With less than one-thousand access lines, Kennebec Telephone Company is one of the smallest local exchange carriers in the state of South Dakota. However, due to Rod’s recognized leadership, Kennebec Telephone Company has been commended by the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, the South Dakota Governor and Federal Communications Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein as an example of a principal contributor to the local, state and national telecommunications industry.
Rod currently serves as the President of the South Dakota Telecommunications Association (SDTA) Board of Directors. SDTA provides regulatory and legal assistance to its member companies and representation before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the South Dakota Public Utilites Commission and various other government agencies. Prior to his role as President, Rod served as the Vice-President of the SDTA Board of Directors. As an actively involved SDTA officer, Rod travels to Washington D.C. to meet with federal elected officials and their staff, as well as FCC Commissioners and staffers to discuss issues impacting the rural telecommunications industry and to identify collaborative approaches to telecommunications policy development.
Rod is also a current Board of Directors member and a former President of the Fiber Ring Revenue Pooling Association (FRRPA). In South Dakota, FRRPA provides a pooling mechanism for a collective, cost-averaged transport network for South Dakota local exchange carriers. Utilizing a centralized administration system, FRRPA members were able to construct, implement, provision and maintain a system of interconnected survivable rings that can serve nearly all independent LEC areas and more than seventy percent of the geography of the state of South Dakota. Rod, as FRRPA board member, is responsible for evaluating the equity ownership of a member company, assessing received revenue, and disbursing the revenue to ensure each member company collects a fair rate-of-return on their investments.
Additionally, Rod is an active member on the Local Exchange Carrier Association’s (LECA )Board of Directors. On behalf of their member companies, LECA is tasked with developing and pooling uniform intrastate access rates. During his LECA board tenure, Rod has diligently participated in negotiations with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission and interexchange carriers concerning intrastate access rates to ensure that the interexchange carriers would continue to provide toll calling services to South Dakota’s rural customers. Rod has also worked cooperatively with the LECA member companies to develop an equitable pooling and redistribution procedure so that all member companies receive reasonable disbursements.
Rod also serves on the Board of Directors for South Dakota Network (SDN). SDN is a centralized equal access service provider formed in 1992 by a group of South Dakota telecommunications cooperatives with the intent of providing cooperatives with the state-of-the-art and consolidated telecommunications services. When SDN opened membership up to non-cooperative companies in 1998, Kennebec Telephone Company was among the first companies to seize the opportunity. Rod was the first to be elected to SDN’s expanded Board of Directors and he continues to serve in this capacity presently.
Recognizing the impact and overall influence rural companies can possess when working together, Kennebec Telephone Company has been an active member of the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) for years. While not a cooperative telephone company, Rod recognizes NTCA as the national telecommunications association that best represents and advocates on behalf of his commercial company’s interests. Further, Rod has recently been appointed to the NTCA's Business and Technology Committee. Rod also participates in NTCA’s annual and fall conferences whenever possible.
On June 9, 2004, Rod was appointed by South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds to the South Dakota Legislative Research Council’s State and Local Government Task Force. Rod, one or eighteen appointees, was the only representatives from the telecommunications industry. The task force was assigned the responsibility of reviewing areas where state and local governments could foster cooperation and improve services.
In 2005 the community of Kennebec and Kennebec Telephone Company were selected for a personal visit from FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein and the South Dakota PUC Commissioners during their tour of South Dakota. For this event, Rod hosted a community picnic for the Commissioners.
Rod’s active involvement in the leadership of the organizations dedicated to the advancement of the rural telecommunications industry not only demonstrates his willingness to take on challenging responsibilities, but also exemplifies the confidence and assurance his peers have in his character, ability and diligence.