Conference Closes with Messages of Motivation


The Closing General Session of NTCA's 2012 Fall Conference featured several speakers who motivated attendees to take what they learned at their conference and apply it to their businesses back home.


FRS Award presentationFirst up was the presentation of the Foundation for Rural Service's (FRS) Community Development Award. FRS Executive Director Elizabeth Crocker explained that award nominees were so strong this year that the foundation decided to honor two equally worthy awardees. They are Iowa Network Services (Des Moines, Iowa) and Star Telephone Membership Corporation (Clinton, N.C.).




NTCA Senior Vice President of Policy Michael Romano led a panel discussion about the impact of FCC reforms on financial markets, including Frank Gallagher Jr., managing partner at Charlesmead Advisors, LLC, Bill King, managing principal at JSI Capital Advisors, LLC and Brad Williams, partner at Balhoff & Williams, LLC. Williams urged telcos to pay close attention to cash flow, as lenders take note of cuts to the Universal Service Fund (USF) for independent telecommunications providers. Gallagher challenged attendees to consider how they would run their businesses with less government support and urged participants to bolster non-regulated services. King commented on the competitive environment for rural broadband investment and lending, considering the uncertainty surrounding the FCC’s USF reforms.

Panelists in action

Byron Dorgan speaking

Following the panel discussion, attendees heard from former senator and rural advocate Byron Dorgan, who urged attendees to use the remaining six weeks before the presidential election to "apply heat" to political candidates and the FCC on their commitment to rural America and continued support for broadband investment. "We've got to change their minds," Dorgan said, adding that regulatory uncertainty already has halted deployment projects, resulting in lost jobs.



Finally, motivational speaker Craig Zablocki got the crowd laughing with a speech about how to use humor and creativity to thrive in business and life. Zablocki commanded the audience's attention and participation with skits depicting the differences between how adults and children view the world and the importance of overcoming irrational fears to succeed. "Life is like jumping off a cliff and designing your wings as you go down," he said.

Photos of Craig Zablocki cracking up the audience