News Bytes - September 16, 2016
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A Message from MTA

MTA News Bytes

September 16, 2016

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

Action Items

>> Register Now for the MTA 2016 Fall Conference!

>> Thank You, MTA Fall Conference Sponsors

>> Don't Forget about the EAS Test

>> FCC Announces New Rules for Public Inspection Files

Peer Group Bulletin

>> Upcoming MTA Peer Group Events

>> MTA Peer Group 2016 Investment Opportunities

Safety Corner

>> Safety Bytes

People and Companies

>> Public Affairs Consultant Molly Sigel Returns
to Dorsey & Whitney in Minneapolis

>> Tom Farm Retirement

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

September 21-23, 2016: 2016 Telco Marketing Peer Group Conference

September 21-23, 2016: MTA Office Managers & Human Resources Fall Conference

October 13-14, 2016: MTA Fall Conference

October 19-20, 2016: MTA Fall 2016 Customer Service Group Conference

November 2-3, 2016: Administrative Assistant Peer Group 2016 Fall Conference

March 27-29, 2017: MTA Annual Convention & Trade Show

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MTA Updates


MTA 2016 Fall Conference

Register for 2016 MTA Fall Conference and make your hotel room reservation by September 21, 2016 to receive the early bird rate and group hotel rate.

>> View Details and Register Online

Featuring Keynote Speaker Michael Krause, Supervisory Special Agent, FBI, presenting "Cyber Security, Why You Should be Concerned"

The MTA FALL CONFERENCE is coming soon!

This year’s event will open with an exciting lineup on Thursday. The afternoon kicks off with a presentation from MNIT Commissioner Jim Johnson (invited). MNIT controls the telecom contracts with state agencies throughout the state and this is a great opportunity to meet Jim and for him to meet MTA members. Jim’s presentation will be followed up with updates from the Office of Broadband Development and E911 Director Dana Wahlberg. We will also have presentations on CAF/A-CAM for RoR companies and a Federal update from NTCA’s Mike Romano. Thursday’s session will conclude with a political panel discussion from journalists who can give us the inside scoop on state elections.

Again this year, the MTA Event Planning Committee and staff have been working with the Video and IT Peer Groups for more opportunities to learn. Friday morning continues with separate tracks giving attendees the most current, up-to-date information on Video and IT. Know you want to attend, but don’t know which sessions you want to attend? It doesn’t matter — you can mix and match sessions to meet your individual needs. Don’t wait! The event will conclude with keynote speaker FBI Special Agent Michael Krause. Special Agent Krause investigates cybercrimes and has a unique perspective on cyber security that you haven’t heard before.

>> Register for the conference today!

Fall Conference Lodging Information

Minneapolis Marriott Northwest
7025 Northland Dr N
Brooklyn Park, MN 55428

$142.00 single/double per night
Reservation cut off is September 21, 2016
Book your reservation by calling 1-877-303-1681 or 763-536-8300.

Thank You, MTA Fall Conference Sponsors


Bader Comunications



Dakota Supply Group

Finley Engineering

National Information Solutions Cooperative

Telcom Construction


Innovative Systems LLC
Interstate Telcom Consulting, Inc.

Advanced Media Technologies
Badger Communications
CCI Systems
Dakota Supply Group
High Point Networks
Innovative Systems LLC
MACC (Mid America Computer Corp.)
Mega Hertz
National Information Solutions Cooperative

Become a Sponsor

Maximize your company's exposure to the MTA membership at the 2016 Fall Conference.

MTA members will come to Minneapolis from all over the state to learn more about the important issues facing our industry — and this is your opportunity to get your company’s message in front of them.

>> View complete Sponsorship details and register online.


If you have any questions about the sponsorship information, please contact Julie Cygan at

Don't Forget about the EAS Test

From the American Cable Association

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is conducting a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on September 28, 2016. If the test needs to be rescheduled or repeated for any reason, a secondary test date is scheduled for October 5, 2016. The EAS Nationwide test is mandatory for all EAS Participants, and Participants must provide preliminary and final reports on the results of their test using the FCC's EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS).

FCC Announces New Rules for Public Inspection Files

On January 28, 2016, the FCC adopted a Report and Order expanding to cable operators, DBS providers, and broadcast radio and satellite radio licensees the requirement that public inspection files be posted to the FCC’s online database. The database was initially established in 2012 for use by television broadcasters. Here are the new requirements that went into effect on June 24, 2016:

a. Cable systems with 1,000 or more subscribers, DBS providers, SDARS licensees, and commercial radio stations in the top 50 Nielsen Audio radio markets with five or more full-time employees must place their new public inspection file documents in the Commission-hosted online public file database. In addition, these entities must place their existing public file documents into the online public file within six months after the effective date, or by December 24, 2016. Entities will not be required to place in the online public file existing political file material.

b. Cable systems with 1,000 or more subscribers but fewer than 5,000 subscribers will not be required to place new political file material in the Commission’s online file until March 1, 2018.

c. Cable systems with fewer than 1,000 subscribers are exempt from all online filing requirements.

The FCC’s helpdesk is available to answer any questions regarding the OPIF database. Contact information for the helpdesk is available at 1-877-480-3201 or 1-717-338-2824 (TTY) or you may submit requests online via

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

Upoming Peer Group Events

2016 Telco Marketing Peer Group Conference

Date: September 21-23, 2016

Location: Cambria Suites
825 E Beaton Dr
West Fargo, North Dakota

MTA Office Managers & Human Resources Fall Conference

Date: September 21-23, 2016

Location: Holiday Inn
8511 Hudson Blvd
Lake Elmo, Minnesota

MTA Fall 2016 Customer Service Group Conference

Date: October 19-20, 2016

Location: Embassy Suites in Brooklyn Park
6300 Earle Brown Dr
Brooklyn Park, Minnesota

Administrative Assistant Peer Group 2016 Fall Conference

Date: November 2-3, 2016

Location: Garden Valley Telephone Company
201 Ross Avenue
Erskine, Minnesota

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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Safety Corner

Safety Bytes

Crosswalks and Pedestrian Safety, Key Elements

Nationally in 2012, pedestrian deaths rose to a total of 4,743 pedestrian fatalities. Minnesota had 40 pedestrian deaths and an additional 874 injured. Furthermore, pedestrian deaths now make up 14 percent of the total traffic deaths in the U.S.

Pedestrians are at fault for about half of crashes, with motorists at fault in the other half. 
Pedestrian behaviors that primarily cause pedestrian-vehicle crashes include inattention, crossing mid-block, walking along the roadway and ignoring signs or signals. Motorist behaviors that primarily cause pedestrian crashes include failure to yield, inattention and distractions.

To combat the rise in pedestrian injuries and fatalities, state legislatures have been toughening laws regarding the circumstances when a motorist must stop or yield to a pedestrian crossing at a crosswalk. 

There are slight differences in the laws from state to state. In Minnesota, drivers must stop for pedestrians at marked crosswalks and at all intersections without crosswalks or stop lights. In Iowa, Wisconsin and South Dakota, motorists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. Vehicles stopped for pedestrians can proceed once the pedestrian has completely crossed the lane in front of the stopped vehicle.


  • Stop for crossing pedestrians at all marked crosswalks and every intersection, even those without crosswalks or stop lights.
  • Before making a turn, look in all directions for pedestrians.
  • Leave lots of room between you and the pedestrian when stopping.
  • Watch for people in wheelchairs and motorized carts, who may be below eye level.


  • Pedestrians must not enter a crosswalk if a vehicle is approaching and it is impossible for the driver to stop. There is no defined distance that a pedestrian must abide by before entering the crosswalk; use common sense.
  • Make eye contact with drivers and ensure they see you and will stop.
  • Clearly show your intentions to cross.
  • Watch for turning and passing vehicles.
  • Look across all lanes for moving vehicles before proceeding.
  • Cross streets at marked crosswalks or intersections; don’t cross mid-block.
  • Don't solely rely on traffic signals; look for vehicles before crossing.

As you can see, there are a number of precautions that motorists and pedestrians alike can take to reduce the number of accidents on the roadways. Pedestrian visibility is very important — and the more we can make ourselves visible to motorists the better, especially with the days getting shorter.

Take Care,
Dan Berg, M.S.
MTA Senior Safety Consultant

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People Companies

Public Affairs Consultant Molly Sigel Returns to Dorsey & Whitney in Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – (September 6, 2016) – International law firm Dorsey & Whitney LLP announced that Molly Sigel will return to the Firm on October 31, 2016, as Legislative Affairs Director. She will be working alongside Teresa Lynch, current Director of Legislative Affairs since 2004, until Lynch's January 2017 retirement.

Ms. Sigel is an experienced veteran of the Minnesota political landscape with broad expertise in legislative policy, campaign operations and public facilities administration. She lobbied at the Minnesota legislature for over 12 years, representing corporations, organizations and trade associations on corporate and general business issues. She specialized in the areas of health care, energy, gaming, data privacy and the environment.

Ms. Sigel served as an advisor to Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, and was Inauguration Chair after both of his elections. She managed fundraising, planning and execution of Pawlenty's Inaugural activities and swearing in ceremonies. In 2005, Ms. Sigel was appointed Commissioner of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, a state public corporation that owns and operates seven airports, including MSP International, the nation's 14th busiest airfield. As commissioner, she helped set policy, strategic goals, operating and capital budgets, and approve contracts and leases for the organization. MSP airport consistently ranks among the best airports in North America for customer service.

She was previously the Legislative Affairs Director at Dorsey & Whitney from 2000-2002, where she represented a variety of clients in administrative and legislative matters before state agencies and the Minnesota State Legislature. Ms. Sigel is active in the Twin Cities community, serving several charitable, educational and athletic organizations in a volunteer capacity.

“We are very pleased that Molly will be returning to Dorsey,” noted Michael Ahern, Partner and co-chair of Dorsey’s Legislative Practice Group. “Molly is a superb lobbyist, and she returns to Dorsey with great insights and experience in legislative policy, campaign operations and public facilities administration.”

Tom Farm Retirement

As many in the Industry are aware, Tom Farm has been working his way closer to full retirement over the last couple of years and has now decided to make it official by retiring this fall.

Tom graduated from the Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN, with a major in accounting. He began his career in public accounting as a junior accountant at Olsen Thielen in 1971. Tom rose through the ranks and became a Partner at Olsen Thielen in September 1978. During Tom’s time with the firm, he ended up transitioning from his roots in auditing to the telecom consulting area where he led the Firm’s Telephone Advisory Services department for many years. He also served as the President of the firm, 1994-2003, and as Chairman of the Olsen Thielen Board for 9 years, 2003-2012.

Tom has played a key role in moving the telephone industry forward at both the state and federal level. During the last 45 years he has seen the breakup of the Bell System, the inception of access charges and the eventual reform of access charges. He has also seen industry de-regulation and re-regulation numerous times at various levels in his career at OT. A major part of his professional life has been advocating for both the regulatory and political advancement in the telecommunications industry.

While Tom’s leadership and talent will be missed on a day-to-day basis, his legacy of the processes, training, and culture within the firm is instrumental for OT being able to continue to differentiate itself as a premier CPA and consulting firm in the Midwest.

While Tom will be fully retired and focusing his attention on wife Jacquelyn, his granddaughters, his golf game and various other interests, he will still be around. We are fortunate that Tom will continue to be an ambassador for Olsen Thielen and will attend various industry events throughout the next year.

Olsen Thielen is planning a reception for Tom in coordination with the MTA Fall Conference this October.

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