This year’s NTCA’s Associate Member Outstanding
Achievement Award went to Steve Meltzer, senior vice-president of JSI
(Greenbelt, Md.). Meltzer’s work on issues ranging from regulatory advocacy to toll cost
studies over the last 40 years has greatly benefited rural telecommunications.
The recipient of NTCA’s Key
Employee Award was Chris
McNamara, IT network manager at Nortex
Communications (Muenster, Texas). Within
Nortex McNamara is officially responsible
for maintaining the company’s network
infrastructure that supports and sustains
hundreds of homes, local businesses and
government services. His nomination letter
described McNamara as the “cornerstone” of Nortex’s business
expansion initiative, where he has taken the lead in building rela-
tionships with new customers, expanding fiber-based broadband
access for 14 local schools and being a true team player with
everyone else on the Nortex team.
This year’s Management Innovation Award went to Michael East, president and chief executive officer of South Central Communications (Kanab, Utah). He arrived at South Central Communications
just over six years ago and quickly realized the company’s potential to be a real industry leader by undertaking ambitious plans to expand services throughout his company’s more than 10,000 miles of service territory within 23 different exchanges.
The Heroism Award went to Tyler Graham, a combination technician with GRM Networks (Princeton,
Mo.). On November 27, 2016, Graham was taking a step out of his RV parked in his father and mother-in-law’s
driveway. The distinct smell of smoke filled the air as he stepped
out of his vehicle and went into the house to investigate. While he
noticed that the lights wouldn’t work, the smoke grew more intense.
He woke his father-in-law, and together they went outside and
found heavy smoke rolling from the upstairs window. Graham
sprang into action, and carried the three elderly women sleeping
upstairs down to safety by wrapping them in blankets. While
there was substantial damage to the house due to an attic electrical fire, Graham’s actions saved the lives of five people that day.
The highest recognition of individual achievement is
the Excellence Awards Program, which pays tribute to
individuals in eight categories annually at RTIME 2018.