Forcier receives OPASTCO chairman's award

WASHINGTON - At the 48th Annual Winter Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO) Convention in Miami, James Forcier, President and CEO of Westelcom and Chazy & Westport Communications, was recognized with OPASTCO's Chairman's Award.

The Chairman's Award is OPASTCO's highest honor, recognizing an individual's national achievements in rural telecommunications, on behalf of the industry and the rural customers it serves.

OPASTCO Chairman's Award winner James Forcier was recognized for his rural telecom leadership, which has benefited not only his own customers, but has touched rural telecommunications consumers throughout the country.

Under Forcier's leadership, he originally launched advanced phone and broadband services. The telephone company was recognized as the first in the North Country to offer DSL high-speed Internet access and this once small, local company doubled in size and strength. Now deploying high capacity fiber services to the regions they serve, they once again achieve the title of early adopters, while much of the state and country waits.

Part of Forcier's formula for success has been staying on top of industry technical and policy developments. He has done this, in part, through his involvement with OPASTCO. After years of participation in committees, he joined the OPASTCO board in 1994 and in 2001 he served as OPASTCO's chairman.

As OPASTCO's chairman in 2001, Forcier ramped up OPASTCO's focus on broadband and cable television and focuses on dedicating staff and resources to Internet, broadband and media issues. Forcier also amplified OPASTCO's lobbying efforts as he took OPASTCO to the gates of Capitol Hill and made real accomplishments molding broadband legislation and making estate tax repeal a reality.

When our nation collectively grieved from the tragedy of September 11, Forcier used his role as chairman of OPASTCO to assist those in need. Calling on rural companies and the customers they serve, FRED (Foundation for Rural Education and Development) and OPASTCO raised more than $68,000. The funds went to a rural community in Pennsylvania that had been changed forever by the events of September 11th.

Forcier has remained very active in the telecom industry, serving on the New York State Telephone Association board and as its Chairman in 2007. He has also been active in local economic and social groups in the region including the various Chambers, hospital boards and airport development committees.

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