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February 2022 – MTA Communications
Esports News & Alerts

MTA Gaming Takes Alaska Esports to New Heights

By: Jess Gilbert, PR Manager

After winning the 2020 Best Virtual Event by Alaska Business Magazine, we knew we had to level up in 2021. We did just that with Alaska’s first Esports League. The MTA Gaming efforts have always been about cultivating a strong, tech-forward community of passionate gamers. That community told us they wanted more than one weekend, and we delivered.

Spanning multiple weeks, the inaugural season officially began November 15, with championship rounds that took place January 29 & 30 at the MTA Gaming Virtual Tournament. This season’s games included Fortnite, APEX Legends, Super Smash Bros, Rocket League and League of Legends.

Adding to the fun, we had some special guests join us – former Seahawks player, Luke Willson, and Logan Kimmell, with Kimmell Gaming. As avid gamers themselves, both are passionate about the way gaming can bring people together – whether they’re an NFL player, a teacher, a student or anyone else. We had the chance to interview both Luke and Logan during the tournament, check it out below!

As our returning competitors already know, the pandemic forced us to host 2020’s tournament virtually for the first time. Though this could’ve been a major setback, we instead saw it as an opportunity to take both MTA Gaming and our valued community of esports enthusiasts to new heights.

It’s because of the unwavering support from you – our fans and sponsors – that we were able to embark on this entirely new journey. But it’s also because of you that we get to better the communities we serve.

Since its inception, our annual gaming tournament has served as a signature event to benefit the MTA Foundation, which provides scholarships, donations, grants and other tech assistance throughout Alaska. This year, we managed to raise more than $33,000, with special thanks to our Elite sponsors Ciena and Monster Energy.

MTA Gaming certainly made a virtual splash last year, but this year we created a tidal wave. We’re already looking forward to everything in store for the 2022-23 season!

To learn more, visit:

News & Alerts

MTA Wins Three NTCA eXcellence Awards

The highest recognition of individual achievement by NTCA is the eXcellence Awards Program, which honors individuals in eight categories.

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association recognized nine rural telecom leaders who have shown exceptional commitment to their communities and the broadband industry during the 2022 Rural Telecom Industry Meeting and EXPO (RTIME). 

The NTCA Excellence Awards recognize broadband providers who have gone above and beyond to support their customers and community members and to advance communications services in rural America. Winners are selected by the association’s Awards Committee comprising NTCA members. The 2021 NTCA Excellence Awards are sponsored by JSI and NECA.

View full press release.

Management Innovation Award

Wanda Tankersley
Chief Operating Officer

Wanda became Chief Operating Officer in 2017 and since then played an instrumental role in leading the company through major milestones and remarkable levels of growth, to create a more connected world for MTA members, employees, and all Alaskans. Throughout her tenure as COO, Wanda overhauled MTA’s product management paradigm, oversaw the restructuring and unification of sales teams to be better aligned and more responsive to market demand, and created a new Commercial Solutions team focused on creating bespoke products for MTA’s Wholesale and Enterprise markets. She led the charge in unveiling a myriad of innovative tech solutions, including Managed Wi-Fi, migration out of end-of-life products, and the suite of three cybersecurity and privacy apps called MTA Shield. Wanda recognized that a company’s success is largely contingent upon the well-being of its employees and urged a series of facilities renovations at MTA to ensure employees have ergonomic environments, mother’s rooms, and collaborative workspaces. She’s also cultivated a culture of impact for the MTA Foundation, pioneering a series of diverse initiatives, and created an internship program for the next generation of telecom leaders.

Key Employee Award

Tyler Aklestad
OSP Network Planner

Tyler excelled in several roles at MTA, progressing through the ranks since his start as a Plant Laborer at age 18. He completed a four-year apprenticeship in the Telecommunications program as a Journeyman Splicer, became an Outside Plant Engineer through cross-training opportunities, and recently became MTA’s OSP Network Planner. Along his journey at MTA, Tyler has fostered a strong connection with the state of Alaska and its traditions by competing in the Iron Dog race, the world’s longest snowmobile race at nearly 2,600 miles. Tyler started his Iron Dog career the same year he began working at MTA, leveraging both experiences over the years to connect with the community around him. He has become an advocate for safety and gives talks at local elementary schools and local businesses about his work in telecommunications and his racing career, fostering pride in the unique challenges and benefits of working and living in Alaska.

Outstanding Marketing Achievement Award

Kerry Youngren
Consumer Markets Manager

Kerry and her team took on a brand modernization initiative in early 2020 in pursuit of a simple goal—to revamp and unify MTA’s brand to reflect its recent evolution and commitment to innovation. Using analytics and survey data, Kerry developed supporting objectives and identified benchmarks to track the project’s success, including growing brand awareness, creating a communications strategy across all channels, producing high-quality content reflective of MTA’s position as the local technology leader, and improving online communication tools. Since the brand modernization campaign launched, MTA has experienced incredible results. They received five “Best of Alaska” awards in 2021. MTA’s net promoter score spiked by more than 10 points and remains the highest it has been and new visitors to MTA’s website increased by nearly 10%.