CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision may have defined the civil rights movement, but his legacy lives on in our communities, schools and even corporations. At TDS Telecommunications, a local award-winning internet provider, many of his ideas are reflected in how it operates as a company – championing inclusivity, driving customer loyalty, fostering teamwork and acting with integrity. 

(L-R) Utah Tech Interim President Courtney White and Assistant Vice President/Senior Diversity & Inclusion Officer Tasha Toy with Drum Major Award recipients Susan Ertel and Benji Welch at the 4th annual MLK Gala, St. George, Utah, Jan. 11, 2024 | Photo by Jordan Palmer courtesy of Utah Tech University, St. George News

“Our company’s mission statement and core values parallel Dr. King’s teachings,” said Drew Petersen, senior vice president of corporate affairs for TDS. “TDS’ goal is simply to create a better world, and we do that by connecting people and businesses, supporting education and strengthening communities.”

Part of the company’s efforts involves having 10 associate resource groups, including a Black associate network called R.I.S.E., which stands for “Resilient. Innovative. Supportive. Excellent.” Those internal groups reflect the passion and interests of TDS associates and help drive philanthropic efforts, including the company’s sponsorship of the fourth annual MLK Gala at Utah Tech University on Jan. 11.

More than 100 people attended the event that also honored local leaders for their commitment to King’s legacy. TDS provided a $1,000 check to support the gala and help provide scholarships for need-based students. It was the first year that the event was open to the greater Utah Tech community.

“We were proud to support such an important community event that is helping further the education of many deserving individuals,” TDS Associate Manager of Marketing Wendi Bulkley said. “TDS cares about the communities we serve and want to do all we can to give back, as well as make a difference in people’s lives.”

Tasha Toy, PhD, assistant vice president and senior diversity and inclusion officer for Utah Tech, was grateful for TDS’ contributions to the annual event.

“We are so happy TDS was a sponsor,” Toy said. “Part of the giving was not just for the university, but it also helps students who have a gap in their life when it comes to financial need. TDS is filling that need.”

Promotional image courtesy of TDS, St. George News

“The money goes to scholarships for students who have life circumstances that create gaps. For example, individuals who are coming out of foster care have access to this fund, single parents who are coming back to school – they have access to it, also,” Toy continued. “It is individuals who are on the fringe, who need the most support, getting this financial assistance.”

At the event, Utah Tech announced the 2024 recipients of the Drum Major Award, which recognizes individuals who selflessly perform daily acts of service to make their community, and our world, a better place. TDS would like to congratulate the recipients: Utah Tech student Benji Welch, St. George City Councilwoman Dannielle Larkin and Utah Tech Professor Susan Ertel, PhD. 

“It Starts with Me.” The title of the event offers all of us an inspiration to honor King in our daily activities, and TDS will continue to do that as a company.

TDS R.I.S.E co-chairperson and Manager of Business Development Bruce Shead shares his views on King’s impact and inspiration to all of us.

“Embracing Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision requires a holistic commitment to justice, equality and respect,” Shead said. “Together, we can continue to learn from his example and create a better world.” 

TDS is a leading internet provider in Southern Utah and was recently named the gold winner for internet services in the Best of Southern Utah 2023 conducted by Canyon Media. Along with its reliable and fast internet speeds, TDS has a next-generation TV service called TDS TV+ and feature-rich phone plans. Find out more about TDS’ products and services by visiting HelloTDS.com or calling 1-844-322-8834.

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