Thank you to all of our attendees, speakers, sponsors and spouses who joined us last week for the Annual CalCom Conference in Monterey, CA.  We had strong participation and support from Member Companies,Associate Members, and Related Organizations that make up the CalCom family. Our Chairman of the Board, Kirby Smith kicked off the conference by celebrating our industry’s foundation, and those who lead the way.  He recognized three very special women who made vast contributions to their company and to the community in which they live; Sharon Lundgren, Luanne Silkwood, and Ellen Tower. These women received the first-ever Leadership Excellence Award for their outstanding female executive leadership. Kirby documented the achievements of these women, along with the accomplishments of many others we know. Please take a moment to reminisce…click here to download the “Our CalCom Family Booklet”

The conference agenda was chock full of discussions emphasizing ‘challenges and change’. Instead of leaving the discussion open-ended, our stellar line-up of speakers offered new ideas, realistic solutions and significant opportunities for our members to respond to the challenges we face. Creative new ideas surfaced. Ideas that our members should consider in an effort to answer the questions…Is our business model still relevant?…How can we sustain in the changing times?

  • Since over 75% of businesses lack sufficient cyber protection, companies should consider sponsoring an internship for personalized cyber attention. Placing a cyber expert from a Computer Sciences major from a local college proves a win-win situation.
  • Money for cap ex is always in short supply. Now, you can qualify for broadband grant funding in your ILEC area for a fiber optic build out, to the node, premises, or pick your location!
  • Looking for a novel way to promote your cutting edge technology? How about hiring a mobile technology center for a day?
  • Trouble keeping abreast of current human resource issues? This proved to be a hot-topic during the conference. “Information must be given” warnings regarding payroll changes to remain in compliance with new employment laws was one of the many focused discussions.
  •  “As telephone operators it is now time to completely re-invent yourself!” Or put another way: “Your future is NOT in phone service!” Well, what then? Research to better understand your customers and employees. Create a competitive culture. Act more like you truly are competitive, productivity measures, and more appealing retail business style.
  • What’s the future of CalCom? Members feel they are collectively connected or linked at the elbows. The majority says that networking demonstrates the best value of CalCom: “That networking opportunity was great!” one Associate Member said when asked if he thought the Gold Level Sponsor displays were valuable.
  • “United we stand”–CalCom members remain passionate about CalCom, the organization and its future.

Do CalCom members believe the industry is undergoing change? NTCA says “technological and regulatory constructs are shifting seismically” [surely we Californians get that analogy!].  The Conference ended with emphasis on the next generation customers. We had a focused panel of students from Hartnell College who generally live without landline service, and spend almost all their time on mobile devices. So, how relevant is your business model? This was clearly the common challenge we attempted to tackle during the conference.

In between sessions, we did manage to have a little fun! Our Annual Awards Dinner featured the accomplishments of our Member Companies, and their employees. Congratulations to Calaveras Telephone and SureWest for their Fleet Safety and Occupational Safety Awards.

We also recognized two students as the Robert Ringman Scholarship Recipients; Breanna Rogue and Rebekah Benavides. Our Community Spirit Award recipients; Linda Gott-Maddox from Ponderosa Telephone and Edward Gouzenne from Calaveras Telephone were both in attendance at the dinner. Congratulations to all of our award winners!

The Annual Conference Golf Tournament, coordinated by the CalCom Suppliers Committee proved to be a success once again. Golfers enjoyed a beautiful sunny day on the greens.Our first place team included; Bill Barcus, Brandon Dukes, Louis Menard, and James Kovaly. Enjoy your bragging rights gentlemen!

Again, CalCom appreciates your support and we welcome your feedback. If you haven’t already done so, please take a moment to fill out this Conference Survey and fax it back to the CalCom office.

If you weren’t able to join us at the conference, but would like to check out the final conference program, please click here..2012 CalCom Conference Agenda- program copy.