Annual Report

Letter from Kristi

When considering which broadband provider to choose, it’s natural to wonder what makes one company stand out from the rest. Is it just about the cost or the range of services offered? I believe that at CTC, it’s about something more fundamental: care..

As a cooperative, CTC operates differently from other providers. We’re not driven solely by profit margins or corporate interests. Instead, we’re owned by our members, and their needs are at the heart of everything we do. Our member-elected board of directors, ensures that decisions are made with the community’s best interests in mind. They actively represent the community and ensure that the cooperative is meeting the expectations of our membership.

One of the key distinctions of being a cooperative is the personal touch we bring to our relationships with members. Unlike larger providers where customers might feel like just another account number, at CTC, every member is recognized as a valued individual. They’re our neighbors, our friends, and integral parts of our community. This
personal connection drives us to go above and beyond to provide exceptional service and support. As your local, hometown provider, we take pride in being deeply rooted in the areas we serve. Our employees live, work, and play in the same communities as our members, allowing us to understand and respond to local needs more effectively.

As your local, hometown provider, we take pride in being deeply rooted in the areas we serve. Our employees live, work, and play in the same communities as our members, allowing us to understand and respond to local needs more effectively.

Our commitment to care goes beyond just providing reliable services. We are actively involved in community initiatives and support causes that matter to our employees and members. Whether it’s sponsoring local events or volunteering our time, we are dedicated to making a positive impact in the communities we call home. From the moment you contact us, you can expect a level of care and attention that sets us apart from the competition.

I take genuine pride in our organization and how we consistently show our dedication to supporting our members and communities. At CTC, caring is more than just a phrase; it forms the foundation of all that we do.

Kristi Westbrock

Kristi Westbrock

CEO & General Manager

Letter from Kirk

2023 proved to be yet another eventful year, and we’re gearing up for continued productivity throughout the remainder of 2024!

During the past year, we welcomed two new additions to the CTC board: Tyler Glynn and Nate Thiesse. Both Tyler and Nate, who serve as directors in District Five, bring valuable expertise to the table. Tyler holds the position of Executive Director at the Brainerd Lake Economic Development Corporation (BLAEDC), while Nate contributes his talents to the architectural department at Widseth, a consulting firm based in Brainerd. Their cooperative spirit and dedication to our members has been invaluable.

Amidst these positive developments, we mourn the loss of our dear friend and District One Director, Morris Nelson. Morris’s warmth and kindness will be deeply missed, but we remain grateful for his contributions to our community.

Among the highlights of the year was the expansion of our fiber optic network in the Cuyuna Lakes area, as well as Rice Lake, to the north – both were supported through critical grant funding, and were highly-anticipated developments that we’re thrilled to see come to fruition.

Additionally, the Taste of Technology events that we held last summer in Aitkin, Outing, and Motley were a resounding success, drawing enthusiastic crowds, welcoming new members, addressing technical questions, and awarding exciting prizes. We eagerly anticipate hosting this year’s events in Nokay Lake, Nisswa, Sullivan Lake, and Fort Ripley. We hope to see you there!

As always, it’s rewarding to witness the growth and evolution of our cooperative over the past year. We remain optimistic about the opportunities that lie ahead and are committed to serving our members with dedication and gratitude.

Thank you for your ongoing support!

Kirk Smith

Chairperson | District Three

Board of Directors

Kirk Smith


District Three

Amanda Lowe

Vice Chairperson

District Three

Kathleen Kobliska


District One

Chad Converse


District Four

Heather Hoskins


District Two

Mike Wetzel


District Four

Leland Segler


District Two

Tyler Glynn


District Five

Nate Thiesse


District Five

Member Count by Current Districts

District One: 3,070

District Two: 3,549

District Three: 3,489

District Four: 2,818

District Five: 5,105

Remembering Morris Nelson

With heavy hearts, we announced the passing of Morris Nelson, our esteemed District One Director, in April 2024. Morris was a pillar of strength and integrity, leaving his mark on both CTC and our community.

Since joining the Board of Directors in 2004, Morris’s dedication has been unwavering. He consistently prioritized the best interests of the cooperative, advocating for our members. Throughout his tenure, he served with distinction, holding key positions such as Treasurer (2010-2014), Vice Chairperson (2014-2016), and Chairperson (2017-2018).

Beyond his professional commitments, Morris was a lifelong resident of the Randall community. He was a cherished member of the Masonic Lodge and Bethel Lutheran Church in Little Falls. With over four decades of service between Minnesota Power and road construction, his work ethic and passion were truly unmatched.

While his absence is deeply felt, we are inspired to honor his memory by continuing his legacy of service and community engagement.


“Morris served the CTC Board for 19 years and was an important voice in our growth and vision. Morris was kind, gentle, genuine, honest, and grateful always.”

Kristi Westbrock
CEO/General Manager, CTC


Data and Internet Usage

CTC’s Growth in Internet Members

The exponential growth of internet usage, highlighted by datareportal.com’s latest figures showcasing 5.16 billion total internet users worldwide, underscores the increasing significance of reliable high-speed internet access. As users spend an average of 6 hours and 37 minutes online daily, the Internet has become integral to various aspects of life, including remote work, telehealth, gaming, streaming, online education, business operations, and economic development.
For our cooperative, this growth reaffirms our commitment to providing dependable internet services to our community. We recognize the evolving role of the internet in shaping how we work, communicate, learn, and entertain ourselves. By ensuring reliable high-speed internet access, we not only meet the current needs of our members but also contribute to shaping future landscapes of human interaction and connectivity.

17,717 total

1,259 fiber connections in new project areas

1,317 square miles in CTC’s service area

42 new square miles of CTC’s service area

354 miles of new fiber
installed in 2023

5,124 total miles
of CTC fiber

250 Mbps was our most popular internet speed

2023 Project Areas

As we eagerly approach the summer months, it is time for our favorite season – construction season! Reflecting on our accomplishments in 2023, we tackled significant project areas including County Road 13 in Nisswa, Ojibwa Road in Brainerd, the Cuyuna Lakes Area, and Rice Lake Township. These endeavors resulted in an impressive addition of 354 route miles of new fiber.

Despite the challenges posed by Mother Nature and her unpredictable weather, our dedicated team remains committed to completing projects promptly.

With each project we undertake, we do not just lay down cables and call it a day – we are connecting communities, empowering businesses, and enriching lives. As we gear up for our next construction season, we are excited about the opportunities to make a positive impact in more neighborhoods.

Our Partnerships

Exploring Collaborations

2023 marked a pivotal period for CTC as we fortified and expanded collaborations with our partners – Arrowhead Electric Cooperative (AEC), Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative (MLEC), Meeker Cooperative Light & Power, and Northeast Service Cooperative (NESC). Our partnerships span a diverse range of initiatives, including the establishment and maintenance of robust fiber networks, the submission of grant proposals, comprehensive report compilation, effective project management, and the facilitation of wholesale services.

They also encompass essential functions such as engineering support, seamless coordination of construction efforts, sales and marketing strategies, central office technical support, network analysis, customer service and help desk assistance, accounting services, provisioning, and product development.

CTC deeply values our existing partnerships and continually explores new avenues to share our expertise and resources. We work closely together to expand essential services to underserved populations without internet access. These joint efforts contribute to enhancing connectivity and strengthening the communities we serve..

“The partnership we have with CTC has continued to be instrumental in the success of our fiber projects and is a cornerstone in our long-term plan.”

John Twiest
CEO, Arrowhead Electric

News & Company Culture

Minnesota Top 200 Workplaces

In 2023, CTC soared to the 68th position out of 200 for small businesses in Minnesota, a testament to unwavering dedication to excellence. These rankings were compiled solely based on employee responses, with over 5,000 companies invited to participate in the evaluation process. Energage, an independent company specializing in employee engagement and retention collected and processed the surveys.

This prestigious recognition stands as a testament to the dedication and efforts of all employees. Their tireless commitment to delivering exceptional member services and fostering community development has cultivated an environment teeming with pride and loyalty.


CTC diligently reached out to customers via email surveys to evaluate our Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS, renowned for its ability to gauge customer experience and project business growth, stands as a cornerstone metric in global customer experience management initiatives. With scores ranging from –100 to 100, our impressive score of 72 reflects a remarkable accomplishment for CTC

The valuable data, suggestions, and comments gathered from the survey data fuel our continuous efforts to refine services, elevate member experiences, and pursue further enhancements. 

Growth in Company

In 2023, our company experienced remarkable growth, and welcomed an additional 23 talented individuals to our team!

These new team members – ranging from member service technicians, sales, marketing, engineers, and more – have brought new energy and additional expertise into our organization. From day one, each new employee has exhibited dedication and drive to excel in their respective roles. As we look to the future, we are confident that their contributions will play a pivotal role in driving further growth and success.

Additionally, as CTC grows, it serves as a local economic development catalyst, creating job opportunities within our community.

Celly Room

CTC and several other Brainerd area businesses teamed up to design and build the ‘Celly Room,’ now located in the Essentia Health Sports Center!

This room is a versatile space for team meetings, parties, and events, equipped with brand-new cabinets, countertops, a 75-inch TV, tables, chairs, and more. With built-in WiFi and other amenities, its standout feature is the rink-inspired design. We are excited to see this room be used by residents in the area for years to come!

Member Experience Team

In June, following a period of interruption due to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Member Experience Team proudly initiated its official relaunch.

Composed of individuals from different departments within our organization, this team is embarking on a variety of projects aimed at our mission of elevating and enriching the overall experience for our members. As we eagerly await the outcomes of their projects and ideas, we remain committed to fostering a culture of continuous improvement and innovation, ensuring that our valued members receive exceptional service.

“Being named one of the Top 200 Workplaces in Minnesota is a direct testament to the culture that is created by our entire team at CTC. The employee’s dedication to member services and community development makes it a workplace that is filled with pride and loyalty.”

– Lisa Heittola,
Director of Human Resources

Community Engagement

Sharing Bread Soup Kitchen

CTC staff graciously contributed their time and efforts to support the Sharing Bread Soup Kitchen—an enduring nonprofit in the Brainerd community.

This experience serves as a reminder of how important it is to extend assistance to those who may be facing difficult circumstances or hardship. Annually, numerous employees eagerly participate, and share how impactful the experience was.

Red Cross Blood Drives

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. CTC passionately champions this cause through our biannual blood drive, hosted at the Brainerd VFW.

At each event, we rally a team of dedicated volunteers who register donors, provide refreshments, and roll up their sleeves to donate. It is truly heartwarming to witness our employees’ dedication to providing this gift of life to those in need.

CTC Cares

CTC has introduced an internal initiative called ‘CTC Cares,’ designed to provide support to our employees during challenging times. This support comes in various forms, such as covering emergency hotel stays, unexpected medical bills, or transportation costs for medical appointments far from home.

Through the collective effort of our CTC team, our staff came together to raise approximately $2,000 for this vital cause! We are incredibly grateful for the compassion and generosity shown by our staff, who continually demonstrate their commitment to supporting one another in times of need.

Adopt-A-Highway Roadside Cleanup

In 2022 CTC took on the responsibility of caring for a 1.5-mile segment of Highway 71, just north of Long Prairie. Since then, twice a year, CTC staff gather to clean up the ditches by picking up trash along that stretch of road.

CTC strives to prove that small actions can yield significant and enduring positive impacts on the environment and the community at large.

Brainerd Family YMCA Partnership

CTC and the Brainerd YMCA have shared a strong partnership for many years. The nationwide childcare crisis has impacted the Brainerd Lakes Area as well. To address this issue, the YMCA acquired a property across from their current location and renovated it into a daycare center. With the help of various grants and a rural economic development loan administered by CTC, we are thrilled to see the daycare is now operational. This means more families in the Brainerd area now have access to essential childcare services.

Through the collective effort of our CTC team, funds are raised via internal clothing drives, Super Bowl boards, and bake sales. In 2023, our staff came together to raise approximately $2,000 for this vital cause! We are incredibly grateful for the compassion and generosity shown by our staff, who continually demonstrate their commitment to supporting one another in times of need.


To empower our members, employees, and communities through exceptional service and life-changing technology solutions for a sustainable future.


Through technology leadership, smart growth, and community engagement, our cooperative will demonstrate extraordinary focus to positively transform those we serve.


Member Experience





14385 Edgewood Drive | Baxter, MN 56425 | goctc.com | 800-753-9104