News from the Northwoods

Read the latest news and events from Norvado.


Norvado paves the way for a future in telecommunications

By the year 2025, individuals over the age of 65 will makeup 30.1 percent of Bayfield County’s total population.[1] An aging workforce presents a challenge to businesses across the country and Norvado is no exception. Norvado has taken matters into their own hands to address this challenge while making a positive impact on the lives of local youth. On December 12, 2018, Norvado led a coalition of local guidance counselors, community and industry leaders, mentors and vocational educators to address ways to mentor youth and raise awareness for sustainable career opportunities within the local community.

Chad Young, CEO of Norvado, addressed the importance of raising awareness of the resources available, including the WITC Broadband Academy, Inspire Northward and the Youth Apprenticeship program and the success he believes mentorship programs will bring to both students and businesses.

“I can tell you that when anyone in my position across the state sees they have been in the mentoring program and working on telecommunications that is going to immediately raise their interest in that individual and so, it can only stand effective.”   – Chad Young, CEO, Norvado.

In attendance was a representation of ten schools within Bayfield County, as well as representatives from the WITC Broadband Academy, the Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board, Northwest Wisconsin CEP, Push Incorporated and Norvado.

A panel of Norvado employees and mentors discussed their career and education paths, the opportunity and personal success they have found with Norvado, pay scales and current job duties. Norvado is investing in the future by offering internships, mentorships and apprenticeships across all disciplines and departments within the organization.

“We aren’t the only organization looking to promote career opportunities, but we’re taking action to connect the dots and open doors for area youth. The Norvado Mentorship program is unique in that we’re creating clear and direct pathways to real careers. That translates immensely for Norvado, area youth and the the telecommunications industry as a whole.”          – Chad Young, CEO, Norvado.

Melissa Rabska of the Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board discussed Inspire Northward and how this program can play an important role in engaging youth with sustainable and local job opportunities through mentorship programs. Inspire Northward provides a direct interface between students and local businesses in the form of mentorships and message boards. This program provides the framework for businesses like Norvado to take on the role of mentoring high school students.

Telecommunications is a promising and sustainable industry, with the constant evolution of technology and the need for being connected providing job stability and room for growth. Paul Kostner, Director of the WITC Broadband Academy, and Dan Schullo, Project Coordinator of the WITC Broadband Academy, discussed how the programs offered at WITC plays an instrumental role in the telecommunications industry and their availability to high school students.

The Youth Apprenticeship (YA) Program offered by the Northwest Wisconsin CEP is a unique school-to-work program that integrates school-based and work-based learning to instruct students in employability and occupational skills defined by Wisconsin industries, including telecommunications.

Norvado serves as the premier telecommunications provider for Bayfield county and has been connecting the Cheqaumegon area to the world since 1950. Norvado continues to display its commitment to future of the communities it serves with a recent expansion of network capabilities to 100 gigabits.

For further information on mentorship, apprenticeship and internship opportunities available at Norvado, contact Josie Lupa-Fleig via email at jlupafleig@norvado.com or by phone, 715-798-7320.

[1] Wisconsin Demographic Services Center

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Norvado awarded more than $60,000 through energy efficiency programs

Norvado has been known as the Chequamegon area’s technology leader, but thanks to a program in association with Focus on Energy, the 68-year-old company is also now a leader in energy efficiency.

On May 16, Norvado was recognized by Xcel Energy and Focus on Energy for energy-efficient improvements throughout its operation. Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable resource program, awarded Norvado with $57,104 in efficiency incentives to go along with $4,000 in similar incentives from Xcel Energy. Officials from the energy programs presented Norvado with the check in a ceremony.

Savings beyond incentives

Beyond the incentives, becoming more energy efficient is estimated to save Norvado $59,585 annually.

“Our company has been striving toward running things more efficiently because our main goal is to deliver great service while keeping costs down for members,” said Norvado CEO Chad Young. “Part of our commitment to this community means being good stewards of our natural and financial resources, so greater energy efficiency makes perfect sense for Norvado. It’s great to be recognized for that commitment.”

Through discussion and technical assistance from Focus on Energy, Norvado upgraded its Broadband Transport System, increasing its capacity by 10-fold and uses less energy than the previous model. Norvado also replaced chargers and air conditioning units, and the cooperative plans to upgrade office lighting and HVAC systems. Through the program, the installation of new HVAC systems will earn Norvado an additional $12,000 in incentives from Focus on Energy.

“By consulting with Focus on Energy, we were able to make smarter choices that will trim costs and help our business become more sustainable,” said Jeff Lee, Norvado’s Director of Operations, who spearheaded the energy efficiency initiative. “Combine that with the incentives, and the choice was clear for us. We’re continuing to offer outstanding broadband speeds and reliability, but now doing it more efficiently than ever.”

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Lt. Gov. Kleefisch to visit Bayfield County to promote broadband, telecommuting

Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin Rebecca Kleefisch will visit Bayfield County on Wednesday to celebrate Norvado’s investment in fiber-to-the-home initiatives and the signing of Wisconsin Assembly Bill 917, which created the Telecommuter Forward! program.

Telecommuter Forward! will designate Wisconsin communities where broadband speeds, local support and co-working space combine to make ideal remote working environments.

Lt. Gov. Kleefisch’s visit will be hosted at Norvado, a cooperative telecommunications company that helped develop guidelines for the new bill. The event will include a speech, press conference, photo ops and a tour led by Norvado CEO Chad Young. The lieutenant governor is expected to recognize the efforts of businesses like Norvado that have helped communities become “telecommuter ready.”

“It is a big honor for Norvado to host Lt. Gov. Kleefisch and show her our investment in making Bayfield County an inviting home for businesses and remote workers,” Young said. “Telecommuter Forward! will shine a spotlight on communities like ours that can deliver small-town quality of life along with the broadband connectivity that many big cities would love to have.”

Telecommuter Forward!

Specifically, Telecommuter Forward! engages employers and broadband providers to develop telecommuter-capable broadband packages and promote telecommuter-friendly workspaces. The bill, signed by Gov. Scott Walker on April 16, encourages employees to build lives in an area that is telecommuter-optimized. “They can move to Bayfield County, they can send their kids to school here, and they can work remotely because of the opportunities created by the great broadband infrastructure,” said Scottie Sandstrom, executive director of Bayfield County Economic Development Corporation. “After initial conversations with Chad Young and Norvado staff, I contacted Angie Dickison, the Wisconsin State Broadband Director who then brought in the Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association and the Wisconsin Counties association to begin shaping the Telecommuter Forward! Certification legislation. Being on the ground floor of such ground-breaking collaboration is very exciting and rewarding.” Sandstrom added.

This new program allows a city, village, town or county to apply for certification as a Telecommuter Forward! Community, with a goal of stimulating economic activity by increasing job opportunities and awareness of telecommuting. Through an application process, a committee will determine which communities have earned the designation.

“As a member-owned cooperative, we’ve been using technology to improve the quality of life and economic conditions of people in our community for decades,” says Young. “I think supporting remote workers through Telecommuter Forward! is the next chapter in that legacy.”

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