It’s a company that deals with ever-changing technology, but two things seem to remain constant at the annual shareholders meeting of Panora Communications Cooperative.
First, the firm normally shows a healthy profit. In 2016 it was $758,254, up nearly $90,000 from the previous year. (PCC provides at least some type of service to six communities.)
And, the incumbents on the board of directors are almost sure bets to be re-elected. Ron Reynolds continues to be the veteran member of the board, having served 36 years. Also, renamed were Dale Grotjohn and Dave Ryan, both having served 12 years.
Members gathered on March 13 at the high school for the yearly affair of the firm that provides telephone, cablevision, Internet and various other technology products and services along with being involved in economic development.
According to the balance sheet, the cooperative has assets of $22,676,919, a jump of over $900,000 in the last year. Income in 2016 was up 7.8 percent to $5,406.889 with operating expenses placed at $3,389,488.
Panora Cooperative Cablevision always show little or no profit, coming in at $9,672 last year. Income was $954,538. Expenses were placed at $893,450, of which $654,993 went for programming paid to cable networks and corporations owning local network affiliates.
Dividends of $200,000 were issued to shareholders for the year 1997.
In speaking to the gathering, general manager Andy Randol described a cooperative this way: “We’re controlled by the people who use our services.”
He further noted, “We’re committed to be a leader in the technology field and provide quality service ...We do our best to provide you with technology that allows you to do your job in an economic way.”
Randol placed the blame for phone and cable rate increases on the policy makers in Washington D. C. He charged they’ve allowed long distance companies to pay less to access local phone lines, this forcing local subscribers to pay more.
And, national corporations owning television stations that are local network affiliates now charge cable companies to carry these stations, such as KCCI-TV. It was pointed out while KCCI is critical of Dish TV for dropping the station until economic demands are met, they in turn seek more from cable companies.
Manager Randol stated $10.00 of every cable bill goes to pay for the Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC television stations to be aired on local cable.
Randol listed past accomplishments of the cooperative. Leading the way is fiber optic cable at Guthrie Center and Panora and soon to be at Yale. Lake Shore Family Dentistry is an example of the firm’s revolving loan fund and investment in economic development.
Solutions was founded to offer technology information, products and service. Smart home products were added to provide surveillance of homes and businesses. And wireless Internet continues to expand into rural areas.
The future includes bundled packages for residential users and a new brand for the company.
Technology director Curtis Thornberry reported data access has increased 600 percent since 2013. He warned people to be aware of those seeking unlawful access to their computers, emails too good to be true or those using scare or ransom tactics to gain money.
Panora Communications owns the Yale telephone exchange and a subsidiary, Guthrie Center Communications, providing phone, Internet, cable and other services to both. Cablevision only goes into Linden, Bagley and Jamaica.
Other members of the sevenmember board are Leroy Oxley, Chris Arganbright, Kelvin Hafner and Lynnea Andersen.
Besides manager Randol and Thornberry, the firm employes 12 individuals. Newest hirees are Courtney Redfern, sales & marketing director; and Zach Davis, IT technician
Bill Dorsett is plant manager. Technicians are Mike Moore, Paul Brewster, Andy Carson, Kevin Baldwin and Dave Garland.
Jamie Waddle is the administrative and customer service director while Cheryl Castile, Pam Klinkefus and Geri Thompson (Guthrie Center) are customer service specialists.
A low turnout of 62 was on hand, probably due in part to the earlier snowfall and cold weather. About a third of those present were PCC employees and directors.