Kathy Newton McLane
Member at Large
Kathy Newton McLane is a Montana native, raised on her family’s historic cattle and grains ranch northwest of Glendive. Kathy is the Community Resource Specialist for Mid-Rivers Communications, a telecommunication cooperative serving 30,000 square miles of Eastern Montana.
Communications is an infrastructure component that is a recognized essential need for developing and growing a stable economic base. We face daily technological and regulatory challenges, particularly in the State’s frontier rural areas. Bringing vast and sparsely-populated areas advanced communication services is extremely challenging, as costs to extend services like broadband are very distance-sensitive. Small populations offer little opportunity for cost recovery. Communications is also a rapidly changing environment. Sweeping regulatory changes since 2011 have forced the Cooperative to alter its approach. Essentially we are moving from a combined to a dual operation – one highly regulated operation supported in large part by federal dollars for rural build-outs, and one highly competitive and unsupported operation that must rely on subscriber revenues.
Our cooperatives face continuing challenges daily and to have an advocate like the Montana Cooperative Development Center working hard on our side is exceptional.
Kathy’s work history is broad-based and she brings solid and diverse talents to the Montana Cooperative Development Center. She has worked as Finance Director for three political campaigns and served as State Director of Constituent Services for US Senator Burns and US Congressman Hill. In addition, Kathy worked for a Montana manufacturing plant that ships products to 39 countries worldwide, and was General Manager, and Chief Financial Officer for two large ranching operations.