On June 14, 2018, Carol Berns, Alpine’s longest tenured employee, cleared her last trouble ticket, took her last call, and entered retirement. Carol was one of Alpine Communications’ first employees in 1997, venturing into a new world of telecommunications from a fold-up table at the office on Main Street in Elkader.
Carol was pivotal in connecting customers to the internet for the very first time in Northeast Iowa. When she began her career, Alpine didn’t offer internet service or basic calling features, only dial tone. The new team of employees worked together to upgrade the outdated network which was in disrepair.
She recalls, “the network in Marquette and McGregor needed a lot of work. Bob (who retired from Alpine in 2002) spent a long time getting that area straightened up.” These network improvements enabled Alpine to begin delivering dial-up internet, then DSL, and now fiber-optic broadband services.
A little-known fact is that Carol had no idea how to use a computer mouse when she went to Des Moines for her first Alpine training class. The biggest advancement she has seen over the years is the introduction of the internet.
During the last few years, Carol has been a leader in dispatching technicians to service installations and repairs. She counts her biggest accomplishment as adapting to changes in billing systems and processes.