The DTC Board of Directors introduced their new Chief Executive Officer, Craig Gates, at their Annual Meeting held on Saturday, September 17th. Gates is a 27-year veteran of the telecommunications industry.
Gates started his career in 1984 and served most recently as Chief Operating Officer and Vice President for Project Mutual; a cooperative located in Rupert, Idaho.
“Craig distinguished himself with his industry experience and expertise. We are fortunate to have him join us, and welcome him and his family to Tennessee,” said Dwight Vinson, President of DTC.
Gates holds a Bachelors of Science Degree from Indiana Institute of Technology and a Masters of Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University. He and his wife, Suzette, will be relocating to the area. They have three grown children.
"I’m proud to be at DTC. I look forward to working in the community and ensuring that DTC maintains its commitment to our members,” Gates said. “With the technological and economic challenges that face our industry today, DTC must present itself to be the premier service provider for our members.”
In a telephone interview with WJLE Monday, Gates said his grandfather was from Smithville so he knows the area well " I was born in Ohio. My grandfather was actually from Smithville. He was born in Smithville. His name is Howard Snow. During the depression he left the area and met my grandmother. He worked all over the country. My first time here was in 1976. I was at the Fiddlers Jamboree. I really enjoyed it. He came back here for a short while after he (grandfather) retired so I got to spend some time down here. I went to some of our family reunions and really liked the area. I've been all over the country as an employee. I've worked for the former GTE and Verizon. Of late I was at the Project Mutual Telephone up in Idaho. When this opportunity came up I thought it would be a great chance for me to get back here to the great folks of this area," said Gates.
"DTC has some great opportunities. This valley has always taken care of its own. I think the heritage that DTC has with its members is great. I think that we need to continue that heritage. I believe that the technology we offer at DTC can help this community economically as well as bring everybody broadband who would like it. DTC has done a great job of ensuring that everybody gets what they need and we need to continue that. We also need to make sure that we try to help bring economic development into the valley. I guarantee you that I will try my darnedest to make sure that happens whenever we can.," said Gates.
"From the company's standpoint, I think we're on the right track. We've become highly competitive. The industry has become highly competitive. You can get the Internet several ways now. I'm sure DTC was one of the first to bring Internet to this valley. Now we've got everybody trying to bring it in. We've got conglomerates that compete against us which makes it hard because they have a lot of money behind them but we're hoping that we can continue to offer the best service, not just service, to our members and allow our members to realize that. We will always try to be the most economical but if we can't I hope that they (members) remember that unlike some of the conglomerate companies, we're actually feeding your neighbors and are highly involved in the community. We hope to continue that support," he said.
"I am very glad to be here. I think it's a great community. I can see why my grandfather loved the area so much and the people have been so warm and nice. Its been very good. I can't wait to get settled.," added Gates.
The National Telephone Cooperative Association worked with DTC in conducting the search, in which local, regional, and national candidates were considered.