Board of Directors
Allen Hoopes, Chairman & CEO
Allen Hoopes, Chairman & CEO Since 1997, Allen R. Hoopes has served as the Board Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Silver Star Communications. Upon earning his Bachelor of Science in Finance, Marketing, and Operations from Brigham Young University in 1986, Allen held the position of Assistant Manager of Silver Star from 1986 to 1992. In 1992, he was promoted to Vice President of Operations and General Manager of Silver Star Telephone Company, Inc. and Columbine Telephone Company; a position that he held until 1997. In
1997 Allen assumed the role of President and CEO as well Board Chairman. To allow more focus on strategic initiatives for the company, Allen turned over the role of President to Ron McCue in 2012.
With more than 30 years of experience in the telephone, mobile wireless and broadband industries, Allen is extremely passionate about technology. He has held key positions in several industry associations and organizations including Director and past Chairman of the Board for the Rural Telephone Finance Cooperative, Board member of the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies, past President of the Idaho Telephone Association and Board of Director of the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA)/Rural Broadband Association. Allen is currently a Board member representing the NTCA’s Northwest Region – Commercial companies.
Allen is a lifelong resident of scenic Star Valley, Wyoming. He is married to Jamielyn and they are the proud parents of five children. Away from the office, Allen enjoys running, hunting, snowmobiling, camping, fishing, hiking, and water sports.
Rod R. Jensen, Board Member
Rod Jensen has been a member of the Silver Star Communications Board of Directors since April 1997. Rod is a founder and President/CEO of the Bank of Star Valley (a position he has held since 1996). His financial expertise and background complements the make-up of the Silver Star Board.
Rod also serves Chairman of Swift Creek Power, and the Afton Utility Board, and Afton Lincoln County Airport Board, and is President elect of the Wyoming Bankers Association. Rod’s past activities include serving as Chairman of the Lower Valley Energy Board of Directors and on the Star Valley Medical Center Board of Trustees, as well as an Afton Town Councilman.
Rod is a life-time resident of Star Valley, Wyoming but spent some time away to earn a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a Master of Business Administration at the University of Wyoming.
Rod is married to Ileene Jensen and they are the parents of two children. In his free time, Rod enjoys photography, hiking and fly-fishing.
Bob Foster, Board Member
Bob Foster has been a member of the Silver Star Board of Directors since January 2007. He is a resident of Teton Valley, Idaho. Bob, an Advanced EMT, is the Director of Emergency Medical Services for Fremont County, Idaho and, after serving on the Himalayan Rescue Association Mt. Everest Base Camp Medical Team, founded a training company that specializes in wilderness and rescue medicine. He can be found working as a clinical assistant at 4 Peaks Urgent Care in Driggs in his spare time!
Bob holds Masters Degrees in Business and Industrial Management and in Organizational Behavior. After “retiring” from a 34-year career as an operations supervisor and franchisee for McDonald’s Restaurant Corporation, Bob served with many community organizations and founded the Teton Valley Business Development Center.
Bob and his wife Lisa are the parents of six children and have six granddaughters. They are dedicated outdoors-people and enjoy all of the incredible activities and adventures so readily available throughout the Rocky Mountain region.
Barbara Sessions, President
Barbara Sessions has served as Silver Star’s President since September 2021. She has worked in the telecommunications industry since 2002, in roles as diverse as Human Resources, Sales, and Operations and Engineering. Most recently she was Silver Star’s Vice President and COO. Barbara earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, as well as a Master of Business Administration from the University of Wyoming.
Barbara currently sits on the board of Syringa Networks and the Wyoming Broadband Advisory Council. She is also a member of the NTCA Regulatory Council, the Wyoming Legislative Task Force, and the WYDOT Broadband Planning Commission.
In 2021 Barbara was honored as the 18th Annual FTTXcellence Award winner. This broadband leadership award, sponsored by Corning and Lightwave Magazine, was designed to recognize an individual who advanced the use of optical access technology in the Americas. Sessions was selected from a very competitive slate of nominees for her inspiring commitment and innovative leadership in bringing broadband services to rural communities.
Other notable achievements include sitting on the USTelecom Engineering & Technology Policy Committee and the USTelecom Traceback Committee. Barbara also acted as a telecommunications consultant on the FirstNet Committee and is a Competitive Carriers Association’s Wireless Regulatory committee member.
Barbara is very active in the community, having served on the Afton Town Council, the Afton Planning and Zoning Committee and the Star Valley Economic Development Board.
Barbara and her husband Rick have three amazing children. In their free time, Barbara and her family enjoy camping, 4-wheeling and traveling to new places.
Jefferson H. England, Vice President and CFO
Jefferson H. England arrived in Star Valley in 2013 to accept the role of Chief Financial Officer of Silver Star Communications. Jeff is an “entrepreneurial CFO” with a business sense for taking calculated risk leading to investment and growth.
Jeff has a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and a Masters of Business Administration from Idaho State University in Pocatello, ID. Following graduation, he worked in public accounting as an auditor for Arthur Andersen and KPMG in Boise, ID. His background includes a wide variety of industries including grocery retail, forest products, information technology, and financial services.
Jeff continued his educational pursuits by earning a Master’s Degree in Finance from Texas A&M University in College Station, TX and then spent ten years as the Chief Financial Officer at K2Share, LLC, headquartered in College Station, TX. While at K2Share, Jeff helped set strategic direction and provided executive leadership for the company in the performance of professional services in the cyber security, web site hosting, and application management industries.
In addition to his professional endeavors, Jeff serves as President of the Wyoming Telecommunications Association. Jeff also serves on USTelecom Association’s Committees for Tax Policy and National Security and Public Safety. Previously, Jeff served in a variety of volunteer positions at local charities and is a life-long volunteer leader and supporter of the Boy Scouts of America.
Jeff is married to Cindy, his wife of 23 years. They have five wonderful children and together, they enjoy all the outdoor adventures found in the mountains near their home in Wyoming. In his time away from work, Jeff is passionate about soccer and is a dedicated fan of Manchester United. He also enjoys hunting, snowmobiling and riding dirt bikes with his family.
Paul Petersen, Chief Operating Officer
Paul Petersen has served as COO since September 2021, following several years as Director of Sales and Customer Service. As COO his goal is to keep the customer the focus in every aspect of the business and to deliver an excellent customer experience.
Before coming to Silver Star, Paul was employed by Micron Technology and served as Senior Director of Marketing & Business Development in Micron’s Storage Business Unit. With over 20 years of technology experience, Paul led a global team of Marketing Professionals focused on understanding the needs of Micron’s customers and how innovative technology from Micron can help solve IT problems. He also held positions as the Director of NAND Product Marketing and as a Business Development Manager in Micron’s Architectural Development Group.
Prior to that, Paul was employed by MPC Computers (formally Micron Computers) for over 13 years and most recently served as Senior Vice President Product Development & Product Marketing. His team was responsible for developing and bringing to market desktop, mobile, server and storage solutions to Small & Medium Businesses and Government markets. Paul has deep industry experience and relationships, both in the US and Asia, in the computer hardware industry. Paul has held various positions with Motorola, Extended Systems and Hewlett Packard. Paul holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Idaho, Electronics Technician Diploma from DeVry Institute of Technology and a certificate in Finance from Stanford University.
Paul is married to Karen, and both enjoy the outdoors camping, skiing and fishing along with dedicating time to a number of non-profit organizations serving the community.
George Scherer, Director of Human Resources
George Scherer joined Silver Star Communications in 2008 as the Director of Human Resources and Support Services. George is responsible for company recruiting, employee effectiveness, safety, training, buildings and grounds, and staff satisfaction.
George grew up in Cedarburg, Wisconsin and attended Marquette University and the Milwaukee School of Engineering. He is certified as a management trainer and has numerous human resource certifications.
George has held various human resource positions prior to joining Silver Star. He has worked as a training manager, employee relations manager, HR manager, and HR director in several different industries including: Best Friends Animal Society, Master Lock Company, Clark, PageNet, and APAC.
George is married to Katie and they enjoy living in beautiful Star Valley. In his free time, he is passionate about animal welfare work, vegetarianism, collecting and refurbishing bicycles, Electric Vehicles (EV), sustainability and looking for treasures in second hand shops.
Eric E. Gewiss, Director of Marketing & Public Relations
Eric Gewiss arrived in Star Valley by way of the Pacific Northwest in 2014 as Silver Star’s Director of Marketing. A graduate of Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Marketing, Eric has over 22 years of marketing experience in several industries including high-tech, mobile communications, commercial real estate and manufacturing.
Prior to working for Silver Star, Eric was the Marketing Manager for SawStop LLC., a woodworking machinery company that developed ingenious technology that prevents serious table saw injuries. Most recently, Eric was the Brand Manager for Sage Fly Fishing where his campaigns helped the company win top industry awards five years in a row. As an artist and designer, Eric has won three Central Oregon Ad Federation Awards and one Pacific Northwest ADDY award.
In 2015, Eric was appointed as an External Affairs committee member of the USTelecom -The Broadband Association. The committee focuses on media advocacy, public relations, and strategic communications. Eric is also a member of the American Marketing Association.
Christopher Blayne, Director of Operations & Engineering
Chris Blayne joined Silver Star Communications in 2016 and moved to the Director of Engineering and Operations in November of 2018. Chris is responsible for Engineering, Construction, Installation, Technical Support, and Product Development. Chris has a Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Marketing from the University of Idaho.
Chris has 20 years of experience in the telecom industry with GTE, Verizon, and Frontier Communications prior to joining Silver Star. He has held positions across a wide range of disciplines within telecommunications including Call Center Management, Staff Support, Information Technology, and Operations. During this time Chris received a GTE Chairman Leadership award and a Verizon Excellence award.
Chris is married to Steph, his wife of 25 years, and they have 2 great sons. Away from the office he enjoys golfing, snowmobiling, fishing, and hunting.