Strong family ties and love of community have made Stanton Telecom a three-generation company.
Owners Bob and Colleen Paden welcomed their son, Nick, back to the community a couple of weeks ago. Bob said he plans to retire and Nick is training to take over as manager.
Bob said, “I’ll play it by ear until Nick has his feet firmly on the ground, maybe several months.”
The Padens have two children, Nick and Bobbi. Nick graduated from Stanton High School in 1997, and attended Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln. Bobbi, who graduated in 1992, lives with her family in Lenexa, Kan.
Nick and his wife, Cari, have four daughters — Ella 10; Kennedy, 9; Scarlett, 6; and Autumn, 3. The family purchased a home in Norfolk.
“My parents already have in place the next steps, which will be the demand for more and more broadband,” Nick said. “The back office is where the magic happens with expansion now.”
Nick said he sees “fiber to field” with precision ag as key steps for Stanton Telecom as “the next technological area of growth.”
Bob and Colleen Paden moved to Stanton in 1980 from Greeley, Colo., when Bob was to become the “manager-trainee” at the telephone company. His parents, Bernard and Leona Paden of Fremont, purchased the company from R.G. and Maxine Deardorff, who had been the previous owners for some 30 years, according to an article in the Stanton Register.
Bob and Colleen said they’ve been discussing Nick’s return for five or six years. But last year, the conversation became more specific and Nick, who had been working as a lobbyist in Lincoln with legislation and policies for small telecom companies, returned to Stanton in late April.
Bob said he has seen “massive changes of technology regarding overall telecommunication” during his time with the company.
“Between 1981 and1982, we upgraded the community from party lines to underground copper lines, and introduced touch tone phones from rotary,” he said. “In 1996, broadband was a major player in upgrades.”
The Paden family has been active in the Stanton community. Colleen was a two-term mayor.
“I think everyone needs to run for an office to see what it’s like on the other side,” she said.
Bob said he has many fond memories of the last four decades, especially with providing the community with technology upgrades like television and the Internet. Some of the most important times came during the COVID-19 situation.
“Just recently we provided 130 homes a free broadband increase to help out families with students at home,” he said. “Keeping this little part of the country connected. Nick will continue that. That’s our mission.”
He added, “It was gratifying to know our services were important, consistent, day in day out. We always provide 24/7 service. Ready to go out nights and weekends, myself included.”
With retirement, Bob said he intends to continue his sports photography, which he submits to the Stanton Register to help serve the community.
Colleen said she hopes to offer computer workshops for older citizens to become more comfortable with new technology.
Stanton Telecom has a modern conference room, which she said is perfect to host these computer workshops.
Currently, Stanton Telecom welcomes residents to bring their computers to their office to correct slow processors, or help them find a solution for a more enjoyable computer experience.