2020 PMT Employee of the Year Announced & Other Awards

 

Jennifer Ballance was announced as Employee of the Year for 2020 at PMT’s Annual Awards Banquet. Jennifer has been at PMT for the past 12 years.  Jennifer started her career at PMT doing utility line locates and quickly moved into her current position within the Accounting Department where she handles payroll and collections.

Jennifer is responsible for preparing PMT’s payroll and making sure taxes are paid on time. Jennifer keeps employees informed and up to date on all PMT’s employee benefits from health care to 401(k) and more. Along with her HR responsibilities, Jennifer takes care of past-due customers and collections.

“Jennifer is very deserving of our Employee of the Year award. She does an outstanding job with her payroll, insurance, and general HR duties for all PMT employees and their families. Jen recently received her certification as an HR Generalist,” states Dan Hoover, PMT President & CEO.

Jennifer and her husband, John, live in Rupert.  When not a work, she enjoys reading, crafting, and spending time with her loved ones.

Congratulations Jennifer!  Thanks for your dedication and keep up the great work!

Other highlights from the Awards Party include DJ Johnson receiving the President’s Award.  Our Sales Team also was awarded top honors for a record breaking sales year.

The following employees were also recognized for milestone service anniversaries:

  • Jose Alonzo – 5 years of service
  • DJ Johnson – 5 years of service
  • Glenn Taylor – 5 years of service
  • Rick Harder – 10 years of service
  • Carie Johnson- 10 years of service
  • Tony Kline – 10 years of service
  • Matt Lyman- 10 years of service
  • Justin Clark – 20 years of service
  • Brent Stimpson – 30 years of service
  • Michael Walsh – 30 years of service

 

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PMT Lobbies Are Temporarily Closed

The COVID-19 threat is impacting all our lives and businesses. With Gov. Little’s stay-at-home order, we are committed to doing everything we can both to protect the health and safety of our employees and to continue providing the highest quality of service we can for you and our community. As an essential business, we will continue to be available to you.

 

Lobby Closures

PMT considers the health of our members and employees to be a top priority, which is why we have decided to close all PMT lobbies to walk-in traffic effective March 30, 2020 until further notice. PMT will continue to monitor the situation and will reopen for foot-traffic when it is deemed safe based on recommendations from our local, state, and national authorities.

 

How to Pay Your Bill

We encourage you to take advantage of our variety of options to pay your bill:

  • Pay online by visiting https://ebilling.pmt.org/
  • Pay by phone at (208) 436-7151 or (208) 878-7151
  • Take advantage of payment drop boxes located at each office.
  • Burley: in the front of the parking lot near the PMT entrance
  • Rupert: near the front entrance doors, and there is a second box around the back of the office in the parking lot.
  • Mail your payment to PMT, PO Box 366, Rupert, ID 83350

 

Service, Repair & Call Times

Over the past weeks, we’ve seen a tremendous increase in the number of new Internet installations as PMT has committed to providing at least 60-days free Internet to families with K-12 students who were previously without the Internet so that they can stay up-to-date on their learning during school closures.

We’ve also seen our call volume rise as businesses enact work-from-home policies, schooling moves online, and people turn to streaming entertainment in lieu of social activities. In many cases, people are finding that their current plan no longer meets their new day-to-day consumption. If your Internet needs have changed, or you need a free conference calling solution, please call us!

We will continue to do our best as we try to answer and respond to all incoming phone calls and messages.

We will continue to monitor this situation closely and explore further measures to support our customers and the community as needed.

 

We are Still Working

PMT is considered an essential business, and while our lobbies may be temporarily closed, PMT employees are still committed to you. We are still working to provide excellent service for new installs, maintenance, and response to any outages. If you need to contact us, please call (208) 436-7151 or (208) 878-7151 or email us at pmt@pmt.org

 

Sincerely,

Dan Hoover, CEO

2020 Annual Meeting & Voting Postponed

Dear PMT Members,

In light of Governor Little’s mandatory Stay-Home Order, this year’s PMT Annual Meeting & Voting that was scheduled for Monday, March 30th has been postponed.   The Board of Directors will determine a future date for the meeting.  We will keep in touch and let you know once a new date has been set.

We wish that you all stay safe and well.

 

Sincerely,

Dan Hoover, CEO

Top 5 Reasons Businesses Choose Hosted IP PBX

How your business communicates, within your organization and with your customers, is crucial to your ultimate success. And the ability to communicate over the telephone remains an absolute necessity. Accordingly, there’s a wide range of telephony systems available to businesses. They include conventional landline solutions, more advanced solutions such as traditional Private Branch Exchange (PBX) systems, and cutting edge solutions such as Hosted IP PBX.

Today, many businesses are shifting away from onsite PBX systems to Hosted IP PBX because of scalability, cost savings, and attractive features like HD Voice, custom hold music, attended transfer, etc. How can you cut through the noise and determine whether Hosted IP PBX is the right fit for your organization?

Here are the top five reasons businesses are opting for Hosted IP PBX (and why you should consider making the switch).

  1. Easier to install and configure than a traditional PBX
  2. Easier to manage through web-based interface (GUI)
  3. Cost savings
  4. Keep pace with your business’ growth
  5. More features for maximum efficiency

For some more detail, read further:

1. Easier to install and configure than a traditional PBX.

A Hosted IP PBX runs as software on a computer, allowing for simpler installations, easier troubleshooting and maintenance, and a much more user-friendly experience for employees.

2. Easier to manage through web-based interface (GUI).

Maintaining, troubleshooting, and fine-tuning an IP PBX system is much easier than modifying a traditional PBX thanks to an easy-to-use web-based interface (GUI) designed for all users (compared with traditional PBX interfaces that require specialized phone technicians).

3. Cost savings.

VoIP service providers generally save businesses money in a number of areas, especially on domestic long distance and international calls.

4. Keep pace with your business’s growth.

Traditional proprietary systems are typically less scalable than hosted systems. Adding phone lines and extensions requires expensive hardware, and modifying features and functionality may require additional equipment and a technician visit. In some cases, a new phone system may be required. With Hosted IP PBX, lines, extensions, and features can all be added simply via the computer interface, making your telephony system easy to expand with minimal disruption to your business.

5. More features for maximum efficiency.

A feature-rich system means more options for employees and a better customer experience. Because Hosted IP PBX is software-based, developers are able to easily add and improve feature sets. Most VoIP phone systems come with numerous features such as auto attendant, voice mail, ring groups, advanced reporting, and more.

If you’ve been considering a new phone service for your business but are unsure if a Hosted IP PBX system is the right solution for you, call PMT to set up an appointment for a consultation today. One our business solutions professionals will walk you through options and costs for a package customized to your unique needs.

 

Tony Kline

Account Executive

Serving Serving Twin Falls & Jerome

 

Bryan Beckstead

Account Executive

Serving Burley, Rupert and the entire Mini-Cassia Area.

 

Clint Carter
Account Executive

Serving Twin Falls & Jerome.

 

5 Kid-Friendly Streaming Platforms You’ll Want for Spring Break

 

Will your kids be reaching for their screens over the course of Spring Break? A bit of screen time here and there doesn’t have to be a bad thing. And with family-friendly streaming platforms, you can rest assured that your kids are watching videos safe for little eyes—even without your constant oversight.

Plan ahead for those much-needed moments of peace, quiet, and screen time now by downloading these family-friendly streaming platforms today.

 

  1. PBS KIDS Video

With the award-winning, educational PBS KIDS Video app, you don’t have to feel guilty about letting your kids indulge in some screen-time this holiday break.

Little ones love how easy it is to watch live TV in the app or play their favorite shows on-demand, including Curious George, Daniel Tiger, and Sesame Street. And parents love how the “Weekly Pick” feature suggests a fresh set of videos geared toward keeping young brains mentally engaged even while out of school. Best of all, this app is totally free!

 

  1. DisneyNOW

With all the talk lately about the new Disney Plus streaming platform, don’t overlook the kid-friendly DisneyNOW! This app provides access to the Disney Channel, Disney XD, Radio Disney, and Disney Junior in a few taps.

Simple thumbnails of favorite characters make it easy for kids to quickly find the shows and games that feature that character… which makes it easy for you to savor a few more moments with a steaming cup of coffee. You’ll need a TV-provider login for total access, but some content is available for free.

 

  1. YouTube Kids

You probably haven’t thought of YouTube as a very safe option for unmonitored screen time. And you were mostly right… until now.

YouTube Kids has been designed with kids in mind (think big images and eye-catching bright colors). More importantly, robust parental control settings make it much more kid-friendly than the original site. It even comes complete with a timer option, so parents can limit screen time in just a few taps.

 

  1. Amazon FreeTime

Can’t decide if you want your kids to have access to Disney, PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, music, games, Audible books or something else more on the educational side? With Amazon FreeTime, you don’t have to decide. This platform offers all of the above and more.

Parental controls make it easy to set a certain age range, allow only parent-approved purchases, and lock games and videos until educational goals are reached. Your kids will love the easy access to popular Amazon originals, such as If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and Tumble Leaf. And you’ll love that you can add this to your Prime membership for just $2.99 a month!

 

  1. Nickelodeon

With Nickelodeon, you can choose between not one, not two, but three different apps. Nick, Nick Jr., and Noggin each have their own platform.

Kids’ favorites like Peppa Pig, Blues Clues, and Dora the Explorer can be accessed for free (with a TV log-in) on the Nick and Nick Jr. apps. For just $7.99 a month, Noggin offers a plethora of interactive games, popular shows, and videos that promote learning with a wide variety of topics such as shapes, numbers, letters, art, music, manners, and more.

 

It’s no secret that screen time can help you keep the peace during school breaks—but that peace will be gone faster than you can say “School’s Out” if a game or video stops to buffer! (Why is it always during the most inconvenient moment possible?!)

 

Save yourself that headache and call PMT today to ensure your internet connection will work when you need it most!

 

 

2020 PMT Annual Meeting

As a cooperative, PMT is owned by the people it serves. Each membership carries with it one share in the ownership of the company and one vote in the democratic process that guides it. This March, PMT members will be able to exercise their rights by casting their vote for one, three-year Director position.  In addition to voting, members are also invited and encouraged to attend the 2020 PMT Annual Meeting.

PMT Annual Meeting

March 30, 2020

6:30 pm – Registration and Voting

7:00 pm – Call to Order

PMT Frazier Building Conference Room

701 6th Street, Rupert, ID

 

Voting Options

There is one, three-year director position up for voting this year.  The candidates are Kevin Smith and Jason Gibbons.

Vote at either the Burley or Rupert PMT offices on March 30, 2020, from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.

Request an Absentee Ballot and return it to the Secretary prior to 5:00 pm on March 30, 2020

For more information about the Annual Meeting, or to request an absentee ballot, please call PMT’s Administrative Office in Rupert at (208) 436-7151.

PMT Employees Elected to Chamber Boards

PMT is pleased to announce that employees Bryan Beckstead and Clint Carter have been elected as directors to the board of the Mini-Cassia Chamber of Commerce and the Twin Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, respectively.

Beckstead and Carter have both been heavily involved in chamber activity by being Ambassadors, where they helped organize and promote chamber programs and initiatives.  As directors, they both hope to channel their energy and experience to help area businesses succeed.

“I’m so happy about being elected to the Twin Falls Chamber board.  To help the Chamber with their strategic direction, and to ultimately help businesses be more successful in the Magic Valley is very rewarding,” stated Clint Carter.

“It’s an exciting time to be involved with the Mini-Cassia Chamber,” stated Bryan Beckstead.  “We’ve had so much growth in our area. To be able to actively work with businesses to grow while preserving the quality of life in the Mini-Cassia area is my goal.”

Congratulations, Bryan and Clint, on being elected as board members to our local chambers’. We know your experience and dedication will help propel business forward.

Business Spotlight: Christa’s Dress Shoppe & Tuxedo

Commitment – this is the cornerstone upon which Christa Hannold has built her business, Christa’s Dress Shoppe & Tuxedo. Hannold is entering her 15th wedding season, when she and her consultants help brides of all budgets find the dress of their dreams. In addition to selling wedding dresses, Christa’s is a one-stop shop for all things related to apparel for the entire wedding party.

Hannold got her start as a seamstress, and as more brides came to her to perfect their wedding dresses, she saw a need for a dress shop. She opened Christa’s Dress Shoppe & Tuxedo 15 years ago in downtown Twin Falls.

“I love taking care of the brides that come into my shop. It’s all about building a relationship with them and making a special day even better,” states Christa Hannold. “The heart of my business is marriage, and I hope to deliver the same level of commitment to each bride I work with as they do with their fiancé.”

 

During Hannold’s history with the shop, she went through many internet and telephone providers with poor quality of service. Her phone lines would crack, and she wasn’t able to get Wi-Fi coverage throughout her entire building.

She notes, “Since switching to PMT, I have crystal-clear phone lines, and I can now get Wi-Fi throughout my 100-year old (mostly cement) building. PMT is always here for me, popping in to make sure things are working well. I know if I ever have a problem, they will continue to be here in the future.”
For any relationship to be successful, both parties must be committed. PMT is happy to provide this commitment to Christa’s Dress Shoppe & Tuxedo, as well as to all our customers.

 

2020 PMT Foundation Scholarships

Each Year, the PMT Foundation awards scholarships to local graduating seniors who plan on continuing their education. Over the past 29 years, PMT, and now the PMT Foundation, has awarded scholarships to 40 deserving seniors in the Magic Valley.

This year, the PMT Foundation is pleased to be able to continue the tradition of awarding scholarships. Applications for the 2020 PMT Foundation Scholarships are now available at www.pmt.org or through participating area high school counselors’ offices. The Foundation will award, at a minimum, three $2,000 scholarships in 2020. To be considered for a scholarship, applications are due by March 31, 2020.

The PMT Foundation scholarship is designed to assist graduating seniors who wish to continue their education at a college, university or trade school the summer or fall immediately following their high school graduation.

PMT Foundation Board Members will select the successful applicants based on the information provided on the application. Need is not necessarily a guideline for selecting scholarship recipients, but all items being equal, it may be used in determining awardees. The primary criteria are the student’s academic record, demonstrated achievement or leadership and answers to questions on the application.

For questions regarding the PMT Foundation Scholarship Application process, please contact your local PMT office, or email us at pmt@pmt.org.

 

About the PMT Foundation

The PMT Foundation was created in 2006 by the PMT Board of Directors as a charitable foundation. The Foundation furthers education in communities served by Project Mutual Telephone through its scholarship program, and it supports projects and programs that sustain and improve those communities.

To date, the Foundation has helped over 48 area students with funding to further their education beyond high school by continuing the scholarship tradition that PMT established in 1990. The Foundation has contributed over $190,000 in grant award to community organizations that help sustain and improve our local community through various projects.

Warm Your House (And Lower Your Electric Bill) with These Smart Devices

Is your electric bill rising as the temperatures drop? Smart gadgets are here to help. Read on to discover the tech you need to warm your home—without putting a strain on your bank account!

 

Smart Thermostat
If you prefer to “set it and forget it,” a smart thermostat like the Google Nest Learning 3rd Generation Smart Thermostat or the Honeywell Home T5+ Smart Thermostat could save you money and hassle. After you make adjustments in the first few days, a smart thermostat will learn your family’s preferred temperature at different points in the day to put you on a comfortable, energy-saving schedule. Whenever you leave home, it adjusts accordingly. And you can even control it from your device to keep your energy bill low while you’re on the road!

 

Smart Blinds
There’s one free way to warm your home: Use the power of the sun! Open your blinds in the daytime to let some sunlight in, then close them in the evenings for privacy. Even better? Automate it all by installing the MySmartBlinds Automation Kit Bundle on your existing blinds. Use a timer, temperature preferences, or voice control with Alexa to control your blinds. Plus, the motor charges with an included solar panel, so you don’t have to worry about sneaky energy costs from the kit itself.

 

Smart Display
You dive under the covers, turn out the lights, and… wait a minute. Did you turn off the light in the pantry? Did you lower the thermostat for the night? You can slip your feet out onto those cold hardwood floors one more time, or you could just roll over and check your Echo Show 5. Use this smart display to make energy-saving moves from bed, check weather predictions before setting your thermostat for the day, and much more.

 

Smart Plugs
 Do you know how much energy your appliances are using on a daily basis? Find out by plugging them into a WeMo Mini Smart Plug. Then, check the app to monitor how much energy you use on that particular appliance and program the smart plug to turn on and off at the times you set. It also works with Alexa, making this little device the most cost-effective way to turn any old device into a smart device and save big on your electric bill.

 

Smart Power Strips
Much like the WeMo smart plug, the Heyvalue Smart Power Strip is a simple way to give your existing appliances a “smart” upgrade. That’s because this power strip comes with a free app you can use to control and schedule power to your appliances. With the ability to change the settings on each of its 4 outlets and 4 USB ports individually, this provides all the control you need to ensure you’re only powering devices (and paying to do so!) when you actually need them.

 

Smart Lighting
 Not only will you save money with Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance LED Smart Bulb Starter Kit, but you’ll get to be creative too! These smart lights can be connected to your device through Alexa or your existing Nest or Samsung SmartThings system, so you can control when and how your lights come on or off (even if you’re not home!). The creative part? You can adjust the color hues to set the perfect ambiance for waking up, winding down, studying, gaming, and more. Put these bulbs in your favorite lamps or overhead lights, and don’t worry about them going out anytime soon: These bulbs last up to 25,000 hours.

 

Keep your home running smoothly and efficiently this winter with these smart devices, all powered by a strong Internet connection. Contact PMT today to ensure you have the Internet you need to power your home and save!