"When I started, we only offered dial tone and we had many eight-party lines. Calls to just about anywhere other than your hometown were long distance calls. Today, we bundle unlimited nationwide long distance voice service, high-speed Internet, DIRECTV and Verizon Wireless all on one bill," Layne said. "It truly amazes me every day how far we have evolved over the last 40 years. I feel truly blessed to get to work with so many great employees over the years and to have helped provide valuable services to so many wonderful customers in the areas we serve."
Layne began working for United Telephone in 1972 as a lineman, installing and repairing service from the Buffalo Island area to the Missouri Bootheel communities of Bernie, Parma and Steele.
In 1977, Layne became a combination man (working on both inside and outside plant) out of Manila. In 1989, Contel traded properties with United and a year later, Contel promoted him to management as an outside cable plant analyst for the eastern part of Arkansas.
Later that same year, GTE purchased Contel and Layne was asked to assume the local manager position in Monette, responsible for plant operations in 14 east Arkansas exchanges.
In August of 2000, CenturyTel purchased all GTE property in Arkansas and he retained his current duties for the first 18 months until he was promoted in 2002 to area operations manager for CenturyTel's areas in North Arkansas. Since then, his area has expanded to include the North Mississippi operations in Olive Branch, Byhalia and Chulahoma, as well as exchanges in east-central and southern Arkansas stretching from Pleasant Plains to Dumas.
Throughout the years, Layne's responsibilities and territory grew as the company experienced growth through mergers and acquisitions. Today, Layne is responsible for CenturyLink's operations in 23 counties in Arkansas and northern Mississippi and has six area plant supervisors who report to him.
"Skip has been a stabilizing force managing his responsibilities through all of the mergers and acquisitions in our company's history," said John Dreher, CenturyLink vice president and general manager for Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Louisiana. "We really value his extraordinary ability to work with customers and other employees to provide excellent customer service during these times of rapid change."
Layne donates his time to several local and regional civic groups, and currently serves as vice chairman of the Monette Housing Authority, as a board member and treasurer of Craighead County Solid Waste Authority and as a board member of the Arkansas Utility Protection Services (ARKUPS).
Layne and his wife, Marla, live in their hometown of Monette. They have two children and four grandchildren.
CenturyLink is the third largest telecommunications company in the United States and is recognized as a leader in the network services market by technology industry analyst firms. The company is a global leader in cloud infrastructure and hosted IT solutions for enterprise customers. CenturyLink provides data, voice and managed services in local, national and select international markets through its high-quality advanced fiber optic network and multiple data centers for businesses and consumers. The company also offers advanced entertainment services under the CenturyLinkTM PrismTM TV and DIRECTV brands. Headquartered in Monroe, La., CenturyLink is an S&P 500 company and is included among the Fortune 500 list of America's largest corporations. For more information, visit www.centurylink.com.