First person: Keeping connected

Courtesy photo: Bob Morgan Jeff Moore retired earlier this month following 35 years with ENMR-Plateau. He left as chief operating officer of the cooperative’s wireline division.

When Jeff Moore first moved to Clovis in 1964, it was just a few months before he started selling newspapers along Main Street as a part-time job.

Nearly half a century later, Moore was still helping deliver information to the area.

Moore retired June 10 after 35 years at ENMR-Plateau. He left as chief operating officer of the wireline division, which handles the dialtone and Internet services for the cooperative service area, covering 25,000 square miles in New Mexico as far north as Clayton, as far south as Portales and as far west as Moriarty.

When he started: I started out as just an installer trainee. Back in those days, there were only nine employees. Our office was on Commerce Way — 600 Commerce. It’s some kind of appliance store now or something.

When I went to work, they told me they had plans to grow. It was more a trade than anything else. If I worked hard, I had an opportunity to grow with the company.

When he retired: I was responsible for eight departments and over 100 employees. There were no departments (when I started), just outside service people and office people.

We have about 15,000 miles of buried plant, including about 3,000 miles of fiber optic cable. ENMR was the first company in the state to light fiber; that’s pretty neat. I believe it was in 1979.

It’s more effective than it ever was, due to the light and the optics they’ve put on it. You can do wave division now, you can do all kinds of things you couldn’t do back then. Fiber will be here forever, and it will be viable forever. There is no technology in my opinion that will ever take the place of fiber.

I like the technology, I like the people. It’s a cooperative. It’s owned by the members, owned by your customers. I love that environment. Decisions are made locally. It’s very valuable.

I had several offers to move to other cooperatives all over the country. The growth, the fact that ENMR-Plateau was a regional leader, and I love it here — it’s where my family grew up — there wasn’t a good reason to leave. Everything was here that I needed.

Technology unpredictable: We had party lines. I was climbing poles. It was just traditional dial tone back then. Later on, as technology developed, we got into the cellular business. That was about 1989.

(My first cell phone) was a bag sitting on the floor. It advanced to a brick later, looked like a brick when you set it on the table.

Internet is by far the most significant technology change in the communications business. You have to take wireless into consideration because of the mobility. But being able to access millions and millions of pieces of information from your home — or even from your wireless in your vehicle — is phenomenal and by far the biggest change in communications.

Favorite piece of technology: I’ve got a couple of laptops and I’ve got a smartphone that’s fantastic. I’d guess the smartphone is the single best piece of equipment I have. I can do everything with it.

I had an iPad at work, I don’t have an iPad now, so I can’t count that. The applications for an iPad are terrific. But some of the apps available on the Android system are amazing. You can take a barcode at a store, scan it into your phone. It will turn around and give you five locations where you can go buy that item. That’s just one of hundreds. It’s pretty remarkable to me. GPS technology is terrific. I use it a lot; I like to hunt and fish, and I’ve used that stuff for years.

What’s next: There certainly are a lot of “next things.” But I just don’t know. I’m more of an operations kind of guy. I’m not the “pie in the sky” kind of thinker. I operate what we have. I don’t necessarily think about what might be designed or developed in the future.

— Compiled by CNJ staff writer Kevin Wilson