Long-Time ATC Employee, Rick Smyer, Is Set to Retire June 26

Nearly three decades ago when phones were the primary source of communication, the internet was in its infancy, and ATC operated under the Westel Inc. name in Butte and Custer Counties, Rick Smyer’s long-standing 28-year career with ATC Communications began. 

 “It’s unbelievable to see the growth of where we were to where we are now as a company and an industry,” Rick said. “I remember before I started working at ATC, I was living in Albion at the time working for the railroad, and I was one of ATC’s first internet customers. I used the internet to get my train list for the day so I would know ahead of time what my day was going to be like.” 

For the Albion native, ATC was always a company he held in high regard. His connection with the Redman family, who owns ATC, was fostered through a mutual interest in hunting that he shared with ODeen Redman, the former CEO and President of ATC. It was one hunting expedition to Custer County that may have changed the trajectory of Rick’s life.  

 “I said to ODeen when we were hunting in Copper Basin, hey if you ever buy this exchange, I sure would like to move up here and go to work for you.” Rick said. “I remember growing up in Albion, our scout trips were always up to Copper Basin. I always thought, man, I want to live there someday.”  

In 1996, ATC acquired telephone exchanges in Arco, Howe, Moore, and Mackay. Rick and his family moved to Custer County shortly after. Jim Muffett, who was the first employee hired, had a wealth of industry knowledge and served as an exceptional mentor to Rick.   

One of Rick’s most memorable experiences from his tenure at ATC was in 2004 when a wildfire overtook the Arco desert, knocking out power for three days in Butte and Custer Counties. “When we lost power, ODeen flew me up three generators and I went to each remote cabinet so people could continue to make phone calls. That was pretty crazy experience,” he said.   

As Rick concludes his lengthy journey with ATC, it’s words from ODeen that resonate deeply, “if you take care of ATC, ATC will take care of you.” Rick has lived, worked and raised a family in his dream place but it hasn’t been absent trials and tribulations. “I’ve been through some things over the years and ATC really stuck with me through all of it. My time at ATC has been an answer to my prayers and has been a blessing.”  

Please join ATC in celebrating Rick’s achievements and help us wish him well in retirement at an open house on Wednesday, June 26 from 3-5 PM at the ATC office, 205 W Era Ave.  

Long-Time ATC Employee

Rick pictured with ODeen Redman, ATC President and CEO 1965-2013.

Rick Smyer

Rick pictured powering up a cabinet at Clyde.

Telecom technician checking pedestal for signal in Arco, Idaho.

Rick pictured at a pedestal.

Two employees grilling burgers for a customer appreciation event in Arco, Idaho

Kyle Redman and Rick at a customer appreciation event.

Jim Muffett, pictured here, had a wealth of industry knowledge and served as an exceptional mentor to Rick.