Sit Back,
Relax & Enjoy
The Experience

2017 ANNUAL MEETING REPORT

orange chair

#FutureReady

Technology That
Comfortably Fits
Your Lifestyle.

At SkyLine, we have the best customers and employees out there. It all starts with the right relationship, offering the best products and giving people outstanding service. We take pride in what we do for the community and our neighbors. You are invited you to sit back, relax and enjoy the SkyLine experience.

Welcome

2017 Executive Report

It is our pleasure to present the 2017 Executive Report. The cover of this year’s Annual Meeting Report alludes to the ‘experience’ we strive to deliver daily, and you may notice a recurring presence of an orange chair throughout this publication. The orange chair serves as a metaphor for SkyLine, representing elements of style, comfort, stability and quality, and exemplifies the relationship we enjoy with you, our members and customers. It is our mission to keep you reliably connected to a state-of-the-art communications network so that you can focus on what is most important to you: your family, your home, your business, your life.

We are well positioned on many fronts to take advantage of expansion opportunities in this fast-paced digital world.

Jimmy C. Blevins
Chief Executive Officer
SkyLine Membership Corporation

R.C. Mitchell >
President
SkyLine Membership Corporation

Highlights of Operation

Voice & Internet Services

Total Access Lines

Excellence

Business Sense

Over the past year, SkyLine has received national recognition through two awards programs with NTCA — The Rural Broadband Association, which represents more than 800 rural, independent and communitybased communications providers throughout the U.S. NTCA’s Smart Rural Community (SRC) Showcase Awards is an initiative to highlight efforts that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business, and NTCA’s TeleChoice Awards Program honors excellence in member telco public relations and marketing.

The Town of Sparta and Alleghany County represent multiple municipalities and more than 35 communities across SkyLine’s service area that can use the “Smart Rural Community” designation thanks to the efforts by SkyLine to build a robust fiber network and to provide innovative and collaborative broadband solutions that enhance local communities.

Pictured (l-r): Mayor John Miller with the award, SkyLine Board Secretary Jim Shepherd, SkyLine President R.C. Mitchell (seated), and Sparta Town Manager Bryan Edwards.

Community

Your Connection

Intrinsic to our company culture as a locally-based, member-owned cooperative is the genuine care we have for our communities.

What started as a conversation several months ago led SkyLine to learn of a local community need, identify a solution and pursue a grant opportunity that would enhance the level of care for seniors in an assisted living facility in Ashe County. The senior services sector has grown in recent years with the establishment of two new assisting living facilities and the expansion of a local rehabilitation center. Ashe County ranks in the highest percentage bracket in the state with 30 percent of its population age 60 or higher, and this segment is expected to increase to 35 percent by 2034.

Awards and certifications

Licensed by the N.C. Division of Facility Services, Ashe Services for Aging has received numerous awards and certifications for providing programs of superior quality, excelling in addressing the needs of its older citizens and recognition as being a ‘model’ multi-purpose senior center. It currently enjoys the designation of being a “Senior Center of Excellence.”

Expansion

Future Ready

SkyLine’s journey as a telecommunications company has always followed a progressive path, one that started as an ‘elusive dream’ to bring telephone service to isolated mountain communities of northwest North Carolina. As the largest among eight telecommunications cooperatives in the state and the eighth largest in the nation, SkyLine’s board of directors and senior leadership have continually kept a forward focus on bringing its members the latest technology and providing them comparable and affordable services to urban areas.

SkyLine’s journey as a telecommunications company has always followed a progressive path, one that started as an ‘elusive dream’ to bring telephone service to isolated mountain communities of northwest North Carolina. As the largest among eight telecommunications cooperatives in the state and the eighth largest in the nation, SkyLine’s board of directors and senior leadership have continually kept a forward focus on bringing its members the latest technology and providing them comparable and affordable services to urban areas.

Technology

Broadband Speeds

Shifting from a copper-based infrastructure to fiber, SkyLine has introduced a more robust range of broadband service packages and multi-service bundles to its members/customers. Along with the third component of ‘triple-play’ services (digital TV), fiber has accelerated the platform capabilities for both download and upload broadband speeds. A fiber connection today can provide up to a Gigabit (1,000 Megabits) as well as symmetrical speeds such as 45/45, 75/75 and greater.

Apple Hill Farm is connected to fiber-based voice, broadband and WiFi services, which gives owner Lee Rankin, her son Will and staff free reign to share videos of Basil the Llama, Mojo the Alpaca, Casper the Golden Retriever and their farm family with more than 3,800-plus Facebook followers.

SkyLine Membership Corporation

Standing, left to right: Jerry Roten, Raymond Parker, Attorney; Sharon Kasel, Tommy Joe Ward, Bill Burleson, Olan Bentley.

Seated, left to right: Jimmy Blevins, CEO , Joseph McNeil, Vice President; R.C. Mitchell, President; James L. Shepherd, Secretary; D.C. Smith, Treasurer.

SkyBest Communications, Inc.

Standing, left to right: Raymond Parker, Attorney; R.C. Mitchell, Assistant Secretary; Dennis Gambill, Vice President; D.C. Smith.

Seated, left to right: Haskell McGuire, Secretary; Jimmy Blevins, President; James L. Shepherd, Chairman; Joseph McNeil, Treasurer.

Expertise You Can Trust

Board of Directors

SkyLine Membership Corporation

SkyLine Membership Corporation is a local, member-owned cooperative, established in 1951 t o bring t elephone service to rural residents of Alleghany, Ashe and Watauga counties. Later, the cooperative expanded its service territory to include areas of Avery County and Shady Valley, Tennessee, when it merged with Cherokee Telephone Membership Corporation. SkyLine serves a 12-exchange network with over 27,000 access lines across a five-county area in northwest North Carolina and east Tennessee. The company has a wholly-owned subsidiary, SkyBest Communications, Inc., and it also co-owns Carolina West Wireless, a regional wireless carrier operating in 11 western North Carolina counties.

SkyBest Membership Corporation

SkyBest Communications, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SkyLine Membership Corporation. Established in 1998, SkyBest is a c ompetitive local exchange carrier (CLEC ), offering a variety of deregulated services including broadband Internet, voice and long-distance services, business and network solutions, SkyBest Security, video surveillance, automation and SkyBest TV over an expanding fiber network. In 2014, SkyBest established a subsidiary, The Video Exchange, to serve as a source for video content for TV station operators and channel owners across the U.S. Most recently, SkyBest has expanded its service territory to cover more of the Boone business community as well as Lenoir in Caldwell County and Mountain City, Tennessee.

FINANCIALS

Download a PDF of our Financial Section

Service & Dedication

These individuals are celebrating five-year, incremental service anniversaries with the cooperative in 2017. We thank them for their dedication and service to SkyLine as they bring you the latest in technology, the best customer service and a genuine commitment to community.

Community Involvement

Whether it’s connecting our rural communities to the latest technology and services or connecting with our communities to support education, economic development and numerous charitable initiatives, SkyLine and its employees are here to answer the call. As a cooperative, it’s our role to be member-focused and community-driven.

An Appalachian Summer Festival

SkyBest Communications was among the corporate sponsors of An Appalachian Summer Festival, now in its 33rd year. Named one of the “Top 20 Events in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society, App Summer features music, dance, theatre, visual arts and film. This year’s popular series included Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers, Jennifer Nettles, and YES, among others.

Christmas Charities

Employees make Christmas brighter for the young and elderly in Ashe County through the Interagency Christmas Project and Appalachian Senior Programs’ Project Star. Employees also help individual families in area counties with gifts, heating assistance and other needs.

FRS Youth Tour

Caroline Current and Jacob Key, two Ashe County High School seniors, represented SkyLine at the Foundation for Rural Service Youth Tour of Washington, D.C. They experienced a close-up view of our nation’s capital, including visits to numerous landmarks, and a greater understanding of telecommunications in rural communities. “It was eye opening for me to hear the FRS talk about how local issues in rural areas can have national implications,” says Jacob Key.

Project Teamwork

Project Teamwork is an employee-led community outreach program, providing financial relief to area families during times of crisis. Since 1997, this program has contributed more than $160,000 to help our neighbors across the region.

Scholarship

The Frank-James SkyLine Scholarship is presented annually to children of SkyLine/SkyBest customers. Selection is based on academics, financial need, and school and community involvement.

Heart Association

Working to raise awareness and support for the American Heart Association, SkyLine provides the phone bank at the annual Ashe Heart Auction. Also at this year’s Heart Walk, fellow employees joined Angie Miller’s team in memory of her brother Ricky Goodman and father Doug Goodman, whose lives were lost prematurely to heart disease.

Co-op Leadership Camp

For many years, SkyLine has made it possible for area youth to attend Cooperative Leadership Camp at White Lake to learn more about how cooperatives operate while building their leadership skills. Led by the Cooperative Council of North Carolina, this year’s participants included (Front Row, L-R) Carter Wilson, Faith Moretz, Emerson Wells, (Back Row, L-R) Marissa McClure, Ashley Denny, Lillian Wood.

“Rise & Shine” Food Drive

Food insecurity plagues many across our service area, so SkyLine has partnered with area food pantries in efforts to fill their shelves with non-perishable breakfast items. In its fourth year, the Rise & Shine Food Drive is now underway and will conclude October 31.

LMC Summer Theatre

SkyLine continued its support of Lees-McRae’s popular Summer Theatre program, serving as the presenting corporate sponsor of the first show, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” This season also featured “Million Dollar Quartet” and “Legally Blonde: The Musical.”

Directory Recycling

Since 1993, SkyLine has sponsored a Directory Collection Drive with the help of 17 area public schools. For their efforts toward sustainability, each school is awarded a quarter for each old directory they collect.

Relay for Life

SkyLine and its employees are active supporters of Relay for Life across their communities, forming teams and fundraising for the American Cancer Society. All money raised supports the ACS with their efforts in research, education, advocacy and service.