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Retail sales consultant connects with customers

Anthony Robbins arrived at HCTC nearly four years ago with a sales background and a penchant for fixing most anything.

Now, he’s combining those two things as a retail sales consultant with HCTC, putting local customers together with the services that are best for them. “It’s about helping people find solutions for what they need,” Robbins says.

Those needs are constantly evolving, he says. HCTC is evolving, too, with high-speed fiber internet, security systems, home and business telephone, computer repair, and IT solutions as part of its service and product lineup.

“I usually inquire about what the customer is using our services for, and that gives me an idea of what products are going to be best for them,” Robbins says. “I’ve learned that most people are starting to use the internet more and more for different reasons. People are doing a lot more streaming online and need internet connectivity that requires higher bandwidths.”

Most internet customers want faster speeds, a need Robbins, an avid video gamer, understands. Though he plays a variety of PC-based games, he knows online speeds are essential to online-based gaming. “Online gaming doesn’t take that much bandwidth, surprisingly,” Robbins says. “It’s about speed and depends on the ‘ping’ that communicates back and forth between players. A faster ping means an online game runs smoother.”

While he enjoys video games, Robbins, 28, says some of his other interests, such as woodworking, are more artisan in nature. “I’ve got my workshop, and I’ve got my tools,” he says. “I’ve got every- thing I need to get started, I just need to get in there and organize it. I tend to take on too many projects at one time, and I get more started than I get completed.”
He says he wants to start some small woodworking projects at first and see if they sell locally at swap meets and other outlets. “My parents were homeowners, so I learned how to work on things growing up,” Robbins says.

Robbins, a 2010 graduate of Tivy High School in Kerrville, came to HCTC from a “do-it-all” position at an office supply chain. While there, he also met his wife, Joy, whom he married in 2017. The two were co-workers. “We met in February 2015, and we became friends working there. Both of us were leaving at about the same time, and that’s about the time our relationship took off,” he says.

He says he is part of a great team at home and at HCTC, where the retail sales department works cohesively with other departments and employees throughout the cooperative.

“We’ve got a great team of people over here,” Robbins says. “Everyone is really knowledgeable and always helpful when there’s something someone needs to know how to do. And it’s not just the retail sales department. It’s across the whole company. If you have a question, you can usually find someone who can get the answer.”

Director nominations to open soon

The 2019 nominations for HCTC directors will open July 30, with nominations posted by Aug. 23. Petitions for nominations are due on or before Sept. 6. Qualifications and nominations for directors can be found in the bylaws under section numbers 4.3 and 4.4. Bylaws are available online at hctc.net or in the back of the May 2019 phone book.

Director Nominations

District 1A — Ingram
District 5 — Fredonia, Katemcy, Pontotoc and Streeter District 6B — Comfort and Sisterdale

HCTC salutes rural volunteer fire departments

HCTC recognizes that for many rural communities, the local volunteer fire departments provide the first line of defense. Volunteer firefighters are local people willing to drop their own work to help a neighbor or a family member the second their radio goes off. They even put in hours of volunteer training so they can provide the best assistance possible to their community.

In the state of Texas, volunteer fire departments make up about 76 percent of the fire department services. These local fire departments are significantly dependent on monies received from local fundraisers and donations. Faced with required training and expensive equipment, medical supplies, vehicle fuel and repairs, and even insurance, HCTC recognizes the financial challenges our rural volunteer fire departments are faced with each year.

Simply put, HCTC knows that members of our local rural volunteer departments represent the line between life and death in our rural communities, ready to serve 24/7 for the safety of our family, friends and neighbors. HCTC is honored to annually support 25 community volunteer fire departments within our service territory.

HCTC salutes our first responders and local volunteer fire departments. Thank you for your dedication and relentless service to our communities!


Thank you for an opportunity to serve

Greetings, cooperative family! It has been one of the great pleasures of my career to serve as your chief operations officer. As I look ahead to my new role as your CEO, I am excited about the opportunities awaiting our cooperative. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to express my sincere gratitude to our recently retired CEO, Alan Link.

On behalf of the employees of HCTC, I would like to express our appreciation of Alan’s countless contributions. During his tenure, and thanks to the support of your board of directors, the cooperative embarked on a strategy of aggressive investments to deploy fiber optics throughout our regulated network, greatly increasing the availability of high-speed broadband services to even our most remote members.

Likewise, investments were made in our deregulated territories, such as our expansion into new areas of Kerrville, Fredericksburg and Stonewall. Also, our complete fiber overlay of the city of Sonora has been warmly received. Many other fiber deployment projects are underway throughout our territory and will continue through the remainder of 2019.

Now Looking Ahead

HCTC’s mission is “to be the premier provider of modern telecommunications and broad- band services throughout our region.” We will continue our aggressive network expansion, bringing fiber optic services to many more cooperative members and extending the reach of our fiber backbone to improve broadband speeds available to members served with traditional copper lines. As always, we will continue to evaluate, test and implement new network technologies that improve the lives of our cooperative members and further enable our business customers to remain competitive in a global economy.

I also believe that what truly differentiates HCTC as a premier service provider is our dedication to our member-owners. I opened this column by referring to you as family. At HCTC, we not only recognize and appreciate that you, our customer, are an owner of this cooperative, but also think of you as part of our cooperative family. In the coming months, you will see a new commitment to a customer service experience that exceeds your expectations. Improved processes will address our overall efficiency in processing service requests while other improvements will simplify your ability to interact with HCTC online. We will focus on your satisfaction with our service delivery — from providing managed Wi-Fi services to reducing the time necessary to upgrade existing services. And we will always do our best to resolve any service issues you may have, the first time.

I am excited about the tremendous opportunities we have at HCTC. Not only is our service territory in one of the most desirable locations of Texas, but this area has also experienced strong growth in recent years with no anticipated slowdown. HCTC is well positioned to meet the ever-increasing demand for broadband. But, we will not just wait for opportunity and growth to knock on our door. We will continue to seek expansion of our deregulated territory in an effort to provide broadband services to areas historically unserved or underserved with broadband.

I am honored to serve you in this new capacity and look forward to working with our employees and board to find new and innovative ways to improve our services and service delivery while providing you customer service that is second to none!

R. Craig Cook


Reward Offer: Scam Alert

HCTC is aware that some members may have recently received notification of a reward offer appearing to come from HCTC. Please note that this advertisement is not from HCTC.

Such notifications may be emailed directly to you or may “pop up” when you are web browsing. Please remember that HCTC will not solicit or request information using internet pop-ups or website advertisements.

Additionally, HCTC will not use pop-ups or website ads to inform its members that they have been selected to win a prize or ask them to participate in a drawing for a prize. Please be aware of notices falsely claiming to originate from HCTC. If you have any questions or concerns about such advertising scams, please contact us at 800-292-5457. Ask to speak to a member of our information technology department.

Spring, a Time for Renewal and Continued Growth

By the time you receive this magazine, our winter should be behind us, and signs of spring will abound. Everyone with your cooperative wishes that all is well with you and your loved ones as you enjoy this time of spring renewal.

And speaking of wellness, this month’s magazine emphasizes the potential of advances made in health care, particularly those services delivered through broadband. When I talk to state and local leaders, they say they’re pleased by what a broadband network is doing in our homes, schools and businesses. Everything we read encourages us to continue preparation of our network capabilities for the Internet of Things (IoT), smart homes and the almost exponential explosion in connected devices which will automate and improve tasks in both business and everyday personal life.

Increasingly, the place identified by futurists and leaders who see huge potential for broadband technology for rural America is at the doctor’s office. The American Telemedicine Association defines telehealth as “the remote delivery of health care services and clinical information using telecommunications technology.” It may be no overstatement to say that it can revolutionize health care across our country.

Broadband technology provides the capability for local residents to work with their physicians and to connect with specialists around the country via virtual visits and consultations. Minimizing or eliminating the need in rural communities for significant travel to obtain health care should lower a barrier to patients seeking care when they need it, translating into faster and more complete recoveries.

Telehealth can also increase the pace of care when minutes and seconds matter. Whether it’s giving a stroke patient an immediate evaluation by a specialist or enabling a regional radiologist to read the X-ray of a broken arm in the middle of the night, health care providers can use technology to eliminate dangerous delays.

And since telehealth requires high-speed broadband, we’re excited to be in the middle of that revolution. This is yet another example of how our connected lives will continue to be enhanced through broadband connectivity. And this is why your cooperative is moving ahead as rapidly as possible to continue to upgrade our broadband connections. Our goal to our membership in the Texas Hill Country is to enable a connected life.

So while I hope you enjoy this month’s magazine, please allow me to diverge for a moment into a personal issue. Following about 30 years at Southwestern Bell, I have now completed 12 years of employment with the cooperative. For the last couple of years, I have been even more privileged to be your CEO and to lead your capable team.

But that time is coming to an end, and I’m pleased to announce that Craig Cook, who has been your COO for nearly four years, will replace me as your General Manager/CEO in April. I have enjoyed working with Craig, and we have closely collaborated on our aggressive construction-centered multiyear business plan, which has been approved by your board of directors. This will ensure continuity with our declared vision to outshine our peer set by providing our membership the best in broadband capabilities.

I have every confidence that this transition will be smooth and that Craig will bring additional strengths to this position, leading the cooperative for years in the future.

So I would like to thank the board of directors, our employees and the membership for the many years I’ve enjoyed being part of your cooperative. I wish you the best and see the brightest of futures for HCTC.

Alan Link