Category Archives: Employee Spotlight

TDS/BendBroadband named Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion

TDS/BendBroadband named Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion

For the second year in a row, TDS Telecommunications LLC (TDS®), which includes BendBroadband, was named Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion, earning a score of 90 on the Disability Equality Index (DEI).

“TDS is thrilled to be named one of the Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion for the second year in a row,” said TDS’ Talent Acquisition Strategist Mindy Begenat. “TDS utilizes the DEI to guide us in our efforts in not only recruiting talent, but also in providing a more welcoming workplace for our associates with disabilities. TDS and its Achieving a Better Life/Work Environment (ABLE) Associate Resource Group will continue our commitment to work toward improving many of the disability inclusion practices featured in the DEI.”

In the last year, TDS associates raised awareness about neurodiversity and invisible disabilities in the workplace by creating a three-part video series to help associates have a better understanding of individuals on the autism spectrum. The series also included tips for leaders with team members with neurodiversity on recruiting and best practices to improve the interview process for persons who are neurodivergent.

“TDS also featured internal stories for our associates on invisible disabilities and unconscious bias and why it’s important to celebrate neurodiversity,” said Begenat. “The DEI has definitely assisted TDS with improving our disability inclusion culture.”

The DEI is a joint initiative between Disability:IN and the American Association for Persons with Disabilities (AAPD). It is the world’s most comprehensive benchmarking tool for Fortune 1000 companies and an objective assessment of their disability inclusion policies and practices.

By taking the DEI, companies can demonstrate their commitment to disability inclusion and equality, as well as broader social issues. In its eighth year, the DEI continues to see an increase in participation by businesses.

“Disability inclusion is a rapidly expanding aspect of corporate culture, and it’s gratifying to partner with 415 companies on the 2022 Disability Equality Index,” said Jill Houghton, President and CEO of Disability:IN. “These top-scoring companies not only excel in disability inclusion, many are also adopting emerging trends and pioneering measures that can move the disability agenda from accommodation to inclusion and ultimately, genuine belonging.”

Each year, the DEI takes about 40 hours to complete. It is modeled off the Corporate Equality Index that highlights LGBTQ-inclusive workplace policies.

Globally, people with disabilities represent over one billion people. Disability is a natural part of the human experience, and it crosses lines of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and religion.

“TDS and its ABLE Associate Resource Group will continue our commitment to many of the disability inclusion practices featured in the DEI,” said Begenat.

TDS is pleased to join UScellular in the DEI rankings, which earned a score of 100 for the third year in a row.

For more information on the 2022 Corporate Equality Index, or to download a free copy of the report, click here or visit 2022 Disability Equality Index Report – Disability:IN (disabilityin.org).

Pandemic spurs positive career change for BendBroadband associate

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020 upended life for all of us—including BendBroadband associate Keith Wilson. Keith worked in the restaurant industry for years and was managing an establishment outside Bend, Oregon, when the pandemic hit. After the restaurant temporarily—and eventually permanently—closed, Keith suddenly found himself unemployed. Rather than bemoan… Continue Reading

Safety first is philosophy in training field service techs

The old saying, “Safety doesn’t happen by accident” certainly holds true for BendBroadband’ field service technicians (FSTs). Newly-hired technicians spend their early days with the company learning the ropes—figuratively and literally. Mike Shinee—senior safety administrator at TDS—has built BendBroadband/TDS’ Field Service safety program from the ground up. With 27 years of service in public safety… Continue Reading

Ray Hoffman: 35 years with BendBroadband

Ray Hoffman: 35 years with BendBroadband

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… Continue Reading

He travels to Bend for work, volunteers here too

He travels to Bend for work, volunteers here too

Alan Leopold enjoys helping others. When he’s at home, he’s a volunteer firefighter for the North Freedom Fire Department in Wisconsin and has been for the last 23 years. However, Alan often travels from Madison, Wisconsin to Bend to train employees, so when he’s away from home, Alan continues to give back. When Alan first traveled… Continue Reading

BendBroadband field techs work with at-risk youth program

BendBroadband field technicians are taking their knowledge and expertise and sharing it with area at-risk youth through the Oregon National Guard Youth Challenge Program. The Youth Challenge Program is a residential alternative high school where students (or “cadets,” as they’re known in the program) live on site for five months while attending a military model school.… Continue Reading

BendBroadband field techs work with at-risk youth program
Practice makes perfect

Practice makes perfect

Ever wondered what it takes to be a BendBroadband installer? It’s a year-long process to master the ins and outs of the job. Only practice makes perfect. At the entrance to a crawl space, Eric Thompson puts on his blue crawl suit. His mission: to replace a faulty cable splitter somewhere under the house. He pulls a protective mask… Continue Reading