Here we are in Austin, wrapping up NTCA’s RTIME meeting and I am catching my breath and reflecting on what a week it has been.
From Commissioner Carr joining our folks to share his perspective on his 6 months as an FCC Commissioner and the transition he has made from FCC General Counsel to his current role as a regulator – to USDA’s Anne Hazlett with her Rural Development leadership portfolio at USDA as she stepped in for USDA Secretary Perdue and shared thoughts regarding infrastructure initiatives and the key role that rural broadband will play. Universal Service, Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, partnerships, CAF II auction and ways to monetize your networks were just a slice of the topics covered.
A sold out Expo allowed attendees to see the latest and greatest from the vendor community supporting rural broadband providers and had a ton of energy as folks bustled around the Austin Convention Center. John Klatt, our NTCA board President (now Chairman thanks to a bylaws vote today) learned that one actually has to practice cutting with those 40 pound scissors to open the expo hall!
Women executives in the industry gathered to compare notes on leadership (and eat some cookies), our Foundation for Rural Service got folks excited about their youth app challenge and new internet transaction study and received a $25k check from the fabulous NISC employees and NTCA’s Rural Broadband PAC celebrated a record year (for two seconds!) and then quickly got down to setting goals for the 2018 election year.
NTCA members also gathered in our business session this morning and overwhelmingly voted to approve the board proposed bylaw changes that will allow the association to grow and lead in a broadband environment. I am so grateful to them for creating a thoughtful discussion around the topic that I believe will benefit our industry as we move forward. I’m a big fan of transparency so I was delighted to have a few members assume that we had already voted on this bylaws package because we’ve been talking about it for months!
Now it’s time to pack the bags, get on the airport shoes and head on home. While it’s an exhausting week – every time I spend time with my members and my own staff team, I’m reminded why I love what I do so much. No better folks to work with on either side of that ledger!