April 22, 2015
Terry Force, board president of Blue Valley Tele-Communications, Inc. / Networks Plus was recently recognized at the Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & Expo (RTIME) in Phoenix, Arizona, where he received a standing ovation from a crowd of approximately 3,000 telecom executives, for his years of service on the executive board of NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association. Force served three consecutive three-year terms on the board and of those nine years, five were spent as an officer; secretary/treasurer – one year, vice president – two years, co-president – one year, and president – one year.
NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association’s CEO, Shirley Bloomfield commented, “Terry Force has long been a leader with our association, but his leadership during the past two years as President could not have come at a more critical time for the industry.”
His efforts had a significant impact on local entities as well. When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued new funding rules for rural telecommunications, Force’s involvement [on the national board] proved instrumental in lobbying efforts. “BVTC was the sixth hardest hit company in the nation with those [FCC] changes. My position afforded me the opportunity to give BVTC and other rural companies like us a face in the fight. We weren’t just a name in the crowd,” Force commented.
Force’s commitment to rural telecommunications is not a new concept to the Force family. His grandfather, Frank Force, purchased the Wheaton exchange in 1923. The Force family ran Force Telephone until 1960 when it was purchased by Blue Valley Telephone Company. His father, Roger Force, became the first board member from Wheaton to serve on the BVTC board; a position he held until his death in 1990, when Terry was recruited to fill the vacancy.
When asked what moved him to become involved nationally, Force responded, “When my daughter, Heather, played T-ball as a young child, they asked for volunteers to help coach. I knew I would be at all of her games and felt I should step up and do my part. This is my mindset in life,” he said.
According to Bloomfield, Force did more than just his part. “He helped guide our association through the unification with OPASTCO, another national entity representing the rural communications industry, and helped to create a unified voice on the importance of broadband deployment to rural America not only on Capitol Hill, but within regulatory agencies, and with the White House.” She went on to say, “under Terry’s leadership, NTCA developed its signature Smart Rural Community program and set the course for finding collaborative ways for rural communities to utilize broadband to support local efforts in agriculture, health care, public safety and education.”
Terry commented, “I am both honored and privileged to have served in so many various capacities within this industry. To be in the position I am to help out the members of BVTC is amazing. I am excited to look at the future and at the new opportunities that will continue helping our communities and our family, friends, and neighbors for years to come.”
Force and his wife, Sallie, live in Wheaton, where he is the second-generation mayor. Together they have five children, 11 grandchildren, and one more grandchild on the way. Force has been involved in the survey industry since 1977 and received his license in 1982. He currently owns Force Land Surveying in Wheaton. Terry and Sallie are active members of New Hope Lutheran Church in Onaga.