|Kendall Mortensen speaks about Emery Telcom.|
Emery Telcom was started on Nov. 28, 1950 as an independent cooperative and 56 years later is a successful telecommunications company. The cooperative was formed as a result of the big Bells unwillingness to come into this rural area. Today, Emery Telcom has 15,000 access lines, 4,500 internet customers, and 110 employees.
At the annual meeting, Brock Johansen, CEO and general manager of Emery Telcom, introduced the eight new employees, those who have come to Emery Telcom since August 2005. He said he came to the position of CEO and general manager in December 2005. New controller and accounting manager is Darren Woolsey, while two new accountants are Jake Frandsen and Bryce Jacobsen. Andy Cunningham is human resource manager and Jared Anderson is the marketing and external relations manager. While not new to Emery Telcom, Mike Watson is in a new position as the information systems department manager, and Peter Kerr is the new switch operator.
For an overall look at the numbers, Johansen said the number of access lines is dropping and this is due to wireless cell phones and DSL. DSL customers are increasing and dial up internet access is dropping, thus reducing the need for second lines. "The drop in the dial up is not a bad thing though. It means more people are switching to DSL and that is what we want," said Johansen. While discussing DSL, he also explained that DSL provides several benefits over other internet solutions such as wireless and cable internet. DSL gives each customer a dedicated, reliable connection to the internet providing consistent, high speed access. On the other hand, both wireless and cable internet solutions deliver connections that are shared. Because of the shared connection, your service is slower during busy peak usage times.
In 2005, Johansen said that Emery Telcom completed seven major projects. These were fiber installations in the two county area. The company's goals for 2006 are to complete seven more major projects between Emery and Carbon counties. Another project is to update the company's website and equip it with online billing and payment capacity. Johansen also said they would like to purchase or lease fibers to Salt Lake City this year to reduce the dependency on Qwest's fibers.
"The more fiber we install, the greater the bandwidth. This is a great thing for Emery Telcom and our customers. "Our IP core network upgrades give us the ability to increase the bandwidth to each home of up to 30 Mb, and 100 Mb to businesses," said Johansen. "We are really excited with the new technology."
For the future, Johansen said the company is investigation IPTV which would enable them to supply digital TV over the DSL connections. This enables customers to watch high quality TV and allows internet access right on their existing television sets. They are also looking into providing cellular service to their customers, but first a partnership with a company owning a national network has to be established. Another possibility for the future is wireless internet.
Johansen reported that the patronage refunds in 2005 were just under $100,000. "We also play a big part in the community. We provide scholarships to high school seniors, take part in the Keys to the Community program, and donate $100 to each of the elementary schools on a monthly basis to fund learning through good behavior programs.
"We have photo and artwork contests for the students, host the Crystal Apple awards to recognize outstanding teachers, co-sponsor Senator Robert Bennett's rural conference, and make donations to each city and the county fair for their celebrations during the summer.
"Another project that we took on was to purchase nearly 300 T-ball shirts for our youth. We also donate to worthy causes such as the American Cancer Society, hurricane relief, and many others. I want to say thank you to all the members, the employees, and the board for all the support and hard work," said Johansen.
Following the presentation by Johansen, several drawings for prizes were held. Jared Anderson gave out various prizes including a new computer, won by Russell Larsen, and a home theater entertainment system, won by Jonnie Johansen. Other prizes included free DSL, a telephone, clothing, mugs, and pens. In addition, refreshments were served.
Eric Steinman, the CFO training Woolsey, said the company's financial standing is very good. "Over the past couple of years, the net income has pretty much stabilized from the acquisition of Carbon/Emery Telcom. Assets have stabilized, liabilities are decreasing, the equity is increasing, and the company has more than sufficient cash. These are all very good indicators," said Steinman.
Following the presentations concerning the standing of Emery Telcom, elections for two board positions were held. The positions held by Kevin Tuttle and DeLynn Fielding were up for nominations. Tuttle was again nominated and won by acclamation as no other person was nominated to represent Orangeville. Fielding and Todd Huntington were nominated for the Castle Dale area. Huntington won that election by seven votes. Other members of the board of directors for Emery Telcom are: Tom Hansen, Randy Jensen, Kathy Justice, Morris Sorensen, Paul Crawford, Kendall Mortensen, and Olive Anderson.
"We are sad to lose DeLynn and the expertise that he brought to the board in finance and economic development. He was a great asset to the group, and will be missed. At the same time, we would like to welcome Todd and are excited to work with him. We also congratulate Kevin on being reelected," said Paul Crawford, president of the board.
"The board of directors would like the employees, members and community to focus on the future of Emery Telcom, and does not desire to dwell on past problems," began Mortensen, vice-president of the board. He went on to say that during the 20 month investigation by the Utah State Attorney General's office, no criminal charges were filed. He also explained that the board has directed their own independent investigation and their findings were the same as the attorney general. "The board believes that it is now time to put this matter behind the company and to move forward to build a bigger, better and stronger Emery Telcom," concluded Mortensen.