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MTA Wins Three NTCA eXcellence Awards

February 16th, 2022
The highest recognition of individual achievement by NTCA is the eXcellence Awards Program, which honors individuals in eight categories.

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association recognized nine rural telecom leaders who have shown exceptional commitment to their communities and the broadband industry during the 2022 Rural Telecom Industry Meeting and EXPO (RTIME). 

The NTCA Excellence Awards recognize broadband providers who have gone above and beyond to support their customers and community members and to advance communications services in rural America. Winners are selected by the association’s Awards Committee comprising NTCA members. The 2021 NTCA Excellence Awards are sponsored by JSI and NECA.

View full press release.

Management Innovation Award

Wanda Tankersley
Chief Operating Officer

Wanda became Chief Operating Officer in 2017 and since then played an instrumental role in leading the company through major milestones and remarkable levels of growth, to create a more connected world for MTA members, employees, and all Alaskans. Throughout her tenure as COO, Wanda overhauled MTA’s product management paradigm, oversaw the restructuring and unification of sales teams to be better aligned and more responsive to market demand, and created a new Commercial Solutions team focused on creating bespoke products for MTA’s Wholesale and Enterprise markets. She led the charge in unveiling a myriad of innovative tech solutions, including Managed Wi-Fi, migration out of end-of-life products, and the suite of three cybersecurity and privacy apps called MTA Shield. Wanda recognized that a company’s success is largely contingent upon the well-being of its employees and urged a series of facilities renovations at MTA to ensure employees have ergonomic environments, mother’s rooms, and collaborative workspaces. She’s also cultivated a culture of impact for the MTA Foundation, pioneering a series of diverse initiatives, and created an internship program for the next generation of telecom leaders.

Key Employee Award

Tyler Aklestad
OSP Network Planner

Tyler excelled in several roles at MTA, progressing through the ranks since his start as a Plant Laborer at age 18. He completed a four-year apprenticeship in the Telecommunications program as a Journeyman Splicer, became an Outside Plant Engineer through cross-training opportunities, and recently became MTA’s OSP Network Planner. Along his journey at MTA, Tyler has fostered a strong connection with the state of Alaska and its traditions by competing in the Iron Dog race, the world’s longest snowmobile race at nearly 2,600 miles. Tyler started his Iron Dog career the same year he began working at MTA, leveraging both experiences over the years to connect with the community around him. He has become an advocate for safety and gives talks at local elementary schools and local businesses about his work in telecommunications and his racing career, fostering pride in the unique challenges and benefits of working and living in Alaska.

Outstanding Marketing Achievement Award

Kerry Youngren
Consumer Markets Manager

Kerry and her team took on a brand modernization initiative in early 2020 in pursuit of a simple goal—to revamp and unify MTA’s brand to reflect its recent evolution and commitment to innovation. Using analytics and survey data, Kerry developed supporting objectives and identified benchmarks to track the project’s success, including growing brand awareness, creating a communications strategy across all channels, producing high-quality content reflective of MTA’s position as the local technology leader, and improving online communication tools. Since the brand modernization campaign launched, MTA has experienced incredible results. They received five “Best of Alaska” awards in 2021. MTA’s net promoter score spiked by more than 10 points and remains the highest it has been and new visitors to MTA’s website increased by nearly 10%.

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