The end of this week has myself and a few of our Arlington team down in Asheville at our SMC operation for our annual SMC planning session. These two days of discussion are the perfect opportunity for key members of our team – focused on the benefits that we provide to our member companies – to reflect on the services we offer and how we continue to adapt to the changing benefit needs of NTCA members as their industry, environment and competitive landscape also change.
Running through the status updates is always one of my favorite parts of the process because I continue to be blown away by all that our team does and how much they accomplish. Les Greer, our Sr. VP of Benefits and Technology, and someone we were lucky enough to pluck from the ranks of our membership a few years ago awarded the entire SMC team with our quarterly Rock Star award for the yeoman effort that went into making our R&S prefunding efforts underway for the past 18 months such a huge success. Les and I had compared notes at the start of the prepayment effort with hopes that we could have $100 million of assets put into the program by members prepaying some of the pension obligations and closed the window two weeks ago with over $223 million from 199 members. Given the strong returns of that fund, I remain hopeful that those who participated will see added benefits in terms of funding their future obligations but certainly those who participated helped to put the program in an even healthier status and building upon what is already a huge recruitment and retention tool for rural broadband providers in rural America.
More fun facts?
– Our team has met 99 percent of their service standards for the quarter. Wow!
– We have imaged more than 410,000 documents year to date while incoming mail dropped 1.4 percent – those are the right trends.
– Over 530,000 GHP claims to date have been processed this year.
– R&S calculations are up nearly 18 percent for the year (come on everyone…isn’t this fun anymore??)
– $102 million have been added into our Savings Plan – a nearly 11 percent increase.
Just like all of our members, we are also doing more with less and figuring out what is truly essential. Janet Cloyde, fearless leader of our MRM team shared that October is a busy time for our members and for our MRM team with sharing plan details with our members. They have done the math….with 198 possible nights at home in the month of October between the entire team, they will spend 48 of those nights (or 24 percent) in their own beds. The rest will be spent on the road with NTCA members. They will make me look like a wimp when it comes to travel!
The team is now pivoting to focus on where we go from here – what are our challenges and opportunities in the year ahead and how can we keep our focus on our members…