LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn continued his Hometown Jobs tours with a company in his district that has been in business since the end of World War II and is now on their fourth generation.
The Lennon Telephone Company (LTC), located in Clayton Township, is a small, family-operated telephone company that specializes in television, phone and internet services for the village of Lennon and neighboring communities.
“For two years now, I have been traveling around my district exploring different careers that people have chosen, or businesses that people have started,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “The diverse workforce in the 32nd District never ceases to amaze me.”
From customer service, to technical work behind the scenes, Horn spent the day with a few of the company’s employees performing their daily jobs for a first-hand experience.
Horn started the tour with what is considered by the company to be the most important job — serving the customer. The office received a phone call from a customer who was having trouble with his cable box and in no time, Horn and Kyley Kent, a technician with the company and son of one of the owners, were in the van on the way to fix the problem.
Before an old, defective box can be replaced, a new one must be programmed and prepared for use. The boxes are designed to be reusable, but before they are sent to a new customer’s house, they are wiped of any old DVR recordings, saved shows, favorite lists, or any personal data. After the new box is prepared, it is off to the customer’s house to get the new equipment installed and hopefully solve the customer’s original problem.
“Electrical components are growing smaller, yet more powerful. Observing how technology has grown in recent years, and especially since I was a child, is interesting to say the least,” Horn said. “I can remember big, blocky TVs with rabbit ears that produced a fuzzy signal and knobs that you had to get up to turn. Now we have cable boxes with hard drives and high definition channels with crisp, vibrant picture.”
Horn also received on-the-job training from Plant Manager Tom Bowden on how cable companies bury and run wires in order to send connections throughout the community.
LTC uses a hydraulic machine that pushes pipes underground through a customer’s yard in order to not disturb the surface or dig up the lawn. Once the pipes are pushed from one end of the yard to the other, they are then retracted, but with a conduit line attached. The conduit line acts as a protective housing for wires and in this case, fiber optic cable, which is an update from the previously used copper cable.
“It’s really fascinating to see all this being done and the front yard looks like nothing was even here. The process is 100 percent underground,” Horn said. “They do this because not only do customers not want their yards dug up, but burying cable and protecting it with an outside layer of conduit ensures that it stays safe from the elements such as rain water and tree roots, among other things.”
After leaving the dig site and as they made their way back to LTC’s offices, Bowden and Horn stopped at the “switch room,” which houses every single connection, whether it is a phone, television or internet, that LTC delivers to the community.
“Never in my life have I seen so many wires, and this is on a relatively small scale,” Horn said. “They have every client’s connection housed in this room, and from there, it runs out to the street, through the telephone lines and into the customer’s homes.”
After returning to the office, Horn spent the last portion of his tour answering phones and helping customers who stopped in to pay their bill, or had questions.
“Working directly with customers is one of my favorite parts of these tours,” Horn said. “Meeting with the people who live in my district, hearing their problems and seeing if I can help them solve those problems is a satisfying and rewarding experience.”
As the tour was coming to an end, Horn was sure to thank the staff at LTC for allowing him to spend the day in their shoes.
“This was a true hometown experience that allowed me not only a behind-the-scenes and hands-on look at their business operations, but the privilege of working directly with their customers as well,” Horn said. “I would like to thank the entire staff at LTC for graciously allowing me into their business and being patient with me as I learned the ropes. I always like to see a small family business that works so hard to serve their community and that the community respects in return, and I think LTC fits that bill perfectly.”
For video of this tour and previous tours, click here.
Horn’s Hometown Tours feature various communities in the 32nd District. If you are interested in having Horn visit, please contact his office at (517) 373-1760, toll-free at (855) 347-8032 or by email at SenKHorn@senate.michigan.gov.
Editor’s note: A print-quality copy of each photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting www.SenatorKenHorn.com. Click on “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.
PHOTO 1 CAPTION: State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, and plant manager Tom Bowden discuss how LTC runs pipes and conduit underground, which not only protects cables from the elements, but does not disturb the homeowner’s yard either.
PHOTO 2 CAPTION: State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, issues a receipt to a customer who had stopped in to pay her phone bill as the senator was working behind the desk.
PHOTO 3 CAPTION: State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, troubleshoots an issue with a customer’s cable box with Kyley Kent, LTC technician and son of one of the company’s owners.