Our Team – CNS | Cooperative Network Services

We Believe in Improving Rural Broadband

And all the benefits broadband can bring to advancing rural communities.

Our team is part of a larger team. Yours.

Our team works side by side with yours to ensure that our common goal - improving rural broadband - is met.

Our rural roots, experience, and passion, create an environment for our teams to develop great ideas.

We've built a culture that encourages curiosity and creativity. This culture builds trust, which in turn fosters more creativity... and the cycle continues, all while creating better outcomes for all of our stakeholders.

We laugh a lot and never take ourselves too seriously... And, if it's your birthday, don't forget to bring the donuts.

CNS employees are passionate about rural broadband - which is good for everyone.

Our Values:

Cooperative.
The cooperative approach means helping others without focusing only on personal gain. We assist each other, our members, and the industry in this cooperative spirit so we can all improve ourselves, our industry, and the communities our members serve.

Trusted.
Trust is built slowly, but can be quickly lost; it takes small wins, consistency, and common values. We mean what we say. CNS employees work every day to reinforce our trusted position to ensure we are the go-to resource for cooperatives in the Midwest.

Professional.
Our words and actions reflect heavily on how we are viewed --- by ourselves, our member companies, and the entire industry. Every encounter, internally or externally, should be in a manner we can all be proud of.

Our Purpose:

Improve Rural Broadband
In a recent employee survey, CNS employees were ranked as some of the highest of any industry in Total Motivation (TOMO).

TOMO is the over-arching theme which combines Purpose, Potential, and Play - the three things we build our culture around.

Our team is highly collaborative, and like other high-performing work cultures, our "why" is what keeps us motivated to do everything we can to help MN ISPs and communities Improve Rural Broadband.

This guiding purpose helps all employees make decisions - large or small. And it's our guiding principal when considering new

"The cooperative approach means helping others without focusing only on personal gain."

Our team covers a lot of ground

Catch up with all of us at our (virtual) Water Cooler

Get to know our team

Jason Dale, PE
CEO

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 30 years

What I do: I mostly just try to keep up with all the different projects our team is working on at any given time.  I really like my job, and that's a good thing because something I recently discovered about myself is I'm the type of person who needs to work.  I have three kids at home, ages 7 to 17, and just in case you weren't aware --- kids are crazy expensive!  That is why I'm the type of person who needs to work.

I'm an engineer at heart, and that doesn't always translate well to projects at home. The planning/analyzing/designing skills that are helpful for me at work tend to slow me down (considerably) when it comes time to actually "do" a project around the house, resulting in everything taking far longer than it should, and consequently very few items getting crossed off my to-do list. Typical Monday morning conversation with Paul Solsrud (CNS Product Manager):

me:  Hi Paul. What did you do this weekend?

Solsrud: Oh, you know, knocked out a few projects, and built a 1500 sq ft pole shed on Saturday.  How 'bout you?

me:  Um...I installed a kick stand on my son's bike.

Fortunately, at CNS I'm surrounded by a team of experts, and we all get to focus on the things we're best at.  I'm proud to be a part of CNS and our mission to support the deployment and operations of broadband in some of the most rural parts of our region.  It's amazing what we've accomplished since beginning operations in 2010, and I'm excited about where we're headed.

Extended Job Title:  Lawn Mowing Technician, Dad, The Last Guy You Want to Help Move Your Piano (Dean is the First Guy)

Expert On: Trapping pocket gophers

Dean Bahls
Network Services Manager

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 27 years

What I do: I help CNS members and non-members obtain stable and cost-effective network connectivity to Minneapolis and Moorhead as well as to other member companies. I also assist with engineering and consulting in all aspects of Telecommunications, including RUS contracts and loan designs. Have been involved in many RFPs for government, education, health care, wireless backhaul and Enhanced and Next-Gen 911 projects.

Extended Job Title: Official Company Golfer, Master Spreadsheeter, President of the CNS Hair Club, Lawn Mower, Driveway Shoveler, Local Athletic Events Watcher, All-Around Good Guy.

Expert On: Raising my hand to volunteer for everything….it’s a character weakness.

Paul Wuebben
Engineering Services Manager

Telecommunications Industry Experience: 39 years

What I do: Promote the industry at large. Provide leadership in coordinating member interests and CNS resources. Interface with all necessary parties for efficient and timely completion of all necessary phases of deployments of member and non member osp design and construction projects. Manage multiple projects simultaneously. Recruit and develop CNS staff.

Extended Job Title: Adult children's consultant, charcoal grill technician (always looking for BBQ recipes), saltwater fishing enthusiast and travel with spouse.

Expert On: Looking forward.

Ernest Kawlewski, Jr., CPA
Controller

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 25 years

What I do: I manage the Accounting and Finance activities in support of the company's strategic direction. Areas of responsibility include: A/P, A/R, Payroll, Financial Statements, Budgeting, Banking & Insurance.

Extended Job Title: "Prime" on upcoming home refresh.

Expert On: Minnesota Vikings missed playoff opportunities...including attending recent Walsh Wide Left debacle

Chris Castagneri
Marketing Management Partner

Telecommunications Experience: 20 Years

What I do: I wake up smiling each morning because my clients are succeeding through a transformative time in this industry. As marketing evolves in the 21st century, they're using what I discover to create connections with customers individually (increasing socially) in new and unique ways. It’s based on a foundation of more than 20-years’ experience directing the creation of strategic advertising and producing experiences that customer’s love. That equates to being responsible for thousands of pieces of advertising in my career, and too many customer smiles to count. It’s simply about the hard work of creating happy customers, healthy companies, and thriving rural communities. So, let’s keep spreading the story of how telecom cooperatives are leading world class services in America.

Extended Job Title: Wife, mom, practicing drummer (need much practice), hiker, director of bed-time stories, yogi, home decorator, artist, aspiring farmer, and loud music enthusiast.

Expert On: How to win at basketball against 6-six-year-olds.

Paul Solsrud, PMP
Product Manager

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 15 years

What I do: I partner with CNS members to identify and launch shared service solutions to help members gain efficiency - ultimately allowing them to focus on their growth. Additional duties include memberships in a variety of industry-specific committees including: MTA Regulatory, MTA Legislative, MTA Telco Marketing Group, MN DEED Marketing committee and more.

Extended Job Title: Project manager/laborer for random personal projects including remodeling, construction, home-brew production, apple cider press construction, ATV and snowmobile repair, deer hunting (and sausage making if successful)

Expert On: Having more projects than time

Jenna Monse, PHR, SHRM-CP
HR Business Partner

Telecommunications Experience: 6 Years

What I do: I help CNS Members and Non-Members in all aspects of HR services including Recruitment and Retention tactics, Compensation and Benefit comparisons and studies, Compliance Standards, Background Studies, Employee Relations, Succession Planning as well as Operational Strategies with regards to efficiency. I help as much or as little as each client needs, depending on their needs. Memberships and speaking engagements include; MTA, MTA - HR/OM Peer Group, SDTA, and TOC

Extended Job Title: Mom, Hunting and Fishing Partner/Navigator/Official Ice Scooper/Boat-Backer-Upper, and *all other duties as assigned.

Expert On: Changing Diapers...

Jean Edhlund
Video Product Business Partner​

Telecommunications Experience: 20 years

What I do: I assist CNS Member Companies with management of their video product, ranging from traditional television to TV Everywhere and Over the Top solutions. The way we all consume video content is continually changing and I'm here to help navigate that change and keep the video product a viable portion of members' businesses.​

Extended Job Title: Meat "Hog" at several local meat raffles; Chief Operating Officer of Gopher Football Tailgate Lot, President of Gopher Hockey Booster Club and connoisseur of wines from around the world.

Expert On: Cooking up really great ideas that "someday" I'll find the time to execute.

Eric Engler
Outside Plant Engineering Supervisor

Telecommunications Experience: 30 years

What I do: I assist CNS Member Companies and some Non-Members Companies in all aspects of Outside Plant Engineering & Construction. From inception of the project to testing of the cable, equipment and Closeout of the project. I do initial design work, Contract Assembly, Bidding, Negotiating and Material Procurement. Basically, I am here to help our Member Companies with anything they need. In addition, I have the opportunity to support the newer CNS staff by assisting them in their goals to learn more about the industry, what CNS does and what they do day to day. I enjoy my career and the people I have worked with throughout the years and I look forward to helping our Member Companies and The CNS Team Members every day

Extended Job Title: Home Maintenance Technician, Chauffer and Chief Cook and Bottle Washer

Expert On: Mowing Lawn

Clayton Burns
Geospatial Engineer

Industry Experience: 7 years

What I do: Assist the CNS members and non-members to implement enterprise GIS across all departments of their company. Helping make their spatial and non-spatial data interconnect for them instead of being separated into departmental data silos. This is done by assisting the field crews with mobile data collection applications utilizing both GPS data collection and cloud based data to make their tasks more accurate and efficient. Also, I help CSR's and operations managers through easy to use web and desktop applications that help them make needed decision making based on real time data acquisition. All in all, I try to make life easier for companies throughout all stages of planning, design, expansion, field work, management, customer relations, data analysis, and data storage by making the big picture connections through inter-connectivity of all departments.

Extended Job Title: Youth soccer coach, amateur cross-country skier, and die hard MN United soccer fan.

Expert On: Digging a hole with a shovel

Mark Nelson
Senior Drafter

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 25 years

What I do: Project Supervision, administrate, maintain and provide in-house and On-Site training for AutoCAD, AutoCAD Map, Visio and Elation Systems. Compose proposals for drafting projects. Create Shapefiles with AutoCAD Map to use with ESRI GIS and Google Earth Pro.

Extended Job Title: Self-Imposed Lifetime Project Laborer for wiring my house, building decks, sheds, home theater and other ventures. This saves me money so I can play paintball, go to water/amusement parks, have aerial combat experiences, zip-line, bungee jump, water ski, scuba dive, target practice, go on trips and play a wide variety of card games.

Expert On: Having fun whenever I can.

Jim Midgarden
Outside Plant Engineering Technician II​ / Resident

Telecommunications Experience: 10 Years

What I do: I assist CNS Members and Non-Members in their process of updating their

communication facilities to better serve their customers - from start to finish. Duties are as follows: Determining a design criteria to accommodate the owner’s wants and needs, field staking, environmental reviews, permitting, unit tabulation, Handling of the bid process, onsite job inspection during construction, and following projects through to the closeout process. It’s very rewarding to work for the cooperatives and for CNS. I have met and worked with so many good people and built some great relationships within the Telco’s. I also look forward to working with other Telco companies that I have not worked with before to help them serve their customers better in the future.

Extended Job Title: Dad, Ice Fisherman, Golfer, Potato growing expert

Expert On: Keeping the HR department happy 😉

Lance Bragstad
Project Manager

Job Title: Project Manager

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 37 years

What I do: Configure and maintain CNS’s ROADM & ASR network. Provide day-to-day project management to enhance the CNS network and provide consulting services to clients.

Extended Job Title: Hobby farmer, repairman of old farm equipment, barnyard veterinarian & agronomist. Jack of all trades and master of none

Expert On: Cleaning the barn

Chris Perius
Drafter II

​Telecommunication Industry Experience: 10 years

What I do: I produce maps and staking sheets for our clients. Assist with designs, customer database organization and the occasional trip to the OSP project sites to help out when needed.

Extended Job Title: Dad, Landscaper, Hunter and fisherman......often the bait boy/fish cleaner for my wife and daughters!

Expert On: Staying busy and realizing the weekends are way too short!!!!

Mack Johnson
GIS Analyst

GIS Experience: 3 years

What I do: Assist with all Geospatial needs, Data quality management, Automating geoprocessing tasks, In depth data analysis, Provide web mapping capabilities. FME Certified Professional.

Extended Job Title: Chef, Official garbage taker outer, Future Father

Expert On: Movie trivia

Joe St Clair
Engineering Technician II / Resident

Telecommunications experience: 16 years

What I Do: I work for CNS member companies to design, plan, permit, and all things related to getting their next project moving. Then, as summer comes around, I inspect said plan to make sure it is built as designed.

Extended Job Title: Snowmobile operator, if we have snow, fisherman, hunter, and fireman, anything that allows me to be outside.

Expert on: Jack of all trades, master of none.

Tony Palubicki
Engineering Technician II / Resident

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 10 years

What I do: ensure customers are getting the best possible product and experience.

Extended Job Title: Jack of all trades master of none... as the old saying goes.

Expert On: Fishing, Hunting, Four-wheeling, gardening, cutting wood and anything else outdoors.

Ryan Brummund
GIS Technician

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 11 years

What I do:  Perform basic and advanced processing tasks and production using ArcGIS and ESRI extension platforms.  Develop, review, interpret, and utilize established client standards to practical situations.   Manage system to ensure system accuracy, efficiency, and functionality.  Highly skilled in producing drawings through the use of ESRI, Visio, Excel, Innovative Systems eLation and GIS systems.  Assists with project estimates and responses to RFPs; assist with presentations to clients and potential clients.  Provide training to others, including co-workers and clients.

Extended Job Title:  Dad, fisherman, hiker, gardener and nap taker

Expert On: Day dreaming and watching Netflix

Eric Brand
Engineering Technician II / Resident

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 9 years

What I do: I assist CNS members with the Outside Plant Engineering and Construction phases. From the initial design layout to hand drawn field staking sheets, creating field tabs, tabbing units, permits, contract assembly, Invoicing, closeouts and all other miscellaneous prep work for projects. Representing the CNS owners during the construction phase when interacting with customers. Making sure both the Telephone Company and the customers are satisfied with the end results from construction. I enjoy working at CNS and with the great group of individuals we have here. I have developed some great working relationships with some of our member Telephone Companies and look forward to creating many more with those I haven’t yet worked with.

Extended Job Title: “The Guy that always has a Clean Truck” Son, Brother & Uncle, Snowmobiler when we have snow, Deer Hunter, Gun Collector, Lawn Mower.

Expert On: Starting projects that always take more time than I have…

Jeff Frost
Engineering Technician I / Inspector

Telecommunications Industry Experience: 7 Years

What I do: Permits, Consulting, Inspecting, Route Staking, Metering footages and spans, working with teammates and owners.

Extended Job Title: Husband, Dad, college tuition payer, fisherman, atv operator, lawn mower

Expert on: Pinochle and card playing

Ed Roberts
Engineering Technician I / Inspector

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 5 Years

What I do: Construction Inspection, Staking, Permits, and anything else needed for FTTH projects.

Extended Job Title: First National Bank of Dad, Project Manager/ Contractor for all the projects at home.

Expert On: Finding all of the softball diamonds that we went to watch our daughter has played on.

Toni Edwards
Graphic Designer

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 8 Years

What I do: I assist CNS members with their graphic design needs - logos, brochures, flyers, billboards, newsletters and annual reports. You name it, I can do it. I'm also employed full-time at Gardonville Cooperative Telephone Association in Brandon, MN as their Graphic Designer/Content and Marketing Assistant.

Extended Job Title: Wife, Mother of two, Volunteer Church Worship Team Vocalist, Home Improvement Project Manager, Certified Weed Puller, Official Wine Taster and Movie Night Enthusiast.

Expert On: Doing things with one hand while holding a child in the other.

Laura Trout
Accounting Associate

Accounting Experience: 18 years

What I do: I assist CNS in the Accounting department, helping out with A/P, A/R and payroll. I also have responsibility for providing accounting services for our member companies. In addition, I compile the weekly eRate alert updates to subscribed members. Other responsibilities include general administrative tasks, such as ordering office supplies and assisting with other projects as needed.

Extended Job Title: Mom, gardener, baker, hunter, camper and traveler with my husband and kids.

Expert On: Cleaning the house.

John Smith
Engineering Technician I / Inspector

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 25 years

What I do: I assist CNS members and nonmembers in building and upgrading OSP. I do inspection, staking, mapping, permitting, right of way, easements and many other tasks that are involved in planning and construction. I spend time in the office and in the field.

Extended Job Title: Father, hunter, fisherman, chainsaw operator, lawn mower, builder and question answerer (with five kids there is never a shortage of questions).

Expert On: Spare time management (I have none so it is really easy to manage).

Scott Petersen
Engineering Technician I

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 2 years

What I do: I assist CNS members and nonmembers with the Outside Plant Engineering and Construction phases. This includes initial design of a project as well as the staking, permitting, overseeing construction, and anything else during a FTTH project.

Extended Job Title: Son, Grandson, Game Player (sports and cards), and “The guy with the fast car.”

Expert On: Rubik’s Cube

Shelly Netland
Training Coordinator

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 14 years

What I do:  I support CNS members and non-members by coordinating CNS Training curriculums and events, as well as assisting Jenna with behind-the scenes HR projects. I enjoy working on whatever is needed, whenever it's needed to ensure our rural broadband providers, and their teams thrive.

Extended Job Title: Mama Shelly, Family Events & Travel Coordinator, On-Demand Executive, Chauffeur, Chef, DIY Project Assistant, HS Booster Club Member, Dog Caretaker and Groomer, Gardener wanna-be, Hunter, Fisher and lover of fun in the sun.

Expert On: Cleaning, Organizing and Google(ing) it.

Steven Soderberg
Engineering Tech I / Inspector

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 1 year

What I do:  OSP project staking in the office and the field, on-site project construction inspection and monitoring, metering of project footages, working with CNS team and clients to ensure project conformance, be as helpful as possible to all parties involved.

Extended Job Title: Husband, Father, Soldier, Groundskeeper ( at home and at the lake!)
Expert On: Golf Cart Operation, Camp Fire Building, Fishing Guide (for those who do not know any better)!
Dennis Greenfelder
Engineering Tech II

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 26 years

What I do:  I supervise FTTH construction projects in CNS' Michigan office.

Spenser Daddario
Engineering Technician I

Telecommunications Industry Experience: 1 year

What I do: As part of CNS' Michigan team,  I do overall map drawings and determine project specifications for FTTH designs. I enjoy the work I’m doing and look forward to the future.

Expert On: Parkour, Martial Arts, & Chess

 

 

Christie O'Connor
Engineering Technician I

Telecommunications Industry Experience: 1 year

What I do: I assist CNS members and non members with Outside Plant Engineering and construction phases.  I do staking, tabbing units, contract assembly,  and pretty much anything else involved in Fiber to the Home planning and construction design.

Extended Job Title:  No extended title for me - only hobbies!  Hiking, Biking, Kayaking, Hunting any species, Fishing, Gardening, Canning, Traveling and an Alaskan at heart.

Expert On: Enjoying life.