Annual Meeting highlights cooperative’s accomplishments over last year

There were about 350 members on hand for NHTC’s Annual Meeting.

There were about 350 members on hand for NHTC’s Annual Meeting.

There were 347 registered members and their guests in attendance at New Hope School for the New Hope Telephone Cooperative Annual Meeting on May 20. Before the business meeting, they enjoyed entertainment by the bluegrass band Redstone Boys.

Every registered member received a T-shirt compliments of NHTC, and many went home with door prizes. The grand prize, awarded to Billy Porter of New Hope, was a 2002 Chevrolet Blazer 4X4 from NHTC’s fleet.

In the vote to elect board of trustee members, Greg Glover was re-elected to his seat on the board. Members also elected Randy Morrison to fill the seat of retiring board member Jimmy Segler.

Steven Campbell’s grandkids were among those in attendance.

Steven Campbell’s grandkids were among those in attendance.

Segler served the cooperative for 49 years, first as an engineer with the company and then by joining the board of trustees in 2002. He has worked with every manager in the history of NHTC in one capacity or another. And he’s also seen many changes. When he first began working with NHTC, the company had 10-party lines and no one had even heard of the Internet. Now, the cooperative is focused on bringing advanced telecommunications services to all its members through its fiber-to-the-home project.

“It’s been a different experience being on the board,” says Segler. “I need to let somebody else do this now, but I’ve enjoyed every bit of it.”

NHTC General Manager Jim Cook told those in attendance that the cooperative is on sound financial ground. Operating margins reached an all-time high of $1.57 million last year due in part to process improvements, contract renegotiations and increases in non-regulated services.

The Redstone Boys performed newer and classic bluegrass tunes for crowd.

The Redstone Boys performed newer and classic bluegrass tunes for crowd.

Members were pleased to learn that the SEC Network will be available through New Hope Vision when it launches in August. “We are currently in negotiations with ESPN and Disney, who owns the SEC Network,” said Cook. “We are close to finalizing the terms and conditions, but the SEC Channel is a done deal.”

 

Cook also touched on these highlights from the last year:

  • NHTC launched its newly redesigned website, nhtc.coop.
  • The Digital Literacy training facility opened, which offers free classes on a number of basic computer skills with plans to add additional classes.
  • New Hope Vision launched, providing members with much more extensive video content on both traditional CATV and Digital TV lineups.
  • The cooperative completed the construction phase of the fiber to the home network in Grant. Only 300 homes remain to be cut over to fiber services in that area.
  • Fiber construction is well underway in the Nebo and Paint Rock Road areas of New Hope and Merrill Mountain.
  • NHTC announced plans to offer home automation and security solutions in the coming months.

 

NHTC awards scholarships

Each year, two deserving area students receive a $500 scholarship from NHTC to help them pursue their educational goals. The scholarships are awarded to one graduating high school student from New Hope High School and one from DAR School. Congratulations to this year’s winners!

Devin Burks

Devin Burks

DAR Winner: Devin Burks

Devin Burks is a 2014 graduate of DAR School. He was a member of Mu Alpha Theta, National Honor Society and  FCCLA. Devin also played JV basketball and volunteered with Grant Fire Department in addition to working at Waterfront Tackle. He will attend NACC in Rainsville, where he plans to pursue an engineering degree.

Brianna Conley

Brianna Conley

NHHS Winner: Brianna Conley

Brianna Conley is a 2014 graduate of NHHS. She was a member of the Anchor Club, FFA, SGA and an Indian Ambassador. Brianna was a four-year member of the varsity softball team. She plans to attend Wallace State Community College, where she has been accepted into the physical therapy assistant program.

Community Calendar

Every Tuesday

Story Time • New Hope Library

Books will come alive as Mrs. Lorna shares stories, music and crafts each Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. For more information call 256-723-2995.

June 2

Summer Reading Program “Fizz, Boom, Read” • New Hope Library

The kick-off event takes place at the New Hope City Park. Enjoy lunch, fun and games as we get ready for an exciting summer program for ages preschool and up. We hope you will join us! For more information call 256-723-2995.

People you know … working for you!

The employees at NHTC work hard every day to provide members with the technology they need to stay connected. Meet Teron Prince and Bart Hopkins, two of the dedicated individuals who install the phone, Internet and TV services you rely on.

Meet Teron

Teron Prince came to work for NHTC through a temp agency.

Teron Prince

Teron Prince

After quickly learning the trade of fiber splicing, Prince was hired full time in January 2013.

After contractors have placed the fiber, Prince splices the fiber to connect the customer to any NHTC services they have ordered.

He and his wife, Mary, live in New Hope and he has two sons, Tyson and Marshall.

When not busy at work giving members a fiber connection, Prince likes to spend his time in the great outdoors hunting, fishing and camping. He usually helps coach one of his son’s youth sports teams each year, too.

Meet Bart

The cooperative welcomed Bart Hopkins as a service technician in September.

Bart Hopkins

Bart Hopkins

Before coming to NHTC, Hopkins worked for Otelco doing many of the same things he does here. He installs new service and makes repairs for phone, DSL and cable service as well.

He lives in Owens Cross Roads with his wife, Ericka, and stepson, Will. They are expecting another child in March.

When not working or with his family, Hopkins says he’s either hunting or fishing. “I really like this area,” he says. “Besides great people in the community, there’s plenty of places to hunt.”

Need help with college?

Attention high school seniors:

NHTC will offer two $500 scholarships — one to a graduating senior from DAR and one to a graduating senior from NHHS — to help with college expenses. Applications are available from your school’s guidance counselor,  online at www.nhtc.coop or at NHTC’s business office.

Hurry! All applications must be received no later than March 31.

 

NHTC Annual Meeting

Tuesday, May 20

New Hope Middle School Library and Auditorium

  • Registration and voting begin at 5 p.m.
  • Business meeting follows at 7:30 p.m.

Members must bring a valid photo ID to vote in the board election.

People you know … working for you!

The employees at NHTC work hard every day to provide members with the technology they need to stay connected, whether it’s through phone service, a high-speed broadband connection or TV packages. You’ll be meeting some of the hard-working individuals at NHTC in each issue of The Communicator this year.

Meet Amber

Amber Parsley

Amber Parsley

January marks Amber Parsley’s one-year anniversary with NHTC. She loves working as a customer service representative where she helps members with everything from ordering a service the cooperative offers to taking payments and answering any billing or service questions they may have. Amber lives in Owens Cross Roads and enjoys amusement parks and attending Indie rock concerts.

As a self-described people person, Amber’s favorite part of her job is getting to help others. “I especially like meeting people who have just moved to the area and learning what brings them to our small town,” she says.

Meet Dave

Dave Ramski

Dave Ramski

Dave Ramski has worked in the telecommunications industry for more than 30 years. Before coming to NHTC as the engineering manager, he spent 20 years in southwest Kansas, and before that he worked as an engineer designing and sometimes installing ocean fiber around the world in such places as Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. He is managing the fiber-to-the-home project in New Hope and Owens Cross Roads.

Dave is married and has two grown daughters. When not working, he spends his time with them in the Nashville area.

“I really enjoy being a part of a team that is professional, positive, skilled and full of energy, drive and commitment,” says Dave.

 

Thanks for helping us celebrate!

In October, New Hope Telephone Cooperative celebrated 62 years of providing telecommunications service to the area with a Customer Appreciation Day. Refreshments were provided throughout the day, along with a hot dog lunch. Employees met and visited with everyone who stopped by. Members spun the NHTC prize wheel to win great door prizes. Congratulations to Heather Dewberry, the grand prize winner. She bundled her service and won an iPad Mini. Other prize pack winners were: Leroy Meeks; Sherry Whitaker; Cliff Mann; Jean Stapler; Angela Gordon; Mary Williams; Glenda Self; and Billy & Archie Butler. NHTC thanks everyone who attended our annual event.

 

Building our future’s foundation

By Jim Cook
General Manager

Can you imagine life without electricity? Of course not. It helps you take care of your home and family, earn a living, get your news, enjoy entertainment and experience a better quality of life. Wait … can’t the same be said for broadband?

Jim Cook

Jim Cook

I draw that parallel to drive home an important point — the broadband network we are building today is as foundational to modern society as the electricity distribution system that began powering rural America in the 1930s and 1940s.

Do you remember the first time you logged on to the Internet? Maybe it was through a New Hope Telephone Cooperative Internet account. Perhaps you dialed a toll-free number, or even paid long-distance charges, to connect to EarthLink or AOL (how many CDs did you receive in the mail over the years offering 10 free hours of service to try AOL?). As you listened to the whistles and pops of your modem making a dial-up connection, you could not have imagined a day when such a network connection would impact practically every part of your life.

But that day is here. As dial-up access gave way to broadband connections, technology drove innovations that go far beyond simply browsing the Internet. And just like in the early days of electrification, rural America is benefiting greatly.

Consider these examples of how people are using their broadband connections:

  • Students are staying current with their studies when they miss class, and turning in their homework online.
  • Teachers and professors are bringing advanced studies into their classrooms through distance learning.
  • Clinics and hospitals are managing records and expediting test results in ways that help them control costs while improving patient care and convenience.
  • Businesses are selling products and services, buying supplies and communicating in ways that help them compete with companies in larger markets.
  • Local governments, fire departments, police forces, water providers and other agencies are saving money on training while offering greater access and improved services to citizens.

Our network is making stories like these possible. And it’s not just New Hope Telephone. Providers like us across rural America are creating real solutions as we lead the way for a more advanced telecommunications network in our country.

If these stories are not enough to convince you that we truly are building the foundation for our future, look at the story “Wireless Needs Wires” on Page 6. With so many people connected by cell phone these days and the use of traditional landlines on the decline, you might be tempted to think of your local telecommunications company as a provider whose most relevant days are behind them. But as you see from this article, even the cell phone service people are so attached to depends heavily on the wired network that we continue to improve. It wouldn’t work without us.

Broadband is indeed the infrastructure of the future – one we are building for you today.