BendBroadband is recognizing employees who are celebrating significant work anniversaries this year.
When BendBroadband Network Specialist Ray Hoffman started with Bend Cable in 1984, Central Oregon was in the middle of a lengthy recession. Few homes were being built in the area, and the number of specialized cable TV programmers continued to increase.
“When I first started Bend was a family-owned company with 15 to 20 employees and about 7,000 or 8,000 customers,” said Ray. “We also charged about $7.50 per month for service back then.”
Ray has been around to see BendBroadband become one of the most highly-admired companies in Central Oregon, as well as a driver of economic growth in the communities it serves. He has seen the company advance considerably from the initial television provider that only offered 19 basic cable channels and three premium channels. Throughout his 35-year career as a network specialist and plant engineer, Ray has played a large role in the company rebuilding their entire cable network, and becoming a broadband and highly-sophisticated multimedia provider.
Ray attributes the longstanding company satisfaction and loyalty Bend has enjoyed with its customers to the mentality the company has had since its days as a family-owned company.
“Everybody worked for the customer,” said Ray. “I saw this every day. If addressing an issue took all night, a week, it really didn’t matter. We’d gather all the in-house employees and solve the problem for the customer.”
In addition to serving as a problem-solver for customers, Ray claimed the title “Grillmaster Extraordinaire” in the 2014 edition of the BendBroadband Yearbook. Ray is known for his delicious beef, salmon steak, and barbeque at company picnics.
As an inside-plant worker and network specialist, Ray’s primary responsibilities are construction and managing contractors. Over the years, he has managed a variety of projects, one being the 2007 HFC Telemetry project. This project involved the installation of equipment to monitor the power supply of a plant that provides service to customers. This project has allowed plant maintenance workers to be alerted in the case of a potential power outage.
Though small in size, Ray still fondly cherishes the close, family-like atmosphere of BendBroadband, as well as the lifelong relationships he’s formed.
“The company was like a big family,” Ray said. “If anybody had a problem, everybody helped them to the best of their ability. I remember we had one person who lived on the river, and the river was flooding. His house was actually filling full of water. Everyone went over there and spent the day helping him.”
Manager of ISP Construction Bryan Padgett recognizes the countless ways Ray has helped BendBroadband and TDS Telecom over the years.
“Ray has been a vital team member for our Bend location, and everyone will miss him greatly,” Bryan said. “He has consistently demonstrated his knowledge of the cable plant with all TDS teams, and was vital to my team during many CMTS change outs. He has been leaned on daily by many TDS teams for training and his general knowledge of Cable TV. Congrats on a well-deserved retirement, Ray!”
Big thanks and congratulations to Ray for 35 years of dedicated service.
By Garrett Seymour