National Award Winners Named at NTCA Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO

For Immediate Release
Contact: Hillary Crowder, 703-351-2086,

Arlington, Va. (February 10, 2014) – NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association recognized rural telecommunications providers during the Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO in San Antonio, Texas for their achievements and service to the telecommunications industry.

David Lewis, who recently retired as business development director of TCA in Colorado Springs, Colo., received the Associate Member Outstanding Achievement Award, which honors associate members who have performed extraordinary service for the benefit of the telecommunications industry. Lewis worked for rural telephone companies for more than 35 years including an 11-year stint at TCA.

The Heroism Award recognizes telco employees who demonstrate courage in the face of an emergency. This year the association honored Curt Thorn and Rod Fargo, who are both HVAC facilities technicians with Nemont Telephone Cooperative in Scobey, Mont. The pair provided a mother and her two young children with first aid after a serious car accident left the family trapped inside.

The 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award was given to R.C. Mitchell, who has represented Alleghany County on the board of directors of Skyline Membership Co. in West Jefferson, N.C., for more than half a century. Mitchell remains at the helm of the second largest telephone cooperative in North Carolina and the eighth largest in the nation.

The Manager Lifetime Achievement Award honored Paul Freude, consultant and cooperative development chief manager of Paul Bunyan Communications in Bemidji, Minn. Freude has been with the company for 27 years, including 20 years as chief executive officer and general manager from 1993 to 2012. Under his leadership, his community gained access to many technologies, including cellular phone, fiber to the home, home security and multiple television service offerings, long before most of the country.

NTCA’s national awards are voted on by the association’s Awards Committee, comprised of NTCA members. NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield presented the awards during the Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO Awards Banquet and Entertainment on February 5.


NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. NTCA advocates on behalf of its members in the legislative and regulatory arenas, and it provides training and development; publications and industry events; and an array of employee benefit programs. In an era of exploding technology, deregulation and marketplace competition, NTCA’s members are leading the IP evolution for rural consumers, delivering technologies that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business. Because of their efforts, rural America is fertile ground for innovation in economic development and commerce, education, health care, government services, security and smart energy use. Visit us at