The Association Services Committee
2008 Annual Meeting
New Orleans, La.
Committee Members in Attendance:
Bill Salsman, Grand River Mutual Telephone Corp. Princeton, Mo.
Edwin Dale Smith, Bulloch Telephone Cooperative, Statesboro, Ga.
Dick Leis, Pulaski-White Rural Telephone Cooperative, Star City, Ind.
Kay Bilyeu, Canby Telephone Association, Canby, Ore.
John Downey, Bledsoe Telephone Cooperative, Pikesville, Tenn.
Dave Armstrong, Northeast Nebraska Telephone Company, Ponca, Neb.
Ron Laqua, Halstad Telephone Co., Halstad, Minn. *
Arvin Larson, Northwest Communications Cooperative, Ray, N.D. **
Louie Witte, Consolidated Telcom, Dickinson, N.D.
Bobbie Barnett, West Kentucky Telephone, Mayfield, Ky.
Christy Berger, Nelson Telephone, Durand, Wis.
Eddie Ritenour, Wilkes Telephone Membership Corp., Wilkesboro, N.C.
Scott Hart, South Plains Telephone, Lubbock, Texas
Frank Brungardt, Rural Telephone Service Co., Lenora, Kan.
David Grahn, Wabash Telephone Cooperative, Louisville, Ill.
Dale Samp, Sheraton Valley Mo.
Robert Pierson, Rice Belt Telephone, Weiner, Ark.
Don Jackson, Tri-County Telephone Association, Basin, Wyo.
Loy D. Cowart, Jr., Pineland Telephone Co-op, Twin City, Ga.
*Chairman ** Vice-Chairman
The Association Services Committee met to review the association's member services activities and benefits issues since the last meeting at the Fall Conference and to preview activities for the coming months ahead. The meeting convened at 12:00 noon. The committee dispensed with the reading of the notice of meeting and the minutes and approved the agenda. The staff liaison alerted the committee to the anti-trust statement in their folder and reminded members to be mindful of discussions about pricing, salaries or collusion as outlined in the statement. No new business was added to the agenda. Reports were given in the following areas.
Education: Sandi Redman, Education Manager, gave out eight DCC awards at the meeting. She then reviewed the seminars at the Annual Meeting and discussed the following 2008 education events: TEF in Tampa, the Spring PR/Marketing Conference also in Tampa, the Human Resources Conference in Charleston, the Regional Meeting seminars, the Fall Conference in Indian Wells, Calif., the Finance and Accounting Conference in Kansas City, the Key Employee Conference in Memphis and the Legal Seminar, Hollywood, Fla. The second Board Officers conference will be held in Santa Fe, New Mexico on March 29 - April 1. The mission of the conference is to bring together a diverse group of rural board officers to learn about governance, industry, legal and strategic issues.
Meetings: Noni Nicolaou, Director of Meetings, reported that there are approximately 2430 people attending this year's annual meeting. Counts were down from the 2007 Annual Meeting in Orlando. The last time NTCA was in New Orleans was in 2000. Attendance at that meeting was 2,800. There was a 10% increase in the number of booths sold at this year's Expo. Next year's Annual Meeting will be in Long Beach, Calif. She reviewed the 2008 Regional Meeting, the Fall Conference and the annual meetings in New Orleans. Hotel housing issues were also discussed.
Communications: Wendy Mann, Director of Communications, reviewed the upcoming Spring PRNet Conference, the 2008 editorial calendar for the Rural Telecommunications magazine and the Exchange She also discussed the revamping and enhancing of NTCA's Website. The goal is to make the site as interactive and user-friendly as possible. The Marketing & Benchmark Survey will be published in its entirety this year and joins the Compensation and Benefits Study and the HR Survival Toolkit as publications that serve the members well.
Membership: Ann Savoy, Membership Relations Manager, gave the Membership Activity report. NTCA's 2007 Member-get-a-Member campaign netted twelve new members bringing NTCA's total membership to 581. The first prize winner enjoyed a three nights, four day trip to San Francisco. The second prize winner received a flat screen TV and the 3rd prize winner won a set of luggage. The membership department will be focusing on retention efforts in 2008. At this point, the committee chair wondered about NTCA members and the choices they have to belong to other industry associations and the potential impact these choices could have on future membership for NTCA. Staff will look into it.
FRS: The committee was introduced to Elizabeth Crocker, the new Foundation for Rural Service Director, who informed the group about the foundation fundraiser at Mardi Gras World. Over 700 members planned to attend the event. Proceeds from the fundraiser will go to fund over $65,000 worth of scholarships that the foundation will award this year to rural students. Economic Development will be a renewed focus for 2008.
Field Services Report: Sheridan Wangler, Vice President of Field Services, gave an overview of the field staff activities and an update of the Flex Plan, FAS, web casts, long term care insurance, Group Health, the Choice Program, the Vision Plan, the Savings Plan, the R&S Program, and the Fidelity Brokerage Link. He also discussed the Fundamentals of Money Management Seminar, the Portfolio Development Workshop and the Pre-retirement Seminars.
Ron Laqua, committee chair, informed the group that he would be resigning from the committee. He was thanked for his service and leadership. Elections were held for his replacement and Don Jackson, Tri-County Telephone Association, Basin, Wy. was unanimously elected as new chairperson of the committee.
The meeting concluded at 2:30 p.m.