Sapp Announces Retirement at Citizens’ Annual Meeting

The 2022 Annual Meeting of Citizens Telephone Cooperative was held on Saturday, October 15th, at the Citizens’ office on Webbs Mill Road in Floyd. Over 160 members were in attendance for the meeting announcing new milestones for the company.

Members were greeted by Citizens employees and received member gifts. Attendees had the opportunity to see first-hand and learn about the company’s new IPTV product, SFN TV Now. Central Office Technician Jay Conner conducted an educational demonstration of the new TV platform for the attendees prior to the meeting. “We are here for our customers each step of the way as we transition from and close down our digital TV headend to the new SFN TV Now IPTV platform,” stated Conner.

Citizens CEO and General Manager, Greg Sapp began the meeting with a welcome to members for the second Annual Meeting held in Citizens’ multipurpose shelter which comfortably accommodated those in attendance. President Wesley Goff opened the meeting, led the Pledge of Allegiance, and gave the President’s Report. Secretary Shelby Quesenberry read the minutes from the last meeting and Director Jonathan Vest presented the re-election of Board members Kevin Hubbard (Ballard exchange), Daniel Grim (Floyd exchange), and Rhonda Turpin (Willis exchange).

Mr. Sapp returned to the podium to report on the Cooperative’s progress of the ACAM Fiber to the Home project. To date, only 27% of the project construction remains. When complete in 2023, Floyd County will be 100% covered with fiber optic Internet technology for current and future technology needs. Sapp also shared that through partial funding from the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative
(VATI) Citizens can now serve residents in Copper Hill with Gigabit (1Gbps) Internet. In conjunction with DSL to Fiber Internet conversions, Sapp reported that in just the last few months Citizens has connected over 600 customers with the new SFN TV Now IPTV platform. The new TV technology reportedly saves customers from paying additional on their monthly TV package for HD, PVR services, and set-top boxes.

Lastly in Sapp’s report, he announced that he would be retiring from Citizens Telephone Cooperative in November of 2022 after 29 years and that the Cooperative will be in good hands with newly selected Donna Hylton Smith as Citizens’ new General Manager. He thanked everyone for the opportunities over the years and for allowing him to serve them.

Smith is a Virginia Tech graduate and Floyd county resident whose family has generational roots in the company. Smith’s grandfather, Maynard Hylton, was Plant Manager at the time of his retirement in 1979. Smith’s father, Donald Hylton, was a contractor for the company prior to his retirement. Donna has been at Citizens for 21 years. In Smith’s statement, she commented “It is an honor to be selected for this position and continue the work started generations ago. I am excited to continue to serve the community where I was raised and now have my own family. Greg leaves big shoes to fill but with our team of dedicated employees, we will strive to make him proud and continue to bring our customers the best service around. Thank you, Greg, for your leadership. Thank you, Directors, for your support and confidence in me.” Donna resides in Floyd with her husband, Danny Smith, and children Jacob and Emma.

Traditions of the annual meeting continued with door prize drawings for members. Prizes awarded were: a Dewalt tool set, a Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum, a 13-piece cookware set, a smart clock, Armor All Car Kit, a 10” Fire HD tablet, a portable air compressor, and a 50” Roku TV. The meeting was followed by a catered meal by Blue Ridge Diner of Floyd.

With no further business, the meeting was adjourned. The next meeting will be on the third Saturday of October 2023.