|Sam Singleton and Niles Snyder greet Paul Crawford at his retirement party from Emery Telcom.|
After 36 years Paul Crawford is going off line. He recently announced his retirement from the Emery Telcom board of directors and as president and chairman of the company.
Crawford was elected onto Emery Telcom's Board of Directors on Nov. 10, 1971. Three months later he was sustained as President and Chairman over the Board of Directors and Emery Telcom. He has continued in that role to the present. Upon his appointment to the Board of Directors, Crawford quickly immersed himself into the telecommunications industry and has long since been recognized as an industry leader both within and outside the state of Utah. Under Crawford's tenure, Emery Telcom has more than tripled in size and has exceeded the industry "norm" with its technologically advanced products and network. Crawford has also served on several regional and national boards, most notably is the National Telecommunications Association.
Emery Telcom recently honored Crawford at a reception held at the Orangeville office. Crawford greeted friends and associates he has made in his 36 years of service.
This was a busy week for Emery Telcom as the annual meeting was also held at San Rafael Junior High. Two board positions were up for election this night. Crawford's empty seat will be filled by James R. Nelson of Ferron and Morris Sorensen was reelected to his position by acclamation. Those vying for the empty Ferron seat were: George Hendrickson, Tom Lloyd, Kent McKell, James R. Nelson, Louis Sansevero and Robert Wagoner.
Crawford greeted the meeting goers as his last duty before retirement. He noted there were 92 members present. He said, "You must be present to vote in the election, we have no proxy voting. A notice of this meeting was sent to all the members of Emery Telcom."
Darren Woolsey presented the financial report. He said he had a boss once who said just tell me what the bottom line is and tell me which direction the arrow is headed. "2006 was the most profitable year in the last five years. We have a bright future and we're excited about what is in front of us. We have had $16 million in revenue each of the last five years. It was fairly consistent. But this year we generated a little more profit than the last three years."
Woolsey presented a pie graph which showed the breakdown of where that $16 million was generated. Access revenue-47 percent local service revenue-27 percent; 12 percent internet; 7 percent long distance; 5 percent call center and 2 percent miscellaneous regulated.
Woolsey reported they do get some funding back to help support the cost of the system. Woolsey stressed the internet services which Emery Telcom offers. "We are a very connected community. We have good internet availability to our customers."
Woolsey listed the assets of Emery Telcom at $40 million which includes buildings and vehicles. "As a cooperative we all own the assets of this company. We haven't had to borrow a lot of money to acquire these assets. We own more now and have less debt. Money generated here goes back into the company to improve service," said Woolsey.
Brock Johansen gave a brief history of Emery Telcom which was established in 1950 as a nonprofit company. Local residents were asked for initial contributions to begin the company. "We are not here to turn a profit, we are nonprofit and we are here to provide services for you. We have 14,700 access lines, 5,300 internet lines and 105 employees. We have an amazing staff. Forty-two percent of our customers have internet and statewide that number is 25 percent. We are way above the state average. We are trying to get people off of dialup. We have 530 customers still on dialup.
"Capital projects include fiber in Upper and Lower Miller Creek, C Canyon and conduit in North Price. In Wood Hill we are trying to increase the bandwidth and we have had fiber repair in Green River. One project we are proud of is the 20 year lease of fiber from Grand Junction to Salt Lake. This has decreased our dependency on Qwest. We were charged for using their lines. Now we won't lose traffic. It has also increased our buying power and created redundancy. Before, the fiber stopped in Price and was handed off to Qwest. There is also proposed redundancy to Castle Dale as well.
"We are also working on an IP core network upgrade making all types of traffic; voice, video and data all on one network. We are phasing out all the old switches which took up racks in a room and the new switch is a small box which will replace the old. This will be easier to maintain and cost less in fees and provide additional data. We are trying to make this transition as smooth as possible going to the new switch. We hope to have the old switch in Castle Dale changed by the end of the year and the old switch in Price by next year. We are also working on IP TV lines which push video across data lines. In regards to cellular we might partner with a national company and use their network and buy wholesale and then sell to our customers cheaper. Another project is the wireless internet hot spots. The hot spot installed in Price is in their park and provides wireless internet service while in the park. You can take your kids to the park to play and still be connected. This box has been receiving four or five hits a day so far. We have plans to install one in Emery County as well.
"We have two call centers, one in the Price building and the other in the old Emery Telcom office in Orangeville. We have 45 clients across the nation.
"Our DSL rate is $22.50 a month this is one of the lowest rates for the state of Utah. Jared is encouraging everyone to check out our bundled services. We have also launched a new website with a lot of info, you can Google and online bill pay. This site is emerytelcom.com
"We provide scholarships for high school seniors and donate money to the elementary schools for their positive action efforts. We sponsor youth contests and the Crystal Apple awards honor our local teachers. We donate to the city and county celebrations and try to have a float in each of the parades. We bought 300 T-ball shirts for the local teams. We help sponsor the rodeo, hold blood drives and donate to the American Cancer Society. We are part of this community and we take pride in that," said Johansen.
Johansen told of the efforts Emery Telcom puts forth at the legislature and before Congress in support of rural users. "We put back into our communities. Without communication there would be not economic development," said Johansen.
Crawford thanked everyone at the meeting for their confidence in him and their interest in Emery Telcom.