Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is April 21, 2018

Save money and energy with landscaping

Landscaping not only adds beauty to your home and community, but it’s also a cost-effective way to improve your home’s comfort and lower your energy bills. In fact, a well-designed landscape saves enough energy to pay for itself in less than eight years while also reducing water use, cutting heating and cooling costs, protecting your home from cold winter wind or hot summer sun and lowering noise and air pollution at the same time. 

Widespread tree planting and climate-appropriate landscaping offers substantial environmental benefits and is a great long-term investment for reducing energy costs. The National Academy of Sciences estimates filling urban spaces with trees would result in an annual energy savings of 50 billion kilowatt-hours or $3.5 billion each year.

Landscaping for Shade

Shading is the most cost-effective way to reduce solar heat gain in your home and cut air conditioning costs. Carefully positioned trees can save up to 25 percent of a household’s energy consumption for heating and cooling, and the U.S. Department of Energy predicts that only three trees will save an average household between $100 and $250 a year in energy costs. An entire well-planned landscape can reduce an unshaded home’s air conditioning costs by 15 to 50 percent.

A six-to-eight-foot deciduous tree planted near your home will begin shading windows the first year and shade the roof in five to ten years. Shading an air conditioner can increase its efficiency by as much as ten percent. Because air settles near the ground, air temperatures directly under trees can be as much as 25 degrees cooler than air temperatures above nearby blacktop – meaning summer daytime air temps are usually six degrees cooler in tree-shaded neighborhoods than in treeless areas.

When landscaping for shade, plant deciduous trees to the south of your house so they can screen 70 to 90 percent of the hot summer sun while allowing breezes through. Plant trees with crowns lower to the ground on the west if you want to shade from lower, afternoon sun angles, and plant bushes, shrubs or climbing vines with a trellis to shade your patio area. To cool air before it reaches your home, plant shrubs and groundcover plants.

If you’re planning on adding trees to your property, it’s important to know where you plant them in relation to power lines. Tall trees can grow into overhead power lines, while roots can damage underground power lines. Trees planted directly underneath overhead power lines should have a mature height of 25 feet or less. Trees between 25-and-35-feet should be planted more than 25 feet away, and trees more than 35-feet tall should be planted more than 50-feet away from power lines. Before you do any digging, always call 811 so buried lines can be marked and you can dig safely around them.

Landscaping for Windbreaks

A windbreak reduces heating costs by lowering the wind chill near your home creating dead air space that insulates your home in the winter. Trees can be used as windbreaks to shield your house from the wind, and recent studies have found that windbreaks to the north, west and east of houses cut energy consumption by an average of 40 percent. If you live in a windy area, a well-planned landscape can reduce heating bills by approximately one-third.

When landscaping for windbreaks, the distance between your home and windbreak should be two to five times the height of the mature tree for maximum protection. Plant evergreen trees and shrubs to the north and northwest of your home to stop wind, and plant trees on either side of your house to direct cooling wind toward it in the summer.

Landscaping for Water Conservation

It’s easy to plan your landscape to not only save energy but also to conserve water. Familiarize yourself with your yard’s features and the temperate climate region of Arkansas. Plants suited to the region require less care and less water. Landscape professionals can always help you choose which trees, shrubs or ground cover will work best for your needs.

When landscaping for water conservation, always group plants with similar water needs together and aerate your soil – it improves water flow to plants’ roots and reduces wasted water runoff. Remember to water in the morning when it’s cooler and water evaporation rates are low, and use mulch to keep plant roots cool, further minimizing evaporation and recurring weed growth. In the summer, raise your lawn mower cutting height – the longer grass blades help with shade and retain more water.

It’s not possible to control temperatures, but an energy-saving landscape can significantly modify the micro-climate surrounding your home keeping it warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. If the landscape is well-planned, installed and maintained, you will save on energy costs while increasing the value of your home.

Homeowners interested in more energy-saving tips can click here or call 450-6000.

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is April 21, 2018

Three employees promoted to linemen

Conway Corp Electric Department employees Nathan Ball, Jake Ballard and Travis Lauer were promoted to Journeyman Lineman after successfully completing a four-year apprentice program through the Missouri Public Utility Alliance. 

The program requires classroom, correspondence and hands-on training with monthly and annual exams on electric curriculum including overhead and underground systems; safety; pole climbing, installing and mounting; conductors, transformers and substations and equipment operation.

The three were required to attend hands-on immersion skills training workshops including a week-long session for pole climbing, pole top rescue and bucket truck operation at the National Utility Industry Training Fund facilities in Kansas City. Workshops included the fundamentals and experience necessary to qualify lineworkers in pole climbing as well as bucket truck essentials.

Having completed the program, Ball, Ballard and Lauer each logged more than 7,200 hours of on-the-job training and are now certified United States Department of Labor Power Journeyman Linemen. Their commitment to the intensive program helps give Conway Corp the ability to provide a high-level of dependable electric service.

Dedicated and highly-trained employees are one of the reasons Conway Corp has been recognized by the American Public Power Association with the Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) designation. An RP3 designation recognizes Conway Corp as one of the best electric providers in the nation for consistently providing Conway residents with the highest degree of reliable and safe electric service.

RP3 designations are awarded based on four key disciplines: reliability, safety, workforce development and system improvement. Criteria within each category are based on sound business practices and represent a utility-wide commitment to safe, reliable and forward-thinking operations.

Before entering the program, Conway Corp requires candidates serve as a groundman for at least two years. Lauer started with the company in April 2007, while Ball and Ballard started with Conway Corp in 2011. All three entered the apprentice program in 2013.  

Currently, three employees are going through the certification process. Cory Cox is in his third year as an Apprentice Lineman. Si Anthony and Lance Heer are in their second year of the program.

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is April 21, 2018

Bradley retires after 39 years

Water Systems Manager David Bradley was working with a construction crew framing a house on Hutto Street in Creekwood Subdivision in 1978, when former neighbor Dale Norman stopped to say hello. 
 
“Dale was water department superintendent at Conway Corp and I asked him if they were hiring. He came back a few days later and told me to come see him.” 
 
Thirty-nine years later, Bradley is set to retire from Conway Corp today, March 31.
 
Bradley spent his first four years with the company working in water distribution and collection. 
 
“I operated a backhoe, was on a construction crew, ran smoke testing crew, changed meters – a little bit of everything,” Bradley said.
 
In 1982, he was promoted to the Plant Superintendent for the Stone Dam Wastewater Treatment Plant. He would spend the next 14 years in that position. 
 
“When I started at Stone Dam it was our only wastewater plant,” he said. “While I was there, we built Tucker Creek and I got to help with that project and to help with a new lab expansion at Stone Dam.”
 
In 1996, Norman announced his retirement and Bradley was named to replace him as Manager, Water Systems. 
 
In his role as water systems manager, Bradley has spent 21 years overseeing the operations of water and wastewater systems including the water and wastewater plants and Conway’s water source Brewer Lake.
 
The city of Conway has experienced a lot of growth during that time which led to projects to keep pace with that growth including increasing capacity at the Roger Q Mills water treatment plant, modifying intake at Brewer Lake to raise the lake levels and the construction of the Tupelo Bayou wastewater treatment plant.
 
As Bradley looks to retirement he has plans for more time at the lake and exploring new ATV trails. He also notes that his wife and daughters have some projects they’d like to see him get to work on.
 
“I’m a real good piddler,” Bradley said. “I’m good at killing time, so I’m looking forward to that."
 
Bradley is looking forward to the down time that will come with retirement but said he will also miss his Conway Corp family.  
 
“I’m glad that someone else will be taking after hour calls,” Bradley said. “But I will miss the people and the challenges. I like figuring things out – I’m sure I’ll still be figuring things out, but there were challenges with day-to-day water operations and I have enjoyed that.”
 
“There are good people in water systems. They know what needs to be done and they always do it. I will miss being with them.”
Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is April 21, 2018

Conway Corp Board of Directors names Bret Carroll as CEO

Conway Corp announced today that its Board of Directors named Bret Carroll as Chief Executive Officer to replace current CEO Richard Arnold who will retire May 31. Carroll currently serves as the company’s chief financial officer.

Carroll will be the sixth person to lead the organization in its 88 year history.

“Conway Corp and the services they provide are vital to the community,” Board Chair John Adams said. “Richie and his predecessors have provided excellent leadership for Conway Corp and our community over the years. We are confident that Bret will continue that strong leadership tradition.”

The board of directors engaged with a nationwide executive search firm in October to manage the hiring process after Arnold announced his upcoming retirement.

“The search firm brought us a field of highly qualified candidates,” Adams said. “Bret has painted a vision for Conway Corp’s continued position as an innovative company deeply invested and providing exceptional service to our community. We are excited to work with Bret as we continue to provide excellent service and enhance the quality of life in our community.

Carroll holds a BBA in Accounting and an MBA in Finance from the University of Central Arkansas. He is recognized by the American Public Power Association as a Certified Public Power Manager and serves on the board of directors for the Mid-America Cable and Telecommunication Association and as chairman of the Arkansas Municipal Power Association Accounting, Finance and Customer Service group.

In addition to his professional associations, Carroll is active in the Conway community currently serving as president of the United Way of Central Arkansas board of directors, treasurer of the Salvation Armory advisory board and is a member of the Conway Noon Rotary Club and Gideons International. He has previously served on the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, Boys and Girls Club, Choosing to Excel and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Arkansas boards of directors.

“I am honored that the board of directors has named me to the CEO position. I understand the standard of excellence that has been set by those who have held this role previously. Conway Corp has a rich history of impact in our community and I am excited to lead and continue to provide the community with the reliable and innovative services our customers have come to expect,” said Carroll.

Carroll will take his position as CEO on June 1.

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is April 21, 2018

Local artists decorate new Conway Corp building

Visitors to Conway Corp’s new Customer Care Center at 650 Locust St. will see three original pieces of art commissioned by artists from Art on the Green. The artists were each asked to have their piece be reflective of Conway Corp’s history and place in the community.

On the first floor, Steve Griffith crafted a unique piece of assemblage art; a piece he titled “The Light Plant."  The art was created entirely from recycled and repurposed materials used by Conway Corp.  

“I wanted to take items that may not necessarily go together and piece them together artistically,” Griffith said. “Elements of art – lines, shapes and textures – came together out of the pieces that represented every service and dated to the creation of Conway Corp in 1929.”

Sheila Parsons created a mixed media work called "Front Street 1930" on the second floor. The painting depicts a scene of what life may have looked like on Front Street, looking south, the year after Conway Corp’s formation as water main lines are being buried on Front Street.

Guests on the third floor are greeted by an original oil painting by Nina Ruth Baker - "Peace and Power." The work shows electrical power lines with two birds perched on the line against an overcast Conway sky.

In addition to the art commissioned by local artists, customers can enjoy a number of historic photographs on display throughout the building.

“We are excited to welcome customers to this new space,” Conway Corp CEO Richard Arnold said. “And we know that the art created by these artists helps us to tell our story as customers visit the building.”

Conway Corp will host a dedication ceremony and open house from 2 to 4 p.m., Sunday, April 23. The public is invited to attend.

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is April 21, 2018

Arnold Innovation Center plans announced

Conway Corp Board of Directors Chair Johnny Adams announced plans for the Arnold Innovation Center at the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting held last night at the University of Central Arkansas.

The center is named in honor of retiring Conway Corp CEO Richard Arnold and will be a destination for entrepreneurs to connect with one another while having access to necessary resources to create, launch and grow businesses. 

“The facility will become the epicenter of Conway’s startup community," Adams said. "With plans for co-working space, leasable office suites and seminar facilities, the Arnold Innovation Center will provide a continuum of space for Conway startups as they grow."

Arnold began working at Conway Corp in 1978 in the data processing department and was named the company’s fifth CEO in 1998. He will retire from that position on June 1.

“Richie’s leadership has positioned Conway as a creative hub for entrepreneurs,” Adams said. “The Arnold Innovation Center will feature the latest in technology and provide a venue for developers, students and the wider community to engage directly with Conway Corp’s latest infrastructure upgrades, business tools and fastest digital data technology available.” 

Click here for more information on the Arnold Innovation Center and the chamber's Conway 125 Capital campaign.

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is April 21, 2018

2016 Energy Smart Builder of the Year

Conway Corp has named Watson and Watson Construction the 2016 Energy Smart Builder of the Year for their dedication to building energy-efficient homes in the Conway community. 

Energy Smart homes use less energy than standard-built homes and help save homeowners money and energy for years to come. 

Conway Corp has recognized more than 50 homes built by Watson and Watson Construction as being Energy Smart since 2009. Watson and Watson have 21 homes that will meet Energy Smart standards planned for construction in 2017.

“Watson and Watson Construction has been committed to building homes that meet or exceed Conway Corp Energy Smart criteria since the Energy Smart New Home program was developed in 2009,” Conway Corp Major Accounts and Energy Efficiency Manager David Avra said.

Energy Smart specifications are based on the United States Department of Energy recommendations. Energy Smart homes can save 20 to 30 percent energy use over a standard built home thanks to a variety of energy-efficient features including insulation, high-performance windows, tight ducts and efficient heating and cooling equipment.

“636 Energy Smart homes have been built since the program began in 2009 with an estimated accumulative energy savings to the homeowners of more than $643,000,” Avra said.

Watson and Watson Construction is a partnership between Brothers Tom and Kevin Watson along with Tom’s wife Cindy and Kevin’s wife Michelle. The Watson brothers grew up working after school and during the summers for their father building homes.

“It’s important for us to stay current with innovations in the industry to build Energy Smart homes,” Tom Watson said.

“We work with Conway Corp and other local vendors and suppliers ready to assist with the best options in an Energy Smart home,” added Kevin Watson.

Customers interested in learning more about Energy Smart homes or builders interested in building Energy Smart homes can click here to learn more.

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is April 21, 2018

Conway Corp adds two additional TV networks

Conway Corp has added digital network TBD TV to channel 179 and Charge TV to channel 176.

TBD TV handpicks the most entertaining stuff from the most creative creators and puts it on your TV for a new adventure every day. If it’s what’s new or what’s next, it’s on TBD.

TBD's schedule features various web-originated films, featurettes, scripted and non-scripted series, along with some traditional full-length films and documentaries. Topics and themes are wide-ranging, with categories including science, fashion, lifestyle, travel, music, comedy, gaming and viral content.

Programs on TBD’s schedule include:

10 Up information and top ten lists covering online gaming and eSports

Because Science explanations of the science and physics behind fandom and fantasy figures, hosted by Kyle Hill

While You Were ... recaps of the week's top online news stories

Best of the Week a showcase of the week's best viral videos

Big Red Lazor a hybrid talk show and video game competition

QYOU UP weekday morning presentations of inspiring and inspirational videos and music

QYOU ZONE a showcase of "the wildest, funniest, hottest web videos on the planet"

QYOU PRIME early evening presentations of trending online videos and undiscovered features

QYOU EDGE weird, wacky and gritty web videos presented during TBD's overnight hours

This Week in Fails FailArmy's showcase of epic fails caught on videotape

TableTop Wil Wheaton and guests highlight and play various tabletop games

In addition, Charge TV is replacing Grit TV on channel 176 due to changes in lineup from the Sinclair Broadcasting Group that owns both networks.

Charge TV is an action-based network that will feature MGM films and boasts a library of more than 2,000 movie titles such as Dances with Wolves and Platoon and 2,300 hours of TV series content like In the Heat of the Night and The Magnificent Seven.

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is April 21, 2018

Customer Care Center opens

The Conway Corp Customer Care Center at 650 Locust Street will be open to customers at 8 a.m. Monday, Feb. 13.  Customers can now pay their bill, talk to account managers, add services and more in the new building that includes a two-lane drive-thru and after-hours payment drop box. 

Conway Corp leadership began working with Rik Sowell Architects in 2014 to develop a long range plan to address growth and expansion needs. Phase one of the plan is the Customer Care Center, a 30,000 square foot building that is the anchor of Conway Corp’s downtown location. The building is three stories of offices with ground floor customer care space overlooking an outdoor plaza. The back of the building includes a two-lane drive thru for customer bill pay. The second floor houses the marketing department, billing services, training facility and room for future expansion. The third floor is executive staff offices.

“For several years, we have dealt with inadequate office space, parking and other issues typically found in an old building,” CEO Richard Arnold said. “When we completed the  fifteen-year campus master plan and were delighted that it revealed we could effectively address these needs right here in downtown Conway. With the existing building and the new customer care center, we will have room for growth to meet customer needs,”

The existing building will be occupied by accounting, local cable programming, ad sales and power supply staff. All direct customer business will be conducted at the Customer Care Center.

“Conway Corp has had a presence in downtown since our founding in 1929,” Arnold said. “We are excited to begin welcoming customers to our new Customer Care Center.”

The Customer Care Center was built by Nabholz Construction with design elements from Georg Andersen Interior Design and Eric, Rob & Isaac. Custom art pieces created by local artists, Steve Griffith, Sheila Parsons and Nina Ruth Baker will be seen through the building along with historic photographs of Conway Corp’s 88 year history.

The company will host an official grand opening and open house on Sunday, April 23.

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is April 21, 2018

Getting the most from your internet

Whether you’re an occasional emailer or an all-night binge-watcher, finding the internet speed that’s right for your needs and knowing what can effect it is a necessity. 

It used to be simple to connect to the internet, but today things are more complicated. With browsing, streaming, gaming, shopping and more, it’s more important than ever to choose the right internet for the best experience.

Conway Corp offers five packages for residential customers ranging from a reliable 6 Mbps to the blazing-fast 1 Gig. What internet is right for you? You’ll need to consider a number of factors including total number of internet users in your home, number of devices connected and what you’ll be doing online.

While it might not seem like you’re using a lot of internet, usage for a typical home of four can add up quickly. Consider a mom streaming her favorite show on smart TV and checking her social media accounts; a dad watching the latest blockbuster movie in HD on his tablet plus sending emails for work; a teenager streaming music while playing online games and another child browsing the web while chatting with friends.

To get started, ask yourself these questions. The higher the number, the higher speed internet you will need.

What is the maximum number of devices that could be using the internet in your home including browsing the internet, using social media or checking mail at the same time?

In today’s digital age, it’s important to remember internet usage isn’t just about checking email on a desktop computer anymore. Devices can range from computers to cell phones to tablets to game consoles – even your fridge can use the internet to let you know you’re out of milk. The more internet connections your home has, the slower your speeds will be. If multiple people are using separate devices at the same time, you will need to increase your speed to accommodate the number of people and devices and ensure an enjoyable internet experience without lag or latency issues.

During your busiest hour of internet usage, how many devices could be streaming at once?

Streaming is a type of download that isn’t saved or stored anywhere on your device, but it can still use a lot of bandwidth. Streaming video from sites like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime or YouTube in HD or Ultra HD needs at least a 25 Mbps speed to ensure a buffer-free experience. Plus, a recent survey found that more than 90 percent of people multi-task while watching TV or streaming video so simultaneous use is also an important factor in determining speed.

How many devices might be downloading large files and how long are you willing to wait on files to download?

Downloading is the transfer of data from one place to another. When you download a movie or a song, get an email or search and save from the web, you have a copy of the item on your device. Downloads typically use more bandwidth over a shorter period of time than streaming because you can download faster than you can watch. While faster speeds are not required for large downloads, users who download a lot of files might prefer a faster connection. A two-hour movie will take about an hour to download with a 6 Mbps connection and take only 25 seconds with Conway Corp’s 1 Gig connection.

How many devices in your home will be playing games online?

Online gaming is one of the biggest bandwidth users for internet users, especially game updates and the audio calling services gamers use to talk to each other. Most households with at least with one gamer need a 50 Mbps connection and will need a higher connection if more than one gaming console – like a computer, PS4, Xbox, etc. - is in the home.

In general, Conway Corp basic residential internet is good for email and basic web browsing. Broadband 25 internet is good for light video streaming, file sharing and downloading smaller files. Broadband 50 internet is good for moderate video streaming, light online gaming and multiuser homes. Broadband 100 internet is good for heavy video streaming, moderate online gaming and professional home offices. Gig internet is good for maximum video streaming, heavy online gaming, multiple users and devices and advanced applications.

Getting the most from your internet package

Once you choose the internet speed that’s right for you, it’s important to know what can affect your speed so you get maximum performance. The key to receiving the fastest internet speed is having the right device with the right wired connection. More recently purchased devices can support faster internet speeds than older devices. Some devices are limited to certain speeds. Check the documentation for your specific devices to find their maximum speeds.

The speed you receive also depends on if you are using a wired connection between the device and the cable modem or if you are using Wifi service. A direct connection is the best way to experience your device’s full speed. If you connect via Wifi, your speed may decrease since wireless connections are inherently slower. Wireless connections are also adversely affected by distance from the router as well as the number of walls or other obstacles between your device and the router.

In addition, the wiring that distributes communication services throughout your home can also impact speeds. Modern homes usually come equipped with wiring that is more likely to support faster speeds. Older homes are more likely to experience some loss in speed due to out-of-date wiring standards in place when those homes were constructed.

The internet is changing and growing every day, but Conway Corp has trained customer service representatives and technicians to help you understand and get the most out of your service. If you need help choosing the right speed for your home or have questions about your internet package, click here or call 450-6000. 

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