NTCA Recognizes Award Winners


NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association recognized six rural telecommunications industry leaders for their achievements and service to the industry during the 2018 Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO last week.

The recipients of the 2017 NTCA Excellence Awards are:

  • Steve Meltzer, senior vice president of JSI (Greenbelt, MD), received the Associate Member Outstanding Achievement Award for his devotion to advocating for rural telecommunications for nearly 40 years.
  • Chris McNamara, IT network manager of Nortex Communications (Muenster, TX), received the Key Employee Award for his efforts in helping to expand fiber-based broadband access to 14 schools.
  • Michael East, president and CEO of South Central Communications (Kanab, UT), received the Management Innovation Award for implementing business strategies that have significantly improved the viability and profitability of the company. East realized the company’s potential to provide better internet service by increasing bandwidth and speeds throughout 10,000 miles of service territory and 23 exchanges. 
  • Doug Ziegler, former board president of Nex-Tech (Lenora, KS), received the Director Life Achievement Award for his 40 years of leadership as a member of the board. This leadership was particularly significant during his presidency, as the company experienced phenomenal growth with the creation of a subsidiary operation to offer a wide array of communications services, including voice, video, and broadband, and began operating as a competitive local exchange carrier in neighboring communities.
  • Jimmy Blevins, chief executive officer of Skyline Membership Corp. (West Jefferson, NC), received the Manager Life Achievement Award for his leadership in establishing a company culture that is both forward-looking and customer-centric. He has introduced and implemented several visionary initiatives during his time as CEO, including developing an award-winning solution to help connect low-income students with their school network.
  • Tyler Graham, a combination technician for GRM Networks (Princeton, MO), received the Heroism Award for his diligent and selfless act of rescuing five people, his in-laws and three senior citizens from an electrical fire.


NTCA’s Excellence Awards are selected by the association’s awards committee comprised of NTCA members. NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield presented the awards during the 2018 Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO Excellence Awards Ceremony on February 28. Video from the awards ceremony is available online.

March 9, 2018        

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