BEMIDJI — Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Paul Bunyan Communications Cooperative annual meeting actions were conducted by mail only.

An election was held to consider recommended changes to update the Cooperative By-Laws.The proposed bylaw amendments were approved with 1,160 in favor, 70 against. In conjunction, for the first time, the cooperative held two special online events for members.

“Wizdom with Woz” was an exclusive event for the cooperative’s business members and featured a lengthy conversation with Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak and Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General Manager Gary Johnson about technology, education, communications and the future.

“What an honor for our cooperative to have the pioneer of personal computer technology join us and share his thoughts and experiences with our business members.  He has had a profound impact worldwide and for him to take the time to be with us and acknowledge the work our cooperative is doing to keep our region connected is very humbling,” Johnson said.

Wozniak’s conversation with Johnson included humorous technology-related anecdotes from his youth as well as a discussion about the early days of Apple. Wozniak also discussed the evolution of communication technologies from his childhood ham radio days to Paul Bunyan Communications’ fiber broadband network.

“The Challenge of Change with Joe Theismann” was the second virtual event held and it was open to all Paul Bunyan Communications Internet customers.

“Given the year we’ve all just went through, The Challenge of Change presentation was very fitting. Those who saw it live, including myself, can’t forget seeing Joe’s leg get broken by Lawrence Taylor on Monday Night Football. It’s an iconic image from that generation and while that was the moment Joe’s football career ended, he used his talent and high energy to handle the unforeseen change. Having him share how he approached such a quick, dramatic change in his life was inspiring” said Brian Bissonette, Paul Bunyan Communications Marketing supervisor.

Paul Bunyan Communications has the region’s largest and fastest all fiber optic network with over 5,500 square miles throughout most of Beltrami County and portions of Cass, Hubbard, Itasca, Koochiching, and St. Louis counties.  The Cooperative provides Broadband High Speed Internet Services including the GigaZone, digital and high definition television services, digital voice services, Residential and Business IT services, and is also northern Minnesota’s certified Apple Service Center.

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