June 24, 2021
Dan Boyette reflects on a lifetime of bringing connectivity to all corners of the state
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Senior Advisor Dan Boyette is retiring this month after a long and storied 30-year career at GCI. Boyette is highly regarded for his work bringing telecommunications services to the state, which included building hundreds of satellite Earth stations across Alaska to connect rural communities — many for the first time.
Boyette moved to Bethel, Alaska, from the East Coast with AmeriCorps VISTA in the 1970s. Upon his arrival, Boyette worked for the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC), building clinics in rural villages that did not yet have health facilities. Later, he served on the team developing emergency response plans for YKHC. That’s when he realized the critical need for telecommunications in rural Alaska. As Boyette puts it, you can’t have an emergency response if you can’t tell anyone you have an emergency. By that point early in his career, Boyette already knew Alaska would be his new home.
“I just love the country – especially rural Alaska. It’s just about as pretty it gets and people are as resourceful as they get – strong and resilient and resourceful. It’s a hard lifestyle and people live with a great sense of humor. It was a breath of fresh air for a kid from New Jersey,” said Boyette. “People didn’t automatically see the worst in you. They automatically saw the best in you. That welcoming spirit, there’s nothing like it. Nothing like going somewhere and having someone invite you to participate in their family’s daily ritual. I am so grateful to have had that experience.”
Boyette was living in Anchorage with his wife and young family when he accepted a position in Network Services at GCI as employee number 120. As a problem solver with a sense of humor, a strong work ethic and a commitment to connecting rural Alaska, he fit right in.
“My job with GCI was perfect because I got to travel all over Alaska doing the hard work of connecting communities. GCI was always delivering new services to the villages and it was my job to go tell the communities the good news, like bringing the very first telephone the village ever had. It was wonderful,” said Boyette. “I don’t know how I got to be quite that lucky to be that guy — not just once but five times over. I was bringing the first phone, then the first TV service, then the first internet, the first digital communication and the first wireless communication. I just got to be that guy over and over again and it never got old.”
Boyette may be retiring, but his legacy in bringing new and better connectivity to rural Alaska will live on. In addition to GCI’s early rural connectivity satellite projects, Boyette managed the deployment of GCI’s rural mobile wireless network, played a key role in the construction of GCI’s TERRA network and, most recently, led the successful effort to secure federal matching funding for GCI’s AU-Aleutians Fiber Project.
“Dan has been an essential player in nearly every major GCI rural project for the past 30 years. His historical knowledge and technical expertise are unmatched,” said GCI President & COO Greg Chapados. “He’s a pioneer of Alaska communications. We, and Alaska, have been fortunate to have him on our team and to call him a friend. We wish him the best in his retirement.”
Boyette hands off the Aleutians Fiber Project to Vice President of GCI Network Program Management Rebecca Markley. Upon project completion, high-speed 1 gig internet will be a reality for the first time in the Aleutian Islands communities of Unalaska, King Cove, Sand Point, Akutan, Chignik Bay, and Larsen Bay. More information about the project can be found at gci.com/aleutianfiberproject.
Headquartered in Alaska, GCI provides data, mobile, video, voice and managed services to consumer, business, government, and carrier customers throughout Alaska, serving more than 200 communities. The company has invested more than $3 billion in its Alaska network and facilities over the past 40 years and recently launched true standards-based 5G NR service in Anchorage, now the nation’s northernmost 5G service area. Learn more about GCI at www.gci.com. GCI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Broadband Corporation (Nasdaq: LBRDA, LBRDK, LBRDP). Learn more about Liberty Broadband at http://www.libertybroadband.com.