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UNITEL Client Spotlight: Gardonville

1. Brief description of your operations
Gardonville Cooperative Telephone Association is a telecommunications company that offers services like high-speed Internet, digital television, wireless and voice services.

2. What challenges do you face
Telecommunications is an ever-changing, ever-evolving industry. You have to stay ahead of the curve and make plans years in advance to prepare for new technology. This means upgrading and replacing equipment, training staff, and bringing new products to the market often.

We also face other challenges that are completely out of our control including government regulations, federal mandates, storms that take out equipment or pesky gophers that chew through our fiber-optic cable.

3. What’s unique about your team atmosphere
Although we work really hard, we also try to have fun together. We celebrate monthly birthdays with breakfast pizza or muffins. We have a “brag board” in the main hallway where people put up photos from their vacations, newspaper clippings of their kids and Christmas cards or baby announcements. We have a wellness program which encourages employees to get out of their works spaces to go outside on walks together. We do a handful of family friendly outings including grilling at the park, bowling night and baseball games. And, every day, shoes are optional. Even our CEO, Dave, struts his stuff in a comfy pair of slippers.

4. What are some exciting things you have done and are looking to do in the future?
It is not uncommon for Gardonville to be involved in solving community problems. Over the past twenty-three years Gardonville participated in just under fifty economic development projects, totaling millions of dollars that created numerous jobs and housing for cooperative members. Gardonville and the communities the cooperative serves have experienced steady economic growth. However, growth adds staff. That increase in staff drives the need to solve a community child care shortage problem.

Gardonville staff formed Little Peeps Gardonville Family Daycare in the summer of 2014. It is licensed as a Special Group Family Daycare, the only one in the county at the time. This means it operates under the same requirements of a home daycare. By the end of 2016, Little Peeps opened a second location due to the continued child care demand.

In the future, our goal is to turn Little Peeps into a center to help grow the community and surrounding areas with the ever-growing child care need.

5. What is something about your company that most people don’t know about?
We deployed a tele-medicine solution by partnering with a local senior care facility called Knute Nelson. Their telehealth service, GrandCare, offers a higher quality of life by allowing individuals who require continual healthcare to receive expert care while in the comfort of their home.

Over a Gardonville broadband connection, the GrandCare System transmits information using wireless sensors throughout a residence. Caregivers are then able to login to the system to monitor a patient’s activity and information. Not only does GrandCare connect individuals to their healthcare providers but also friends and family, allowing an all-hands-on-deck approach to an individual’s overall wellbeing.

6. Tell us a little bit about working with Chris and UNITEL?
Chris and the UNITEL crew have been very helpful these past few years. Working with them is always a pleasure. Our requests are promptly answered and they go out of their way to make sure we fully understand the policies. Chris is a great partner and is very easy to work with.

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