2018 Excellence Award Winners Named at NTCA Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO

For Immediate Release

Contact: Laura Withers, 703-351-2087, lwithers@ntca.org

Arlington, Va. (February 11, 2019)—NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association recognized eight rural telecommunications industry leaders during the 2019 Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO for their achievements and service to the industry.

The NTCA Excellence Awards recognize those NTCA members who have shown exceptional commitment to their communities and the rural broadband industry. Recipients are recognized annually at the Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO.

Vern Dosch, chief executive officer (CEO) of National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC; Mandan, N.D.), received the Associate Member Outstanding Achievement Award. Dosch has successfully led NISC for the past 25 years, and during his entire tenure has found many ways to support NTCA, its advocacy efforts, and the broader rural telecommunications industry. Dosch is a regular presence on Capitol Hill and has been a reliable supporter of NTCA conferences and programs as a tireless advocate and a humble, curious and passionate leader.

Amanda Floyd, director of marketing at Atlantic Telephone Membership Corp. (ATMC; Shallotte, N.C.) received the Marketing Achievement Award. Floyd led the charge in promoting ATMC’s five-year expansion program, developing the company’s social media presence, introducing new products, increasing local coverage of community events through ATMC’s local channel and helping it receive the Smart Rural Community designation.

Scott Dutton, director of outside plant engineering for ATMC, received the Management Innovation Award. Dutton has served ATMC for nearly 20 years, and throughout his career has been key to the company’s success. In 2005, he oversaw the design and development of its fiber-to-the-home project, the first in North Carolina. Dutton was also essential in securing grant funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide broadband in Columbus County, N.C.

Two employees from Nex-Tech (Lenora, Kan.), Senior IP Head-End Technician Jim Broeckelman and Senior Communications Technician Kyle Jones, were honored with Heroism Awards. In March 2018, Broeckelman and Jones were both involved in responding to a fire in Norton, Kan., when they came to the rescue of residents of a nearby apartment complex that became engulfed in flames early in the morning. Jones, who is also captain of the Norton City Fire Department, helped Broeckelman get people to safety, even kicking down a door to check on an apartment from which there was no response.

Zack Odell, CEO of S&T Telephone Cooperative Association (Brewster, Kan.), was also honored with a Heroism Award. On an early morning in May 2018, Odell was on a jog with his colleague Mike Teeples when the pair encountered a woman in extreme distress after she had been stabbed multiple times. Odell rendered lifesaving aid to the woman, who survived the attack thanks to his intervention and care. When asked about his heroism, Odell said, “I only did what anyone else would do.”

Mike Casabonne, board president of Penasco Valley Telephone Cooperative (Artesia, N.M.), received the Director Life Achievement Award. Casabonne is entering his 35th year on the Penasco Valley Board of Directors, and he is a highly respected and very involved member of the rural community where he grew up. He has been instrumental in supporting the telecom industry by conveying the concerns of providers and landowners to the New Mexico congressional delegation. He has also been named a New Mexico Sheepman of the Year and served as both president and vice president of the New Mexico Federal Lands Council.

The Manager Life Achievement Award was awarded to Kevin Larson, director of public relations for Consolidated Telephone Co. (CTC; Brainerd, Minn.). Larson’s career in telecom spans 45 years. He started as a technician and recently retired from his position as chief executive officer and general manager of CTC to become the company’s public relations director. Larson’s ability to think creatively has earned him much success in the rural broadband industry. As CEO of CTC, he grew the cooperative’s membership base by 40% and entered into a successful partnership with a local electric cooperative. A pinnacle of Larson’s career was working with other telecom general managers in Minnesota to create the cooperative-owned transport and engineering firm Cooperative Network Services.

NTCA’s Excellence Awards are selected by the association’s Awards Committee, comprised of NTCA members. NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield presented the awards during the 2019 Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO Excellence Awards Ceremony on February 6.