Office of University Relations
SDSM& T News
501 E. St. Joseph Street • Rapid City, SD 57701- 3995
Phone: ( 605) 394- 6082/ 2554 • Fax: ( 605) 394- 6177
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 10, 2000
Tech Students Team Up with Golden West Tele- Tech to “ Chew up the Internet”
Seven SDSM& T students have found the welcome mat out at Golden West Tele- Tech in Rapid City. Golden West hired the Tech students this spring to staff their new Rapid City- based help desk, a part of their Golden NaviGator customer service.
According to Mark Gustaf, Customer Service Manager at Golden West, the student hiring was a result of a brainstorming session within the company to determine where talented, computer literate employees with flexible schedules could be located to staff the new help desk. Charles Merrill, a Golden West employee - who was also a Tech student at the time - contacted Dr. Annette Logar, Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at SDSM& T. Professor Logar announced during her classes that Golden West was interested in hiring students for the openings. “ After she made the announcements, it was kind of a domino effect”. Gustaf says, “ The next thing I knew I was getting resumes and job applications from some very qualified individuals from Tech.”
Mark Gustaf is extremely happy with the cooperation. “ These students are fantastic and have been doing a great job. They are incredibly competent.” Gustaf explains.
Gustaf was also impressed with the work that the Tech students performed when the telephone answering service at Golden West was recently updated. “ The students were invaluable during the cut over to the new equipment for our answering service.” Gustaf continues, “ We just didn’t have the manpower to transfer all of the accounts out of the old system into the new, so they did all that work. And they were here during the entire interim period getting things fixed, making sure the computers were all running.”
Gustaf also notes that there is a good possibility for the students to be employed by Golden West after graduation. “ There will be many opportunities simply because Golden West Tele- Tech is becoming involved in so many different areas at this time.” notes Gustaf, “ Broadband access of the Internet is going to be a very big item in the near future. And at Golden West we will soon be providing local telephone service along with broadband access”. The possibility of other co- ops using the Golden West help desk is definitely being considered. “ Nearly every Internet provider struggles with running an Internet service and at the same time supporting customers, especially during start- up.” Gustaf remarks, “ It is extremely beneficial if they can use an already established support service to answer questions and solve customer problems.” Gustaf feels that the potential for expansion for Golden West in the Rapid City area are unlimited. “ Already we have thirteen people staffing our 24- hour help desk, and this is the slow season.” Gustaf says, “ When school starts up again, things really start hopping.” Golden West Tele- Tech is well prepared for future expansion. Gustaf has the equipment available for a total of twenty- two workstations ready to go.
Feedback concerning the 24- hour help line has been positive. While the former help desk was situated in Prince Edward Island, Canada, he feels that the 8000 South Dakota customers that Golden West serves feel more comfortable talking to someone in their home state when they call for help.
** Photograph available electronically on request
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