Title: Central Office Technician
Employee Since: 2020
Rick McCracken’s nearly 30-year career in telecommunications has taken him all over the western United States–from Idaho to New Mexico, and finally back to his home state of Montana.
Growing up in Columbia Falls, just one hour south of Eureka, Rick admired both the lush landscapes and close-knit community of his neighbor to the north. As their own family grew, Rick and his wife continued to dream of raising their eight children in the small town of Eureka.
“Eureka was always where we wanted to be,” Rick said. “It has that small-town feel, the way Columbia Falls was 20 years ago. We wanted to raise our kids in a place like that, where for the most part you can leave your doors unlocked, and your kids are free to run around.”
In 2020, their wish came true. After five years with a telephone cooperative in Artesia, New Mexico, Rick saw an opening at InterBel. He applied immediately, and the McCrackens were finally able to trade in the high deserts of New Mexico for the expansive forests and serene lakes of northwest Montana.
Today, as Central Office Technician at InterBel, Rick is responsible for coordinating the transport of fiber optic cables, installing new equipment, and ensuring that all technology is in place to provide users with the high-speed, reliable internet service they depend on.
Over the past three decades, Rick has witnessed first-hand the transformation of the technology that we use to communicate.
“Eureka was always where we wanted to be.”
“30 years ago, the internet was just going from dial-up to DSL, where you could get maybe 20 megabits per second, up and down,” Rick said. “Now technology is changing so fast, and we are able to provide speeds over one gigabit per second.”
And it is not slowing down anytime soon. As users continue to demand access to more information at faster speeds, technology is being forced to evolve more rapidly than ever before. Rick knows better than anyone that in order to survive in the industry, an organization like InterBel must be able and willing to evolve along with it.
“Technology changes every day. There are always new challenges, new opportunities to better yourself,” Rick said. “InterBel listens to their employees. If we recommend new solutions, they listen. They are always looking for ways to better their products and services for their customers.”
Joining the InterBel team has given Rick the opportunity to improve the lives of others through technology; but for Rick, the opportunities that InterBel affords him outside of the office are even more valuable.
“InterBel is a small co-op that is very family-oriented,” Rick said. “You can put your family first here, and they are really good at supporting you and helping out in any way they can.”
This flexibility allows Rick to attend all of his children’s sporting events and activities, lead youth activities with his church, and join his family on hiking and kayaking adventures across the Tobacco Valley. Most importantly, it gives him the opportunity to finally share the place he’s always dreamed of calling home with the people he loves.
“Living all over the country, the biggest thing I’ve learned is to not take this place for granted,” Rick said. “It’s beautiful. It’s home.”
“Technology changes every day. There are always new challenges, new opportunities to better yourself.”