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RTC Networks 73rd

Annual Meeting

Welcome Members!

RTC Networks

73rd Annual Meeting

The RTC Networks 73rd Annual Meeting was held on Tuesday, June 11 at 6:00 pm at the 4 Bears Event Center in New Town, ND. The recording is now posted and will be available for the next few weeks. Thank you for participating in your cooperative’s annual meeting.
OUR VISION

As the technology leader in our region, we live to connect our communities to the world.

OUR MISSION

Connection is an important part of living in rural communities. That’s why at RTC Networks, we’ve created the fastest, most reliable broadband network, supported by the best service in the region so you can always stay connected to what’s important.

Meeting Agenda

Meeting Starts at 6:00 p.m.

The National Anthem
Call to Order, Wayne Skarda
Invocation
Recognition of Military Personnel, Wayne Skarda
Recognition of Guests and Board Introduction, Wayne Skarda
Reading of Meeting Notice and Proof of Mailing, Jennifer Sorenson
Approval of Minutes, Wayne Skarda
Nominating Committee Report, Cliff Tollefson
Introduction of Candidates, Wayne Skarda
Election of Directors, Wayne Skarda
Drawing For Prizes
Audit Report , Jon Lee, CPA
President’s & CEO/General Manager’s Report, Wayne Skarda & Shane Hart
Drawing For Prizes
Unfinished Business, Wayne Skarda
New Business, Wayne Skarda
Grand Prize Drawing
Adjournment, Wayne Skarda

Notice of Nominating Committee Meeting

The notice for the RTC Networks Nomination Committee Meeting was included with all cooperative members’ bills on the March 2024 bill mailing. The notice was also posted in SmartHub along with your bill. The notice included the following information:

Nominating Committee
Meeting Scheduled

In preparation for RTC Networks’ Annual Meeting on Tuesday, June 11, 2024, the Nominating Committee is scheduled to meet Wednesday, March 20, 2024.
The following Director positions are up for election:

District 2A: Mandaree, New Town and Ross (Jared Eagle)
District 5: Douglas, Makoti, Max, Roseglen, Ryder (John McElwain)

In accordance with RTC Networks Bylaws, the committee will nominate at least one candidate from each district listed above.

RTC NETWORKS BYLAWS SECTION 4.5 addresses nomination procedures. Bylaws can be found at: www.myRTCNetworks.com/legal

The RTC Networks Board of Directors selected seven individuals to serve on the Nominating Committee. Anyone interested in seeking nomination for the RTC Networks Board of Directors should contact an individual on the Nominating
Committee (listed below) to request a certification form. The form must be completed and returned to the RTC Networks Business Offce in Parshall by
4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19, 2024.

• Bonnie Billadeau, Parshall: 701.898.1491
• Chris Gratton, Garrison: 701.897.1559
• Carol Kieson, Keene: 701.675.2518
• Duane Estvold, New Town: 701.627.4751
• Jamie Livingston, Kenmare: 701.385.4287
• Cliff Tollefson, New Town: 701.898.4973
• Stephen Hannegrefs, Max: 701.679.2645

Candidates may be nominated by committee or petition. Petitions must be returned by 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, 2024. There will be no nominations from the floor.

Nomination Committee Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes

The Nominating Committee met Wednesday, March 20, 2024 at 10:00 a.m. through a conference call.

Members present were:
Bonnie Billadeau
Stephen Hannegrefs
Chris Gatton
Cliff Tollefson
Jamie Livingston
Carol Kieson
Duane Estvold

CEO/GM Shane Hart and HR Manager Gretchen Edwards were also in attendance.

CEO/GM Shane Hart introduced himself to the committee members.

Bonnie Billadeau nominated Cliff Tollefson as Chairperson.

Motion by Billadeau seconded by Hannegrefs, to nominate Gretchen Edwards, RTC Networks HR Manager as Recording Secretary. M/C

The Nominating Committee reviewed the packet they were given including the Notice of Meeting and RTC bylaws regarding director nomination.

The Nominating Committee received two signed Certification of Nominee forms completed by Jared Eagle 2-A, and John McElwain-5. No other Certification of Nominee forms were received by committee members or at the RTC Networks office.

Motion by Hannegrefs, seconded by Kieson to nominate Jared Eagle for District 2A and to nominate John McElwain for District 5. M/C

It is the recommendation of the Nominating Committee to have the paper ballots, alternated 50/50 with each candidate’s name at the top of the ballot, if there is a contested election.

Discussion about committee members being available to count ballots if they are in attendance at the annual meeting, which will be on Tuesday, June 11 at the Four Bears Event Center in New Town. Chairman Tollefson agreed to read the Minutes of the Nominating Committee Meeting at the Annual Meeting, if needed.

Chairman Tollefson called for any other business.

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Gretchen Edwards
Recording Secretary

72nd Annual Meeting Minutes

72nd ANNUAL MEETING MINUTES 

Thursday, June 15, 2023 

The 72nd Annual Meeting of Reservation Telephone Cooperative doing business as RTC Networks was held on Thursday, June 15, 2023 at 6:30pm. The meal was provided by the 4 Bears Event Center staff and registration was held from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Miss North Dakota 2023, Sydney Helgeson, sang the National Anthem. Pastor John Warner gave the invocation.

President Jeanette Hoff called the meeting to order.

President Hoff appointed Human Resources Manager Gretchen Edwards as Recording Secretary and RTC Networks Attorney Alicia Brenna as Parliamentarian of the meeting.

President Hoff asked Secretary Jennifer Sorenson how many members registered. 175 members were in attendance and there was a quorum.

President Hoff introduced the Board of Directors, Attorney Alicia Brenna, CEO/GM Shane Hart and Chief Financial Officer Jon Lee. Special guests attending were also acknowledged.

A motion was made and seconded to dispense with the reading of the Notice of the 2023 Annual Meeting and Proof of Mailing. M/C

A motion was made and seconded to dispense with the reading of the 2022 71st Annual Meeting Minutes and to approve as per copy in the Annual Meeting book. M/C

A motion was made and seconded to dispense with the reading of the 2023 Nominating Committee minutes and to approve as per copy in the Annual Meeting book. M/C

President Hoff presented the candidates for director districts. The candidate for District 1B is Jennifer Sorenson. The candidate for District 2B is Terry Wilber. The candidate for District 3 is Lance Kalmbach. All candidates are running unopposed.

A motion was made and seconded to cast a unanimous ballot for Jennifer Sorenson for District 1B, Terry Wilber for District 2B and Lance Kalmbach for District 3. M/C

President Hoff congratulated the elected directors and introduced RTC Networks attorney Alicia Brenna.

Attorney Brenna informed the membership of a Bylaw change to Article 4, section 4.4, part 1. The Board of Directors voted to insert a new qualification as 1c. This new qualification states “has not been an employee of the Cooperative in the past three years. A former employee’s spouse is also disqualified during this 3-year period.” Other language in the section remains the same.

Eric Jaeger led the first prize drawing session.

President Hoff introduced Chief Financial Officer Jon Lee.

CFO Lee presented the audit report. CFO Lee stated auditor Moss Adams gave RTC Networks a clean, unmodified audit opinion for 2022.

CFO Lee reported RTC Networks generated over $57 million in revenue last year. This $10 million increase was in part due to our expansion into new areas and adding over 1,000 new subscribers. Operating expenses were $43 million. Net margins for 2022 totaled $10,846,863. The best part is the profits are allocated back to the members of the cooperative. RTC Networks has paid out over $4.7 million in capital credits in the past two years. With the purchase of two neighboring companies, our assets rose to more than $167 million, an increase of $7 million.

CFO Lee reported RTC Networks cash continues to be in a strong position. Over the last 5 years we have raised our equity and paid down our debt. RTC Networks hopes to be debt free in 10 years.

In summary, CFO Lee stated 2022 was another successful year for RTC Networks.

A motion was made and seconded to approve the 2022 Audit Report as presented. M/C

President Hoff and CEO/GM Shane Hart gave a joint report.

CEO/GM Hart welcomed members and stated great things are happening at RTC Networks, including increases in revenue and subscribers.

President Hoff reported on the $18.5 million grant RTC Networks was awarded from the USDA RUS Program. This is the largest grant RTC Networks has ever received. This grant with an RTC Networks match of 25% of funds will allow us to build fiber infrastructure to underserved locations in rural McKenzie County along with rural parts of Richland and Wibaux Counties in Montana, including the town of Wibaux, MT. The board of directors authorized additional fiber investment in the town of Fairview, MT.

CEO/GM Hart added these locations are expected to bring an additional 1,000 subscribers, making the Cooperative even stronger. Upon completion of this project, RTC Networks will have well over 15,000 subscribers.

President Hoff reported on our purchase of Midstate Telephone and Midstate
Communications and the decision that the town of Portal would be a better fit for our neighboring cooperative Northwest Communications Cooperative (NCC) in Ray.

CEO/GM Hart shared after discussion and planning with NCC and getting regulatory approvals from the FCC and ND Public Service Commission, NCC began providing broadband and telephone service to Portal as of April 4 this year. RTC Networks is grateful for our short opportunity to serve the community of Portal.

President Hoff discussed the summer construction season for RTC Networks. Our team is working on several state highway projects to protect our fiber infrastructure including the four-lane Highway 85 project south of Watford City and roundabouts being added at intersection of Highways 23 and 8 and also Highways 22 and 73.

CEO/GM Hart reported that RTC Networks is always trying to improve our customer experience. We have been working to promote SmartHub, an app available on your phone as well as online. SmartHub provides the ability to conveniently view and pay your bill as well as receive important notices from RTC Networks.

President Hoff stated RTC Networks participates in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). This federal program provides a monthly internet discount to qualifying households. Please stop and grab a brochure from the information table for more information.

CEO/GM Hart reminded members there are several free and convenient ways to pay your bill each month. RTC Networks has over 5,000 accounts signed up to pay their bills through auto pay programs. The PAY NOW feature lets you schedule your payment for a day that is convenient for you. We hope you are taking advantage of these convenient options.

President Hoff reported RTC Networks is a member of the Rural Development Finance Corporation (RDFC). RDFC’s mission is to encourage economic diversification and community vitality. For the past few years, RDFC has provided grant funds to each member’s service area.

CEO/GM Hart shared RDFC is providing a grant opportunity in 2023 of $3,000 to a qualifying entity. Qualifications include being a non-profit organization and having matching funds. More information about this opportunity is available on RTC Networks’ website.

President Hoff stated, as CFO Jon Lee reported, our cooperative has had another good year financially. Our strong cash position has allowed us to meet all our financial obligations such as loans, and it also gives us the opportunity to pay back capital credits to the members. The Board of Directors approved a general capital credit retirement for service years 1996 and 1997 which totaled just over $1.8 million. This is a direct benefit of doing business with your
local cooperative.

CEO/GM Hart reported that part of the retirement of capital credits requires RTC Networks to have each member’s tax ID number for issuing 1099s. Please make sure to update your information with RTC Networks to ensure you receive all capital credits due to you.

President Hoff reported the RTC Networks Board of Directors awarded 34 college scholarships, totaling $40,000. The scholarship recipients are listed in our annual meeting book. RTC Networks is committed to our communities and education for their youth.

CEO/GM Hart shared that each year RTC Networks provides an opportunity for a high school junior in our service area to attend an educational tour in Washington, D.C. through Foundation for Rural Service. This year, Shelsey Brandvold from Max High Schools attended the FRS Youth Tour and was invited to the stage to report on her experience.

Shelsey Brandvold, FRS Youth Tour participant, reported on her trip to Washington DC. She was able to visit the FCC, legislators and meet other students from 22 other states. Shelsey thanked RTC Networks for this great opportunity.

President Hoff thanked Sydney Helgeson for singing the national anthem, Pastor John Warner for the invocation and the 4 Bears Event Center staff for their work preparing the venue and meal. President Hoff thanked her fellow board members for their support and willingness to service as directors of RTC Networks.

CEO/GM Hart recognized and thanked the employees that work at RTC  Networks every day and directed members to the annual meeting book to see the employees that serve them.

President Hoff reminded members that the flyer in their annual meeting booklet showed each registered member will receive a $25 bill credit as a gift of appreciation for attendance this evening. She thanked the member-owners for their patronage and continued support of RTC Networks.

Eric Jaeger kicked off another round of door prizes.

President Hoff called for unfinished business. There was none.

President Hoff called for new business. There was none.

There was a Grand prize drawing for a year of free Gig internet.

There was a motion and second to adjourn. President Hoff adjourned the meeting.

Respectfully submitted,
Gretchen Edwards, Recording Secretary

Official Notice of Annual Meeting Mailing

Postcards will be mailed to all RTC Networks Cooperative members.  The information on the postcard includes the following:

Join us for the

RTC Networks
73rd Annual Meeting

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 at the 4 Bears Event Center in New Town, North Dakota.

Registration and the meal are from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. The meeting will be called to order at 6:00 p.m. Come and enjoy a delicious meal and prize drawings.

For more information visit:
www.myRTCNetworks.com/annualmeeting

RTC Networks

Director Candidates

Jared Eagle

Jared Eagle

District 2A Candidate

Mandaree, New Town, Ross

Jared Eagle has lived in New Town his entire life. He is the son of Ronnie and Kim Eagle. Jared has worked for the Indian Health Service and the Three Affiliated Tribes health system for 18 years. He currently serves as the MHA Nation Health Administrator. Jared has been on the RTC Networks Board of Directors since 2015.

A graduate of North Dakota State University, Jared is active in the community. He served on the New Town Volunteer Fire Department for seven years and the North Dakota Comprehensive Cancer Advisory Board for seven years. He also served for nine years on the Edgewater Country Club Board. He and his wife Candice Eagle, who works for the Bank of ND, have one daughter named Ellery.

John McElwain

John McElwain

District 5 Candidate

Douglas, Makoti, Max, Roseglen, Ryder

John McElwain was born and raised in Max.After graduating from Max Public High School, he attended college before returning home to join his father, Jim McElwain, to work on the family farm and McElwain Construction Inc. In 1987, John married Tammy, and they raised their two children, Nicole and Justin.

For eight years, he worked as the Max City Maintenance Operator. In 2001, with the passing of his father, John took over the operation of the family farm and McElwain Construction Inc., which does excavation work throughout North Dakota.

John has served on the Max Civic Club, and the Immaculate Conception Church Board. For 21 years, he served on the Max Farmers Elevator Board until it merged with Trigen Ag Partners in 2021. John currently serves on the board of Trigen Ag Partners. John has been on the RTC Networks Board of Directors since 2021. He enjoys hunting, fishing, and spending time with family and friends at the lake.

Board of Directors

RTC Networks History

  • October 28, 1949 – President Truman signs the telephone amendment to the Rural Electrification Act of 1935 to provide low cost loans to be used to improve and to provide telephone service to rural areas of America.
  • July 7, 1950 – First public meeting to discuss the formation of our telephone cooperative takes place in Garrison.
  • January 1951 – Area residents and representatives from the telephone companies at Parshall, Plaza, Makoti, Ryder, Van Hook, and Sanish meet at Roseglen and decide to form a rural telephone cooperative named Reservation Mutual Aid Telephone Corporation.
  • October 16, 1951 – Articles of Incorporation are filed.
  • August 12, 1952 – RTC’s first REA loan is obtained for $417,000.00.
  • August 14, 1952 – Fred Ahlgren is named General Manager.
  • 1952 – 1954 – Reservation Mutual Aid Telephone Corporation has business offices at Parshall Memorial Hall above the auditorium and at the Creamery building, which is now Parshall’s funeral home.
  • 1952 – New Town exchange replaces the Van Hook and Sanish exchanges.
  • 1954 – 1958 – Telephone exchanges at Parshall, Plaza, Makoti, Ryder, Emmet, Roseglen, Arnegard, Keene, Norma, Spencer, Ross and Douglas are added.
  • 1958 – RTC headquarters building is built.
  • 1959 – RTC begins offering mobile telephone service with towers at Keene, Parshall and Roseglen. IMTS (Improved Mobile Telephone Service) is offered over radio channels licensed by FCC (Federal Communications Commission).
  • 1959 – Original nine member Board of Directors reorganize into a board of seven members. Reservation Mutual Aid Telephone Corporation changes to Reservation Telephone Cooperative (RTC).
  • 1963 – Minuteman Missile installations began. RTC provides service to 7 sites.
  • 1967 – RTC’s “Service Improvement Program” begins to bring one party service to all of the subscribers and replace the open wire plant with underground facilities.
  • 1971 – Squaw Gap exchange added.
  • Dec. 15, 1971 – Squaw Gap and the rest of the world are connected by telephone. NBC (National Broadcasting Corporation) along with thousands of viewers and Squaw Gap subscribers gather to witness the first phone call made by Donnell Haugen, president of the RTC board and Squaw Gap resident, Ray Macik to Washington D.C., where Earl Butz, Secretary of Agriculture is on the line to congratulate them.
  • August, 1972 – All subscribers now have private line service.
  • 1973 – 1974 – All exchanges are converted to direct distance dialing and automatic number identification.
  • 1974 – Mandaree exchange is added.
  • 1976 – First major addition to the headquarters building is completed.– RTC becomes member of NCDC (North Central Data Cooperative) now known as NISC (National Information Solutions Cooperative).– Phone billing is converted to computer.
  • 1980 – RTC hires Gene Sloan as new General Manager.
  • 1980 – Fred Ahlgren, RTC’s first General Manager, retires ending a 28 year career (1952-1980)
  • 1981 – RTC gets into the cable TV business. Rolfson Construction plows coaxial TV cable in New Town and Parshall.
  • 1983 – Headquarters building is expanded to make room for the new digital switch.
  • 1984 – New digital switch is installed. AT&T Divestiture becomes a reality.
  • 1985 – RTC starts replacing the old rotary dial telephone sets with new touch-tone phones that could be plugged into a modular connection.
  • 1987 – Royce Aslakson is hired to train for Office Manager. RTC plows coaxial TV cable in Plaza. RTC becomes member of North Central Regional Processing Center (NCRPC).
  • 1988 – RTC plows coaxial TV cable in Makoti. Max Adams, RTC’s first Office Manager, retires after 35 years of service.
  • 1989 – RTC plows coaxial TV cable in Ryder. RTC purchases Arnegard cable TV system from a private individual. Payroll and labor accounting becomes automated with the aid of NCDC.
  • 1989 – RTC upgrades new digital switches and plows fiber optic cable as the backbone for toll network.
  • 1990′s – College scholarship program implemented for high school seniors.
  • September, 1995 – RTC announces it will offer Internet service.
  • June, 1996 – RTC purchases the exchanges of Garrison, Max and Kenmare. RTC sells payphone business.
  • 1996 – RTC becomes member of Dakota Carrier Network (DCN).
  • August, 1998 – RTC joins North Dakota Long Distance as a partner.
  • 1998 – Royce Aslakson is selected as Assistant General Manager. New host switch installed in Garrison and remotes installed in Parshall and Max.
  • 1999 – RTC goes equal access giving RTC subscribers a choice of long distance carriers.
  • May, 1999 – Cellular phone service makes IMTS obsolete and all three systems are shut down.
  • 2001 – RTC begins offering DSL (Digital Subscriber Line). Gene Sloan, RTC’s second General Manager retires after 21 years of service.
  • September 1, 2001 – Assistant General Manager Royce Aslakson assumes General Manager duties.
  • 2003 – RTC installs OC-48 Sonet Ring. RTC begins construction on Multi-purpose Building to house 16 vehicles and include a kitchen. RTC sends first student to Foundation for Rural Service Youth Tour in Washington D.C.
  • April 1, 2003 – RTC purchases Watford City and Alexander exchanges from Citizens Telecommunications Company.
  • May 2003 – New switch installed in Watford City.
  • September 1, 2003 – RTC purchases McKenzie Consolidated Telcom (MCT).
  • December 2003 – Former MCT customers are cut over to RTC equipment.
  • 2004 – RTC completes construction on Multi-purpose Building.
  • November 2, 2004 – RTC purchases the Alexander, Garrison, Kenmare, Max and Watford City cable TV systems from Midcontinent Communications, Inc.
  • April 28, 2005 – Ground breaking takes place for addition to headquarters building.
  • June 1, 2005 – RTC begins offering WildBlue Satellite Speed Internet service in partnership with National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC).
  • May 18, 2007 – RTC hosts open house to celebrate the completion of construction on the new headquarters complex.
  • January 2009 – RTC introduces new company logo and tagline: Smarter. Better. Faster.
  • March, 2009 – RTC enters agreement with Microsoft to use Microsoft Mediaroom as a platform for RTC’s IPTV services.
  • August 25, 2009 – RTC broadcasts first local high school sporting event with BEK Sports West (Dunseith at Kenmare football game).
  • March, 2010 – RTC is awarded $21.9 Million award through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Award includes a $10.95 Million grant and $10.95 Million loan to expand the availability of broadband service on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation and the Squaw Gap exchange.
  • August, 2010 – RTC begins offering WiFi service at various locations throughout their service area.
  • December, 2010 – RTC launches new website
  • March 1, 2011 – RTC offers surveillance camera systems for residential homes or businesses.
  • Fall, 2011 – RTC opens customer office in New Town.
  • August 4, 2014 – RTC opens customer office in Watford City.
  • January 1, 2015- Assistant General Manager Shane Hart is promoted to GM/CEO.
  • June 1, 2015- GM/CEO Royce Aslakson retires with 28 years of service to RTC.