Thomas inducted into the South Dakota Co-op Hall of Fame | Community
East Sully breeder Harry Thomas was inducted into the South Dakota Co-op Hall of Fame on Wednesday, September 24.
Harry Thomas has been a member of the board of directors of Venture Communications at Highmore since 1982. As a forward-looking man, Harry has seen the industry change dramatically over the years, from simple landlines to video services. and streaming. available today. Harry’s vision for growth and new technologies has enabled Venture to avoid falling behind in urban areas, and this vision has enabled the national SDN Communications network to take 17 separate co-ops and transform them into a network that has provided equal access and other services to member cooperatives, their rural communities and key public service providers such as health care clinics statewide.
Under Harry’s leadership, Venture also achieved a 100% fiber plant for all of its members after setting up its first “fiber to the home” plant in 2006. Rural customers can now enjoy top video and Internet services. throughput that they would not otherwise have access without fiber. Most recently, Harry helped oversee Venture’s expansion beyond the cooperative zone, as Hughes County received fiber optic connections in 2020, which brought customers the same high-quality service as the members of the cooperative. Harry also served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Telephone Co-operatives of South Dakota (SDATC) for 25 years in leadership and committee positions and has remained active in ensuring that co-ops maintain a strong position in the state. He brought those same skills and passion to the national stage as Chairman of the Board of the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association in 2009. Harry saw where the opportunities lay not only for the industry, but for consumers as well. served by telephone cooperatives across the country.
His vision and foresight enabled the association to seek the support that would allow cooperatives to thrive.
The South Dakota Co-operative Hall of Fame recognizes those who have made a particularly significant contribution to the improvement of the co-operative idea, its wider acceptance, or the substantial advancement of the co-operative enterprise under one of its various forms.