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Category: Collaborations & Innovations

What Does Best Buy Want To Be In The Tech World?

What Does Best Buy Want To Be In The Tech World?

Remember the days when you needed a television, printer or camera and you ran over to Best Buy, the big Blue Box store? I recently saw an interview with Corie Barry, CEO of Best Buy. She’s an interesting leader to start with but what I find so fascinating is after 20 years in various roles at Best Buy, her latest bet is that the retailer will be a critical partner with senior citizens on the technology front and that market…

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The Foundation for Rural Service is Indeed About Service

The Foundation for Rural Service is Indeed About Service

So many NTCA members really go above and beyond and make sacrifices for the young people in rural communities, knowing that this next generation represents the future of their areas. But Ron Laudner of OmniTel Communications, and former NTCA board member, is willing to go bald – all in the name of supporting Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) scholarships. Three shears (get it?) for Ron and OmniTel for their creative campaign to raise at least $25,000 for FRS scholarships by…

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Rural Partners Gather

Rural Partners Gather

I’ve always been a little envious of the annual gathering that has been held between NRECA (the electric coops), CFC/RTFC, NRTC, and NISC as they compared notes on the status of their respective industries – electric power, lending and technology solutions – and was delighted to be “invited to the party” this year.Vern Dosch, CEO of NISC kicked off our day with a reminder on how key each of our industry segments are to the future growth and vitality of…

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Video Issues are Critical to Rural Broadband Providers Too!

Video Issues are Critical to Rural Broadband Providers Too!

While mission critical issues such as Universal Service have occupied a great deal of the press from NTCA in terms of what we are up to these days, that certainly does not mean that we also don’t devote a fair amount of time and energy to video issues – battling the crazy imbalance on retransmission consent agreements that our members are subjected to (because I would not even consider calling them a negotiation in any way, shape or form!), working…

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The Partnership Drumbeat Continues

The Partnership Drumbeat Continues

I’m sitting in New York City’s frantic and lively Penn Station two days before the city’s landmark Independence Day celebration watching travelers looking to make a “great escape” after spending the day with CFC at their annual Forum up here in the Big Apple. I am forever grateful to CFC/RTFC CEO Sheldon Petersen and his continued efforts to find collaboration and lines of commonality between his telco and electric utility borrowers and giving me a slot on this year’s Forum…

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Technology for Seniors and Other Thoughts…

Technology for Seniors and Other Thoughts…

My appreciation to my friends at the Wisconsin State Telecom Association for not appearing to be sick of me yet and continuing to extend invitations for me to have an excuse to journey back to my old stomping grounds in the midwest.  This year was even more poignant because it gave me a reason to stop in Chicago for a night to check on my dad and make my way up to Wisconsin from there instead of my typical flight…

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CTC Shares Partnership Philosophy

CTC Shares Partnership Philosophy

NRECA  – the national association for rural electric cooperatives –  recently invited Kristi Westbrock, CEO and general manager of Consolidated Telephone Co. (CTC) in Brainerd, MN, to tell her story of innovation and creative thinking.  CTC has been engaged in broadband partnerships with Minnesota electric cooperatives for a decade and it has been a good experience for CTC, their employees and the people the serve.  If you ask Kristi, she would love to do it again and again. Kristi noted…

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A Brave New World

A Brave New World

Someday I am going to get my act together in early January and make it out to the famous Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to experience firsthand what it is like to be a kid in the ultimate (tech) candy shop! I’m not one for crowds but the idea of being able to see the future in all its glory would be pretty gratifying. Given that I have to sometimes live vicariously through others—and that our ‘plan B’ if…

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#BipartisanTech

#BipartisanTech

The ideas of bipartisanship and technology should not be hard concepts to grasp, and support for the melding of both was in full force during a panel discussion at the Next Century Cities “Opportunities for Bipartisan Tech Policy” session today. Former FCC staffer and Conexon founder Jon Chambers, Harold Feld from Public Knowledge, Brent Skorup with the Mercatus Center at GMU, and myself were led in the discussion by Chris Mitchell with the Community Broadband Networks. Our panel was focused on…

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Making a Difference Close to Home

Making a Difference Close to Home

I loved seeing the smile on Doug Boone, CEO of Premier Communications in Iowa, as he sat between the Governor of Iowa and the CEO of The Boeing Company at an airport opening a few weeks ago. That smile is well earned because as a local community leader, Doug put a fair amount of effort into working statewide to have a small regional airport open in their part of northwest Iowa. It’s evident that this economic development event was significant…

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