Mr. Cramer began working for Wilkes Telephone Membership Corporation (Wilkes Communications) in January of 2005 when he was hired as the company’s Chief Financial Officer and was then promoted to Assistant General Manager in August of that same year. In March 2010, Cramer was named Chief Executive Officer of Wilkes Communications. Currently, he is both President and CEO of Wilkes Communications and RiverStreet Networks and now has over 24 years of experience in the communications industry.
Mr. Cramer was born and raised in Crofton, Maryland. In 1995, he graduated from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance. He has also earned two graduate degrees, a Master of Science (MS) in Technology Management in 2004 and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in 2005, both from the University of Maryland.
Before his career at Wilkes Communications, Mr. Cramer worked for over eight years as a Telecom Consultant for a firm located in Greenbelt Maryland. His specialization was working with small rural telecom companies, like Wilkes Communications, all across the country, with a concentration on financial and strategic management and planning.
During his time at Wilkes Communications, the company has seen an unprecedented amount of growth under his leadership. In addition to launching a number of new service lines such as IPTV, security alarm and surveillance, and hosted IP Phone Systems, the entire network was upgraded. The cooperative network has been transformed into a completely state-of-the-art, all IP all Fiber To The Home (FTTH), gigabit-capable network to every customer. Wilkes Communications received national recognition by being named a Smart Rural Community Trailblazer in 2013, as well as a Gigabit Certified Network in 2015 by NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association. Wilkes Communications continues to expand in Wilkes County. The company has undertaken an initiative to expand its service footprint in other areas of the state as the RiverStreet Networks brand. Wilkes Communications most recently completed the construction and establishment of RiverStreet Productions – a fully functioning state-of-the-art film production studio and workspace where the company plans to market its own services as well as highlighting the communities it serves over multiple media platforms.
In 2015 Mr. Cramer oversaw the formation of RiverStreet Management Services (doing business as RiverStreet Networks) which was a vehicle for growth outside of the Cooperative’s core market-based in Wilkes County, NC. After a number of acquisitions and a historic merger with TriCounty TMC in 2018, RiverStreet Networks now serves customers in over 50 counties located in parts of 5 states. Since 2015 the company has more than tripled the size of its business in what has been an unprecedented period of growth.
“I am very proud to say that we have been part of something special here at Wilkes Communications and RiverStreet Networks; and due to our dedicated workforce, we have been able to, and will continue to, provide quality, affordable telecommunications services coupled with excellent customer service from a local company you know and trust. It is very rewarding to be working at a company where all of the proceeds go right back into the local communities we serve as we are locally owned by our members,” said Cramer.
It is very important to Mr. Cramer to represent Wilkes Communications by serving in the community. He has served locally on the boards of Wilkes Regional Medical Center (WRMC), Wilkes Economic Development Corp. (Wilkes EDC); and has previously served on the boards of the United Way of Wilkes, Wilkes Circles of Care and the Wilkes County Chamber of Commerce. Cramer was the Vice President of the Youth Leadership Program at the Wilkes County Chamber of Commerce; where he had been actively involved for over six years in working with Wilkes County High School students in conjunction with Wilkes County Schools. The name of the program is United Teens in Action (UTA). Four students from each high school in the area, who are chosen by their principal, work on a project of their choice that will help improve Wilkes County.
In addition to local involvement, Mr. Cramer represents Wilkes Communications and RiverStreet Networks on various state, regional, and national telecommunications boards and committees; including the US Telecom Association (USTA), The Rural Wireless Association (RWA), the state-appointed NC Rural Electrification (NCREA) boards as well as working extensively on committees with NTCA and NECA among others. Mr. Cramer has previously served on the Better Business Bureau of Northwest NC and the North Carolina 911 boards to name a few. He has also served as a campaign chair for the March of Dimes campaign in Wilkes and as a board member of the Foundation for Rural Services (FRS). Wilkes Communications has been able to pair the FRS sponsored scholarship with the annual Wilkes Communications scholarship program, and throughout the years, has been able to sponsor numerous Wilkes County High School students for the FRS Youth Tour to Washington, D.C.