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in the Community - 2015

Our cooperative has a long history of giving back to the communities we serve through contributions of both time and money.  From donating over $30,000 annually to educational scholarship for local students to sponsoring major events such as the Lake Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival, we remain committed to improving the lives of those we serve and the communities we call home.  Check the news & events section to see our most recent activity.

Below are some of our donations, scholarships, recognition and supported community events from this year. You can also view our activities from past years in the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 In the Community sections.
 

Donations - 2015/2016

PBTV Ad Representative Don Dale (center) is pictured here delivering the check to Sgt. Tony Petrie (left) and Deputy Kyle Nohre (right).
Beltrami County Sheriff's Office K-9 Unit
We support the communities we serve and recently our cooperative made a donation to the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office K-9 unit for training and ongoing support of this essential service for our region. PBTV Ad Representative Don Dale (center) is pictured here delivering the check to Sgt. Tony Petrie (left) and Deputy Kyle Nohre (right).

Brian Bissonette, Paul Bunyan Communications Marketing Supervisor (left) handing over the cooperative’s donation towards Project Lifesaver to Beltrami County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Hinners (right).
Project Lifesaver
Project Lifesaver is a public safety program through the Beltrami County Sheriff's Department designed to use state of the art technology in assisting those who care for victims of Alzheimer's dementia, Autism, Down Syndrome, and any other cognitive condition that causes wandering. The program places personalized radio transmitters on identified persons which assist caregivers and emergency agencies in locating those who cannot help themselves. If you would like to donate to Project Lifesaver, please contact the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office at 218-333-9111. Pictured left to right is Paul Bunyan Communication Marketing Supervisor, Brian Bissonette and Scott Hinners from the Beltrami County Sherriff's Department.

 

Pictured with the check (left to right) are Chloe Keprios, PBC Account Executive and Ann Marie Ward, 4-H Program Coordinator. They are surrounded by members of the Beltrami County 4-H Robotics team.
4-H Robotics Program
Paul Bunyan Communications made a donation to the regional 4-H Robotics program. This is the 4th consecutive year the cooperative has been a major donor to the program which supports Robotics programs throughout the region served by PBC. Pictured with the check (left to right) are Chloe Keprios, PBC Account Executive and Ann Marie Ward, 4-H Program Coordinator. They are surrounded by members of the Beltrami County 4-H Robotics team.

Bemidji Vocalmotive Show Choir director Chris Fettig (center) and co-captain Tony Turner accept a donation from Paul Bunyan Communications CFO, Dave Shultz (left).
Bemidji Vocalmotive
Bemidji Vocalmotive Show Choir director Chris Fettig (center) and co-captain Tony Turner accept a donation from Paul Bunyan Communications CFO, Dave Shultz (left). Vocalmotive is celebrating its 20th year!

PBC District 9 Director Tim Hins (right) presents Cass Lake Fire Chief Ben Cameron with a donation check.
Cass Lake Rural Fire Department
PBC District 9 Director Tim Hins (right) presents Cass Lake Fire Chief Ben Cameron with a donation check. They will be purchasing a new fire truck to help serve a 400 square mile area that includes the Leech Lake Reservation and Cass, Hubbard, and Beltrami counties. The CLRFD is made up of 20 volunteer firemen, one part-time Fire Chief, and one part-time Administrative Assistant.

Scholarships & Youth - 2015/2016

2015 Youth Tour Winner, Heather Vikre2015 Youth Tour Winner
Heather Vikre of Walker Hackensack Akeley High School is the 2015 Paul Bunyan Communications Youth Tour Essay Contest winner. She attended the 2015 Youth Tour in Washington, D.C. May 30-June 3.

2016 Youth Tour Essay Contest  winner Sydney Preston2016 Youth Tour Winner
Sydney Preston, a Junior at Kelliher High School, was selected as the 2016 Paul Bunyan Communications Youth Tour Essay Contest winner. She will attend the 2016 Youth Tour in Washington, D.C. in June.

 

Recognition - 2015/2016

Paul Bunyan Communications CEO Gary Johnson (lower right corner) was named as one of the Twin Cities Business Magazine's (TCB) 100 People to Know.Paul Bunyan Communications CEO Gary Johnson Named Twin Cities Business 100 People to Know
Paul Bunyan Communications CEO Gary Johnson was named as one of the Twin Cities Business Magazine's (TCB) 100 People to Know.

Twin Cities Business Magazine annually highlights 100 Minnesotans, leaders with insight, experience, and savvy that people in business need to observe, seek out, and learn from in the year ahead. The goal is to identify the key individuals that are expected to make an impact on local business, regional economy, and quality of life in 2017.

Johnson was included in the Pioneers category in recognition of Paul Bunyan Communications' innovation, growth, and continued deployment of the latest in communication technologies including construction of one of the largest rural all-fiber optic networks in the United States.

Large Company Safety Award from the Minnesota Telecom AllianceLarge Company Safety Award from the Minnesota Telecom Alliance
Paul Bunyan Communications was named the Large Company Safety Award winner for 2016 by the Minnesota Telecom Alliance.
The award is given to companies that demonstrated dedication, commitment, consistency, direction and involvement, not only to their employees, but to the MTA Safety Program, the industry and their communities.

 

PBC employees (left to right) Brenda Williams, Chuck Hildebrandt and Barb Zdenek accepted the award.
Best Year Around Partnership
At the United Way of 1000 Lakes Campaign Celebration & Best of Awards in Grand Rapids, Paul Bunyan Communications received the award for Best Year Around Partnership. PBC employees (left to right) Brenda Williams, Chuck Hildebrandt and Barb Zdenek accepted the award.

From left to right: Mike Meinel, Director of Sales & Marketing of Solarus (Wisconsin Rapids, Wis), Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/GM, and Shirley Bloomfield, NTCA CEO.  Picture courtesy of NTCA The Rural Broadband Association.  Paul Bunyan Communications Named 2015 Smart Rural Community Showcase Award Winner
The Rural Broadband Association, the premier national association representing nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies announced that Paul Bunyan Communications was named a winner of the NTCA Smart Rural Community Award.

The goal of the NTCA Smart Rural Community initiative is to foster the development of smart communities throughout rural America and Canada by encouraging innovative implementation of broadband solutions and access to next-generation applications for distance learning, telehealth services, public safety and security. Smart Rural Community provides educational programming, matching grant resources and an award program to recognize top-performing communities. NTCA recognized Paul Bunyan Communications as a rural service provider that embodies Smart Rural Community principles.

Steve Saunders, CEO and Founder of Light Reading (left) and Steve Howard, Paul Bunyan Communications Information and Technology Development Manager (right)2015 Leading Lights National Award
Paul Bunyan Communications was named the winner of the Most Innovative Gigabit Broadband Service for its GigaZone project in the Light Reading 2015 Leading Lights awards program. The national award recognizes the communications provider that has launched the most innovative Gigabit Broadband service during the past year.

 

Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year AwardBemidji Area Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year
At the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce's Annual Awards of Excellence, Paul Bunyan Communications was selected as their Business of the Year. Exemplary customer service, the GigaZone initiative that has gained regional and national accolades, and commitment to community were cited as reasons for the award.

Paul Bunyan Communications Named Certified Gig-Capable Provider by NTCA–The Rural Broadband AssociationPaul Bunyan Communications Named Certified Gig-Capable Provider by NTCA, The Rural Broadband Association

Paul Bunyan Communications was recently recognized by NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, the premier association representing nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America, as a Certified Gig-Capable Provider for delivering gigabit broadband speeds and enabling technological innovation in the Lake George and Park Rapids communities.

As a Certified Gig-Capable Provider, Paul Bunyan Communications joins a national campaign to build awareness and industry recognition of community-based telecom providers that have built communications networks capable of delivering Internet speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, which is 100 times faster than those currently available in many U.S. households.

Minnesota Lt. Governor Tina Smith Visits Paul Bunyan Communications

Minnesota Lt. Governor Tina Smith speaking to Paul Bunyan Communications staff.Minnesota Lt. Governor Tina Smith visited the headquarters of Paul Bunyan Communications in Bemidji on Wednesday, February 3. The Lt. Governor congratulated the cooperative's staff on being a leader in bringing high quality broadband Internet service to northern Minnesota and for building one of the largest rural fiber optic Gigabit networks in the United States, the GigaZone. She also discussed the State's Border to Border Broadband Grant program which the Dayton administration has proposed $100 million in funding for 2016.

The cooperative, in partnership with the IRRRB and Itasca County, was a recipient of a grant from the 2015 Border to Border Broadband Grant program which will fund nearly $2 million of the $5.5 million Central Itasca County Broadband Project.. Construction will begin in the spring and will bring broadband Internet service with download and upload speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second along with PBTV and voice services to nearly 1,300 locations that currently lack broadband service.

Minnesota Lt. Governor Tina Smith (left) and Paul Bunyan Communications CEO Gary Johnson (right)"We are honored that Lt. Governor Smith took the time during her busy trip to Bemidji to stop at our cooperative and visit with our staff. She along with Governor Dayton are strong proponents of bringing broadband access to all Minnesotan's and we are very appreciative and supportive of their efforts. There are far too many rural areas that remain without access to broadband. We will continue to do what we can to bring it to as many in northern Minnesota as we can," said Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General Manager.

In addition to meeting with Paul Bunyan Communications staff, the Lt. Governor toured the cooperative's facility.

 

Events - 2015

2015 Coop Celebration & Annual MeetingAnnual Meeting & Cooperative Celebration

The 2015 Cooperative Celebration saw one of the nicest days of the event's history, drawing thousands to our Bemidji headquarters on May 20 and making the night another resounding success!

The 59th Annual Business Meeting of Paul Bunyan Rural Telephone Cooperative was held prior to the Open House at 3:30 p.m. The meeting included reports for the 2014 fiscal year and the proposed bylaw amendments were also approved with 1771 in favor, 82 against.

2015 Coop Celebration & Annual MeetingThe Cooperative Celebration was open to the public and featured a free walleye dinner prepared by the Bemidji Fire Department Fish Fry Crew and Lueken's Village Foods, door prizes, kids' activities like face painting, balloons, temporary tattoos, storytelling, animals and entertainment from the Headwaters Science Center, United States Tennis Association's Quickstart Tennis, Concordia Language Villages, and special guests Millie, Bot, and Geo from Nickelodeon's Team Umizoomi. Sam Miltich and Friends from Grand Rapids provided the musical entertainment.

2015 Coop Celebration & Annual MeetingSpecial thanks to the over 130 employees of Paul Bunyan Communications who made the event possible and run as smooth as possible! We would also like to thank the Bemidji Fire Department, Lueken's Village Foods, The Party Store, Minnesota State Patrol, Bemidji Police Department, Beltrami County Sheriff's Department, Paul Bunyan Transit, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Headwater's Science Center, Port-Able John, Bemidji Citizen's Patrol, Bemidji Area Tennis Association, Boy Scouts, Concordia Language Villages, Boys and Girls Club of Bemidji, and Raphael's Bakery for all their help.

We look forward to the 2016 Cooperative Celebration!

Front row: Five Bemidji Youth Hockey Players. Back row, left to right: Wild defensemen Jordan Leopold, Matt Dumbaa and former player and current TV studio analyst Wes WalzMinnesota Wild Road Tour Stops in Grand Rapids & Bemidji on June 24

It was a great day to be a hockey fan on Wednesday, June 24 as the Wells Fargo 2015 Minnesota Wild Road Tour made a pit stop at the Bemidji Community Arena in Bemidji and the IRA Civic Center in Grand Rapids. Hundreds of fans lined up at both stops to meet Wild defensemen Matt Dumba and Jordan Leopold along with former player and current TV studio analyst Wes Walz. They signed autographs, talked to fans and answered questions and even took photos.

Paul Bunyan Communications is proud to be a sponsor of the event and help bring the Wild Road Tour to our communities!

Hundreds of fans lined up at the Bemidji Community Arena for the Wild Road TourJordan Leopold, Matt Dumba and Wes Walz sign autographs in Grand Rapids outside the IRA Civic Center