Featured IWA Member – November 2013: Shawn Sample

Featured IWA member Shawn Sample.
“NTCA is my dream job. I spend all day delving into a variety of website activities with (naturally) impossible deadlines. I do so love a good challenge.”

Featured IWA Member:
Shawn Sample

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association
Arlington, Virginia, United States
Connect via LinkedIn

About Shawn
“I’ve been with NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association for 10 years now.  I started delving into the world of websites about 20 years ago.  One day, while playing on the “Internet world” I saw a pop-up link that said “view source.”  Imagine my surprise when I realized a “fancy Web Page” was actually some type of editable document.  That fired up my inner child’s curiosity and I’ve been having a blast ever since.”

About the NTCS
NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America.

Q:Which publishing, design and content technologies do you use to build and maintain websites?
A: We use Joomla to run 5 websites with about 15 “web editors” on staff. As webmaster I manage the overall activities of all websites, train editors on how to use the content management system and work with our hosting company on the more complex activities.

Q: What is your approach to security issues and other potential website problems?
A: Heavy training of content editors on staff and a very close relationship with the web hosting company. We are constantly reviewing the latest evil tricks coming out and doing our best to prepare before they can come our way.

Q: What do you find to be some of the greatest challenges as a web expert today?
A: The variety of needs for mobile customization and responsive web designs.

Q: What do you find to be some of the greatest opportunities in today’s Internet?
A: The ability to reach out to our members in ways we could not do before, offering them more services for their dues.

The main association (flagship) website at www.ntca.org.  It’s the Joomla brains behind all of the others.


The TECO political action committee website at www.ntcateco.org.  That one was a challenge as we must abide by Federal PAC laws on who gets in and who doesn’t (and what, exactly, you get to see even before you log in).


The Rural Telecom magazine website at www.ruraltelecom.org.

One of the two conference websites.  This one, the Wireless Symposium & WiExpo (www.buildwirelessnow.com) , along with the IP Possibilities Conference & Expo (www.buildipnow.com), are changed up each year.

All of the websites, with the exception of the Foundation for Rural Service (www.frs.org) website, are child spinoffs of the main NTCA Joomla system.  (FRS has its own Joomla system.)  The NTCA has worked with NetStrategies, Inc. (www.netstrategies.com) for 10 years to keep the sites growing by leaps and bounds.

“With it all running off of a Joomla system it gives me so many conveniences.  I can train staff on editing the webpages and they can work on any of our sites at any given time. “

The Future
We’re in the midst of adding some new member features and apps.  We’re due for updating/upgrading all sites for mobile responsiveness and all good things “modern.”

More about the NTCA
NTCA advocates on behalf of its members in the legislative and regulatory arenas, and it provides training and development; publications and industry events; and an array of employee benefit programs. In an era of exploding technology, deregulation and marketplace competition, NTCA’s members are leading the IP evolution for rural consumers, delivering technologies that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business. Because of their efforts, rural America is fertile ground for innovation in economic development and commerce, education, health care, government services, security and smart energy use.

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