Scranton Telephone Company plans open house

~courtesy of The Scranton Journal

There have been many changes in the telecommunications industry. Scranton is fortunate to be served by their own independent telephone system. To celebrate the changes, Scranton Telephone Company is hosting an open house on July 26. The company invites customers to join them to gain information about its services and meet the staff.

With the retirement of long-time manager Sam Fengel earlier this year, Allen Jacob has filled the job as general manager.

“Jake” as he is known, began his career in the telephone industry with GTE. Over the years, the company was sold to Iowa Telecom and then Windstream.

“I was tired of living out of a suitcase and traveling,” said Jake. He went to work for Western Iowa Networks at Breda but then became interested in the advantages of fiber optic. He landed a job with KG Telecom who contracted with Scranton Telephone to install the fiber optic system in 2013/14.

Emily Hoyt, Allen Jacob | Scranton Journal photo

Jake worked in the Scranton area for several months and mentioned to Fengel that he was interested in working for Scranton Telephone if the opportunity arose.

Shortly after the fiber optic system was installed, Jake began working with Fengel as assistant manager. He took over as manager in January of this year. He lives between Scranton and Lanesboro.

Emily Hoyt is a native of Scranton and is the office manager for Scranton Telephone. She trained in 2010 with Ellie Umbaugh, a 23-year veteran in the phone office, and had planned to fill the position when Umbaugh retired, but an addition to the Hoyt family changed her plans and she became a stay-at-home mom.

Hoyt began filling in as needed in the office in 2014 and started working fulltime on May 15, 2016. Umbaugh continues to staff the office occasionally when Hoyt has commitments outside of the office.

Hoyt and her husband Rob Hoyt attended college in Berea, KY, where she earned a business administration degree. They lived in Kentucky for 10 years but moved “home” in 2006. They are parents of three children: Logan, Olivia and Bromley.

“Both of our families are here, but we really liked Kentucky,” commented Hoyt.

She handles the bookkeeping, billing, accounting and serves as receptionist for Scranton Telephone. The office is open 9 am – noon and 1 – 4:30 pm Monday – Friday. Calls are taken after hours and weekends to maintain service to customers.

“I enjoy working here. It’s a really great blend of customer service and accounting,” said Hoyt. “I really enjoy the customer service. It’s a good fit for me. And it’s convenient for me.”

The installation of fiber optic lines offers many benefits to Scranton Telephone customers. Fiber optic handles not only telephone service but Internet and television. It allows Scranton Telephone to provide the high-speed Internet that many customers have come to expect both in town and to rural customers.

Thanks to the fact that fiber optic lines are buried, storms aren’t much of an issue. “The loss of power is a problem,” explained Jake, but they can be managed thanks to generators.

“I can see a lot of the problems from the office,” added Jacob, noting that he has gone to customers to work on an issue that they didn’t know they were experiencing. Should the customer need to replace parts (like routers), Scranton Telephone has stock available or he will assist the customer in purchasing the necessary equipment.

“One of the things the customers like is that we allow unlimited data on the Internet,” added Jake. “That’s big, especially to gamers.”

The customer appreciation open house is scheduled for Wednesday, July 26, from 4 to 6 pm. Customers are invited to come to the office to get better acquainted with the staff and to learn more about the services offered by Scranton Telephone. There will be refreshments and door prizes.

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