Education Continues, EXPO Opens at RTIME 2014


NTCA Board President Terry Force kicked off the second full day of the Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO with the Opening General Session, featuring speeches from industry leaders and advocates. NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield followed by reminding attendees that when it comes to progress on policy and industry unification "slow and steady wins the race."

U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O'Brien was up next and centered his speech on NTCA's "Rural Is Cool" initiative. He explained that "not only is rural cool, rural matters" and that broadband providers are the key to the nation's success. Keynote speaker Michael Hoffman taught the crowd how to be number one on purpose, reminding them of the importance of taking risks. The general session wrapped up with a panel discussion regarding smart grid technology.

Day two continued with more education sessions on topics like Smart Rural Communities, education for broadband promotion and adoption, and a brainstorming session on ways NTCA members can become ambassadors for broadband in their communities. The day also featured two new events: a peer-to-peer workshop for telco executives and a leadership workshop for associate members.

Committee meetings continued until the ribbon-cutting ceremony for this year's EXPO. Hundreds packed the Marriott Rivercenter Grand Ballroom to stock up on swag, meet with exhibitors and have photos snapped at the #ruraliscool photo booth.


The day wrapped up with the Foundation for Rural Service's 20th Anniversary Texas Hoedown at Cowboys Dancehall, featuring line-dancing, food and friends.


Tuesday promises to be another jam-packed day full of networking, education and fun.