|A representative from Echostar and Latens companies visits with Karen Dellos at the Emery Telcom membership meeting.|
The annual Emery Telcom meeting was held in Huntington on May 8. This annual meeting of the members of Emery Telcom was conducted at the Canyon View Junior High by Chairman Kendall Mortensen. He said they missed Paul Crawford who always conducted the meetings and hadn't left any notes. Crawford passed away last year.
Each year the meeting is held in the municipality for which a board position is open. This year also an at-large position was open.
In the Huntington district Kendall Mortensen, incumbent, Nancy Martinez and Tab Weihing ran for the open spot. In the director at large position Kathy Justice, incumbent, William Dellos, Richard Fairbanks, Richard Brent Gordon, Ira Hatch, Jordan Leonard and Kent McKell were in the election.
Board members include: Olive Anderson, Tom Hansen, Jed Jensen, Kathy Justice, Kevin Tuttle, Todd Huntington, JR Nelson and Morris Sorensen. Each board member represents their area of residence except for Justice who is the at large director.
Mortensen said all voters must be present as the bylaws do not allow proxy voting. There were 145 members in attendance. Tom Hansen acting secretary read the notice of meeting which was sent to all members.
Members include those using Emery Telcom within Emery County, it doesn't include users within Carbon County or Hanksville users.
Brock Johansen, CEO, for Emery Telcom read the minutes from last year's meeting. CFO Darren Woolsey presented the financial picture for Emery Telcom. Woolsey said the company is doing well and 2006-07 have been some of the best years to date. Sales have been $16-17 million for the last five years. There has been a small decrease over the past years in the telecommunications industry. The concern has been the decrease of land lines due to cell phones and that is part of the reason, but Woolsey said they have also experienced a decrease in state funding to rural areas.
Woolsey showed a pie chart with the breakdowns of revenues for the company. Local revenues sources from local services make up 27 percent, internet-14 percent, long distance-7 percent, call center-5 percent, access and regulated-43 percent, other sources-4 percent.
The company has increased its internet speeds to 3 megabit. All base speeds are up. The cost of long distance has gone down to 4.95 cents per minute. Emery Telcom prices are very competitive nationwide. Another project which has far reaching dividends is the fiber from Grand Junction to Salt Lake. This enables Emery Telcom to see increased revenues from the big players in the industry. "We are excited about that," said Woolsey.
Woolsey showed the balance sheet which lists the company's assets at $41 million. The cooperative owns the company. Since 2003 the company has worked to decrease the debt load acquired with the acquisition of Carbon and Hanksville. "We have made significant headway in paying down debt and we're excited about that."
In 2007, $4.3 million was invested back into local service. A portion of profits went to pay down the debt and the other portion went back to the patrons. The company has $2.6 million available cash and a $10 million line of credit.
The company sponsors many community projects including scholarships, T-ball and a monthly contribution to each school. Patronage distributions began in 1991 and since that year annual payments have been made to patrons of Emery Telcom.
Johansen spoke next saying the company appreciates the support of the community. Emery Telcom is a non-profit corporation formed because the big telephone companies wouldn't come down and serve the rural areas of the state, they said there wasn't any profit in it. So the Emery County residents formed their own company. The original company has grown to include Huntington, Green River, Carbon County and Hanksville. It is an Emery County only membership with 4,600 owners in Emery County. The company employs 95 people.
Johansen said, "Our biggest asset is our employees. They care about the company and believe in what we're doing. While access lines have been declining, DSL has been going up. One of our biggest customers is Verizon. They pay Emery Telcom to get their traffic out. People talk more on cellular now than on traditional land lines. We have more internet subscribers here than across the nation. We invest in our company and in the community. We put money back into the plant."
Johansen explained the whole network now is almost installed with digital. The employees have spent numerous hours working on this. Only about 2,000 customers are left to bring onto digital. The company is also working on its redundancy. The company is redundant to Cleveland and this year will be installing along the back side of Cleveland all the way to Castle Dale this year.
The fiber lease is complete from Grand Junction to Salt Lake and the company owns their own band width and doesn't have to buy. They now have 10 times the capacity they had a year ago. "We are fighting to keep our rates low and to get revenue from other sources," said Johansen.
Prior to the lease of bandwidth from Grand Junction to Salt Lake, Qwest got 52 percent of the access and now Emery Telcom has been able to take back 85 percent of that.
Johansen told of new projects for Emery Telcom including the Western Fibernet and the UFN-Utah Fiber Network. When the smaller companies band together they have more fiber than Qwest. At 136 South Main, Emery Telcom has a switch network. These banded companies are going to bid on a statewide project soon.
Another project is the introduction of a new product, digital TV. It will have 200 channels and a local Emery channel. TV access can be bundled with other Emery Telcom services. Echostar is the company that will provide the signal.
A number of representatives from Echostar and Latens were introduced by Johansen. He encouraged those present to talk to the representatives and find out more about the digital TV. The company hopes to launch the digital TV by the third quarter of this year.
The door prizes were given and the elections held conducted by Olive Anderson. In the Huntington district, Kendall Mortensen retained his seat as did Kathy Justice, director at large.