FRUITLAND — Just like your typical wireless internet router, the time eventually comes when even the head of your local internet service provider needs changing out. For Dan Greig, general manager of Farmer’s Mutual Telephone Company, that time has come as he has announced his plans for retirement.
Farmers Mutual invited the newspaper to meet Ron Rembelski, who will succeed Greig as the company’s leader. In an interview on April 21, Greig and Rembelski shared about the impending changeover.
Greig said the time was right to retire and that he wants to travel.
“After 44 years, it’s time to do something different,” said Greig. “My wife and I are going to do some traveling, we’ve put in a lot of good years here and it’s time to go visit the kids. We have kids in North Carolina; There’s a lot of good country between here and there to look at.”
Greig said he chose Rembelski because of his background working with independent telephone companies.
“I’ve known Ron for, probably, twenty years,” said Greig. “He worked [at] Custer Telephone Company in Challis and … we’ve been to a lot of administrative meetings together for Syringa Networks. They own the 12 independents in Idaho. I’ve known his character and I’ve known that he has a good handle on the cooperative business that we have. He has a good handle on working with people, so when I thought of someone to replace me Rob’s name came up as a very good possible candidate.”
Rembelski said the benefit for him and his family drew him in to the role.
“It was a great opportunity for me in my career and where I’ve been and my knowledge of the telephone industry,” said Rembelski. “For my outlook and my wife, this side of the state [is] going to be a great opportunity for both of us.”
Rembelski said he hopes to continue Farmers Mutual’s growth in the region.
“Dan’s done a great job in getting Farmers Mutual to be a fiber optic ‘smart rural’ community and having that notoriety is very important,” said Rembelski. “To continue on with that and finish the final stages of implementation … all across the incumbent cooperative area. And also to expand our fiber optic footprint in the local communities of Payette and New Plymouth.”
He also indicated plans for expansion into outlying communities, but is committed to replacing more copper wire lines with fiber optic ahead of that possibility.
“To continue on that, embrace technology, offer the member-owners of the co-op the best technologically advanced services that are available” are among Rembelski’s goals. He expressed that he wants to reassure customers he is knowledgable, progress-minded and intends to provide the best service possible.
Rembelski said constant evolution in the telecommunications business piqued his interest in working in it.
“The constant technological changes [keep] it very interesting,” he said, noting that determining the most cost-effective means of meeting challenges has been among his favorite challenges.
As Greig prepares to head out the door, he expressed gratitude for the support of his customers over the last 44 years.
“I just want everybody to know that Ron is fully capable of continuing on with the work we’ve done so far.”
Greig will depart Farmers Mutual as of Aug. 1. Rembelski started Oct. 1 as assistant general manager and assumed the general manager role April 1.
Until Aug. 1, Greig is acting as a consultant for the company to help them with the transition.
“Dan is supporting me and the company in a consulting fashion and is supremely valuable,” said Rembelski.
The company plans a celebration of Greig’s retirement. No official date has been announced, but Greig said his North Carolina family members are planning to attend.
In the meantime, Greig’s advice to Rembelski is to keep looking for ways to get work done.
“There’s going to be challenges that you look at and say, ‘Man, how am I gonna figure this out?’ But there’s always a way, you just have to keep working at it until you get it figured out and go on. So hang in there,” said Greig.