May 4, 2012


May 4, 2012

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

>> MTA Foundation Announces 2012 Scholarship Winners

>> MSBA Holds Annual Communications Forum

>> Federal OSHA Revises HazCom Standard

People and Companies

>> Daryl Ecker of Park Region Telephone & Otter Tail Telcom Retires

>> 2012 OPASTCO Summer Convention and Tradeshow

MTA Staff

MTA President/CEO:
Brent Christensen
Team Leader:

Jacquie Jaskowiak
Meeting Planner:
Julie Cygan
Member Services:
Chris Swanson
Janey Duntley

June 11-13, 2012: 2012 MTA Fishing Outing

July 9, 2012: 2012 MTA Golf Day

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MTA Foundation Announces 2012 Scholarship Winners

The MTA Foundation Board of Directors is pleased to announce the 2012 scholarship winners. The Foundation is awarding five scholarships to the following students:
Ashley Nicole Jensen from Holloway, a customer of Federated Telephone
Marissa Rae Dufault from Kasson, a customer of KM Telecom
Bettsy Jo Hjelseth from Akeley, a customer of Arvig
Elisa Carmen Muller from Bemidji, a customer of Paul Bunyan Communications
Alissa Tauer from Morgan, a customer of Arvig
These scholarship winners were chosen from 132 submitted applications by a review committee made up of MTA staff and MTA Foundation Board members. Dollars for Scholars scoring criteria were used to rank the applications. "All of the applications were outstanding,” said MTA President/CEO Brent Christensen, "It is really great to see so many wonderful young people in our rural communities.” 

MSBA Holds Annual Communications Forum

Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) holds its Annual Communications Forum on Wednesday, May 16. There is a significant emphasis on Broadband Law and Policy. Margaret Anderson Kelliher (President and CEO, Minnesota High Tech Association) will be the keynote speaker. Commissioner Mike Rothman and Commissioner Carolyn Parnell, who are on the Governor's Telecommunications Sub-Cabinet, are also featured speakers. Nationally recognized speakers are also part of the program.
Attendance is open to policy makers, administrators, lobbyists, and attorneys. All MTA members will find this program beneficial and an opportunity to learn about changes in State and Federal policy from the policy makers. Click here to learn more about the program. 

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Federal OSHA Revises HazCom Standard

OSHA published a major overhaul (858 pages) of the Hazard Communication standard (1910.1200), with official publication in the Federal Register. HazCom is the rule addressing material safety data sheets (MSDS) and chemical labeling. You may soon be bombarded with urgent offers for training, services, and products to comply with the new standard. The rule is effective May 25, 2012, but the compliance dates allow plenty of time to transition to the new rules; the MTA Safety Consultants will provide the required training well in advance of the due date.

Here's what you need to know:

The new rule "harmonizes" HazCom with the European system, and will require a complete overhaul of all MSDS, chemical labels, and employee training programs. The goal is standardization of chemical information, better classification of hazards and more complete information for chemical users.

In the new system, MSDSs will be called "SDSs" — safety data sheets. Covered employers must complete all training regarding the new label elements and SDS format by December 1, 2013 since employees will begin seeing the new style labels considerably earlier than the compliance date for labeling.

OSHA is requiring compliance with all of the provisions for preparation of new labels and safety data sheets by June 1, 2015. Systems that meet either the new or old rules are acceptable until that date. However, distributors will have an additional six months (until December 1, 2015) to distribute containers with old labels in order to accommodate those they receive very close to the compliance date.

Employers will also have an additional year (until June 1, 2016) to update their hazard communication programs or any other workplace signs, if applicable.

The MTA Safety Program will provide the necessary training and assist companies in updating their hazard communications programs. Our Safety Consultants will provide inventory audits this summer during our field observation visits in preparation for the new standard.

If you have any questions regarding this revision or any other topic, please do not hesitate to contact me at

Take care,
Dan Be
rg, M.S.
Lead Safety Consultant

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Daryl Ecker of Park Region Telephone & Otter Tail Telcom Retires

Please join us as we offer Daryl Ecker best wishes on his retirement! Park Region Telephone & Otter Tail Telcom request the pleasure of your company Friday, May 18 at Bigwood Event Center in Fergus Falls, MN. Please bring your best Daryl-At-Work story to share!

In 1972, Park Region Telephone needed someone for the summer to climb poles on road jobs.
Daryl eagerly took on that position and loved it! He was then offered a full-time position with the Company and in 1984 became Sales Manager. In 1996, Daryl was tasked with starting what is now a fixture of Fergus Falls, Otter Tail Telcom. He was promoted to Network Operations Manager in 2004, the very position he holds at the time of his retirement.

It is our privilege now to honor Daryl for the 40 years of exceptional service he has given our Company. A reception will begin at 3 p.m. on Friday, May 18, with a short program at 6:30 p.m. We would be honored if you would join us in wishing Daryl all the best in his retirement.

2012 OPASTCO Summer Convention and Tradeshow

July 15-18
Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

Waiting for the perfect time to register for the 2012 OPASTCO Summer Convention and Tradeshow?  There's no time like the present! Through Friday, May 4, save $200 off our convention attendee fees, including our discounted fees for all Michigan and Minnesota attendees!

It really is as straightforward as that... simply register online or use our convenient pay-by-check form by Friday, May 4, to take advantage of this valuable opportunity. Visit the OPASTCO website to get started.

We're also finalizing our lineup of general and breakout sessions, and stay tuned for rewarding news regarding our tradeshow!

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

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Minnesota Telecom Alliance
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