4,200 People Connected … and Counting

June 6, 2022

 • BY Ron Holcomb

Last month, it was my privilege to accept an invitation to provide testimony for the United States Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety in Washington, D.C. 

The subjects were America’s broadband workforce development and barriers to broadband expansion — topics that have grown familiar at Tipmont Wintek as we continue to build fiber-to-the-home broadband across our electric service area. I was honored to speak on behalf of our team and the demanding work team members have undertaken to connect 4,200 people and counting. (Find the full remarks at wintek.com/testimony.) 

In America today, workforce development and broadband development are indivisible. Uncomplicated, uncompromised broadband access is essential to attract top talent and companies. However, such access is a problem in rural America. 

It starts with an inadequate definition of broadband. Instead of whatever technology is in use, Tipmont Wintek defines broadband as whatever our customers need to pursue their goals. Broadband is a doctor reading radiological studies at home, an entrepreneur running basement servers, and a family of four online at the same time. That level of broadband was unavailable to people across our service area, and it’s why we chose to build a superior and scalable option. 

We’re building it through a team inspired to improve the quality of life in the very communities they call home. That began with a reframed approach to talent acquisition. Rather than pursue a “perfect” employee, Tipmont Wintek prioritizes developing the right people and their potential. (See current openings at wintek.com/careers.) 

Channeling Generation Z’s passion and purpose into fulfilling careers is also essential. That’s why we build tomorrow’s team today through numerous broadband career outreach programs that span junior high to college. 

It’s a career path paired with America’s best infrastructure investment. According to Purdue University studies, fiber-optic broadband returns $4 to every community for every $1 spent on infrastructure and offers the most “bang for the buck” in monthly cost, speed, and customer satisfaction. 

But according to an April survey from Purdue (https://pcrd.purdue.edu/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/RPI-Broadband.pdf), fiber is the least-used broadband technology in rural Indiana — not even reaching 6%.

That’s why Tipmont Wintek is determined to give people what they need to truly connect and compete with fiber-to-the-home broadband — helping our nation’s best and brightest consider rural Indiana, building a broadband workforce that develops people and potential, and empowering rural Indiana with broadband that meets them where they are.

Ron Holcomb

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Ron is a 30 year veteran of the electric utility industry with extensive experience in power supply, advanced grid technologies, essential service operations, economic development and value-driven growth initiatives for combined electric and telecommunication utilities. During his career, he has led three utilities as President/CEO and provided management consulting to utilities across the country. Ron joined Tipmont REMC as CEO in summer 2013. He holds a B.S. in Physics from Austin Peay State University and an MBA from Murray State University.
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