Corporate Membership Testimonials

“In 2017, Shawnee Communications completed an application to the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utilities Service for a broadband infrastructure loan for $4M, to complete a fiber to the home (FTTH) broadband build in Lovington, IL. This was a significant moment for our company, as it represented a major fiber broadband buildout in an area we had recently purchased, and we were still completing the transition for our employees and serving a new community. We reached out to Rural Partners, whose Board of Directors has members from USDA, and other agencies and partners. Thanks to these partnerships, we were able to make closer connections with USDA, and host a loan completion and fiber build announcement event at our offices in Lovington. It was a great success, with USDA officials flying in from Washington, DC, and local public officials, representatives from state legislative offices and congressional offices attending, participating and touring our facilities. Further, our work with Rural Partners and USDA’s RUS and RD offices resulted in coverage from several local media outlets, which greatly enhanced positive publicity and “media buzz” about the event. We are very thankful for the collaboration and support that Rural Partners provided in a time of critical growth for our Company.”

Matt Johnson
Vice President – Government Policy
Shawnee Communications


“Rural Partners is a great organization for many reasons. But the most important reason I have been a member for more than a decade is that it connects me to a group of knowledgeable and professional people who are passionate about rural communities across Illinois and beyond. My Rural Partners colleagues have supported my organization and have helped me become a more effective advocate for rural development.”

Chris Merrett
Director and Professor
Institute of Rural Affairs,
Western Illinois University