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Nex-Tech produces three quality newsletters for its customers to keep you informed of what's going on at Nex-Tech, as well as what's going on in the communities we serve. You also get tech tips, links to fun and helpful websites and apps, and invitations to contests and special events.
 

These stories are hot off the press!

Nex-Tech announces 2018 scholarship recipients

Lenora, Kan, 05.09.18 —Nex-Tech is proud to announce its ten scholarship recipients for the Nex-Tech Scholarship. Each will receive a $1,000 award for excellence in demonstrating their passion and how that has led to their chosen career.
Kaelan Cameron, Osborne High School, son of Jerry and April Cameron, Osborne. Kaelan received his admission certification to the University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in November of 2017. He will major in atmospheric sciences/meteorology and potentially minor in journalism and communications. Kaelan’s career goal is to become a meteorologist working at the National Weather Service Office in Hastings, Nebraska.
 
Will Crouse, Rawlins County Junior/Senior High School, son of Sam and Jan Crouse, Atwood. Will plans to attend Fort Hays State University to study agronomy specializing in animal science and general agriculture. His future plans include returning to his roots to operate the family farm.
 
Wyatt Engel, Victoria High School, son of Darin and Jacqueline Engel, Victoria. Wyatt plans to pursue a degree in chemistry at Fort Hays State University. His goal is to work for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
 
Kayla Garvert, Plainville High School, daughter of John and Michele Garvert, Plainville. Kayla plans to attend Newman University majoring in chemistry with a minor in forensic science. Her goal is to improve urban and rural lifestyles by engaging in scientific research involving crime investigation and prevention.
 
Dawson Harman, Hays High School, son of Dusty and Rachel Harman, Hays. Dawson believes the leadership attributes he acquired from participating in sports will help his future career. He plans to attend Fort Hays State University to study construction management and hopes to continue playing baseball in college.
 
Ryann Kats, Logan High School, daughter of Michael and Shannon Kats, Prairie View. Ryann plans to attend Kansas Wesleyan to pursue her goal of becoming a graphic designer. Instead of seeking employment in a big city, Ryann wants to retain her love for agriculture and come back to her hometown area to live on a farm. While she plans to market her design services locally, she also wants to utilize technology to expand across the country.
 
Makenzie Jansonius, Logan High School, daughter of Lonnie and Laura Jansonius, Prairie View. Makenzie has a strong interest in music and helping children. She wants to become an elementary teacher in an inner-city school and continue performing in musical theater. Makenzie plans to attend McPherson College.
 
Halle Lang, Thomas More Prep-Marian High School, daughter of Greg and LaNae Lang, Hays. Halle’s interest in photography/videography has led her to starting her own business. She plans to attend Kansas State University majoring in marketing with a minor in leadership studies.
 
Anna Speno, Thomas More Prep-Marian High School, daughter of Timothy and Jessica Speno, Hays. Anna plans to attend the University of Kansas studying linguistics and the English language to pursue her dream of becoming an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher. She wants to teach in America and abroad.
 
Shayanne Wente, Stockton High School, daughter of Brianne Rush, Stockton, and Shane Wente, Hoxie. Shayanne wants to become a leader in the banking industry and plans to attend Fort Hays State University majoring in finance or business.

Nex-Tech Facilitates CALEA Compliance

By Ashley Spinks, Communications Coordinator, NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association
02.05.18 —NTCA member company Nex-Tech (Lenora, Kan.), which serves more than 45 communities across Kansas (most with gigabit speeds), is constantly looking for ways to diversify its business model. Nex-Tech is both a Certified Gig-Capable Provider and a 2013 Smart Rural Community Showcase Award Winner. The company used a 10 Gbps transport network to improve health care in the community of Hays, Kan. Nex-Tech’s network facilitates the rapid transfer of imaging and electronic health records, and gives the cardiac rehab unit of Hays Medical Center full digital connectivity.
In addition to providing communications services to local residents of Kansas, Nex-Tech offers carrier-facing business services. As one of these services, Nex-Tech functions as a trusted third party (TTP) that assists ISPs with complex regulation compliance.
 
In 1994, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) passed into law. The law requires that “telecommunications carriers and manufacturers of telecommunications equipment design their equipment, facilities and services to ensure that they have the necessary surveillance capabilities to comply with legal requests for information,” according to the FCC website. Put more simply: If telcos are presented with a subpoena or a warrant, they must be capable of “wiretapping” (intercepting data from) users of their network without detection so that information can be turned over to law enforcement.
 
The law—originally intended only for telephone traffic—has been expanded twice to include VoIP and broadband internet service. While fairly straightforward in theory, it can be less so in practice, especially for rural broadband carriers. Small telecommunications companies often cannot afford to invest in the necessary equipment for CALEA compliance, nor do they have the resources to train or hire staff who can fulfill the information requests. To address this concern, CALEA allows these smaller telcos to hire TTPs that meet the requisite security requirements and can fulfill requests on behalf of others.
 
This is the role Nex-Tech fills. Nex-Tech acquired its first CALEA contracts in April 2015, and just last month assumed the contracts of Dobson Technologies, an ISP based in rural Oklahoma. Essentially, “it was a purchase of their customers for the CALEA services only,” Nex-Tech Chief Operations Officer Mike Pollock said. Now, if any of the carriers with which Dobson had contracts receive a valid intercept request, they will contact Nex-Tech to intercept the necessary data and deliver that data to law enforcement officials.
 
“Nex-Tech is excited about the opportunity to expand its business and serve Dobson Technologies’ customers,” said Jimmy Todd, Nex-Tech’s chief executive officer. “Dobson is the ideal fit for Nex-Tech because we already have a great technical team that provides CALEA services for other telecommunications companies.”
 
Despite being a rural telecommunications company itself, Nex-Tech is providing essential services to other locally-owned ISPs through its work as a TTP, and hopes to further innovate and diversify in the future.

Nex-Generation hosts 179 youth at Career Fair

Lenora, Kan, 01.31.18 —On January 10, Nex-Generation Round up for Youth, Inc. hosted a marvelous career day event for area middle school students. Since 2012, Nex-Generation, in conjunction with the ICAN (Interactive Consortium Academic Network), has been hosting a Career EXPLORation day via interactive distance learning equipment. At this career event, students have an opportunity to hear about local careers to give them a better idea of what is available in the area.
Students from the following schools participated: Grinnell, Natoma, Plainville, Palco, Thunder Ridge, and Stockton, with up to 179 youth attending each session. The event was coordinated under the direction of I-CAN Director Cindy Beisner of Natoma and Nex-Generation’s Executive Director Jacque Beckman.
 
“Middle school is a great time for us to help plant the seeds for career development. We believe by exposing the students at an earlier age, they will start exploring their options and begin conceptualizing the types of education (i.e., high school classes) that are required,” explained Beckman.
 
Beisner added, “Even as 6th, 7th, or 8th graders, students can begin forming ideas about possible careers. So often they are not exposed to potential jobs until much later, sometimes not until after college. By letting them hear about area careers earlier, we feel we are setting them up for success in high school, college, and beyond.“
 
Speakers for the day included:
  • Bobbi Basart, USD 271 (Stockton), who spoke about being a school’s technology coordinator.
  • Heather Lyle, Angel Accounting (Natoma), who provided information about both accounting and financial advising.
  • Brian Newell, Newell Plumbing and Electric (Damar), who spoke about the increasing demand and availability of plumbers and electricians in the area; and
  • Cameron Eickhoff, Oak Grove Construction (Plainville), who provided examples of the experiences in starting his own business in architecture and construction.
 
Nex-Generation is a 501c3 non-profit organization, located in Lenora, Kansas. Its mission is to educate northwest and north central Kansas students about local career opportunities by providing and supporting programs in career development, entrepreneurship, internship, and work study/apprenticeship. Through these efforts, we hope to foster a positive sense of community and encourage youth to remain or return home to prosper.

Nex-Generation offers more than 80 paid summer internships in 2018

Lenora, Kan, 01.26.18 —Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc., is accepting applications for this year’s student internship program, which runs from June 4 through August 3. Through this program, the organization will match more than 80 high school and college students with local businesses throughout northwest and north central Kansas for paid internships. Applications are due March 15.
Participating businesses are listed below by county:
 
Cheyenne County: Cheyenne County Development Corporation (St. Francis); City of Bird City (Bird City); Tri-State Antique Engine & Thresher Association (Bird City)
 
Cloud County: Sharp Performance (Concordia)
 
Decatur County: Decatur County Beef/Foote Cattle (Oberlin); Decatur County Museum, Inc. (Oberlin)
 
Ellis County: Midwest Energy, Inc. (Hays); Sunflower Bank (Hays); Waddell & Reed, Inc. (Hays/Hill City)
 
Ellsworth County: Ellsworth County Medical Center (Ellsworth);
 
Gove County: Position in progress and will be posted on the online application soon.
 
Graham County: Graham County Hospital (Hill City); Livin’ on a Prairie (Hill City); Peoples State Bank (Morland); Waddell & Reed, Inc. (Hill City/Hays)
 
Jewell County: Jewell County Economic Development (Courtland/Mankato/Jewell); Randall Farmers Coop Union (Randall)
 
Lane County: Lane County Feeders/Foote Cattle (Dighton)
 
Lincoln County: 181 Ag Supply (Sylvan Grove); Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation (Lincoln); USD 298 Lincoln Schools (Lincoln)
 
Logan County: Pioneer Feedyard/Foote Cattle (Oakley); Uhrich Law Firm P.A. (Oakley)
 
McPherson County: CertainTeed Corporation (McPherson); Mid Kansas Machine Inc. (McPherson)
 
Mitchell County: Cunningham Telephone & Cable (Glen Elder/Beloit); Edward D. Jones (Beloit); Mitchell County Hospital Health Systems (Beloit); North Central Kansas Regional Planning (Beloit); NCK Tech (Beloit); OCCK Regional Office (Beloit)
 
Norton County: City of Norton (Norton); Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc. (Lenora); Northwest Kansas Library System (Norton); Norton County Community Foundation (Norton); Norton County Hospital (Norton); Theraplay Learning Center (Norton)
 
Osborne County: Domoney’s Furniture and Funeral Home (Downs); Osborne County Memorial Hospital (Osborne); The Farmers Bank of Osborne (Osborne)
 
Ottawa County: We are seeking interested businesses in this county.
 
Phillips County: Farmers & Ranchers Outlet (Phillipsburg); Midwest Family Health (Phillipsburg); Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy, LLC (Phillipsburg); Sign Solutions, LLC (Phillipsburg); The Chiropractic Centers (Phillipsburg); The Shepherd’s Mill (Phillipsburg)
 
Rawlins County: We are seeking interested businesses in this county.
 
Republic County: City of Belleville (Belleville); C & C High Tunnel Farms (Scandia); Polansky Seed, Inc. (Belleville)
 
Rooks County: Plainville Times (Plainville)
 
Rush County: EJ Livestock (LaCrosse); Rush County Memorial Hospital (LaCrosse)
 
Russell County: Ad Astra Music Festival (Russell); City of Russell (Russell); Russell County Economic Development & CVB (Russell)
 
Saline County: We are seeking interested businesses in this county.
 
Sheridan County: Hoxie Feedyard/Foote Cattle (Hoxie); Hoxie Implement (Hoxie); One Business Position is Open
 
Sherman County: City of Goodland (Goodland)
 
Smith County: Smith County Memorial Hospital (Smith Center)
 
Trego County: Fabrizius Plumbing (WaKeeney); Shiloh Vineyard (WaKeeney); WaKeeney KOA (WaKeeney); Western Cooperative Electric Association (WaKeeney)
 
Wallace County: Premier Ag, Inc. (Weskan); Wallace County Foundation (Sharon Springs)
 
Nex-Generation’s goal is to give students hands-on experiences in a variety of professions and encourage them to remain in or return home to prosper. “We are ecstatic to be offering such a wide variety of professions. It’s an amazing lineup and tremendous opportunity for area students,” said Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth’s Executive Director Jacque Beckman.
 
Interns are hired directly by participating, local businesses. “While the majority of the time will be spent with their respective businesses, interns can expect to get together at least two times during the summer,” Beckman said. “They will attend orientation at the beginning and a focus group/intern graduation session at the end of the program.” Nex-Generation assists with the application process and provides guidance, curriculum, and materials.
 
Northwest and north central Kansas high school and college students age 16 and over may apply. The application and eligibility requirements are on the Web at www.nex-generation.org. (Look for the blue banner half-way down the page.) The application deadline is March 15, 2018.
 
This program is made possible by generous donations of Nex-Tech Round-Up customers, Nex-Generation business partners, and the Dane G. Hansen Foundation.
 
Anyone with questions may contact Nex-Generation at 877-567-7872 for more information.

Nex-Generation receives grant from Hansen Foundation

Lenora, Kan, 01.12.18 —Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc., a charitable, non-profit organization based in Lenora, Kansas received a $227,200 Grant from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation to expand and grow its Internship and Work Study/Apprenticeship programs.
With this grant, Nex-Generation will be able to offer 26 additional summer Internships and 20 Work Study/Apprentice scholarships to high school and college students within a 26-county area of northwest and north central Kansas. As a result, Nex-Generation will be offering nearly 90 paid summer internships and work study opportunities in 2018. The online application for students to apply for a summer internship will open late January and will close March 15.
 
Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc.’s mission is to educate northwest and north central Kansas students about local career opportunities, by providing and supporting programs in career development, entrepreneurship, internship, and work study/apprenticeship. Through these efforts, the organization hopes to foster a positive sense of community and encourage youth to remain or return home to prosper.
 
Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc. aims to attract and retain youth to small, rural communities of northwest and north central Kansas. The organization believes that having a strong and committed youth focus contributes positively to the strength and viability of each community today and into the future.
 
To find out more about Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc., please visit our website, www.nex-generation.org or contact us at 877-567-7872.

Nex-Generation Career Fair & Expo attracts record numbers

Lenora, Kan, 01.10.18 —A record crowd of 800 high school students and teachers from over 30 school districts in northwest and north central Kansas attended the Nex-Generation Career Fair & Expo on November 21, 2017, hosted on the campus of Fort Hays State University. Attending schools included Bennington, Central Plains, Clifton-Clyde, Concordia, Decatur Community, Ellis, Ellsworth, Golden Plains, Goodland, Great Bend, Hays, Hill City, Hoxie, Lakeside, Lincoln, Logan, Natoma, North Ottawa, Oakley, Osborne, Palco, Quinter, Rock Hills, Russell, St. Francis, Sylvan-Lucas, Tescott, TMP-Marian, Trego, and Victoria.
This year’s event featured motivational, keynote speaker Bill Cordes, the YOGOWYPI Guy, during the opening session at Beach Schmidt in Sheridan Hall; an Expo in Memorial Union, where students visited one-on-one with area businesses, colleges, and professionals; and two career tracks from which students could choose.
 
The “General Sessions Track” featured more than 20 different breakout sessions on a variety of careers: marketing, social media, graphic design, photography, insurance, banking, computer technology, sales, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, welding, construction, diesel mechanics, agriculture, entrepreneurship, computer aided drafting, engineering, communications, community development, college preparation, internships, law enforcement, medical, chiropractic, nutrition, fitness and health, massage therapy, and cosmetology.
 
The “CampMed track” was co-hosted by Ellsworth County Medical Center and provided handson stations including a cadaver lab, sports medicine, forensic lab, code blue, field medicine, IV start & injection, sonography, suturing, pharmacy, OB/birthing, radiology, radiation therapy, physical therapy, and chiropractic.
 
Jacque Beckman, Nex-Generation’s Executive Director, stated, “The Career Fair & Expo enables us to showcase the types of careers that are available right here in northwest and north central Kansas. It provides a great opportunity for students to spark interest in local communities and build networks between students and business professionals. By building these relationships, we are certain we will instill a positive vision for the students who will remain in and return to the area to prosper.”
 
Nex-Generation wishes to thank its many financial supporters: Rush County Memorial Hospital; Cleveland University; NWKLS; Sign Solutions; Fort Hays State University; Nex-Generation; Ellsworth County Medical Center; NWKS Economic Innovation Center; Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial; Midwest Energy; Cunningham Telephone & Cable; Dane G. Hansen Foundation; Nex-Tech Wireless; Nex-Tech Round-up Program Contributors; and Colby Community College.
 
For more information about Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, please visit us on Facebook, on our website, www.nex-generation.org, or call 877-567-7872.

Nex-Tech assumes Dobson Technologies’ CALEA contracts

Lenora, Kan, 01.04.18 —Nex-Tech is pleased to announce it has reached an agreement to assume Dobson Technologies’ CALEA contracts. The transition was finalized on December 31, 2017.
The Communications Assistance Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) of 1994 requires Communications Service Providers to be able to assist law enforcement agencies in executing lawfully authorized electronic surveillance. This could include historical information, such as calling records or identifying the subscriber associated with a telephone number or an IP address. These types of records are often requested through a subpoena process.
 
Nex-Tech is a Trusted Third Party CALEA provider and can provision, implement, and maintain resources for acquired carriers. A Trusted Third Party is recognized by the government as an entity that can act in behalf of the carrier to implement CALEA compliance while maintaining a certain level of indemnification.
 
“This transition is very consistent with our corporate strategy and Nex-Tech is well positioned to provide the highest level of support available,” said Frank Franzese, Dobson’s President of Information Technology, Transport and Telecom Solutions. “We would like to thank those customers using the CALEA Service for their trust during the last 10 years.”
 
“Nex-Tech is excited about the opportunity to expand its business and serve Dobson Technologies’ customers,” stated Jimmy Todd, Nex-Tech’s Chief Executive Officer. “Dobson is the ideal fit for Nex-Tech because we already have a great technical team that provides CALEA services for other telecommunications companies.”

Photography Contest Open for Entries

Great Bend, Kan, 11-21-17 —Walt Disney understood the magic of photography, saying, “Of all our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.” Being a locally-produced publication, the Central Kansas Nex-Tech Directory wants to communicate something special about the essence of central Kansas using a photograph for the cover of the 2018 directory. The image selected will win $300!
The Cover Photo Contest for the Central Kansas Nex-Tech Directory opens on December 1, 2017, and closes on January 31, 2018, with winners announced in late February. Although the contest is not limited to residents of Kansas, the photographs submitted must have been taken in the directory’s coverage area, within one of the following Kansas counties: Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush or Stafford.
 
Both amateur and professional photographers of any age may submit up to 5 photos for entry as long as they are each on individual entry forms. There is no cost to enter, but photos must be free of watermarks, copyrights, or other graphics, and a model release form is required for any people in the photo.
 
Spend your summer selecting or capturing great images and submit them for a chance to win $300 and have your photo on the cover of the 2018 Central Kansas Nex-Tech Directory. For detailed rules and guidelines and to enter your photo, visit www.nex-tech.com/PhotoContest today.
 

Nex-Tech’s Director of Sales Published in Channel Executive Magazine

Hays, Kan, 11-10-17 —Steve Riat, Director of Sales at Nex-Tech, was recently published in Channel Executive magazine. The magazine showcases best business practices from leaders in the greater IT channel community.
In “The Forgotten Sales Step,” Riat suggests that those in technology sales remember to assist the customers in making a purchasing decision. “We can get too focused on speeds and feeds, or price and installation. While those are definitely critical, we can’t assume the customer understands the best solution for the needs of the business.”
 
Riat suggested starting by asking your lead how the company will make this important decision. Subsequent questions work to qualify the customer and ensure they are comparing your solutions to other companies and products. Put yourself in the position of the customer and recall how you have made your own purchasing decisions. Paint a picture of what a successful project looks like.
 
Riat has more than two decades of business technology experience working directly with companies from around the world and brings the best back to the Midwest.
 

Nex-Tech named Continuum rookie of the year

Hays, Kan, 10-17-17 —Sixteen service provider partners of Continuum® were recognized at an awards ceremony on October 3, 2017 held in the Las Vegas Cosmopolitan Hotel. The event was part of the annual user’s conference, called Navigate 2017.
Nex-Tech was named Rookie of the Year as the partner with the highest revenue growth since coming onboard in the previous twelve months.
 
“Navigate was founded as an event to benefit and celebrate our partners,” said Michael George, CEO, Continuum. “We want to take this moment to congratulate all our award-winning partners for their successes, not just in revenue and growth but in building effective business models and tackling the challenges of the MSP (managed service providers) market head-on. Whether they’re succeeding in marketing or in elevating the skillsets of their technicians, we’re here to recognize the achievements of these leaders in the managed service industry.”
 

Jimmy Todd Participates on a Telehealth Panel at an NTCA Conference

Lenora, Kan, 10-06-17 —Nex-Tech’s CEO/General Manager Jimmy Todd participated on a Telehealth panel “Building a Telehealth Toolkit for Rural Carriers” at the 2017 NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association Fall Conference held September 24-27 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The panel discussed rural health challenges, demographic hurdles, benefits of telemedicine, and rural economic benefits, as well as telehealth success stories and how these ideas could be harnessed to create a toolkit or checklist for use by telcos wanting to collaborate with healthcare providers.
 
Joining Todd on the panel were Scott Rohleder, IT Director, Hays Medical Center, Hays, Kansas; and Vernon Brown, Vice President, Marketing & Community Relations SDN Communications, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Josh Seidemann, VP of Policy for NTCA, moderated the panel.
 
NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing more than 800 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. NTCA advocates on behalf of its members in the legislative and regulatory arenas, and it provides training and development; publications and industry events; and an array of employee benefit programs. In an era of exploding technology, deregulation and marketplace competition, NTCA’s members are leading the IP evolution for rural consumers, delivering technologies that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business. Because of their efforts, rural America is fertile ground for innovation in economic development and commerce, education, health care, government services, security and smart energy use.

Jimmy Todd Elected to the Board of WTA – Advocates for Rural Broadband

Lenora, Kan, 10-05-17 —Nex-Tech is pleased to announce that CEO/General Manager Jimmy Todd was elected on September 20, 2017, to the Board of WTA - Advocates for Rural Broadband. Todd stated that he is excited to help WTA fulfill its mission and is looking forward to serving the best interests of the Association and its membership. Todd also serves as a member of WTA’s Public Policy Committee.
WTA represents more than 340 small, rural telecommunications carriers providing voice, broadband and video-related services in the United States. WTA’s members serve some of the most rural and hard-to-serve communities in the country and are on the forefront of bringing 21st Century telecommunications services to rural America. To learn more about WTA, visit www.w-t-a.org.

Nex-Tech featured in two national publications for keeping Kansas connected

Lenora, Kan, 09-29-17 —If you check out the September issues of Business Review USA or Gigabit, you’ll see some familiar names starting on pages 140 or 92, respectively. Jimmy Todd, CEO of Nex-Tech, LLC, gave an exclusive interview to Business Review USA, resulting in a 10-page feature written by Neil Walker and produced by Eric Lenhardt.
In the article, Todd speaks about the company’s plight to supply reliable fiber technology to rural Kansas. Todd is all too aware of technology’s lightning-fast pace and has worked hard to ensure Nex-Tech is at the forefront of its service offerings.
 
This, he is keen to highlight, is a team effort. “We have some brilliant people on staff that are truly experts in what we do. They are constantly involved in working with our vendors to look at what is going to be available in the near future, how that fits in with the services we currently offer, and how it would be utilized or implemented.”
 
“It’s a constant effort, not something you can do once and feel good about it for a few years. Today, you don’t buy technology that lasts 20 years – you forecast for five years hoping that you’ll get three-and-a-half,” Todd emphasized.
 
Nex-Tech considers itself a local citizen, giving back to the community wherever it can. It has created a solid relationship with a local university to provide training and the potential for jobs, and it helps high schools with scholarships and internships. Alongside treating local education centers as partners, Nex-Tech does the same for customers and suppliers, striving for positive associations across the board.
 
“It’s about having good communication and strong relationships, and when new vendors come on board, we put them through the wringer. If their equipment meets the specifications we’re looking for, we put it in the lab – just like with our current vendors – and see if it makes the grade.”

Nex-Tech employee advocates for telehealth on Capitol Hill

Lenora, Kan, 8-17-17 —When it comes to health care in rural America, the obstacles are many, with the distances to travel being first among them. Exposure to chemicals used in farming can increase the rates of certain types of cancer, and rates of other chronic diseases are higher than in urban areas. Because physically getting to a provider is more difficult, these conditions may be more serious by the time they are diagnosed.
Telemedicine, or telehealth, is one answer to some of these concerns, but it has obstacles of its own. On July 18, 2017, a panel met on Capitol Hill to discuss how to overcome them in a session called “Connecting Rural America for Health.” Among the panel participants was Nex-Tech’s Customer Sales Supervisor, Maggie Basgall.
 
The panel was moderated by Graham Dufault of ACT | The App Association. Their Connected Health Initiative hosted the panel in cooperation with the Congressional Rural Telecom Working Group and NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association. More than 60 government representatives were in attendance.
 
Joining Basgall were Lucie Ide, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Rimidi Diabetes, Inc., and Paula Boyd, Senior Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs for Microsoft. The panel agreed that chronic conditions are on the rise, and tend to hit rural Americans at a higher rate. About 75% of all health care expenditures are for these conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.
 
How important is it to connect rural Americans to telehealth services? Consider that 15% of the U.S. population lives in a rural area, while only 10% of the nation’s physician’s practice there. While there are 134 specialists per every 10,000 urban residents, there are only 40 for every 10,000 rural residents. Telehealth services break down the barriers of time and distance, so people in need of specialty care would certainly benefit from them.
 
The problem? There are still 24 million Americans without access to broadband services. Low population density makes broadband delivery very expensive. Imagine the hours of time spent laying and maintaining the miles of cabling needed to reach a very small number of people. Historically, the Universal Service Fund (USF) has helped cover the delivery costs that would never likely be recovered with such a small customer base. However, that budget was set with the goal of supporting just legacy telephone service, and not the costly broadband infrastructure needed to adequately provide telehealth services. Even with recent reforms, an additional $110 million per year or more is needed to meet the model of broadband deployment crafted by the FCC.
 
Nex-Tech is proud to have been a leader in broadband telecommunications for the past 20 years and was honored to have Basgall represent Nex-Tech and NTCA in Washington.
 
“Despite the regulatory environment and averaging less than 1.5 customers per square mile in our cooperative service area, Nex-Tech has already buried more than 6,500 miles of fiber optic cabling connecting customers through out our service area,” said Basgall. “Nearly all of our medical providers already have access to up to 1 Gig on fiber optic, and we continually work toward delivering premium services to all of those customers within our footprint.”

Nex-Tech donates money to Great Bend school district

Great bend, Kan, 7-14-17 —It’s in the bag or at least it will be for incoming freshmen at Great Bend High School.

Nex-Tech advises residents to be wary of door-to-door salespeople in the area

Hays, Kan, 07.12.17 —Nex-Tech has received multiple reports of door-to-door salespeople throughout the area that are referencing Nex-Tech or implying they are associated with Nex-Tech. The reports have varied from caller to caller. In one example in Hays, the salesperson said he represented Nex-Tech, Eagle and Dish Network. It is believed he was with a satellite dish company. Another customer in Smith Center reported that the salesman told her he was with a local construction company. When we contacted the construction company, they confirmed they are not conducting door-to-door visits. Callers have also said that the salespeople are not wearing a uniform, driving a company vehicle or showing identification.
Nex-Tech would like to let residents know that we are not conducting door-todoor sales in any of our communities and will never approach homes without official credentials and identification. This includes company vehicles, clothing with the Nex-Tech logo or name or carrying a Nex-Tech identification badge. Additionally, Nex-Tech does not hire outside firms for sales efforts.
 
We would like to share these safety tips from the Kansas Consumer Protection Division when being visited by door-to-door salespeople.
 
  1. Never let a salesperson into your home unless you are sure of who they are and why they are there.
  2. Ask to see their peddler's license, if it is required by your local city or county government.
  3. Ask for written information on the company and salesperson and take plenty of time to read it and shop around, rather than making a purchasing decision on-the-spot. A legitimate salesperson will be happy to leave their business card and come back if you decide to make a purchase.
  4. If the salesperson says it is a special deal for "today only," it's probably too good to be true.
  5. Never pay for door-to-door purchases with cash. When possible, use a credit card, which will allow you to cancel or dispute the charge.
 
If you have any questions regarding this matter, Nex-Tech customers can call 888-565-3200 to speak to customer care.

First Call preparing backpacks for school

HAYS, Kan, 7-12-17 —It might be summer, but First Call for Help is preparing for school.
 
On Wednesday morning, employees of Nex-Tech and Nex-Tech Wireless brought the donations the companies had gathered Saturday during a donation drive at Walmart SuperCenter for the Backpacks for Kids program. The companies also each will make a $250 donation to the program.

Wingerson and Anderson Selected for Washington, D.C. Trip

Lenora, Kan, 7-07-17 —A free trip to Washington, DC, does not come along every day, but for two students, it become a reality. Through its association with the Foundation for Rural Service (FRS), Nex-Tech sponsored two students to attend the FRS Youth Tour, June 3-7, 2017. Students apply by written application, which includes an essay addressing the benefits of attending the Youth Tour and impact that it may have to their career goals. This year’s winners were Sienna Wingerson and Clade Anderson who joined nearly 100 other students from across the country at the FRS Youth Tour.
Youth tour participants receive a first-hand glimpse at how the legislative and regulatory decisions made in Washington, DC, affect how their local service providers operate in their own hometowns. The trip features a comprehensive overview of the communications industry and the critical role communications plays in rural America. In addition to the educational component, the Youth Tour also introduces students to various historical landmarks.
 
Sienna, an upcoming junior at Smith Center High School, is the daughter of Steven and Annette Wingerson. In her essay, Sienna shares that she wants to see and experience it all, from exploring the places that have shaped America to learning how our government works. Sienna wants to pursue a career in the public relations field and feels the experience and knowledge gained at the Youth Tour will increase her understanding of communications and its importance in our technological society.
 
Clade is the son of Eric and Rebecca Anderson. He will be a senior at Otis-Bison High School. Clade writes that he is excited to experience the history of D.C., to observe how the government works, and to better understand the communications process. He elaborated that learning about government processes and regulations will be beneficial for his future plans to work in a farm environment and become a crop duster. Perhaps one day, Clade shared that what he will learn on this trip might influence him to participate in some form of government, be it a school board member or a state representative.
 
“We are excited to provide Taylor and Trey with this wonderful opportunity,” states Jacque Beckman, Nex-Tech’s Youth Services/Training Specialist. “Educating them about government processes, the telecommunications industry, and our nation’s history will make them stronger individuals and will prepare them as future leaders and contributing citizens.”

Jirak receives Foundation for Rural Service scholarship

Lenora, Kan, 7-06-17 —Nex-Tech is pleased to announce Monica Jirak as a 2017 Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) $2,500 national scholarship recipient. Monica is a 2017 graduate of Thunder Ridge High School and the daughter of James and Sandra Jirak of Kensington. She has been awarded $2,000 from the FRS and a matching scholarship of $500 from Nex-Tech.
The FRS recently chose Monica and 46 other stellar students who will receive more than $100,000 in college scholarships. This year’s recipients are among 1,500 applicants nationwide from rural communities served by members of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, including Nex-Tech.
 
In her essay, Monica spoke about life in her small, rural community. She explained how much living there has taught her about hard work, community service, character development, youth involvement, creativity, and passion for what you want in life. She touted about the feeling of pride when the community comes together to support events and student activities, and to rally around those in need. “This is not ‘flyover country’ as some would call it,” she writes. “It’s a place I call home.”
 
Monica plans to study biology at Pittsburg State University this fall. Her dream is to return home as an obstetrician/gynaecologist (OB/GYN) where she can give back to her community.
 
The FRS College Scholarship Program awards one-time scholarships to students from rural America for their first year of college, university or vocational-technical school. Each student is sponsored by an NTCA member company. New this year, FRS awarded three $500 Roger Alan Cox Scholarships and two $1,250 Broadband Telecom Conference Scholarships. Four $5,000 scholarships funded by Manny and Leo Staurulakis of JSI in honor of their parents, John and Chresanthe Staurulakis, were awarded to students with an interest in science, math, medicine or engineering. Two $1,500 scholarships were funded by Telecom Management Services (TMS) of Mayfield, Ky. One student received the $7,000 Everett Kneece Scholarship in honor of the philanthropist with a passion for rural America.
 
"FRS is extremely proud of our college scholarship program and the people who make it possible: the astounding students who apply and the supportive companies that sponsor them," said FRS Executive Director Jessica Golden. "Our 47 scholarship winners have proven their academic abilities—often despite challenging personal circumstances—and have also showcased a remarkable love and appreciation for their communities. We wish all awardees the best in their future endeavours and hope they feel a great sense of support and community pride."
 
A full list of scholarship winners is available online at www.frs.org.

Businesses Host 33 Nex-Generation Summer Interns

Lenora, Kan. 06-23-2017 —Businesses across northwest and north central Kansas are playing host to 33 high school and college interns in the fifth year of the Nex-Generation Student Internship Program. The program enables students age 16 and over with a paid, summer experience where they receive hands-on instruction in technical and non-technical careers. The program is coordinated through Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc., a non-profit based in Lenora, Kansas.
“We are all about keeping our young people here in the area they call home,” states Nex-Generation’s Executive Director Jacque Beckman. “Some of us may be guilty of telling our kids or our grandkids that there are no opportunities here. The truth is: there are lots of opportunities.”
 
Mendi Anschutz, Nex-Tech’s Economic Development/Networking Specialist, agrees. “We started this program at Nex-Tech in 2011 with 6 interns. Two years ago, we opened up the program to local businesses, and a true culture shift has begun. Already we are seeing students remain in the area as soon as they graduate from college. Their internships with businesses right in their own counties is one of the reasons.”
 
This summer’s Nex-Generation interns and their respective businesses include the following:
 
Natalie Acosta, daughter of Heriberto and Carmen Acosta of Syracuse, interning with Colby Community College in Colby.

Reganne Barker, daughter of Rodney and Lora Barker of Tipton, interning with Farmers Bank of Osborne in Osborne.

Bergan Bock, daughter of Doyle and Julie Bock of Bird City, interning with Cheyenne County Development Corp. (CCDC) in St. Francis. (CCDC is in its third year of participation in the program.)

Zach Boxberger, son of Justin and Kim Boxberger of Russell, interning with Nex-Tech in Hays. (Nex-Tech is in its fifth year of participation in the program.)

Thatcher Brown, son of Troy and Sherri Brown of Hays, interning for the second year with Waddell & Reed, Inc. in Hays and Hill City. (Waddell & Reed is in its second year of participation in the program.)

Karlee Braun, daughter of Delton and Gina Braun of Phillipsburg, interning with Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy, LLC, of Phillipsburg.

Landon Cook, son of Renee Cook of McPherson, interning with Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation (LCEDF) in Lincoln. (LCEDF is in its second year of participation in the program.)

Stephen Edison Cummings, son of Jerry and Sharon Cummings of Norton, interning with Sign Solutions in Phillipsburg.

Leah David, daughter of Troy and DeAnn David of Lenora, interning with Nex-Tech in Lenora.

Ryan Deaver, son of Patrick and Gina Deaver of WaKeeney, interning with Shiloh Vineyard of WaKeeney. (Shiloh Vineyard is in its second year of participation in the program.)

Will Ellis, son of Scott and Darla Ellis of Norton, interning for the second year with the City of Norton. (The City of Norton is in its third year of participation in the program.)

Renee Elpers, daughter of Pat and Lori Elpers of Cheney, interning with Nex-Generation in Lenora, Hill City, and Hays.

Jake Hamilton, son of Tiffany Hamilton of Bird City, interning with Tri-State Antique Engine and Thresher Association in Bird City.

Taylor Haven, daughter of Todd and Michelle Haven of Smith Center, interning for the third year with Smith County Memorial Hospital (SCMH) in Smith Center. (SCMH is in its third year of participation in the program.)

Ashtin Heath, daughter of Kim and Dan Heath of Great Bend, interning with Rush County Memorial Hospital in LaCrosse.

Mason Herrman, son of Curt and Becky Herrman of Manhattan, interning with Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation in Lincoln.

Zack Hughes, son of David and Beth Hughes of Junction City, interning with the City of Norton.

Hannah Imm, daughter of Corey and Mandy Imm of Phillipsburg, interning with The Shepherd’s Mill in Phillipsburg.

Leo Jirak, son of Greg and Jackie Jirak of Oakley, interning with the CCC Endowment Foundation in Colby.

Macy Kasson, son of Kirk and Kim Kasson of Almena, interning with Midwest Family Health in Phillipsburg.

Kollette Keeten, daughter of Greg and Tonya Keeten of Glade, interning for the second year with Phillipsburg Chamber and Main Street in Phillipsburg. (The Chamber is in its second year of participation in the program.)

Garrett Lemon, son of Ron and Terese Lemon of Hoxie, interning with Foote Cattle/Hoxie Feedyard in Hoxie.

Zach May, son of Roland and Pam May of Oberlin, interning with Oberlin-Decatur County Economic Development and Chamber in Oberlin.

Tianne McCoy, daughter of Brad and Stacey McCoy of Harlan, interning with Osborne County Memorial Hospital in Osborne.

Erik Medrano, son of Ernesto and Diana Medrano of Kansas City, Missouri, interning in a shared capacity with Russell County Economic Development in Russell and Smoky Hill Development Corporation in Ellsworth.

Alison Miller, daughter of Jerry and Tammy Miller of Stockton, interning with Farmers & Ranchers Outlet in Phillipsburg.

Gus Nickelson, son of Steve and Saundra Nickelson of Penokee, interning with Graham County Hospital (GCH) in Hill City. (GCH is in its third year of participation in the program.)

Raenee Patterson, daughter of Eric and Jennie Patterson of Norton, interning for the second year with Norton County Community Foundation (NCCF) in Norton. (NCCF is in its second year of participation in the program.)

Nicholas Pennington, son of Derek and Sarah Peine of Hays, interning with Western Cooperative Electric in WaKeeney. Brittney Reed, daughter of Keith and Linda Funk of Quinter, interning with Midwest Energy, Inc., (MWE) in Hays. (MWE is in its second year of participation in the program.)

Eli Sherwood, son of Sara Sherwood and John Sherwood of WaKeeney, interning with Curt Fabrizius Plumbing in WaKeeney.

Callie Uehlin, daughter of Traci Jennings of Norton and Paul Uehlin of Oberlin, interning with Northwest Kansas Library System (NWKLS) in Norton. (NWKLS is in its third year of participation in the program.)

Jaycee Wallace, daughter of Jason and Tamara Wallace of Beverly, interning with Unified School District (USD) 298 in Lincoln. (USD 298 is in its second year of participation in the program.)
 
“We are thrilled to offer this amazing opportunity and look forward to having more businesses and students involved,” states Beckman. “Not only can they participate in the summer internship program, but they can also get involved in our work study/apprentice scholarship program during the school year.”
 
Anyone wanting more information about Nex-Generation and its programs should contact Jacque Beckman or Mendi Anschutz at 877-567-7872, or by e-mail: jbeckman@nex-tech.com or manschutz@nex-tech.com.
 
Funding for the internships has been made possible by Nex-Generation Business Partners: Nex-Tech and customers participating in the Nex-Generation Round Up Program; Phillips County Economic Development; Dane G. Hansen Foundation and its partnership with Kansas State University and K-State Research and Extension; Midwest Energy, Inc., and Cunningham Telephone and Cable.

Photography Contest Open for Entries

Hays, Kan, 06-09-17 —Walt Disney understood the magic of photography, saying, “Of all our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.” Being a locally-produced publication, the Northwest Kansas Nex-Tech Directory wants to communicate something special about the essence of northwest Kansas using a photograph for the cover of the 2018 directory. The image selected will win $300!
The Cover Photo Contest for the Northwest Kansas Nex-Tech Directory opened on June 1, 2017, and closes on August 31, 2017, with winners announced in late September. Although the contest is not limited to residents of Kansas, the photographs submitted must have been taken in the directory’s coverage area, within one of the following Kansas counties: Cheyenne, Decatur, Ellis, Graham, Gove, Logan, Norton, Osborne, Phillips, Rawlins, Rooks, Russell, Sheridan, Smith, Thomas, Trego or Wallace.
 
Both amateur and professional photographers of any age may submit up to 5 photos for entry as long as they are each on individual entry forms. There is no cost to enter, but photos must be free of watermarks, copyrights, or other graphics, and a model release form is required for any people in the photo.
 
Spend your summer selecting or capturing great images and submit them for a chance to win $300 and have your photo on the cover of the 2018 Northwest Kansas Nex-Tech Directory. For detailed rules and guidelines and to enter your photo, visit www.nex-tech.com/PhotoContest today.

Nex-Tech Announces 2017 Scholarship Recipients

Lenora, Kan. 05-10-2017 —Nex-Tech is proud to announce its ten scholarship recipients for the Nex-Tech Scholarship. Each will receive a $1,000 award for excellence in demonstrating their passion and how that has led to their chosen career.
Jesse Bebb, Logan Junior/Senior High School, son of Monica Bebb of Lenora. Jesse plans to attend Garden City Community College, where he will study cosmetology.

Cecelia Beck, Stockton High School, daughter of Rob and Mary Ellen Beck of Stockton. Cecelia plans to attend Dodge City Community College. Her future plans are to become both a dietician and a florist.

Tucker Eckols, Hill City Junior/Senior High School, son of Bradley and Barbara Eckols of Hill City. Tucker plans to attend Emporia State University this fall, entering the field of biology.

Monica Jirak, Thunder Ridge High School, daughter of James and Sandra Jirak of Kensington. Monica plans to attend Pittsburg State University this fall, majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry. She hopes this path leads to a future medical career.

Bjorn Jonsson, Lincoln Junior/Senior High School, son of TJ and Sheri Jonsson of Lincoln. Bjorn is enrolled at Kansas State University for the fall and will begin studies in architectural engineering.

Taylor Keller, Palco Junior/Senior High School, son of Myron and Rachel Keller of Palco. Taylor has a strong interest in leadership, business, and entrepreneurship. He will be attending Washburn University this fall.

Sabre Plante, Hill City Junior/Senior High School, daughter of Tim and Crystal Plante of Hill City. Sabre plans to attend Kansas State University, where she will pursue a degree in hospitality management.

Ethan Shippy, Hays High School, son of Darrel and Kay Shippy of Hays. Ethan will attend Fort Hays State University this fall, majoring in biology. He hopes to one day become a surgeon.

Sarah Zahradka, Hoxie Junior/Senior High School, daughter of David Zahradka of Hoxie and Shannon Simmons of Blanket, Texas. Sarah has enrolled at Hays Academy of Hair Design in Hays in pursuit of a career as a cosmetologist.

Taitem Zeigler, Natoma Junior/Senior High School, son of Tracy and Annette Zeigler of Natoma. Taitem plans to attend Cloud County Community College this fall to study aviation.
 

Nex-Tech receives two Hermes awards

Hays, Kan. 4-28-17 —On April 6, 2017, Hermes Creative Awards announced early entrant winners in the 2017 international awards competition, and they included two awards for Nex-Tech’s Creative Solutions Department.
Nex-Tech’s entry, “First Day of College Snapchat Filter” won a gold award. This filter was designed and implemented by Graphic Designers, Chris Norris and Aubree Broyles.
 
A second entry, “$100 Campaign Animated Television Commercial,” was awarded Honorable Mention. This commercial was designed and produced by Graphic Designer, Chris Norris and Video Production Assistant, Faryn Schulte.
 
Nex-Tech’s award-winning Creative Solutions Department members now create custom marketing solutions for outside businesses in addition to their work in-house. “It’s an honor to get international recognition for our amazing creative materials designed right here in northwest Kansas,” said Jenny Leiker, Creative Solutions Supervisor for Nex-Tech. “It’s rewarding to learn that the work we are so proud of stands up to the scrutiny of professionals in the industry.”
 
The judges look for companies and individuals whose talent exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry. A list of Platinum and Gold Winners can be found on the Hermes Creative Awards website at www.hermesawards.com

Nex-Generation Awards $2,500 in Grants

Lenora, Kan. 4-27-17 —Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc., is pleased to award $2,500 in grants to the following organizations or schools:
  • United Way of Central Kansas ($850) - Purchase of Children’s Books (Ages 0-5) for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in Great Bend and Hoisington
  • Hays Kiwanis Club ($800) - Purchase of Park Equipment for Young Children (Under 5) at Kiwanis Park in Hays
  • Hays Community Theatre ($680) - Purchase of Equipment for the Summer Theatre Workshops for Children Ages 5-18
  • Thunder Ridge Middle School ($170) - Purchase of Accelerated Reading (A/R) Book Storage Baskets
 
Nex-Generation’s Board and Executive Director also announced that this will be the organization’s final round of grants. The organization has cancelled the program effective May 1, 2017, in order to concentrate on funding internships throughout the 28-county area it serves.
Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc., is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization based in Lenora, Kansas. The organization operates solely on the generous support of area donors. Nex-Generation’s mission is to educate northwest and north central Kansas students about local career opportunities by providing and supporting programs in career development, entrepreneurship, internship, and scholarship. Through these efforts, the organization hopes to foster a positive sense of community and encourage youth to remain or return home to prosper.

Nex-Tech employee serves on panel at IP Vision show

Lenora, Kan. 4-26-17 —Nex-Tech’s Director of Operations, Ron Ellis, served as a panelist on “The Realities of Managed Wi-Fi Deployment” at the 2017 IP Vision Conference and Expo. Sponsored by NTCA: The Rural Broadband Association, the show took place April 10-12 in St. Louis, Missouri.
Joining Ellis on the panel were Kevan Burroughs of Peoples Telephone Cooperative in Quitman, Texas, and Rick Snelling of AirSonics. Each panelist gave a short presentation about the challenges of bringing a managed Wi-Fi plan to reality and how the deployments over DSL and fiber have had a real-world impact on their businesses. Ellis outlined Nex-Tech’s premium Wi-Fi service offering, how equipment was tested and chosen, strategies for meeting challenges in larger buildings with robust construction, and ways to make it simple for the end user.
 
The IP Vision Conference and Expo is a unique event focused on the evolution of broadband networks in rural areas and the IP applications that run them. Solution providers and decision makers get together to discuss the latest developments in broadband deployment, and work to keep rural areas on the cutting-edge of technology.

Nex-Tech’s Leiker and Inlow Accept Promotions

Hays, Kan. 4-13-17 —Nex-Tech is pleased to announce the promotions of Jenny Leiker and Roy Inlow to supervisory positions in Hays. Leiker began her new position in March, while Inlow’s started in April.
As Creative Solutions Supervisor, Leiker oversees staff that have been merged together from the Marketing and Media Departments. She has been with Nex-Tech since 2003 and has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from the University of Kansas. She joined the Marketing Department in 2004 and most recently served as a Senior Marketing Analyst. Originally from Ulysses, Leiker moved to Hays 15 years ago and lives with her husband, Joe, and son, Parker. In her free time, she is an advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association. Leiker is the Co-chair of the Hays Walk to End Alzheimer’s and Chair of the Crawl to End Alzheimer’s.
 
"I am excited to lead our team of extremely talented media and marketing specialists,” said Leiker. “With more than 150 years of combined experience in the Creative Solutions Department, our team delivers professionally designed graphics, videos, print, digital and social media services, event planning, content generation, strategic planning and more for Nex-Tech and dozens of advertising solutions clients throughout the region.”
Inlow has been selected as the Direct Sales Supervisor. He has been with Nex-Tech since 2000, serving as Operations Supervisor for 11 years, most recently as Project Coordinator, helping to launch Project Management. Roy studied Business Management/Marketing at Northern Illinois University and has over 20 years of sales experience and over 35 years of management experience.
"Nex-Tech has a remarkable Sales Team, and the impact of their work will be continually more essential to the company,” said Inlow. “I’m pleased to be able to lead such a skilled and motivated team.”

Nex-Tech and Cerv’s team up for Thankful Thursdays

Lenora, Kan. 4-10-17 —Who in your community are you thankful for? What charity goes the extra mile to make life a little easier? When can you count on a business to step up and fill a need? Where are organizations making an impact around town?
Thankful Thursdays Winner
The Hays Fire Department was the first lucky winner of “Thankful Thursdays” in Hays. This promotion is offered by Nex-Tech and Cerv’s to recognize those who make a positive difference in the community. Nominate the next winner on the Facebook page of either Nex-Tech or Cerv’s.
Nex-Tech and Cerv’s recognize that great communities are a group effort, and they want to show their appreciation with a new promotion called Thankful Thursdays. The promotion will be offered in the communities of Hays, Hoisington and Great Bend, where Cerv’s convenience stores are located. Each Thursday, one lucky recipient will receive a delivery of free Snoballs or coffee, and have a photo posted to Facebook to announce the good news.
 
The promotion launched on April 6, 2017, and the first winners were the Hays Fire Department, Hoisington Police Department, and the Great Bend Fire Department. After the winner is posted each week, nominations for the next week’s recipient will be accepted through the following Sunday. Be sure to nominate the businesses and organizations who strive to make a difference in your community by commenting on the Facebook page of either Nex-Tech or Cerv’s on the Thankful Thursdays post.

Nex-Tech CEO gives presentation at WTA meeting

Lenora, Kan. 3-30-17 —The WTA – Advocates for Rural Broadband held its annual spring meeting in Hilton Head, South Carolina on March 12-15, with a theme of “Ride the Tide.”
On March 13, Nex-Tech CEO and General Manager, Jimmy Todd, gave a presentation called “The Effects of Streaming Services on Your Network.” The presentation looked at the exponential growth in data consumption and how it affects the costs for a rural telecommunications company’s broadband networks. Todd identified “Over the Top” video as having the greatest impact on the accelerated usage. Several leaders in the telecommunications industry have been working
 
WTA is a member-driven association strengthening the ability of its members to provide affordable advanced broadband and communications services in rural America through advocacy and education.

VLS Communications Acquires Nex-Tech’s Mobile Radio Division

Lenora, Kan. 3-17-17 —On Friday, March 17, 2017, Nex-Tech closed the sale of its mobile radio services to VLS Communications, Inc. of Collyer, Kansas. The transfer includes Two-Way Radios, pagers, sales and service, installation and maintenance of Public Safety Dispatch Consoles and emergency lighting.
Photo: Vance Scott of VLS Communications, Inc. shakes hands with Mike Pollock of Nex-Tech, LLC to close the deal of the sale of mobile radio services from Nex-Tech to VLS.
“Nex-Tech extends our best wishes to Vance and Lori Scott, owners of the newest Motorola Mobile Radio dealership in Kansas, VLS Communications.,” said Nex-Tech’s Chief Operating Officer Mike Pollock.
 
Vance had worked as a Senior Mobile Radio Technician at Nex-Tech for the last 16 years. “I am excited to get on with my next adventure in life,” Vance shared. “It has been a privilege to work with and know such a wonderful and dedicated group of people while at Nex-Tech. I appreciate all of the support I have received.”
 
Vance has more than 28 years of experience in electronics. VLS Communications, Inc. can be reached by phone at 785-567-6032 or by email at vlscommunications@hotmail.com.
 

Nex-Tech’s Mobile Radio Division Sold to VLS Communications

Lenora, Kan. 2-27-17 —There’s a new mobile radio service provider in town, and Nex-Tech couldn’t be happier. Nex-Tech has reached an agreement with VLS Communications, Inc. of Collyer, Kansas, to sell its mobile radio services provided through its Mobile Radio Division. The transition, which should be complete before May, covers Two-Way Radios, pagers, sales and service, installation and maintenance of Public Safety Dispatch Consoles and emergency lighting.
VLS Communications is owned by Vance and Lori Scott of Collyer. Vance has more than 28 years of experience in electronics, and has spent the last 16 years as a Senior Mobile Radio Technician for Nex-Tech.
 
Vance is looking forward to building something new. “It’s terrific to start off with a business that I am comfortable with and clients that I already know, but I’m most excited about being able to make decisions about how much to grow the business over time.”
 
“This is a win for both of our companies, and especially for our mobile radio customers. It gives us peace of mind that they will continue to receive top-notch customer service and technical support from someone they know,” explained Nex-Tech CEO and General Manager Jimmy Todd.
 
Nex-Tech’s Mobile Radio Division had employed six individuals including Vance. Five have transitioned to other positions within the company or accepted employment with other local businesses.

Nex-Tech employee serves on panel at NCTC conference

Hays, Kan. 2-24-17 —Nex-Tech Product and Services Manager Scott Roe served as a panelist at the 2017 Winter Educational Conference of the National Cable Television Cooperative, Inc. (NCTC) The conference took place in New Orleans, Louisiana, on February 20 and 21 with a theme of “Big. Easy. Ideas.”
The panel discussed the topic, “More for Less: Strategies for Meeting Consumer Video Demands,” and was moderated by Altman Vilandrie’s Director Jonathan Hurd. Other industry leaders joining Roe on the panel included Sean Brushett, Chief Revenue Officer for Buckeye Broadband, and Loren King, Video Product Manager for Fidelity Communications.
 
The conference sought to join marketing and technology forces to keep television providers competitive and customer service-oriented in an industry with frequent changes and limiting regulations. The panel Roe served on highlighted some unique promotions created by NCTC members that have been well-received by subscribers. Roe specifically discussed Nex-Tech’s Skinny Bundle that was offered in January.

Nex-Tech CEO Elected to NRTC Board

Lenora, Kan. 2-17-17 —Nex-Tech is pleased to announce that CEO and General Manager Jimmy Todd has been elected to the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC) board. Joining Todd as a new board member is Jason Dandridge, CEO at Palmetto Rural Telephone Cooperative in Walterboro, South Carolina.
Representing the interests of all its members, the NRTC Board is comprised of leaders from the national rural electric and telephone industries, as well as national organizations. Todd and Dandridge will represent the membership in an at-large position serving a term of three-years, with a limit of four consecutive terms.
 
NRTC provides solutions that help electric and telecommunication members bring today’s evolving technology to rural America. Todd stated that he is excited to serve on the NRTC Board to represent the information technology and telecom needs of electric and telephone utilities.
 
Founded in 1986 by electric cooperatives, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), and the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC), NRTC today serves more than 1,500 rural utilities and affiliates in 48 states. Adhering to the Cooperative Principles created by its members, NRTC’s solutions help electric and telephone members bring all the advantages of today’s evolving technology to rural America.

W8T 2 TXT program to add “wheels”

Lenora, Kan. 2-13-17 —A traveling golf cart course designed to teach the dangers of distracted driving is taking on a new look. Lenora-based non-profit, Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc., received two, separate Dane G. Hansen Community Grants totaling $8,995, toward enhancements to its W8T 2 TXT (Wait to Text) program. Through the Greater Salina Community Foundation (Graham County) and Heartland Community Foundation (Ellis, Rooks, and Trego counties), Nex-Generation has been awarded $3,500 and $5,495, respectively. The funds are being used to purchase and wrap two golf carts and a trailer for the program.
W8T 2 TXT teaches about the dangers of talking, texting, or reading while driving. The program includes both classroom instruction and a hands-on driving course, where participants operate golf carts on an outdoor obstacle course. Nex-Tech and Nex-Tech Wireless provide staff to assist with the program.
 
Photo: Nex-Generation showcases one of its new W8T 2 TXT golf carts, purchased through Avalanche Custom Carts in Great Bend. Graphics were created by graphic designer Chris Norris of Nex-Tech and fitted by Commercial Sign of Hays. Pictured are Colton and Cade Peterson, sons of Terry and Julie Peterson of Lenora, and Jacque Beckman, Executive Director for Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc.
Nex-Generation’s Executive Director Jacque Beckman said the goal is to build awareness. “Let’s face it, we are on our phones a lot. When behind the wheel, our use of a phone – or any electronic device – becomes a huge distraction. At Nex-Generation, we are dedicated to helping students recognize these distractions and make better choices toward preventing traffic accidents and fatalities – choices that may save a life,” she said. Since its launch in 2011, nearly 3,000 students, teachers, and community members have participated.
 
“W8T 2 TXT is an excellent program for all drivers learning to wait to text and not to be a distracted driver,” comments Bob Bearley, Thunder Ridge High School (USD 110) driver’s education teacher. “Nex-Generation has a great presentation prepared for the classroom, and the hands-on lesson with the golf carts lets students learn the importance of not texting and driving. We are so appreciative that Nex-Generation makes this program available for our students.”
 
Whenever possible, Nex-Generation incorporates local law enforcement or highway patrol personnel, too. “It’s of great value to the students to see the county sheriff or deputies riding alongside them on the carts,” Bearley added.
 
Beckman expresses the organization’s appreciation. “We want to thank the community foundations, their committees and boards, as well as local residents, schools, and local law enforcement for their continued support of the program,” Beckman said.
 
To bring this free program to your school or community, contact Nex-Generation at 877-567-7872, or e-mail jbeckman@nex-tech.com.
 
Funding for Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc., is made possible through generous donations of Nex-Tech Round-Up customers, Nex-Generation business partners, the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, and northwest and north central Kansas community foundations.

Nex-Tech employees present at NTCA

Hays, Kan. 2-10-17 —The largest annual gathering of rural telecom’s brightest is the Rural Telecom Industry Meeting and Expo (RTIME), organized by NTCA, The Rural Broadband Association.© This year, RTIME convened in San Diego, California, on February 5-8, with the theme of “Focus on Growth: New Rules. New Strategies. New Opportunities.”
RTIME brings together key employees, directors, vendor partners, and allied industry organizations. In addition to meetings, awards, and keynote speakers, “Focus on Growth” offered sixteen concurrent ninety-minute sessions, two of which were presented by Nex-Tech employees.
 
Dustin Schlaefli, Director of Customer Engagement for Nex-Tech, gave a presentation called “The Revenue Replacement Strategies: Monetizing Wi-Fi Management in Homes and Businesses.” His session touched on generating revenue, improving customer satisfaction, and increasing retention by offering Wi-Fi risk management.
 
Justin McClung, Director of Development, Innovation, and Administration for Nex-Tech, offered “Culture Change: A Shared Responsibility.” This presentation identified the important role of management in ushering in a new culture and how it can differ from responsibilities to support the management team.
 
RTIME is attended by telco executives and board members, as well as leaders in marketing, sales, and the regulatory arena.
 
NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing more than 800 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. NTCA advocates on behalf of its members in the legislative and regulatory arenas, and it provides training and development; publications and industry events; and an array of employee benefit programs. In an era of exploding technology, deregulation and marketplace competition, NTCA’s members are leading the IP evolution for rural consumers, delivering technologies that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business. Because of their efforts, rural America is fertile ground for innovation in economic development and commerce, education, health care, government services, security and smart energy use.

More than 30 paid internships available

Lenora, Kan. 2-7-17 —Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc., is accepting applications for this year’s student internship program, which runs from May 30 through August 4. Through this program, the organization will match more than 30 high school and college students with local businesses throughout northwest and north central Kansas for paid internships.
Participating businesses include: Cheyenne County Development Corporation (St. Francis); City of Norton (Norton); Cunningham Telephone & Cable (Beloit); Colby Community College (Colby); CCC Endowment Foundation (Colby); Dane G. Hansen & K-State Research and Extension in conjunction with Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation, Oberlin-Decatur Economic Development and Chamber, and the City of Norton (Lincoln, Oberlin, and Norton); Fabrizius Plumbing (WaKeeney); Farmers Bank of Osborne (Osborne); Graham County Hospital (Hill City); Grinnell Locker Plant (Grinnell); Hoxie Feedyard (Hoxie); Lincoln – USD 298 (Lincoln); Midwest Energy, Inc. (Hays); Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc. (Lenora/Hill City/Hays); Nex-Tech (Lenora/Norton and Hays); Northwest Kansas Library System (Norton); Norton County Community Foundation (Norton); Osborne County Memorial Hospital (Osborne); Phillips County Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (Phillipsburg); Rush County Memorial Hospital (LaCrosse); Shiloh Vineyard (WaKeeney); Smith County Memorial Hospital (Smith Center); Tri-State Antique Engine and Thresher Association (Bird City); Waddell & Reed, Inc. (Hill City/Hays); and Western Cooperative Electric (WaKeeney).
 

Nex-Generation awards $5,000 in grants

Lenora, Kan. 2-7-17 —Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc., launched a new grant program in the fall of 2016 and is pleased to announce its first round of grant awardees:
Third Graders from Rock Hills Elementary School show career books purchased with Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth grant funds.
  • Downs Chamber of Commerce ($2,300) -
    Purpose: Portable stage to be built by Lakeside Jr. /Sr. High School welding class
  • Victoria Schools, USD #432 ($1,000) -
    Purpose: Purchase of large-screen, digital TV for classroom
  • Graham County Happy Crickets 4-H Club ($790) -
    Purpose: Purchase of flower boxes for 4-H community vitality project
  • Rock Hills Elementary Third Grade ($660) -
    Purpose: Purchase of hardbound career books for 3rd grade class project
  • Goddard Place, Inc. ($250) -
    Purpose: Youth ethics camp expenses
 
Each of these grants will be used toward community or youth projects within their local communities.
 
To qualify, applicants must be from the following 28 Kansas counties: Barton, Cheyenne, Cloud, Decatur, Ellis, Ellsworth, Gove, Graham, Jewell, Lincoln, Logan, Mitchell, Norton, Osborne, Ottawa, Phillips, Rawlins, Republic, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Saline, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Thomas, Trego, and Wallace. In addition, projects should be focused within three categories: community, student organizations, and youth entrepreneurship.
 
The next round of applications is due April 1, with grants totaling $2,500 to be awarded by June 30. Another round will be due October 1 and awarded by December 31. The application and a complete description of the program and its requirements are located at www.nexgeneration. org under the red “Programs” tab, and listed under the heading “Grant Program.”
 
Anyone with questions should contact Jacque Beckman or Mendi Anschutz by phone or email: 877-567-7872, jbeckman@nex-tech.com, or manschutz@nex-tech.com.
 
Next-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc., is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization based in Lenora, Kansas. The organization operates solely on the generous support of area donors. Nex-Generation’s mission is to educate northwest and north central Kansas students about local career opportunities by providing and supporting programs in career development, entrepreneurship, internship, and scholarship. Through these efforts, the organization hopes to foster a positive sense of community and encourage youth to remain or return home to prosper.