A message from the CEO/GM

  • Date: July 10, 2017
  • Author: Robert Johnson- CEO/GM

Hello.  My name is Bob Johnson.  I graduated from Devils Lake High School and North Dakota State University.  I am fortunate to be the CEO/GM for DRN.  I report to the Board of Directors and work for the members of Dickey Rural Telephone Cooperative.  In January of 2018 I will have completed 40 years in the telecommunications industry.  My journey has taken me to 9 different locations in Minnesota, Illinois, and North Dakota.  I have worked for two Corporations, a Commercial Company, a CLEC, and now a Cooperative.  My career path has proven to be very different from most of my peers in the industry.  When I started in the business back in 1978 the service offered by my company was 8 party line telephone service.  That was it! Today our core services are Telephone, Internet, TV, Security, and Managed IT.

The best part of my job are the people.  We are truly blessed with an employee group here at DRN that is committed to serving the needs of our members.  They are hungry to learn and very committed to keeping themselves up to date on the “many” technical advances we see in today’s changing world.  My experience has helped us maximize the talents of our people to bring the best solutions to our members.  My role here at DRN is to guide the cooperative to make sure that we grow revenue, control expenses, build equity, and increase member patronage.

Dealing with and learning from people extends into my community responsibility as an Employee of a Cooperative.  In my travel’s I have served as President of Lions Club, Chairman of Tourism Group, Chairman of City Planning Committee, Chamber of Commerce Board Member, Chamber Ambassador, Chairman of Public Affairs Committee for Chamber, Board Member of our local Job Development Authority, Jaycees, Kiwanis, coached various youth sports, and served as a Session Member for my church.  This involvement in the community has proven to be one of the best methods for me to prepare myself for the daily challenges that I face here at DRN.  I have learned that progress and success in life equates to one’s ability to unselfishly work and interact with others.

My dream as CEO of DRN would be to control some of the external factors that influence our cooperative in the business world today.  The mission of Dickey Rural Telephone Cooperative is: “To furnish high-quality communications to consumers at competitive prices which will ensure long-term viability.” Each day our team strives to fulfill that commitment to our members.  Regulatory adjustments continue to be a key game changer when it comes to managing the direction of our cooperative.  Our video solution also continues to be a major challenge for us to manage.  We have little control over how aggressive the content providers have been with price increases in the past 5 years.  Video is a value add service provided by DRN to our members.  Therefore, we must pass these increases along directly to our video users.  We continue to explore and add solutions that may not be the traditional TV viewing approach, but will hopefully be more cost effective for our members over the long run.

Finally, I would like to state that I am honored to work for DRN.  The Cooperative continues to grow for the good of the members.  Our overall results with industry comparisons show Dickey Rural Telephone Cooperative to be one of the healthiest in the country.  Our Capital Credit payout the past few years has been aggressive.  This is a top priority as directed by our Board of Directors.  We continue to look for ways to expand our footprint to make sure that we continue to grow.