The annual meeting of the STRATA Networks Cooperative on Thursday evening June 14 at the Roosevelt Junior High School Commons and auditorium brought together Cooperative members from across the Uintah Basin to vote for new board directors and to enjoy a free meal and packaged “swag.”
JoAnn Winn was elected to the board from the Randlett District, Max Fabrizio from the Tabiona district and Shane Busch from the Vernal district, said Tyler Rasmussen, STRATA Public Relations Manager.
Several hundred people came and went from the annual dinner treat sponsored by STRATA, and a good crowd stayed in the auditorium to hear from cooperative leadership, learn the results of the election, and to see if their name was drawn for any of the many door prizes offered.
It was also announced Jerry Goodrich from the LaPoint / Tridell District would be resigning from the board after 25 years of service. Applications to fill the vacancy will be accepted by the Board of Directors through July 1.
Besides the election, the annual meeting has become a tradition for the communications company.
“This was our 60th annual meeting,” Rasmussen said. “STRATA members came and enjoyed a barbecue, viewed demonstrations of some of our new technology, and attended the business meeting.”
Board President Greg Garff and STRATA CEO / General Manager Bruce H. Todd delivered updates on the state of the company during the previous 12 months.
“Both emphasized the importance of recent successes involving deployment of the company’s 4G LTE in the Uintah Basin,” Rasmussen said. “Deployed last fall, this network was the first of its kind in the Uintah Basin, bringing improved mobile broadband speeds up to 10 times faster than the previous 3G technology.”
Todd told audience the 4G system was the result of many months of strategic work by company employees.
“Other changes for the summer will include offering new handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Blackberry Z10,” Rasmussen said. “Those sets will join the Apple iPhone 5 ,which became available in March.”
Newly approved changes to the cooperative bylaws now allow members who take wireless or television services from STRATA’s non-regulated entity (Uintah Basin Electronic Telecommunications LLC) to accrue patronage on those services. Landline service remains mandatory for cooperative membership and patronage accrual.
The changing landscape of FCC regulations creates challenges for STRATA.
“STRATA continues to be an active participant in state and national associations who are working to advocate the message of rural carriers,” Todd said.
Board Secretary/Treasurer, Bill Fausett, presented cooperative financials.
“He specifically addressed a goodwill write-off carried on the company’s books from the Qwest acquisition in 2001,” Rasmussen said.
“The company had a very strong financial year in 2012, with approximately $9 million in net margins, but chose to write-off goodwill of nearly $14 million dollars.”
Todd reported that the goodwill generated from the purchase of the Qwest exchanges (Vernal, Roosevelt, and Duchesne) has resulted in a more robust network, a more efficient operation, and a stronger customer base.