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:

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.

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.

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, PE

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 32 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 (CNS Product Manager):

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

Paul: 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

Network Services Manager

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 29 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.

Engineering Services Manager

Telecommunications Industry Experience: 41 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.


Telecommunication Industry Experience: 26 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: Master Angler (ok, maybe not…it just sounds good!)

Expert On: Enjoying time spent with family and friends!

Paul, PMP
Product Manager

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 17 years

What I do: I work to help the CNS team develop, launch, and communicate new products to help rural broadband providers be more successful and efficient, so they can focus on providing the best service to their rural customers, as well as a variety of other tasks to fill in the gaps.

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

HR Business Partner

Telecommunications Experience: 8 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...

Video Product Business Partner​

Telecommunications Experience: 22 years

What I do: I assist CNS Member Companies with management of their video product, ranging from traditional video to Streaming, and Over The Top solutions. The way we 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, and connoisseur of wines from around the world.

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

Geospatial Engineer

Industry Experience: 9 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

Senior Drafter

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 28 years

What I do: Project Supervision, administrate, maintain and provide in-house and On-Site training for AutoCAD, AutoCAD Map, Visio and Elation AutoCAD and Mapkit Systems. Perform basic and advanced processing tasks and production using ArcGIS and ESRI extension platforms. Responsible for project estimates and responses to RFPs; assist with presentation to clients and potential clients. 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.

Drafter II

​Telecommunication Industry Experience: 12 years

What I do: I work on GIS and CAD projects producing maps and staking sheets for our clients. Assist with designs, customer database organization and problem solving with our ever changing technology. In the office or at home (Thanks to a member fiber build!) I am only a phone call away!.

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

Expert On: Realizing the weekends are way too short, enjoy the little things!

GIS Analyst

GIS Experience: 5 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, Father of 2 beautiful girls

Expert On: Movie trivia

Engineering Technician II / Resident

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 12 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.

GIS Technician

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 13 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

Engineering Technician I / Inspector

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 7 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.

Accounting Associate

Accounting Experience: 20 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.

Engineering Coordinator

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 5 years

What I do: I assist CNS Members, Nonmembers, and Staff in all phases of OSP Design, Engineering & Construction.  I enjoy consulting and conversing with the many different people I am around daily, with the goal of learning more about the telecommunications industry as well as improve efficiency in all aspects of a job.

Extended Job Title: Home Improver & “The guy with the fast car."

Expert On: Seeing the big picture.

Training Development Partner

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 15 years

What I do: I've always felt that there's something about being a part of the Telecom Industry. I've been in and around the Telecom Industry since graduating in the late '90s from Wadena Technical College, where I trained to become a Technician. I spent a couple of years being a stay-at-home mom somewhere in the middle but just couldn't stay away. Over the years, I've had the unique opportunity to support various teams from plow crew, technician, customer service, helpdesk, accounting, supervisor, and now human resources. It's my passion to share my knowledge and experience by supporting CNS members and non-members to ensure their teams thrive. Coordinating CNS Training curriculum and events, as well as providing a variety of HR consulting services, are just some of the ways I get to work with my industry friends.

Extended Job Title: Mama Shelly, Family Events & Travel Coordinator, On-Demand Executive, DIY Project Assistant, Unofficial Dog Groomer, Gardner wanna-be, Hunter, Fisher, and Lover of Fun in the Sun.

Expert On: Knowing just enough to be dangerous, Google(ing) things, and putting off updating family photos. (We're halfway to being empty nesters!) I really should get a new family photo.

Engineering Tech 1

Telecommunications Industry Experience: 21 years

What I do: Construction inspection, staking, tabbing and anything else needed for FTTH projects

Extended Job Title: Father, Grandpa, Outdoorsman and Staff member and bear guide for Rugged Cross Outdoors

Expert On: Spoiling my Grandchildren

Graphic Designer

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 10 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.

Engineering Technician I

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 30+ Years

What I do: FTTH Outside Plant Inspection

Extended Job Title: Grounds Keeper of our home in the woods.

Expert On: Digging up and moving large boulders on my property.  Also proficient at extracting my tractor, truck and ATV after getting them stuck in mud and or snow.

Engineering Technician I

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 3 Years

What I do: Stake, inspect, and ensure compliance of Fiber to the Home Construction projects... and ready to learn more.

Extended Job Title: Jack of all trades, master of none.  Head auger operator for ice fishing. Semi-skilled open water fisherman.  Trophy deer hunter "in my dreams."

Expert On: Making the most out of what I have.

Engineering Technician I

Telecommunication Industry Experience: Year one of a new career in a ‘new to me’ industry - but I'm learning quickly!

What I do: Engineering Technician I...I walk a lot, listen to all, and learn MUCH while ensuring fiber projects are successful.

Extended Job Title: I’m the guy with the pencils.

Expert On: Sci-Fi / Fantasy paperbacks and running a used bookstore without having actually opened one.

Engineering Technician I

Telecommunication Industry Experience: New to the industry and learning extremely fast

What I do: Oversee fiber installation. Keeping customers informed and happy. Documenting progress.

Extended Job Title: Construction contractor, plumber and heating specialist, electrician, woodworker and much more.

Expert On: Pretty much everything... just ask

Network Engineer

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 8 years

What I do: I work with CNS/Fiber Minnesota members and non-members to both build and maintain network connectivity through most of Minnesota and parts of North and South Dakota. I'm here to assist with engineering and consulting primarily on fiber and IP transport, but have experience with various telecommunications fields such as network monitoring, network security, and residential access platforms.

Extended Job Title: Data Geek, Non-Volunteer (Voluntold) Family IT Support, Bites-Off-More-Than-He-Can-Chew DIYER, member of the CNS Hair Club.

Expert On: Doing what Dean says.

Network Engineer

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 26 years

What I do: I work with CNS/Fiber Minnesota members and non-members to both build and maintain network connectivity through most of Minnesota and parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa. I'm here to assist with engineering and consulting primarily on fiber and IP transport.

Extended Job Title: Expert level knowledge of snow plowing and lawn mowing. Highly experienced with horse brushing and hay stacking. Enjoy everything about technology and dogs, with those things being interchangeable. Have a useless skill of being good at playing horseshoes. Also have been granted membership to CNS Hair Club.

Expert On: Doing what Dean and Drew say.

Engineer Technician

Telecommunication Industry Experience: 13 years

What I do: I oversee fiber installation in all aspects of the project, whether it be mainline installation or bringing fiber directly to customer’s homes. This is something I’ve had a passion for since my first day on a construction crew.

Extended Job Title: Customer Service Rep, the guy that makes sure all the customers are happy and well informed of what we’re doing.

Expert On: Enjoying every minute I get to spend with my family.

Your Name Here?
Engineering Technician, GIS wizard, Telecom Smart Person, other?

Telecommunication Industry Experience: Maybe a little, Maybe a lot?

What I do: Cool stuff to help rural broadband providers bring more broadband to more rural places.

Extended Job Title: Curious, a little techy, and probably having a mastery of some sort of hobby that the rest of us don't have.

Expert On: Being a team player,  having fun, and bringing skills and a perspective the rest of us don't have.


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