Thank you GTA members for supporting this year’s 91st Annual Meeting, June 15-18, 2013 at the renovated Sonesta Resort, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. We truly experienced a NEW Resort after its $30 Million Dollar makeover and its many enhancements to make our stay most enjoyable and memorable. Our folks were asking when GTA would be returning which is the ultimate compliment to the Sonesta Resort and its staff.
This year’s theme, “Innovative Product and Policy Perspectives,” focused on future industry opportunities as the telecommunications industry embraces the next generation of leaders, policies, products and technologies. Monday’s Opening General Session began with Keynote Speaker Blair Levin, Communications and Society Fellow of The Aspen Institute. Mr. Levin shared his insights regarding the FCC’s subsequent implementation initiatives and the evolution of his perspective especially as it relates to what will define success in rural America. His comments were followed by a panel discussion, “Innovative Policy Perspectives,” moderated by Martin McCue. Mr. McCue served as General Counsel for USTA and subsequently served as counsel for Frontier and Surewest. Panelists included John Jones, Vice President - Public Policy and Federal Legislative Affairs, CenturyLink; Steve Kraskin, Communications Advisory Counsel; and Mike Romano, Senior Vice President of Policy, NTCA. This panel of industry and public policy experts shared their thoughts regarding future opportunities made possible by innovative policy perspectives. The roundtable discussions on Tuesday provided attendees with contrasting leadership perspectives and specific observations for ways companies could leverage their assets to succeed in their increasingly competitive rural markets. The “Innovative Strategies for Success” roundtable was moderated by Tom Harter, President, Engineering Associates. The panelists were Raymond Henagan, General Manager, Rock Port Telephone Company out of Missouri, and Chairman of the NECA Board and Jeffrey Leslie, President and CEO, ITS Telecom (Indiantown, Florida). The panelists shared their company innovations they have embraced as they have evolved to their future. The second roundtable discussion, “Next Generation Perspectives,” was moderated by Manny Staurulakis, President, JSI. Panelists were four of our own GTA folks: Randy Daniel, President, Hart Telephone Company; Mike McClain, EVP/COO, ComSouth; Frankie Rigdon, Assistant VP-Systems Operations, ETC; and John Scott, Outside Plant Manager, Bulloch Telephone Cooperative. These next-generation leaders shared their observations and insights as their companies evolve from legacy telephone companies to 21st Century telecommunications leaders.
Monday and Tuesday programs were intense, but rest assured there was ample time to relax and enjoy some down time at the Resort, the beach, special events, Hilton Head Island and GTA’s receptions and banquets, etc. We’ve posted our SPONSOR STARS that greatly impacted our fun and fellowship moments! Thank you for lighting up the sky and making it a successful meeting. GTA’s Annual Charity GOLF TOURNAMENTWINNERS are also posted. Tournament participation and sponsorships enabled GTA to make a donation to the American Red Cross in the amount of $1,300.
GTA Associates hosted a Cornhole Tournament Tuesday evening. Don Paige and Eddie Swing did a great job coordinating the tournament. Super prizes went to the winners:
First Place - Dustin Durden and Wayne Foskey Second Place - Steve Fitzgerald and Emily Moore Third Place - Ken Mullis and Max Mullis
Special thanks is extended to Progressive Rural Telephone Co-op. for providing the Cornhole game boards for the tournament.
GTA attendance support, generous sponsors and fun and informative programs are all key ingredients for a memorable meeting. We appreciate all of you and are looking forward to seeing you at the 2014 Annual Meeting.