Vince and Amy Tyson

Vince Tyson feels fortunate the Citizens Mutual Board of Directors selected him to become the General Manager of the company following the retirement of Joe Snyder in December.

“Eighty people from all over the nation applied for this position,” Tyson said. “That’s a testament to the reputation this company has.”

Tyson and his wife Amy made the decision to accept the job and move to Bloomfield because they like the Midwest with its four seasons.

“One of our hobbies is riding bikes on dirt roads and gravel hills. You have phenomenal rolling hills,” Tyson said.

“And world-class gravel roads,” Amy added.

But for Vince, the big attraction was a “well-run, progressive company with a great staff.”

“We have better and cheaper internet connections here than in any large cities we’ve been in recently,” Amy commented.

Tyson started his telecommunications career in 1982. He spent eight years in the Air Force as a technician while also working on his degree in electrical engineering, which he received in 1992.

“I also went to grad school for a year, but never finished my thesis because we had twins on the way and Amy was supporting my professional student lifestyle,” he laughed.

Tyson took a job with an engineering consulting company in Lubbock, Texas, in 1993 and there became familiar with the local rural communications industry.

“I lucked into this job and learned life is about the journey, not the destination,” he said. “Exciting things happen along the way.”

From there, Tyson worked for two other co-ops — one in Bemidji, Minn. and one in Clovis, N.M. — before taking the position at Citizens Mutual.

“This co-op has been well run,” he said. “Joe has done a great job. There is nothing to fix. The board is great.

“I’m in a learning phase now as I discover what new opportunities await,” he said.

Tyson said companies like Citizens Mutual are good for rural areas and he hopes to expand the number of internet customers. CMTEL has already begun to expand into Green Township in Wapello County where there was a void in service.

His desire is to expand the number of people CMTEL can serve with “great internet.”

“There is a big need out there,” he said, “as long as we can get adequate funding from the federal government. User revenue can’t pay for it all.”

Commenting on the future of the phone industry, Tyson said Citizens Mutual won’t get into mobile wireless but will continue to serve landlines.

The thrust of the industry is broadband for internet and cable TV service.

Tyson emphasizes the importance of broadband in educating the community’s children and providing an opportunity for young people to move back home and work online.

“We do need to do a better job of promoting the lifestyle and benefits this community can offer —from a professional perspective — with the broadband service we have here,” he said.

The Tysons are the parents of four children. Son Matt is an attorney in Houston, Texas; son Drew lives  in San Diego, Calif., and works in social media marketing. One of the twins, Abby, works as an electrical engineer in Cleveland, Ohio. Her twin sister Katie is in medical school in Milwaukee, Wis.

“With our kids scattered, there is a benefit in living in the middle of the county,” Amy said.

Amy is an RN and is looking for a job in the area.

Vince is anxious to get involved in the community, though the process has been slow due to COVID.

“I encourage people to reach out to me,” he said.