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Fall Conference Speakers & Schedule

Keynote Speaker

Give Your Employees C.R.A.P…the Success Formula for Building Employee Loyalty

Jeff Kortes, Human Asset Management, LLC

Have you ever wondered why some bosses and organizations have people who are incredibly loyal to them and who will do anything for them while others have a revolving door of employee turnover? Those bosses and organizations people want to follow give their employees lots of C.R.A.P.! (Caring, Respect, Appreciation and Praise). Jeff provides a “headhunter’s” insight into why some employees are loyal and others work only to get a paycheck. Through real-life stories and interactive participation, Jeff has created a program which helps participants understand how to demonstrate Caring, Respect, Appreciation, and Praise, so that they can systematically build employee loyalty in their organization.

Because Jeff is a “headhunter,” in addition to having 25 years in human resources leadership roles prior to starting his own company, he hears first-hand from candidates why bosses and organizations who give their people lots of C.R.A.P. have people who will go the extra mile for them when things get tough, and others will leave at 5 o’clock on the dot.

Jeff’s unique insight will enable participants to leave the session with actionable steps to begin building employee loyalty and drive retention in their department or organization while participating in a program with realistic takeaways that will resonate with attendees.

Jeff Kortes didn’t become an employee retention and recruitment speaker, author and expert by accident. His early career spanned 25 years as a human resources professional, trainer, and consultant. He has held leadership roles in companies such as ConAgra, Midas International, SPX, and Quaker Oats Company. During that quarter-century, Jeff saw countless employees come and go. The reasons rarely varied. The employers always suffered, though. Good people are hard to replace. Over time, Jeff devised a plan of inventive, common-sense employee retention strategies to help businesses keep their best talent. After three facility closures, a strike and a corporate buyout, Jeff put all his experience together and started Human Asset Management, LLC, a multi-segment HR services firm. He has helped hundreds of first-line supervisors, managers, and executives with training in employee retention and engagement. Learn more about Jeff at

General Sessions
Monday, October 9

General Session: 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM 

Company Culture: Choose Your Own Journey

Steve Riat, Nex-Tech

There is no map to company culture and definitely no easy button but the good news is there are multiple ways to get to a great company culture. Just as there is no simple map to great culture this presentation is a choose your own journey. The audience will pick its own path and while we won’t know the exact order one thing is guaranteed, laughs, fun and we will learn together through real life stories that you can take back to your company to immediately impact change in your organization.

Steve Riat as been married 24 years to the same woman and has two remarkable boys, Caden Junior at FHSU and Carsen Senior Hays High. He has worked at Nex-Tech 23 years and has been blessed with the opportunities to travel the world and bring the best back to the Midwest. Steve likes the technology stuff but loves the people.

Give Your Employees C.R.A.P…the Success Formula for Building Employee Loyalty
Jeff Kortes, Human Asset Management, LLC

Session description and bio listed above under Keynote Speakers.

Tuesday, October 10

General Session: 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM 

The Journeyman's Three Layer Security Stack

Colin McAlpine, CyberGrade Technologies, LLC

The presentation will be primarily focused on essential security measures and organization can take to mitigate a worse case data loss event. Outside of that we'll discuss a few items that are useful to minimize noise.

After nearly a decade in the tech manufacturing space, it became increasingly difficult to ignore the inherent conflict of interest that was associated with a one to many approach. As a result, Colin left the manufacturing side to focus on a client first approach. That focus is geared towards first understanding the current landscape, a team's data deletion risk tolerance, and ability to invest in defensive layers.

Public Service Commission - Wisconsin Broadband Office

Alyssa Kenney

Breakout Sessions
Tuesday, October 10

All breakout speaker bios will be available to view in our conference app. 

2:00 PM - 2:50 PM


Work Smarter Not Harder: Ways to Leverage AI
Autumn Ricke, Pinnacle Marketing Group

Artificial Intelligence enables organizations to improve their overall marketing efforts. AI can automate your everyday marketing tasks like scheduling and sending emails or predicting campaign performance and let you get back to work on other important things, like satisfying clients. Want to know how? Here are four ways you can begin using AI for your organization's marketing today.

Go Beyond Fiber to Win Small Business Managed Services

Mitch Smith, Calix

The surge in fiber access networks is unprecedented, with fiber connected to more homes and businesses than most thought possible just a few years ago. Yet service providers don't sell fiber—they sell compelling managed services that monetize the fiber, and the small business segment is an underserved market perfectly positioned to benefit from the massive deployment of 10G fiber access networks. Small business owners have big challenges—and bigger dreams. For all their business networking and productivity needs, small business owners have limited choices—either repurposed residential products or complex and costly enterprise-grade solutions. Fully-integrated solutions can deliver enterprise-like services with mass-market residential cost structures, enabling service providers to shift their commercial model from internet connectivity to business productivity.

Updates on ACAM and Wisconsin BEAD, Police & Fire Protection Fee (PFPF)/NG911 and Broadband Grant Programs
Eric Pulvermacher, FORVIS

This presentation will focus on ACAM enhancements and expansion - where are we now and how does it affect the BEAD program? We will discuss the latest on Wisconsin BEAD Program including timelines and key issues ahead for 2024, PFPF transition to NG911 legislation and how it affects your company, and Wisconsin Grant programs completion requirements.

Multi-Gig to 100G Testing Best Practices
Phillip Kazakov, Viavi

Deployment of Multi-Gig services is becoming common place in the residential environment. Business customers routinely require 10G capabilities and 100G is on the near horizon in many communities. The presenter will review best testing practices for Multi-Gig to 100G services including everything from Ookla speed testing to standards-based Ethernet conformance testing (i.e. RFC2544) and differentiate these testing approaches with their pros and cons.

3:00 PM - 3:50 PM

Esports - WHY
Shane McCann, Marquette-Adams Telephone Cooperative, Inc. 
Ricky Smith, WIN Technology


The Value of Offering Home Network Security to Subscribers
Mitch Smith, Calix

Calix knows that every household and business connected to the internet is vulnerable to digital threats. By 2025, it is estimated that there will be 75 billion devices connected to the internet—that is 25 devices per household. Fortune reported a 105 percent increase in ransomware cyberattacks worldwide in 2021 and as cybersecurity threats are becoming more and more sophisticated, households need continuous online protection that is equally innovative. By providing an end-to-end platform that includes home network security, Calix ensures its customers can seamlessly offer protection for every member of a family.

Consumer Broadband Labels: Nutritious and… Required?
Karl Hochmuth, Vantage Point Solutions

Consumer Broadband “Nutrition” labels have been talked about for years, with the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and three rounds of comments already behind us. But where do things stand now? Vantage Point will overview a brief history of the proposed rule, as well as discuss the broad implications and considerations for providers as this new (proposed) requirement inches (potentially) to adoption.

Vendor Neutral Network Automation
Will Goss, Arista Networks

This presentation will focus on the discussion of leveraging vendor neutral automation tools & strategies to provide network configuration, deployment, & documentation.

4:00 PM - 4:50 PM

Esports Roundtable
Shane McCann, Marquette-Adams Telephone Cooperative, Inc. 
Ricky Smith, WIN Technology

Cybersecurity Roundtable
Colin McAlpine, CyberGrade Technologies, LLC
Scott Graun, WIN Technology

Salary Roundtable for General Managers
Scott Nyman, Cirrinity
Kent Klima, Bloomer Broadband

With shrinking merit pools and an aggressive salary expectations driven by talent scarcity, compensation management has become a critical component of strategy. As many organizations look to begin planning salary budgets, there is an opportunity to pause and make sure you are up to date on trends and best practices. 

Technology Roundtable
Shane McCann, Marquette-Adams Telephone Cooperative, Inc.


Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association

1502 W Broadway, Suite 102

Monona, WI 53713

Phone: 608-256-8866

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