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A turnaround specialist from Stamford, Conn., has been in Butte the past few months to work with the troubled telecommunications company Touch America.

However, officials with the Butte-based operation declined to say why Kevin Dowd was hired or what he is doing to help the company. The company has said that it may be forced to seek bankruptcy protection and has yet to file key financial documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"I honestly can't tell you … it's not anything new or different," said Kay Foster, who sits on the company's board of directors. She declined further comment.

Dowd is a principal in Nightingale & Associates and has been in Butte to work with the company and its executive team. According to Nightingale's company literature, the consulting firm is known for achieving "favorable results on large and/or difficult assignments worldwide."

The firm's areas of expertise include: operational and financial restructuring, interim management, divestiture and asset recovery, financial adviser services, cash-flow management and dispute resolution.

Dowd's Touch America job is not his first brush with the telecommunications world. In 2001, Dowd was involved with the wireless Internet access network Metricom, a California company. Dowd was brought in as the chief restructuring officer of that company, which had previously filed for bankruptcy. The company was eventually forced to shut down its network and lay off all employees, then placed its assets on the auction block.

According to Nightingale, Dowd has served as the president and chief executive officer of more than 25 companies which ranged from computer distributors, a South American financial services conglomerate and managed assignments as well in real estate, furniture, aircraft, ocean shipping and health care.

Additionally, Dowd has served on boards for several companies and has advised both major creditor groups and debtors in complicated restructuring transactions, according to the company's literature.

Touch America also declined information saying it is still in its quiet period, according to Linda McGillen, although she said Nightingale has been working with TA for the past 18 months. Calls placed to Dowd were not returned.

Touch America employs about 400 people, with a most of them in Butte.

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