.

As you look through the lists above, one may think that their chances of an inspection are slight, but remember that being prepared for the likelihood of an inspection is the best advice we can give. Any time a worker is doing his or her job in view of the public, there is a possibility that an OSHA Compliance Office could drive by and decide to approach that worker. Compliance Officers are required to stop and approach workers who are in violation of acceptable guidelines.

If you have any questions or need any information regarding the Minnesota Telecom Alliance’s Safety Program, please feel free to contact me at

Take Care,

Dan Berg, M.S.
MTA Lead Safety Consultant

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People Companies

Walker and Associates Announces New CEO

Walker and Associates, Inc., a telecommunications equipment distributor headquartered in Welcome, NC, has announced the retirement of its CEO, Virginia Walker. She will be replaced by current board member and Vice President of Quality and Contracts Chrystie Brown. Virginia Walker will remain involved with the company as Chairwoman of the Board of Directors.

Virginia Walker earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Longwood College, VA. She co-founded Walker and Associates, Inc. in 1970 in Chester, VA, along with her late husband, Chris Walker. Virginia managed the operations and finance departments while Chris covered sales for the developing distribution business. As the company grew, Virginia held many positions within the corporation while raising her family. Prior to assuming the post of Chairman of the Board in 2000, she was Secretary/Treasurer of the corporation and board member of Walker and Associates, Evergood Fabrication, and other divisions of Walker Group. She currently resides in Clemmons, NC.

Chrystie Brown, youngest daughter of Chris and Virginia Walker, closely witnessed the growth and development of the company. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Longwood University in Virginia in 1984. She has served on the Board of Walker and Associates since 2001. Beginning in 2011, she worked as the board's liaison to Walker's quality management effort, working on Walker's TL9000 quality program. Since early 2013, she has been Vice President of Quality and Contracts, reporting to Virginia Walker, CEO.

After years of acquainting herself with different aspects of the business, Chrystie is very proud to lead Walker and Associates as CEO. In comments made to company associates when announcing her new role, she stated, "I am both honored and humbled by this new role. I am more excited about the combination of and caliber of people we currently have at Walker than ever before. I am excited about the direction of the company and the technology centric initiatives that are in place. We are poised for real growth, real positive change and real expansion of market share. We have the talent, the ingenuity and the capacity for so much more." Chrystie resides in Kansas City, MO, with her husband and two children.

About Walker and Associates
Walker and Associates is a national distributor of network products for broadband providers, including wireline, wireless, cable TV, government and enterprise network operators. Walker's extensive range of products from over 250 suppliers facilitates carriers' delivery of high speed internet, video, data and voice services to residential, business, and mobile users. Walker supports communications technologies such Ethernet switching & routing, GPON, Active Ethernet, VoIP, packet optical networking, fixed wireless and more. In addition, Walker provides a host of physical plant products such as fiber and copper connectivity, power systems, indoor and outdoor enclosures and outside plant infrastructure.

Do you have an announcement for People & Companies? Send an email to MTA at or fax to 651-290-2266.

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Minnesota Telecom Alliance
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