Growing into the dream job

Steven Gullett 1

Meet Mountain’s plant manager Steven Gullett
By Noble Sprayberry

Steven Gullett wondered how far from home a career might take him. He grew up in West Liberty and attended Morgan County High School.

“I always thought it would be nice to stay home, but I didn’t know if it would be possible,” he says. “I’ve been fortunate.”

In February, he was named Mountain’s plant manager, stepping in for Rick Pelfrey, who retired. The job oversees 46 employees and many other responsibilities, including crews, lines, buildings and technology.

“In the past, we’ve had some real good leadership from our board, GM and our plant managers,” he says. “They’ve made good decisions over the years, and I hope to do the same.”
Gullett, 41, can rely on experience to guide his choices.

Seizing an opportunity
After graduating from high school, he began commuting 30 miles north to attend Morehead State University. “When I went to college, I thought that I would be a schoolteacher,” he says. “But when I started working summers at the co-op, they couldn’t get rid of me.”

His first tools were a mower and string trimmer. He kept grass clear at remote sites. “I got to see our entire service area, learning all the parts and the way it works,” Gullett says.

And he kept working. Eventually, he was offered a full-time job, but he would first need to complete a college degree. “I was able to get a degree in university studies, and then I started work (in 1998),” he says.

Over the years, Gullett worked in the Mountain departments responsible for service to homes, as well as businesses.

“My morals have stayed the same, and I’ve grown up,” he says. The company’s culture helped him develop a work ethic and an understanding that a job needs to be done well. “The way we work, we don’t have someone standing over us telling us how it’s done,” he says. “You have some control.”

Now, his days begin around 7 a.m., lasting late into the afternoon. “Being available is the most important aspect of the job,” he says. “When someone calls, I need to answer.”

Keeping pace with 
During the years he grew into the job with Mountain, technology also developed at a blistering pace. “When I started, it was pretty much just dial-up Internet service, and it was foreign to everyone,” he says.

Mountain has evolved to meet the challenges of new technology and customer demand, offering services such as IPTV, which transmits a high-quality television signal through an Ethernet connection.

“Technology is always changing, and we have to change with it,” Gullett says. “And the only thing you can predict is that it’s going to keep changing. But, I think we have the staff to keep up.”


Go for the Mountain Telephone Peanut Butter Grand Slam

Help feed the hungry!

Support food pantries in Elliott, Menifee, Morgan and Wolfe counties.

Just drop off a jar of peanut butter at Mountain Telephone’s office in West Liberty. Each jar donated in July earns five chances to win a set of four tickets to see the Cincinnati Reds!

That’s right. Donate more peanut butter to increase your chances of going to a Reds game on us.

At the end of July, donated peanut butter will be divided between food pantries in the four counties we serve. Peanut butter can help individuals and families stretch their meals. Peanut butter is high in protein, tasty and has a long shelf life, which is why the food pantries have asked for it.

Join Mountain Telephone in supporting the hungry.

Donate now & enter the drawing for Reds tickets!

Remember, each jar of peanut butter you donate will give you another five chances to win tickets to see the Cincinnati Reds! Don’t wait; donate today!

Making a ‘smart’ decision

By ShShayne Isonayne Ison
General Manager

When it comes to technology, we want everything to be “smart” these days. We have smartphones and smart watches, smart appliances in our kitchen and laundry room, smart thermostats and smart home gadgets with smart apps to control them.

While all this smart technology is impressive and can make life more convenient while saving us money, the really smart part of it all is the broadband network that so many of these devices and apps rely on to bring us this functionality.

This trend toward devices that are only possible with broadband is not going away. And as broadband becomes the leading infrastructure driving innovation, it is impacting every facet of our lives.
That’s why we decided long ago that improving broadband service in our rural area was the smart thing to do. With access to an advanced broadband network, boundless opportunities open up for our region:

Smarter businesses: Technology allows businesses to reach new customers and better serve the customers they already have. Smart businesses are using data and their broadband connections to learn more about customer habits, streamline supply chains and optimize their operations. Studies have shown that broadband-connected businesses bring in $200,000 more in median annual revenues than non-connected businesses. Our network ensures that these tools are available to our local businesses so they can compete regionally, nationally or even globally.

Smarter education: Local teachers and school administrators are doing amazing things with tablets, online resources and other learning tools. These smart schools are opening up new avenues for students to learn. Experts say that nationally, students in schools with broadband connections reach higher levels of educational achievements and have higher-income careers.

Smarter health care: From bracelets that keep track of physical activity to telemedicine, smart technology and broadband are improving the way we monitor and care for our bodies. Physicians are able to confer with other medical experts, transmit X-Rays and lab results and communicate with patients over our network. Through smart electronic medical records, everyone from stroke patients to expectant mothers is receiving better care because hospitals and doctors are getting “smarter.”

Smarter homes: A host of new devices has allowed users to bring smart technology into their homes. Smart devices allow you to monitor your home, change the thermostat, turn on lights and even lock or unlock doors remotely. While these smart devices offer plenty of convenience, they are also a smart safety decision to avoid coming home to a dark house or to receive an alert anytime someone pulls into your driveway.

As our devices, businesses, homes, schools and hospitals get smarter,rest assured that your cooperative has the infrastructure in place to handle these demands — plus whatever the future holds.