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Doug Adams

Doug Adams oversees SNG’s Communications efforts, which includes serving as the editor for our monthly Bandwidth newsletter.

Located in Boulder, CO, Doug joins SNG after serving as Director of Marketing for OneCommunity and the Knight Center of Digital Excellence. He oversaw strategy and execution of marketing, communications, public relations and brand initiatives – taking the Knight Center from idea to national thought leader in 18 short months.

Doug has a long track record of success developing marketing strategies and positioning for entrepreneurial organizations in a variety of industries, including technology, market research, and publishing. Previously, Doug developed online strategies for GIE Media, established go-to-market strategies and products for now industry-leading online market research firm InsightExpress, and developed marketing solutions for products and services mired in an inability to fully communicate their value and compete in the marketplace.

With over 20 years technology marketing experience, Doug is uniquely qualified to help products and services move across the technology adoption lifecycle and “cross the chasm” to become widely adopted.

Doug received his M.B.A. in marketing from the University of Connecticut and holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from DePauw University, where he was awarded the Most Outstanding Radio Documentary in the State of Indiana by the Associated Press.

Mark Ansboury

As President and co-founder of Gigabit Squared, Mark Ansboury works closely with communities, stakeholders and broadband providers to visualize, create and implement Open Source Digital Economic Development and Open Network strategies.

Ansboury's strength is that he is equally adept and comfortable at engineering and conceptualizing as he is at implementing a community-based broadband network strategy.

He has developed multi-stakeholder Open Network Architectures for communities that include public and private strategies, creating broadband-based economic and social opportunities. His philosophy of embracing and planning for the digital future has led communities to re-think and re-shape their economic and community development processes to include conceptualization, financing and implementation of digital broadband programs that provide growth opportunities for both the public and private sectors.

Ansboury has 30 years of experience in the telecommunications industry where he has served as both an entrepreneur and senior manager. He has acted in leading roles for technology consultancies and broadband service providers, managing technical, operational, business development and finance.

He has served as President of HealthNet; Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of One Community (Northeast Ohio Comprehensive Community Infrastructure); Founding Partner and Director for Clear Data Communications, ITECH Partners and NGT Partners, LLC; and Director of Telecommunications for The State of Texas Department of Information. His work in business development and capitalization strategy has led to over $1 billion in new capital for his businesses, and he has facilitated acquisitions and mergers of over 20 companies.

He is a regular international speaker on broadband issues, and has served on the U.S. Broadband Coalition, Ohio Middle Mile Consortium, the Board of Northeast Ohio Regional Health Information Exchange, and the Board of Case Western Reserve University Regional Extension Center. He was the 2009 Regional Award Winner (Ohio) for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Hawaii Pacific College and a master's degree in systems management from the University of Southern California. He also served in the U.S. Navy, specializing in electrical engineering, communications and cryptology.


Thomas J. Asp, BSEE, MBA

Mr. Asp specializes in evaluating connectivity (voice, video, and data) options and recommending effective solutions for clients throughout the United States. He holds more than 25 years of experience as an engineer and analyst in communications and public power systems. His experience includes electric and telecommunication system design, network feasibility, evaluation of the financial impact of projects on operations, and provision of expert testimony.

Mr. Asp is recognized as an expert in evaluating and offering recommendations regarding municipal broadband communications systems. He has been actively involved with telecommunication market research and feasibility analysis for over a decade, both with CTC and previously as a partner at the public accounting firm of Virchow Krause (Baker Tilley). Mr. Asp also has significant experience in the communications industry working in the areas of cellular, cable TV, broadband, and mobile radio. Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) experience includes consulting, product management, business development, and client relations.

In the areas of Distribution Automation (DA), Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), mobile radio, and Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), Mr. Asp has assisted municipal utilities and public power cooperatives with extensive evaluative and design services. Specifically, he has prepared evaluations and submitted recommendations on AMI alternatives and benefits. He has assessed existing and evolving technologies and services to support AMI and DA for electric utilities and has developed and directed demonstration plans to test technologies to support distribution automation — including providing recommendations for establishing vendor alliances, performing research and designs networks to combine multi-utility communications, and outlining, evaluating, and recommending communication requirements and options for electric utility DA, SCADA, mobile radio, and AMI.

As a Vice President for an AMI vendor, Mr. Asp was in charge of customer relations, which included resolution of conflicts with vendor partners and customers. In addition Mr. Asp directed efforts to expand AMI value through key partnerships and interfaces.

Broadband Networks (Wired and Wireless)
Mr. Asp is regarded as one of the premier analysts in the United States regarding municipal planning and deployment of broadband systems to meet economic development, digital inclusion, and other needs. He has assisted numerous local governments, municipal utilities, and municipal consortia to evaluate their communities’ communications needs and determine the financial parameters and business case for meeting those needs.

In this area, Mr. Asp’s experience includes preparing connectivity feasibility studies for municipal networks, including economic analysis, market assessment, technology review, vendor analysis, and business plan development. He has assisted numerous communities with evaluating the feasibility of advanced connectivity services alternatives including provider partnerships and city-owned networks. He has reviewed options under cable franchise agreement for municipal purchase and operation. Mr. Asp has reviewed offerings and operations of incumbent telecommunications providers and assisted in negotiations with incumbent telecommunications providers to enhance availability of existing services and to encourage new and innovative offerings.

Jim Baller

Jim Baller is the president of the Baller Herbst Law Group in Washington, DC. He represents clients in a broad range of communications matters nationally and in more than 35 states, including more than 50 fiber projects. He was the founder and president of the US Broadband Coalition, a consortium of more than 160 organizations of all kinds that helped build a national consensus on the need for a comprehensive national broadband strategy and recommended the framework that is reflected in the FCC's National Broadband Plan. He also worked with Google on its Fiber for Communities initiative and is currently involved in several Gig.U projects.

The Fiber to the Home Council has recognized Jim as "the nation's most experienced and knowledgeable attorney on public broadband matters." In 2001, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors designated him its Member of the Year. In 2007, Washingtonian Magazine listed Jim as one of "Washington's Best Lawyers," and NATOA made him its first "Community Broadband Visionary of the Year," for "almost single-handedly putting the need for a national broadband strategy to the forefront of public consciousness." In 2009, Ars Technica included Jim on its list of the 25 "Top Names in Tech Policy," and FiberToday named him as its "Person of the Year." In 2012, Jim received the Fiber to the Home Council Chairman's Award "for his relentless promotion and pursuit of community broadband and of faster networks for everyone. His efforts have paved the way for the deployment of all-fiber networks across the country."

Jim is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Cornell Law School.

Chris Batdorf

Chris Batdorf, Product Marketing Manager at John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group, the part of the company responsible for the AMS (Ag Management Solutions) products, including guidance, documentation, etc. Chris is responsible for go-to-market strategy for AMS products; making the benefits of the technology easier for customers to understand. Chris was raised on a small family farm in Ohio, has a degree in engineering, and has worked as a John Deere Field Territory Manager.

Bill Beesley

Bill Beesley brings 20 years of telecommunications industry experience to his current role as a principal solutions architect for packet optical networking at Fujitsu Network Communications. He is responsible for providing business development and product strategy for Fujitsu packet optical networking solutions, focusing on architecting solutions that primarily support the cable and MSO industry. He also possesses extensive expertise with EPON and GPON technologies, and is widely experienced in developing context-appropriate fiber network architectures that deliver real economic benefits.

Prior to joining Fujitsu in 2011, Bill worked at Cox Communications for 14 years, where he held a variety of executive engineering and leadership roles at both the corporate and system level.

Bill holds a BSc in information technology management from Bellevue University in Nebraska, and a master of applied science in telecommunications management from the University of Denver. He is also an MEF Carrier Ethernet Certified Professional (MEF-CECP).

Charles Benton

Since 1981 Charles Benton has served as Chairman of the Benton Foundation. Its mission is to articulate a public interest vision for the digital age and to demonstrate the value of communications by solving social problems. Among its current program priorities are projects on Universal Broadband/Universal Service, Community Media/Community Development, and Digital Media Access/Inclusion. Charles Benton has also had a long career in the media education and entertainment businesses as President or Chairman of Encyclopaedia Britannica Education Corporation, Films Incorporated, Public Media Inc., Lionheart Television International, and Home Vision Entertainment. In 1978, President Carter appointed him as Chairman of the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science and as Chairman of the first White House Conference on Library and Information Services, held in November of 1979. In 1997, President Clinton appointed him as a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters. Throughout his career, Mr. Benton has been an active board member and advisor for organizations in the arts, education and communications. Currently these include service as Chairman of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois and as a Board Member Emeritus of the Educational Development Center in Boston and the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. In April 2012 he was nominated by President Obama to the National Museum and Library Services Board. A graduate of Yale University, Mr. Benton did post graduate work at Northwestern University and the National College of Education and taught 5th grade at the Washington Elementary School in Evanston, Illinois. He is married to Marjorie Craig Benton and they have two children and five grandchildren.

Cheryl Beranek

Clearfield, Inc. President and CEO Cheri Beranek is a founding member of the company. She is considered a visionary in the telecommunications networking industry, and has extensive leadership experience in the field of emerging high-tech growth companies.

In July 2003, she joined APA Enterprises as President of its subsidiary APA Cables & Networks. In June 2007, she was appointed President and CEO. Previously, Ms. Beranek served as President of Americable, for which she had previously been its Chief Operating Officer.

Throughout her career, Ms. Beranek has held a variety of leadership positions with emerging high-growth technology companies, including Transition Networks, Tricord Systems; and Digi International. She also has extensive non-profit experience including: the City of Fargo, the Metropolitan Planning Commission of Fargo/Moorhead, and North Dakota State University (NDSU).

Ms. Beranek has been recognized with numerous awards, including the 2012 Women in Wireline from Fierce Telecom, 2012 regional finalist for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year, Stevie Awards for Business in 2011 as a finalist for Best Executive for non-services businesses and the 2009 Turn-Around of the Year, as well as the Twin Cities Business Journal’s Industry Leader Award in 2009 and Women to Watch award in 2004.

Tim Berelsman

Tim Berelsman has been Chief Executive Officer with Com Net since May 29, 2001. Tim Berelsman directs Com Net in its efforts to provide IPTV Video Service, Fiber Optic Transport Services, IP Bandwidth Services, Dedicated Internet Access Services, Authentication Services, Network Administrative Services, Unix/Windows System Administrative Services, Application Services, Billing Services, SS7 Services and Call Center Support Services.

Previous to 2001, Mr. Berelsman was employed with GenTek, Inc. as Director of Business Development. In this role, Tim worked with the GenTek Automotive Manufacturing Division and the GenTek Telecommunications Division on new technology initiatives, mergers and acquisitions, and acquisition integration. Prior to joining GenTek, he was employed by Prestolite Wire, which was acquired by GenTek in 2000. Mr. Berelsman held multiple positions with Prestolite Wires Datacommunication Division as the business grew from $16 Million in 1996 to $85 Million in 2000. This aggressive business group required him to manage multiple areas including Regional Sales Manager, Director of Marketing and Director of Product Development simultaneously. He was also involved in the acquisition and integration of Northern Lights Cable, a specialty fiber optic cable manufacturer, while with Prestolite Wire. Immediately before the acquisition of Prestolite Wire by GenTek, Mr. Berelsman became involved with GenTek in their acquisition and integration of Krone, Inc, a global telecommunications manufacturer and then later with the integration of CON-X, a start-up company producing automated cross connect equipment for telecommunication service providers. In addition to this diverse management experience, Mr. Berelsman also holds multiple patents in the area of high-speed data transmission over copper cabling systems.

Myra Best

Current Professional Role
Myra Best currently works as Executive Director of DigiLEARN: Digital Learning Institute, a 501C3 Nonprofit which she help found and raised its funding from several nationally recognized foundations. This nonprofit will work in North Carolina and nationally to help accelerate digital learning in education from birth through post-secondary.

Previous Experience
Myra served as Special Advisor to Governor Bev Perdue on eLearning and Education innovation. In her role with Governor Perdue, she led policy and budget initiatives for education innovation and coordinated the eLearning Commission. She led the development and implementation of the Governor’s P20 plan for education: Career & College- Ready, Set, Go! which focuses all of education on a single goal- All students will graduate ready for a career, 2 or 4 college or technical training. Critical to reaching this goal is the adoption of the state led Common Core Standards for career and college ready by NC’s P20 education sectors. She was responsible for the Governor’s signature education program, the Career & College Promise. This initiative provides focused preparation in 3 career pathways leading to work right out of high school or higher education while in high school at no cost to the student.

In her role with the eLearning Commission, Myra increased NC’s capacity to offer virtual learning opportunities to all of NC's citizens P20 27/7 no matter their zipcode. She was instrumental to the development of the NC Virtual Public School for K12 that is the 2nd fastest growing virtual learning program in the country. In addition, she advanced eLearning through NC’s public and private colleges and universities including UNC Online which offers more degree programs on line than any other state, and the Community Colleges’ Virtual Learning community that supports all 58 colleges in customizing courses based on student and workforce needs. Prior to assuming her current role, Myra developed and served as director of the Business Education Technology Alliance and the eLearning Commission. She led these groups develop and establish the NC’s first state Virtual Public School, a single statewide technology network for all of education (MCNC’s North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN)) and a single portal ( for e-learning that has as its goal to provide 21st century learning options in every corner of NC. These state level initiatives involved large scale coordination and collaboration of key leaders, agencies, General Assembly, Office of the Governor and public sector businesses. This involved early development with private funding and developed into significant public private partnerships of investments of more than 64 million dollars and continues to grow with the leadership of the current public and private agencies. During her 14 years working in public schools at all grade levels, she one was the first elementary counselors in NC, established a development counseling program in Greene and Wayne Counties and served as the program director. In addition to her teaching and counseling experience in public schools, Myra has a long history of developing and initiating change in our schools. She developed and led a statewide initiative for teacher mentoring and created the School Based Decision Making initiative, a special project of the General Assembly. In order to support the implementation of SBM, she founded and secured grant and state funding for the NC Network and served as its director. The Network is a collaborative of school districts and other partners to implement schools based improvement; data based decision making and facilitative leadership.

Mike Burke

Missouri Co-Chair Mike Burke is a director and Vice President of King Hershey, PC. He is a lifelong Kansas City resident and attended Rockhurst High School. He received his undergraduate degree in History from Georgetown University in 1970 and his Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center. He was Research Editor for Law and Policy in International Business. Mr. Burke has served at the highest levels of many of the city’s boards and commissions, philanthropic organizations and public events. He was recently appointed by Mayor James to chair Kansas City’s newly created Arts Task Force. Mr. Burke is a resident of Kansas City, Mo., north of the river.

Drew Clark

This fall, Drew Clark takes the next step in his work as a nationally-known broadband leader and expert with the launch of a national association devoted to broadband internet services. The association will advance the benefits of broadband internet services in homes, businesses, and local governments. Broadband internet services are the benefits that broadband provides: job creation, telemedicine, online learning, public safety, the smart grid, eGovernment, and family connectedness. These services turn high-speed internet connections into tools for more productive and healthy lives.

As Executive Director of Broadband Illinois, Clark united the Land of Lincoln around a vision of Better Broadband, Better Lives. Illinois’ State Broadband Initiative became the national model for public-private collaboration. Clark came to Illinois having founded Broadband Census and the Broadband Breakfast Club, the premier Washington forum advancing the conversation on broadband.

Clark implements Gov. Pat Quinn’s personal motto, “everybody in, and nobody left out,” and he brings experts and practitioners together to advance a common purpose. Clark’s work at Broadband Illinois united Southern Illinois and Chicagoland, Eastern Illinois and Western Illinois, and he built up the Broadband Deployment Council’s efforts to use internet expansion to improve economic development in the State.

Broadband Illinois’ pioneering work in internet planning, convening and educating Illinois set the standard for engagement between communications providers and users of internet services, who have different interests but are both essential to advancing broadband. Clark established the framework of the 10 regional eTeams: community groups that link technology improvements to concrete economic development objectives.

The maps, resources and toolkits available on provided the way that other state broadband entities followed. Under his leadership, the State launched the Illinois Broadband Innovation Fund and the Federal Communication Commission awarded a broadband lifeline grant for rural Western and Southern Illinois.

Clark earned his Bachelors of Arts (with Honors) in Philosophy and Economics from Swarthmore College, his Master of Science from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and his Juris Doctor from George Mason University School of Law. He has written widely on the politics of technology, entertainment and telecommunications for Ars Technica, GigaOm, National Journal, Slate, the Washington Post, and the Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property. He serves on the board of the Rural Telecommunications Congress. You can find him on Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIN.

Pierre A. Clark

Pierre A. Clark is a technology consultant, grants writer, entrepreneur and tech advocate. He currently serves as the founder/Director of the Southside Broadband Expansion Collaborative, NFP. And the co-founder/Executive Director of the Chicago Digital Access Alliance Inc. Pierre was the first Midwest Coordinator of CTCNet, founded Word Pros Microcomputer Personnel, Business Office Services and Support , The Technology Consortium and TechSys Support Corporation in the 1980s and 1990s. He founded Self-Employment Enterprises Leadership Forum, The Southside Multimedia Center and One Englewood CDC among a total of seven non-profit entities. He wrote columns for Afrique Newsmagazine, Streetwise, and 200 community newspapers around the country. In 2006, he co-founded the Chicago Digital Access Alliance Inc. Under Pierre's leadership, the Chicago Digital Access Alliance coined and popularized the term "digital excellence" in Chicago and around the country and was the thought leader behind "The City That Networks: Transforming Community And Society Through Digital Excellence", published by the City of Chicago in 2007.The document led to the development of grants awarded $21 million under the federal BTOP program, the formation of the Smart Communities program, the Smart Chicago Collaborative, and other digital excellence programs in Chicago and around the country. As co-founder/co-director of the Woodlawn Broadband Expansion Partnership L3C Pierre designed and organized the initiatives and strategies that helped position Woodlawn and the Chicago South Side to receive the first-ever Illinois Gigabit Challenge grant from the state of Illinois of $2 million to build a fiber-optic network serving nine (9) Chicago Southside communities. Pierre is the organizer of the SSBEC-Broadband Strategies Institute which develops and supports broadband deployment/use cases and community engagement strategies for neighborhoods, towns and cities. Pierre attended Holy Angels Grammar School, St. Ignatius College Prep, Harvard University and the University of Chicago. He has written grants generating $1 million plus in funding and is on the board of the Woodlawn Children's Promise Community.

Rollie Cole

Rollie Cole, PhD, JD is a policy analyst and lawyer who has worked for several think tanks and several law firms and taught in Schools of Public Policy, Business, and Law at three major universities – the University of Washington, the University of Michigan, and Indiana University. He was the co-founder and first president of the international Association of Personal Computer User Groups and was for many years the Executive Director of the Software Patent Institute. He also serves as Director of Technology Policy for the Sagamore Institute for Policy Research and a subcontractor to Thomas P. Miller & Associates. His degrees are from Harvard University. His latest book is Wholesale Economic Development: Volume I: Approach, available from Amazon. You can find out more about Rollie and his related efforts at his own web site:

Ron Corriveau

Ron Corriveau is the Vice President of Business Development for COS Systems, a maker of OSS software for broadband networks, based in Umeå Sweden. COS Systems is the maker of COS, a self-service solution marketplace that makes it easy for network subscribers to shop for and buy services from multiple providers. COS makes it easy for service providers to add and manage their services, subscribers and network access on MSO and open access networks.

In his role at COS Systems, Ron is responsible for forging partnerships with FTTX equipment providers, software vendors and fiber network owners and operators. In this role, Corriveau is working with both multi service network owner/operators and open access networks to deliver advanced self-service solutions on broadband and fiber networks. He is focused on bringing proven solutions that enable multi- provider FTTX networks that currently enable the management of nationwide open access networks in Sweden to the North American marketplace.

Throughout his career, Ron has worked in executive business development roles at IBM, EMC, Legato Software, OTG and CA Technologies. In these roles he established and grew partnerships with software and networking industry leaders, consultants, resellers, integrators and outsourcing partners to deliver leading edge solutions to network communications, computing and storage challenges.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Corriveau is a member of the Boston Harbor Angels and serves on the board of Social Venture Partners of Rhode Island, a non-profit organization that enables the incubation and growth of social enterprises in Rhode Island.

Ron is an avid sailor and lives in Newport, Rhode Island with his wife Carole where they enjoy their time on the water and inventing new recipes with fresh local seafood and sustainable local produce.

Ryan Croke

Ryan Croke has served as deputy chief of staff to Governor Quinn since November 2009, where he spearheaded a variety of key public safety, economic development and government modernization efforts. In this role, he has served as a senior advisor to the Governor while managing and collaborating with the Governor’s cabinet officers. His responsibilities have included oversight of critical agencies from the Illinois State Police, Department of Corrections, Emergency Management Agency and Fire Marshal’s Office, to the Departments of Veterans’ and Military Affairs, Historic Preservation Agency, and Departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture.

In his work with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Croke has coordinated multiple local, state and federal response efforts in the aftermath of devastating floods, drought, blizzards and tornadoes, helping recover hundreds of millions of dollars in federal financial relief for Illinois residents, businesses and communities.

Prior to becoming deputy chief of staff, Croke served as a policy advisor to the Governor, where he focused on technology, education and economic growth initiatives, leading Governor Quinn's nationally-recognized initiative to secure nearly $500 million of combined private, federal and local investments in statewide broadband deployment. These efforts have resulted in more than 3,000 new miles of fiber optic infrastructure and more than 1,000 jobs statewide.

Raised in Wheeling, Croke earned a master’s degree in communications from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and undergraduate degrees in communications and political science. He also serves as co-chairman of the Employment for People with Disabilities Task Force and resides in Springfield with his wife Brook.

Michael Curri

Michael Curri founded Strategic Network Group, Inc. (SNG) in 1998 and as President he leads an experienced team of specialists on a wide range of broadband and economic development initiatives. Michael brings a unique strategic focus to accelerate both the deployment of critical broadband infrastructure and its use by local businesses, organizations and industry to drive innovation, economic growth, and community vitality.

Michael's approach is based on his experience that for broadband to be effective and transformational, it is critical to make sure that it is being utilized - driven by compelling and powerful e-solutions. With a vision to revitalize communities and regions to more effectively participate in today's economy, Michael has consulted and led on projects across Canada in the US, Europe, the Caribbean and Asia.

Michael has a Master's in Economics from the University of Waterloo, Canada. He is based in the European office of SNG in Paris. SNG is headquartered in North America.

Doug Dawson

Doug Dawson is the President and founder of CCG Consulting. CCG Consulting is the largest telecom consulting firm in the country in terms of clients, and has helped over 750 carriers in the last decade. CCG offers a full range of telecom services including engineering, regulatory, business planning, strategic planning and implementation services. CCG’s newest service is new product development and CCG can turn-key new products for carriers.

Doug’s primary responsibilities at CCG are helping clients realize their potential through detailed needs assessment and strategic planning. Doug has helped devise strategies enabling clients to survive and thrive during the recent telecommunications industry slowdown. Doug brings a broad background to his work with experience in telephone accounting, engineering, regulatory and business planning. He is directly in charge of all client consulting at CCG.

Doug has been working in the telecom industry since 1978 at several different companies. He has both a consulting and an operational background. CCG currently works for a wide range of telecom providers including ILECS, CLECs, ISPs, municipalities and wireless carriers.

Aaron Deacon

Aaron Deacon is managing director for KC Digital Drive, a bistate initiative to drive innovation and collaboration within Kansas City and capitalize on next generation infrastructure. KC Digital Drive covers a broad range of issues including education, health care, the arts, entrepreneurship, sustainability and digital inclusion.

He has been an instrumental leader in helping Kansas City prepare to be the first major U.S. metro area with gigabit connectivity in the home. Among many initiatives related to Google Fiber’s Kansas City project, he helped to create the Building the Gigabit City community brainstorming session. He led the Give Us a Gig initiative to educate Kansas City communities about the possibilities of gigabit speed and help neighborhoods express demand for service. And he is cofounder of the Gigabit City Summit, a series of telepresence roundtables designed to facilitate conversation among city leaders around the world about shaping city infrastructure around next generation networks.

His professional background is in research and strategic planning and owns Curiolab, which manages the discovery, creation and application of insights and information needed for strategic decision-making. He serves as president of the Social Media Club of Kansas City. He has a masters in social science from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Dallas.

Essam El-Beik

Essam El-Beik is a consultant with Illinois Century Network helping manage broadband sales to the service provider community. Essam is also managing the process to select a sales and marketing partner for Illinois Century Network that includes development of a Request for Information, Request for Proposal and Contract. Prior to Illinois Century Network Essam worked at Zayo Group for three years responsible for broadband stimulus applications, where Zayo was awarded $45M from federal stimulus funds for broadband in Indiana, Minnesota and Ohio. Prior to Zayo Essam spent 18 years working for Nortel Networks in wireline and wireless technologies in England, France and the US. Essam holds a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering and a Masters in Computer Science from Imperial College, London, and holds 2 patents in the field of wireless network technology.

Phil Emer

Phil Emer has spent more than 23 years working at the intersections of data communications, research, academia and business – splitting time between the public and private sectors. In the private sector Phil worked as an engineer with IBM, as a technology executive with venture-backed Carolina Broadband and as a technology director with not for profit MCNC. In the public sector Phil directed voice, video, and data communications at NC State University and served as Director of Technology with the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation. Phil serves as Director of Technology with The Preiss Company - where he leads Internet, video and next generation technology integration across the portfolio of student housing properties. Phil earned a B.S. in electrical engineering at Virginia Tech in 1989 and an M.S. in computer engineering at NC State University in 1994.

About The Preiss Company The Preiss Company ( is currently the 8th largest owner and manager of student housing in the country and the largest woman-owned student housing owner and provider in the nation.

Mark Erickson

Mark Erickson has been the City Administrator and EDA Director in the city of Winthrop, Minnesota for the past four years.

Prior to Winthrop he was employed by Hiawatha Broadband Communications in Winona and worked directly with communities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois interested in building Fiber To The Home networks.

He currently serves on the MMUA Board of Directors and is a former member of the Blandin Foundation Telecommunications Strategy Board.

He served as the City Administrator in Lakefield, Minnesota from 1998 to 2003 and was the 2003 recipient of the Southwest Minnesota Foundation and Blandin Foundation Leadership Award.

He graduated from the University of Idaho in 1980 with majors in journalism and economics. He is as 1972 graduate of Pipestone High School in Pipestone, MN and he and his wife Kristi have three grown children.

Gary Evans

Gary W. Evans, president and CEO of Hiawatha Broadband Communications, joined the company in April of 1998.

One of two people who performed the feasibility study in 1992 that led to the creation of Luminet (HBC's predecessor), Evans is a long-time resident of the Winona community.

He served as Winona State University's vice president of university relations from 1987 until 1998 and previously spent 30 years in the newspaper business, including 25 years at the Winona Daily News. During his Winona newspaper career, Evans served as a reporter, section editor, editor, executive editor, marketing director, and publisher.

A community activist, Evans has received Winona's highest awards, the Winona Community Achievement Award in 1987 and the Adith Miller Community Tribute in 1990. He was also honored in 2001 as Minnesota Hospital Trustee of the Year, and on November 12, 2004, was honored by the Upper Mississippi Valley Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals as its outstanding volunteer fundraiser. In 2008, he received Winona State University's Distinguished Service Award.

He serves as chairman of the board of Winona Health, the community's health care system, as chairman of the board of the Great River Shakespeare Festival, is a member of the Blandin Foundation's Broadband Strategy Board, the Minnesota Governor's Broadband Task Force, is a past president of the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce, and has held numerous community civic and church positions.

Evans is married. He and his wife, Ellen, are the parents of two children: Gregory, president of Merchants National Bank, Cannon Falls, MN; and Natalie Evans Matejka, a customer planner for TRW, Winona.

Paul Fagan

Paul Fagan is senior vice president of sales and marketing at Fujitsu Network Communications, Inc., leading the sales, sales operations, and marketing departments. Paul joined Fujitsu in 1997, as sales director. He was later promoted to eastern region vice president of sales, responsible for a wide cross-section of telecommunications customers.

In 2000, he left Fujitsu and spent four years in a start-up environment, introducing new high-speed Ethernet over copper technologies to carriers. He returned to Fujitsu in 2004 as western region vice president of sales and later resumed responsibility for the eastern region.

Prior to joining Fujitsu, Paul spent 15 years with IBM in a number of sales and marketing leadership positions, providing solutions to North American telecommunications customers.

Paul is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University and holds a B.S. in biology.

Steve Fennel

Steve Fennel is currently the Director of Telecommunications Outreach at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. In this role, Steve is responsible for the planning of initiatives that utilize advanced technology and telecommunications infrastructure in support of improving health care delivery and health education.

Before joining KU Medical Center in 2011, Steve led various strategic projects for a hospital in Topeka, Kansas as well as supported the launch of an online educational program in clinical ethics and health policy for a healthcare-related non-profit in Kansas City, Missouri. Prior to transitioning to the health care sector, Steve held a diverse range of positions at Sprint Nextel Corporation and AT&T.

Steve holds a Master of Health Services Administration degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Missouri – Kansas City.

Michael Flynn

Michael C. Flynn was promoted to President State of Illinois effective August 21; he is responsible for all customers for Frontier in the state of Illinois. Recently, he served the state as Senior Vice President/GM for all operational aspects for Illinois combining the acquired 414 Verizon towns with the 138 existing Frontier towns.

Before this, he was Vice President and GM for the Midwest where he was fully responsible for all customer support and operational aspects for Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska. He previously served as Vice President, Field Operations for Great Lakes, including; Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Indiana ensuring all field operational aspects were met. Prior to Frontier, Mr. Flynn ran the state of Indiana for Verizon as Director of Customer Operations and later as a Regional Director including installation/repair, Sales and Marketing for FiOS – a fully fiber optic network in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He joined Frontier Communications as a Central District Local Manager in Dryden, NY in 1989 and has held positions of increasing responsibility in all aspects of customer services, support services, sales, marketing and operations since joining Frontier.

Mr. Flynn has held many leadership positions in a wide array of Frontier territories including: New York, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin with Frontier, and its predecessors over the past 24 years. He is on the Community board of directors for OSF Hospital for Bloomington/Normal, the Illinois Telephone Association board of directors, as well as the Infrastructure Committee of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. He is also the military liaison for the Central Region:

He earned a B.S. in Applied Science/Engineering from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. He served on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Navy from 1980-1989 and later in the Naval Reserves reaching the rank of Lieutenant Commander including missions in the Persian Gulf and 13 countries before joining Frontier. He resides in Bloomington, Illinois with his family.

Eric Frederick

Eric Frederick is the Executive Director for Connect Michigan.

Eric joined the CN team in July 2011 as the State Program Manager for Connect Michigan. He has built and led a nationally recognized team that has produced the nation’s first Certified Connected Community. Eric has developed relationships with statewide, national, and international groups that are partnering with CN to solve problems of connectivity, and to bolster the value of internet connections. The success of the Connect Michigan program has created communication opportunities to share Connect Michigan’s success across the CN family, across Michigan, and into neighboring states.

Prior to joining Connect Michigan, Eric worked for LSL Planning, Inc. as a Project Planner. In this role, Eric was responsible for comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance development, transportation planning, the development of specialized Cost of Community Services Studies, economic development and grants related projects, all for various cities throughout the state of Michigan and the mid-west. He holds a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from Michigan State University and a Bachelor of Science degree with a Major in Planning and a Minor in Geographic Information Systems from Northern Michigan University.

Aaron Gadouas

Mr. Gadouas is a Senior Vice President of Stern Brothers & Co. in Chicago. He has fifteen years of experience in fixed income investment banking, new product development, and business management. He has completed transactions in all areas of public finance including health care, higher education, infrastructure, housing, industrial development bonds, and tax increment financings. He was formerly a Senior Vice President in the Chicago office of ABN AMRO Global Capital Markets and was responsible for the origination and execution of tax-exempt structured products and asset securitizations. He is widely recognized for his track record of innovative financings, including the first securitization of church loans in the United States, implementation of a public/private financing program for healthcare organizations, risk transfer structures for insurance companies, and the creation of several tax-advantaged financial products.

Mr. Gadouas also managed a tax-exempt equipment lease financing business at ABN AMRO, greatly expanding its product capabilities and profitability. He introduced financial derivatives to manage the interest rate risk of ABN AMRO’s municipal leasing business and served as a financial advisor and investment banker to other national leasing companies. Prior to that, he was an Associate in the Public Finance Group of Drexel Burnham Lambert in New York and Chicago. He has been a guest speaker at several industry conferences in the areas of leasing, securitization, and derivatives.

Mr. Gadouas holds a B.A. in Economics from Cornell University and M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at North-western University. He has served on boards and held leadership positions for several not-for-profit organizations and is a member of the Midwest Entrepreneurs’ Form.


Larry Gates

Bio coming soon...

Heather Gold

Heather Burnett Gold is the President of Fiber-to-the-Home Council Americas, a non-profit organization established to help its members plan, market, implement and manage fiber to the home solutions. Council membership includes companies and organizations that deliver video, Internet and/or voice services over high-bandwidth, next-generation, direct fiber optic connections - as well as those involved in planning and building FTTH networks. The Council was created over eleven years ago to share knowledge and build industry consensus on key issues surrounding fiber to the home deployment.

Prior to joining the Council, Gold served as Senior Vice President of External Affairs for XO Communications, a $1.5 billion telecommunications company, where she was responsible for the creation and execution of a comprehensive public policy strategy and regularly interacted with Congress, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the White House and state lawmakers and regulators. Gold was also responsible for the development and implementation of the company’s Cost of Service strategy, including vendor selection and management for an approximately $600M annual budget.

Gold has more than 29 years of experience in the industry, including five years as President for the Association for Local Telecommunications Services (ALTS) during the period surrounding the passage and implementation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. She has also served as a founding principal of The KDW Group, a telecom consulting firm, and as Vice President of Industry Affairs for Intermedia Communications. She was honored by the Washington Business Journal as one of its 2010 Women Who Mean Business. Gold received her BA (magna cum laude) and MA degrees in Economics from Tufts University. She received her MBA in Finance and Marketing from Washington University in St. Louis. Gold also completed the General Management Program of the Harvard Business School.

Lev Gonick

Lev Gonick has been teaching, working, and living on the Net since 1987.

Today, Lev Gonick is Vice President for Information Technology Services and Chief Information Officer at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Case is one of the nation's leading independent research universities. Case's technology infrastructure and reputation for innovation and cutting-edge applications is recognized across the country and around the world. This turn around effort since 2001 has been recognized by peers and has led to numerous presentations and consultations on IT Governance, new forms of IT leadership (open-source leadership) and strategic technology investing addressing community priorities. Case has been ranked number #1 in the nation among private, independent universities for wireless technology deployments.

Gonick is Board Chair Emeritus of OneCleveland, now known as OneCommunity, the award winning project to create a connected community throughout Northeast Ohio through ultra broadband wired and wireless network connectivity. In 2010, Gonick and his colleagues at Case Western Reserve launched the nation's first gigabit fiber to the home research program called the Case Connection Zone, and serves as advisor to the nation-wide project known as GigU, a consortium of universities seeking to drive economic growth and stimulate a new generation of innovations addressing critical needs, such as health care and education, by the deployment of ultra high-speed networks.

In 2011, Government Technology awarded Lev one of their "Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers in Public-Sector Innovation." In the same year Crain's Business Cleveland named Gonick one its "10 Difference Makers" in Northeast Ohio and Broadband Properties honored him with their Cornerstone Award for "using fiber to build an inclusive society and empower individuals." In 2010, he received recognition as "Visionary of the Year" from NATOA. In 2007, he and Case Western Reserve were recognized with a ComputerWorld Laureate for leveraging technology to address community priorities. In 2006, Lev was recognized by ComputerWorld as a Premier 100 IT leader and honored in the same year by CIO magazine with a CIO 100 Award.

Previously, Lev Gonick served as Chief Information Technology Officer for Cal State Monterey Bay (CSUMB). CSUMB is the Cal State's "Bullets to Books to Bytes" campus built on former Fort Ord as the Cal State's first 21st century campus. From 1996 through 1999 Gonick was University Dean for Instructional Technology and Academic Computing at Cal State Polytechnic University in Pomona.


John Goodman

A-Vu Media is a broadband technology integration and service company working with partners in SE Minnesota to develop telemedicine and other services for older adults and the disabled. This work has created a new telemedicine system focused on primary care applications that extend throughout a community including: remote clinics, urgent care centers, schools, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and individual residences. A-Vu has also developed a proprietary TV based multimedia system to serve the healthcare and other needs of people that struggle with the complexity of current technology, typically older adults and the disabled.

Before starting A-Vu Media John served as President, Coalition for Competitive Access to Content (CA2C), and Executive Director, Broadband Service Providers Association (BSPA). John helped found these organizations. Membership included: Astound Broadband, AT&T, Bell South, CenturyLink, DIRECTV, Echostar, Hiawatha Broadband, Independent Telephone and Telecommunications Alliance (ITTA), Knology,Media Access Project (MAP), Organization for the Promotion and advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO), RCN,SureWest, USTelecom, Verizon and WOW! Internet, Cable and Phone. These 2 organizations focused on national telecommunications policy issues in the US Congress and at the Federal Communications Commission. During 8 years of policy work these efforts resulted in both legislation and policy initiatives that supported the continuing development of competition in the telecommunication industry.

Prior to his work in DC he had operating roles at Astound Broadband that give him a solid background to understand the broad range of telecom and broadband policy and operating issues faced by network operators. John’s experience prior to joining Astound Broadband included three business start-ups in high technology investments. His experience also includes wireless work for Motorola and home management technology at Honeywell in business development and marketing roles. He holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management in Evanston, Ill. and a B.A. in Psychology from Bethel College in St. Paul, Minn.

Kent Halder

Kent Halder has been with Cedar Falls Utilities nearly 12 years. Kent’s initial role with CFU was to work with business clientele to address their internet and data needs. Along with growing the business internet penetration to over 90% in Cedar Falls, CFU also grew its service offerings to address business wide area connection needs and redundancy requirements. CFU is now also a dominant provider to multi-dwelling units throughout Cedar Falls. Seven years ago Kent was also put in charge of the CFU Help Desk phone support center and recent customer surveys indicate very high levels of customer satisfaction with the Help Desk. In addition to the above duties, Kent was named Sales Manager five years ago to also oversee communication sales to the residential sector. Prior to CFU, Kent worked in the computer network consultant field for 15 years. Kent is a 1987 graduate of the University of Northern Iowa with a Mathematics Education degree.

Phillip Halstead

Phillip Halstead has been named Partnership for Connected Illinois’ (PCI) executive director. Halstead, formerly of South Charleston, WV, has joined PCI, also known as Broadband Illinois, following three decades of work in government affairs, organization management, technology advocacy and economic development.

“Phil is the ideal candidate to take the lead role at PCI,” said Bob Taylor, the organization’s board chairman. “His proven and extensive history mobilizing resources toward a strategic vision, as well as his experience building technology-based organizations, fits PCI’s needs perfectly. We look forward having Phil lead and convene our broadband deployment and advocacy efforts in Illinois.”

Most recently, Halstead served as the CEO and executive director of the West Virginia Regional Technology Park Corporation, overseeing a development that included 800,000 square feet of office and laboratory space.

Prior to that, he spent four years as the CEO of Florida LambdaRail, LLC, a nonprofit membership association of 12 research universities and 30 affiliates, operating a 1,540 mile state-spanning fiber optic network.

Halstead, who earned his Ph.D. from Florida State University, has held various other management positions at technology and private sector institutions.

He was the manager of government relations for both Nabisco Brands and Clorox. Halstead also was the CEO and principal of Halstead Associates, a venture that provided multi-client strategy, as well as business and technology development services to corporations, associations and consulting firms.

“I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity,” Halstead said. “This is an extremely important time for Illinois and the progress of its broadband infrastructure. This is a unique opportunity and I see enormous potential in The Partnership for a Connected Illinois and the organization’s current and future goals.”

Halstead said he plans to continue building a broad-based community of members that includes public research universities, and other higher education institutions, K-12, libraries, public safety, health care, public media and other key anchor institutions. He also looks forward to building relationships with private sector internet providers.

Charles Benton, Vice Chairman for PCI’s board of directors, said Halstead’s boundary-spanning experience will serve the organization well.

“Phil brings a great track record of visionary organization leadership to PCI as its new executive director,” Benton said. “He will help lead the organization through our building new partnerships where our mission of broadband data and development can be applied through multiple sectors to meeting basic economic and social needs. We welcome Phil to Illinois and the new opportunities for growth he brings to PCI.”

Halstead will replace former executive director Drew Clark, who resigned from the organization in July to resume his work with broadband-related interests on a national level.

Amber Hayes

A broadband and online evangelist, Amber Hayes serves as e-Solutions Adoption Business Coach, for Strategic Networks Group. She specializes in making broadband, its myriad of applications, and their benefits resonate for community members, driving meaningful use and economic opportunities.

Amber coaches small-to-medium sized businesses to identify unique opportunities and create plans for successful adoption of online applications. She takes what could be seen as intimidating and makes it simple and applicable for businesses of all sizes. Amber is a Strategic Networks Group team member and supports bridging statistical insight into the creation of customized tools and plans that allow regions and businesses to maximize their broadband adoption and opportunity effectively. Amber has presented at several international summits on the topic of online technology as well as presentations on broadband opportunity, social media, online trends and remote work.

Milda Hedblom

Milda K. Hedblom is a consultant, lawyer and policy expert now consulting mainly with Hiawatha Broadband Communications. She has a broad range of experience in broadband network development for both public and private clients and has expertise in established services, innovative fiber services and beneficial community applications. She has legal expertise in regulation, multi-party agreements and entry of new services.

As a consultant she has worked on a number of FTTH projects and dozens of varied projects in fiber, cable services, wireless and broadband applications nationally. She has held positions in the Plans and Policy office of the FCC, as a Senior Fellow in International Telecommunications at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D. C., & Executive Coordinator of the UN World Summit on Information, the United Nations ITU project in Geneva.

She directs the Telecommunications Policy and Information Society Forum at the University of Minnesota, is Professor of politics and communications at Augsburg College, Minneapolis and Visiting Professor of telecommunications policy at the University of Minnesota.

She has a B.A. from Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota, a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota including study at Oxford University, and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota.

Kyle Hollifield

Kyle Hollifield, is SVP at Magellan Advisors, a top broadband planning and consulting firm, managing scores of broadband projects worldwide. Kyle joined Magellan after retiring from a successful tenure as VP of Bristol Virginia Utilities, (BVU) one of the nation’s most successful and highly touted community owned broadband networks. Prior Kyle served in executive positions with Alcatel-Lucent and Standard Telephone and Cable Labs, one of the first fiber optic research and deployment companies, and home of Dr. Charles Kao. Currently Kyle also serves as Vice-Chairman of Broadband Communities and magazine, and also has served as Chairman of the Board for The FTTH Council, Americas. Kyle holds degrees in Business and Marketing from the University of Tennessee.

Roger Holloway

Roger Holloway is a healthcare executive with more than 30 years experience in the healthcare field. Currently, Mr. Holloway is employed with Northern Illinois University as Executive Director of Rural Health Resource Services and serves as President and CEO of the Illinois Rural HealthNet. Mr. Holloway is also Co-Director for the Illinois Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (IL-HITREC) responsible for EHR adoption and use in the majority of the state. He currently serves on the Illinois Health Information Exchange Advisory Committee. Mr. Holloway has served on this group since its inception 3 years ago.

John Honker

Mr. Honker is a seasoned executive with 18 years experience in management within the broadband telecommunications sector. He has been instrumental in developing IP and broadband services for emerging markets in the United States and across 17 countries internationally. John is President of Magellan Advisors, a broadband consulting firm specializing in advanced broadband development for the public and private sectors. Magellan provides comprehensive broadband planning, implementation and management to public agencies and private telecoms as a turnkey solution to expand advanced broadband services in communities across the world. Magellan has consulted with hundreds of clients that want to utilize advanced broadband to enhance economic development and quality of life in their communities. Through Magellan’s support, hundreds of millions of dollars of broadband investments have been made worldwide.

Joanne Hovis

Joanne Hovis is President of CTC and directs all work in the areas of business consulting, strategic planning, market assessment, and management consulting. She is an attorney with a background in communications and commercial litigation. Ms. Hovis is a recognized authority on the broadband market and community broadband topics - and on the evolving role of government in the provision of communications services to the public.

Ms. Hovis serves as President of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA), the national association that represents local governments and promotes community interests in communications matters. She is also a member of the Benton Foundation's Board of Directors, and a charter member of the United States Unified Community Anchor Network (U.S. UCAN) project's Task Force on Community Anchor Network Economic Models.

Ms. Hovis oversees all ongoing CTC research and analysis for local government clients and frequently provides business planning and market analysis for communications networking initiatives such as San Francisco's planned fiber network and the regional, interoperable public safety communications network currently under development in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. She advises not-for profit and public entities regarding strategic and business considerations for building community broadband networks, both in the "middle" and "last" mile areas, and provides guidance in the areas of funding opportunities including the federal E-rate and other Universal Service Fund programs.

Ms. Hovis is in wide demand as a speaker and expert source on broadband deployment issues. She has been interviewed by publications including BusinessWeek, the Washington Post, and the Baltimore Sun. She has been featured as a guest on the C-SPAN show "The Communicators." She has provided expert guidance to the National League of Cities, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, Technology Policy Summit, Google, ARCEP (the French communications regulatory agency, equivalent to the FCC), and the Congressional Internet Caucus.

She has advised numerous foundations and policy non-profits regarding broadband, including the Ford Foundation; the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; the Humboldt Area Foundation; Redwood Coast Rural Action; the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University; OneCommunity; the Knight Center of Digital Excellence; the William Penn Foundation; the Institute for Next Generation Internet at San Francisco State University; and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Ms. Hovis leads the CTC teams that advise the cities of San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. regarding fiber-to-the-premises networking. She advises a number of universities regarding broadband planning, including the University of Illinois and Case Western Reserve University.

Ms. Hovis leads the company's work for not-for profit entities and oversees CTC's educational offerings and training programs, which are offered by several universities. Ms. Hovis has authored extensive white papers on communications topics for government agencies (including the Internal Revenue Service) and non-profit organizations (including the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, Free Press, Media Access Project, the Institute for Next Generation Internet at San Francisco State University, National Public Lightpath, the William Penn Foundation, the Center for Digital Democracy, and the American Civil Liberties Union).

Ms. Hovis previously worked as an attorney with Jenner & Block in Chicago and Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, & Popeo PC in Washington, D.C. At those firms, she worked on complex communications and litigation projects for such clients as Salomon Brothers and Turner Broadcasting.


Tina James

Bio coming soon...

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson’s career encompasses over 25 years of leadership experience in the management, engineering, and operations of Internet technologies. He is currently the Chief Technology Officer and Vice President for Data Architecture at MCNC.

During Johnson’s tenure at MCNC, he has overseen the transformation of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN) from a simple series of point-to-point links to a sophisticated network of gigabit class connections, optical rings, and regional points of presence. During that same time period, he has managed a 1000 fold increase in Internet usage. Johnson also has led MCNC’s regional and national networking activities as a founding member of the North Carolina Networking Initiative. In addition, Mark has been involved in Internet2 since its inception, serving in a variety of member leadership positions. He is a past Chair of The Quilt, a national consortium of regional research and education network operators. From 2011-2012 Mark served as the Interim Executive Director for the US UCAN project intended to help connect the 200,000 U.S. community anchor institutions like public libraries, schools, community colleges, research parks, public safety and health care institutions across the country to next-generation Internet-based applications.

Mark also led a local team that developed the initial concept for the NLR Experiments Support Center and won the competition for that service. He also led the local team who combined with Indiana University and the MAX GigaPoP to create the Internet2 Hybrid Optical and Packet Infrastructure (HOPI) support center.

Bernadine Joselyn

Bernadine Joselyn has served as director of Blandin Foundation’s Public Policy & Engagement Program since 2001. Beginning in 2003 she has led the foundation’s broadband programming, including the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities (MIRC) project, a multi-sector, comprehensive approach to rural Minnesota broadband adoption. The $6.6 million project, funded in part by federal stimulus dollars, was designed to reach each of Minnesota's 80 rural counties through education, training, technical assistance, and by removing barriers to broadband adoption. The grant was completed in February, 2013.

A Minnesota native, Bernadine has a Master’s degree in international affairs and a certificate in advanced Soviet studies from Columbia University. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota and a Master’s degree in public policy from the University’s Hubert H. Humphrey Institute. Bernadine served for seven years as a diplomat with the United States Department of State, including assignments in New Delhi, India and Moscow, Russia. She spent the better part of a decade living and working in Russia, including as Director of the Moscow office of the Eurasia Foundation, and Director of the Moscow office of the International Research and Exchanges Board.

Bernadine can be reached at 218-327-8728 and

Donald Kathan

Donald Kathan is an Area Director within the Chicago regional office of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA). With responsibility for a six state region including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin, Mr. Kathan guides EDA grant-making decisions which help create jobs and leverage private sector investment. Mr. Kathan has served in the Federal government since 1989 and is a former commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force. He is a native of Chicago who earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago as well as an MBA from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.


Stan Krok

Bio coming soon...

Diane Kruse

Diane Kruse, the CEO and Lead Consultant for NEO Fiber, has been involved in many projects that fall under the NTIA's BTOP Program. This year, Kruse has written business and financial plans, appraisals on in-kind contributions and has provided project and program management for many of the BTOP and BIP grant recipients including the Virgin Islands Next Generation Network, Sho-Me Technologies, Bluebird Networks, the Florida Regional Broadband Alliance and UC2B. She has worked with Atlantic Engineering Group and Gigabit Squared on many of their projects and continues to consult with grant recipients and companies providing fiber optic infrastructure. Recently Kruse has also been providing business and financial consulting to companies in the solar and green energy business.

Kruse has (25) years of telecommunications industry experience, the last (15) years as an entrepreneur starting and managing successful telecommunication companies. Prior to NEO, she was the CEO of Zoomy Communications, a leading firm in the FTTH industry for Greenfield real estate development projects and FTTH design, engineering and construction for municipalities and rural telecommunications companies. Zoomy designed and built fiber optic and FTTH networks for municipalities and real estate developments and owned and operated several FTTH networks throughout the country. During the economic downturn, Kruse sold all of Zoomy's fiber optic network assets, as the housing market showed little improvement likely to happen in the next few coming years.

Kruse was peer-elected and has served as Chairman of the Board of the Fiber to the Home Council, a world-wide non-profit organization whose mission is to promote, educate and accelerate fiber optic broadband and Fiber to the Home deployments. She is a frequent speaker at national telecommunications conferences on community broadband networks and FTTH networks and was the Master of Ceremonies for the Broadband Properties National Summit in April of 2010. Kruse has been a leader in rural broadband initiatives such as the Stimulus Program (ARRA) for broadband, the country's National Broadband Plan, and has been a spokesman for Broadband Communities.

Prior to Zoomy and NEO, Kruse provided consulting services for AT&T, Verizon, Qwest, 360 Networks and Level 3 Communications, where she wrote business and financial feasibility plans, negotiated interconnection, collocation, and IRU agreements, provided network valuations and appraisals, designed Partner Programs, wrote RFPs and negotiated their vendor contracts.

Blair Levin

Blair Levin became Communications & Society Fellow with the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program on May 10, 2010, following his departure from the Federal Communications Commission, where he served as the Executive Director of the Omnibus Broadband Initiative.

In his role at the Federal Communications Commission, Mr. Levin oversaw the development of a National Broadband Plan, a project mandated by Congress in the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Mr. Levin rejoined the Commission in June, 2009, after eight years as an analyst at Legg Mason and Stifel Nicolaus. As Barron's Magazine noted, Levin "has always been on top of developing trends and policy shifts in media and telecommunications - and has proved visionary in getting out in front of many of today's headline making events."

Previously, Mr. Levin served as Chief of Staff to FCC Chairman Reed Hundt from December 1993 through October 1997. Mr. Levin oversaw, among other matters, the implementation of the historic 1996 Telecommunications Reform Act, the first spectrum auctions, the development of digital television standards, and the Commission's Internet initiative.

Prior to his position with the FCC, Mr. Levin was a partner in the North Carolina law firm of Parker, Poe, Adams and Bernstein, where he represented new communications ventures, as well as numerous local governments on public financing issues. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School.

John Lewis

John has been active in university engagement activities for over 25 years, first in training teachers to teach economics and as director of the Center for Economic Education at Ball State University, and then as Executive Director of the Illinois Council for Economic Education housed at Northern Illinois University. In his current role, he has management responsibility for three federal grant, two which are related to development of broadband networks. One grant is a BTOP grant and the other a FCC Rural Health Pilot project.

He currently serves as Chairman of Illinois Fiber Resources Management Group (a rural broadband network in NW Illinois) and Illinois Rural HealthNet (a statewide broadband network for health care organization)

John led an NIU team that implemented a state wide economic development strategic planning process for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs in late 1990 and early 2000.

He has been involved in many regional economic development project.

John’s other experience includes completing market research studies for physician organizations and hospitals in northern Illinois, assisting hospitals in developing strategic plans, and assisting hospitals in identifying and developing agreement with strategic partners, managing the statewide economic strategic planning process for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs from1997-2002, and working with numerous communities in completing economic development strategic economic develop plans and targeted industry studies.

John also teaches economics of health care courses for the College of Health and Human Sciences at NIU and the University Of Illinois College Of Medicine at Rockford.

John makes frequent speeches on the state of the economy and on the US health care delivery system.

David Lois

Leveraging an Electrical and Computer Engineering degree from University of Wisconsin- Madison, Mr. Lois has over 25 years of experience in higher education information technology, including the last 13 years as Executive Director of WiscNet. WiscNet is Wisconsin’s pioneering education, research and public service network and operates as a not-for-profit membership cooperative – 500 members strong - serving K-20 education, libraries, government entities, and health care institutions throughout Wisconsin. Under Mr. Lois’ leadership, WiscNet has become a vital member of the national networking community by his service as a founding co-chair and current vice-chair of StateNets and Research and Education Network CEO Roundtable, as a Quilt board member, a recent vice-chair of the Internet2 Architecture and Operations Advisory Council and Network Advisory Committee, and involvement in the Northern Tier Network Consortium since its inception. Additionally, WiscNet works diligently to peer with many public and private national networks and provides operational support for the BOREAS-Net regional and Northern Tier - North Dakota networks. In total, we operate 2,600 miles of fiber-based networks in six states within the region. Within Wisconsin, Mr. Lois helped lead the effort to deploy a dedicated statewide research and education ‘dark fiber’ network which connects community anchor institutions via fiber-based Community Area Networks (CANs). The role of the CANs is to create a 21st-century infrastructure controlled by the community to increase public safety and effectiveness and to partner with the local private sector to create 21st-century jobs and commerce within the communities where people live. The WiscNet motto is - connecting people and connecting (your) strategies. It is not about the technology. It is about the power of getting people working together and creating services that solve your problems. Mr. Lois created the motto and, more importantly, he makes sure it is part of the DNA, as he believes in it that strongly.

John Longbotttom

John Longbottom leads IBM Canada’s Smarter Cities program focused on developing, and delivering emerging solutions that help cities solve pressing issues. The solutions are focused on multiple segments including Transportation, Buildings, Water, Energy, Healthcare, Education, Public Safety and Social Services.

John’s 29 years at IBM span various roles in Sales, marketing, customer service, account management and strategy in IT services and technology.

John was recently on a three week assignment to Guadalajara, Mexico one of IBM’s Smarter Cities challenge winners. Launched in 2010, the Smarter Cities Challenge is a competitive grant program led by IBM Corporate Citizenship. The focus of the initiative is to enable up to 100 cities around the world to become more vibrant and livable places for their citizens.

Chuck Martinez

The greater region of Bryan-College Station, Texas has an innovation-driven business climate in full-blown economic expansion, with massive sources of ‘big data’ generation. The area is widely recognized as one of the top U.S. small metropolitan areas for doing business. Representing a consortium of city, county, university and private sector partners, Charles Martinez is the contact to a Request for Information on Development of Next Generation Broadband Network in the vibrant Research Valley region of Texas.

Charles serves as Vice President of Innovation Services for The Research Valley Partnership, a public-private economic development corporation accelerating the science- and technology-led economic growth of a region centered around Brazos County, the cities of Bryan and College Station, and The Texas A&M University System. He is also Managing Director for the Texas Triangle Regional Center of Innovation and Commercialization, which represents a 20-county Central Texas region and working with the Office of the Governor, identifies, evaluates and submits promising proposals from early-stage companies in the region for an investment from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund. Martinez also directs the IEDC-award winning Research Valley International Gateway, a soft-landing pathway for foreign-owned firms to engage U.S. marketplace opportunities and execute ‘speed-to-market’ business-to-business alliances.

Charles has 25 years of senior level experience in “boom towns” building up community economic infrastructure and business support systems to strengthen global competitiveness, that in turn attract corporate investments, assist entrepreneurs, extend the runway for university R&D commercialization, and develop high-impact, sustainable industry clusters.

Charles holds a Master of Public Administration from George Mason University, an MBA from Texas A&M International University, and Bachelor degrees in Business and Political Science from Lamar University. He is a NCAA Track & Field Letterman.

Don Means

With over 20 years experience in the IT industry, Means is co-founder and principal of Digital Village Associates, a 13-year old consulting enterprise that focuses on information /communications technology as both tool and subject for building local communities everywhere. In June of 2007, Means authored the "Fiber to the Library" (FTTL) proposal to make connecting every library in the US with 100+Mbps level connectivity by 2010 a national goal.

Beginning with the post election transition period and since, Means has briefed both key policy makers at local, state and national levels including congressional leaders and FCC commissioners on the desirability of adopting FTTL as a spearhead project under ARRA for a new national broadband policy that both extends the physical network infrastructure as well as providing ubiquitous, accessible sites for patrons to experience high speed network applications like tele-work/medicine/education.

In July of 2007, Means announced Digital Village would coordinate the formation of an open consortium to stage the National Presidential Caucus on Dec. 7, 2007. The NPC's goal is for 1,000's of self-organizing groups to gather in local face to face caucuses to discuss and deliberate on the issues and candidates in advance of the official primary season.

In early 2005, Means and Digital Village originated and facilitated implementation of the Community TeleStructure Initiative, a powerful national consortium to advocate for a new local responsibility for telecom/broadband infrastructure planning and development in a similar fashion as with other local infrastructure elements like power, transportation, water, etc.

In 2003/2004, Means formally held the position of Senior Political Advisor to, a community-building Web service with millions of members that provides an organizing tool for like-interested people, enabling them to gather off-line in localities anywhere in the world.

Means has served as an appointed member of the Information Technology Commission of California; as chair of the Information Technology Association of America’s education outreach program; and as a member of TechNet, a public policy organization of over 200 technology CEO's where he has worked on normalizing trade relations with China, education restructuring in California, and national broadband policy.

Means is co-founder and board member of TriWorks Corp. of Tokyo & Shanghai. TriWorks is a 9 year old software and services company specializing in "Digital Image Communications" for a range of consumer and commercial applications. Its flagship product, DigiBook™, is the market leading photo album software in Japan.

In 1985, Means founded the National Space Sciences Educational Foundation, a nonprofit educational services corporation. NSSEF designed and implemented experimental learning environments located at Stanford University for high school age students from the United States and Europe called the Space Sciences Academy™.

Holding a finance degree from Southern Methodist University, Means has also studied architecture and environmental design at the University of Texas and international business relations at the University of Graz, Austria.

Reared in Ft. Worth, Texas, Means lives in Sausalito, California with his wife, Dominique Caron, a professional artist, originally from France.

Christopher Mitchell

Christopher Mitchell is the Director of the Telecommunications as Commons Initiative with the New Rules Project of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

Mitchell has spoken at conferences across the United States on the subject of publicly owned broadband, occasionally to directly debate opponents of public ownership. He maintains a comprehensive map of publicly owned networks and has been published in a variety of publications such as NATOA Journal, Ars Technica, Municipal Advocate, and Broadband Properties.

On a day-to-day basis, Mitchell runs a website dedicated to community broadband issues at His research and reports are available online at In May, 2010, he published a comprehensive report on publicly owned broadband networks titled "Breaking the Broadband Monopoly: How Communities Are Building the Networks They Need."

He earned a Master's degree in Public Policy from the Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Macalester College.

The New Rules Project seeks to change the rules that undermine the strength of local economies and the long-term vitality of communities. We make the rules and the rules make us. Information networks are essential infrastructure for communities and should be managed for the benefit of the community.

He is also a sports photographer, shooting regularly for Minnesota's Golden Gophers, and an avid rock climber. In the future, he plans to continue doing policy work when it does not conflict with the World Cup - men or women.

Bruce Eric Montgomery

Bruce Montgomery is the Founder and President of Montgomery & Company, a digital media, information and communications technology company based in Chicago.

Bruce is also the Founder, executive producer and host of Technology Access Television; Chicago’s longest running weekly TV show covering Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship news and information.

Bruce is the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of The Urban Innovation Center @ IIT, a community economic development and business accelerator initiative located in the technology park at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Bruce has built a strong knowledge base in the strategic technology needs of the service industries through practical experience in the public and private sectors of education, government, economic development, construction, health care, professional services, software development and digital media enterprises.

Prior to becoming an entrepreneur Bruce developed his expertise in technology, marketing and business development working for the companies of Control Data Corporation, Entré Computer, Javelin Software, Timeplex, Unisys, and Sprint.

Mr. Montgomery serves on the boards of the Bronzeville Community Development Partnership, SCORE Chicago and the TechAdvantage Program at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Governor Pat Quinn named Bruce to the board of The Illinois Broadband Deployment Council and The Partnership for a Connected Illinois. He is also a technology initiatives advisor to Illinois Congressmen Danny Davis and Bobby Rush.

Jim Mormann

Mr. Mormann is the Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer of OSF Healthcare System. In this role, he is accountable for all facets of enterprise-wide Information Technology, Tele-communication and Tele-health technical services.

Mr. Mormann has more than 25 years of experience in Information Technology in a health care setting with 20 of those years in executive leadership roles. Jim is considered a thought leader and thus serves on numerous state and local healthcare boards along with advisory positions to many technology companies. His broad background has allowed him to understand the need for a collaborative structure between business units and the Information Technology areas to ensure information technology supports the caregiver.

The organizations where Jim has led the technology initiatives have been recipients of ten Modern Healthcare’s “Most Wired” and “Most Wireless” awards and received the State of Iowa’s “Prometheus” award for Best Use of Technology.

Jim earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Dubuque.

Joel Mulder

Joel Mulder is the Senior Director of Business Development for G4S Technology LLC (formerly Adesta LLC). Joel has been in the telecommunications industry for over 30 years having worked at Motorola, NEC America and Northern Telecom prior to G4S. For the past 18 years, he has worked with multiple entities to design, construct, operate and maintain both wireless and fiber networks in all areas of the country. Many of these networks have been public/private partnerships that enabled rural areas to receive advanced communications services on an open access basis.

His background includes working with middle mile networks such as the Iowa Communications Network, Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative, Maryland Broadband Cooperative, MassBroadband 123 and the EAGLE-Net Alliance. In tele-health he has worked with the Rural Nebraska Healthcare Network, Health Information Exchange of Montana and the Illinois Rural HealthNet. Fiber to the home networks include the EPB of Chattanooga, Slic Networks in New York and LUS in Lafayette, LA.

Joel has spoken at a number of conferences discussing open-access fiber networks and the applications developed from implementing a fiber backbone. G4S Technology is a founding member of the FTTH (Fiber to the Home) Council. Joel is the company representative to the Council and serves on the Government Relations and Planning Committees. He is the company representative to APCO (Assn. of Public Safety Communications Officials) and UTC (Utilities Telecom Council) as well as serving as an alternate corporate board member for the Rural Telecommunications Congress. In 2010 he was appointed by Governor Pat Quinn to the Illinois Broadband Deployment Council.

Joel holds a Master's Degree in Education from South Dakota State University.

Lydia Murray

Lydia Murray has worked for nearly two decades in public service to make local government run better. Since September 2012, she has served as the Chief Information Officer at Cook County. At the County, she oversees a team of more than 100 technologists and a capital budget of over $30 million annually for investment in the County's IT infrastructure.

Prior to joining the County, she was an Associate Principal at the Civic Consulting Alliance working on issues of local government service delivery - primarily focused on strengthening collaboration between the City of Chicago and Cook County.

Lydia served two tours of duty as Deputy Chief of Staff to Mayor Richard Daley working in the areas of technology, process improvement and performance management. In between stints in the Mayor’s office she worked for two years as Chief of Staff for President of the Chicago Transit Authority. Lydia’s other public service experience includes a role as Director of Charlotte, North Carolina’s Welfare-to-Work program and working for Mayor Rudy Giuliani in New York City in various positions including Director of the Mayor’s Action Center and Assistant Commissioner for Strategic Planning of Housing, Preservation and Development.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies and Political Science from The College of Wooster and a master’s degree in Urban Policy from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University.

Lydia is a Board member of SCUPE - a training organization for urban ministers in Chicago and serves as chair of the Local School Council of Newberry Academy, a Chicago Public School. She is an active member at St. Paul United Church of Christ and enjoys attending Cubs games with her husband Tom and two sons, Colin and Zack

Charlotte Narjes

Charlotte joined CARI in December of 1994 and currently is a special projects manager. Currently Charlotte is the co-lead of the Planning Efforts of the Nebraska Broadband Initiative that is focused on the adoption and use of high speed internet. The project's ultimate goal is to increase economic viability.

Other projects include a qualitative study on what attracted new residents to the Nebraska Panhandle and their likelihood of staying (Buffalo Commons Research). This research continued through a second National Research Initiative Study that is identifying marketing strategies to attract new residents. As part of a 4-H entrepreneurship team, wrote, edited and developed a youth Entrepreneurship Investigation (ESI) curriculum being used nationally within 4-H, schools and community organizations.

Charlotte is originally from Sidney, Nebraska, and has previously worked at US West in Denver, Colorado, and at the Nebraska State Legislature. Charlotte has a master’s of science degree in leadership education and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She also has an associate's degree from National College in Rapid City, South Dakota and a certificate from the Denver Paralegal Institute.

Frank Odasz

Frank is President of Lone Eagle Consulting. Founded in 1998, Lone Eagle specializes in fast-track online Internet training for rural, remote, and indigenous learners. Lone Eagle offers strategic design for local, regional, state, and national broadband awareness and adoption campaigns, specifically for vulnerable populations.

As Lone Eagle president, Frank has been a prolific and aggressive advocate and presenter at national and international conferences on rural and indigenous broadband training practices, 21st Century Workforce Readiness, Rural Ecommerce and Telework Strategies, and online learning for ALL. Broadband awareness and adoption training programs require motivational incentives for collaborative engagement, volunteerism, and instructional entrepreneurship, utilizing social media and Internet video, focused on new social metrics and measurable outcomes.

While serving as faculty at the University of Montana, Western, 1985-1997, Frank founded the Big Sky Telegraph network connecting one-room rural schools online. Since 1988, Frank has been teaching teachers and citizens online courses via multiple universities and rural workforce projects. Frank currently teaches online graduate courses for educators on best use of the Internet in the K12 classroom and designing online courses for K12 for Alaska Pacific University and Seattle Pacific University. Frank is also working directly with Strategic Networks Group,

As one of the early pioneers of both online learning and community networking, Frank served on the founding boards for both the Consortium for School Networking and the Association for Community Networking.

Chris Ohnysty

Chris Ohnysty is Manager, World Wide Tactical Marketing, John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group (ISG), a position he has held since May 2010. ISG is responsible for designing, developing, delivering and supporting integrated technology solutions for John Deere agricultural and construction equipment worldwide. This organization includes operations in Torrance, CA, Kaiserslautern, Germany, and Urbandale, IA. ISG delivers and supports a wide range of agricultural equipment capabilities under the GreenStar™ product line, including data collection such as yield monitoring, automated guidance, implement control, variable rate input application, wireless communications, and fleet management. Those capabilities improve productivity in major crop production activities of field preparation, planting and seeding, nutrient application and harvesting.

Chris joined Deere & Company in June, 1982 and has held a number of positions in customer support, dealer development, marketing and sales responsibilities. Some of his experiences include assignments with Cotton Harvesting, Crop Care (Tillage and Spraying) and the Intelligent Solutions Group.

Chris is a graduate of Texas A&M University, and holds a B.S. in Mechanized Agriculture.

John Deere (Deere & Company — NYSE: DE) is a world leader in providing advanced products and services for agriculture, forestry, construction, lawn and turf care, landscaping and irrigation. John Deere also provides financial services worldwide and manufactures and markets engines used in heavy equipment. Since it was founded in 1837, the company has extended its heritage of integrity, quality, commitment and innovation around the globe.

Ed Paesel

Ed Paesel currently services as Executive Director of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, representing 43 communities in the southern Cook and Will Counties. He has held that position since 2000. Prior to that, he served as Director of the Third Airport Information Clearinghouse from 1989 to 2000 and Mayor of the Village of Sauk Village from 1977 to 1989.

Mr. Paesel currently serves as Chairman of the Land Use Committee and member of the Planning Coordinating Committee for the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. He also currently serves on the South Suburban Land Bank Board, the Chicago Southland Fiber Network Board and the Cook County Economic Development Advisory Committee.

He attended Bloom Township High School in Chicago Heights and was elected to its Hall of Fame in 2000. He received a Bachelors Degree from Illinois State University in 1971 and a Masters Degree in History from Illinois State University in 1973.

Jane Patterson

At the beginning of 2012, Jane Patterson launched a new organization, The Way Forward, to promote broadband in rural areas. Until the end of 2011, she served as executive director of the e-NC Authority….

Jane Smith Patterson served as executive director of the e-NC Authority, an organization with a goal of bringing affordable high-speed Internet access to the citizens, businesses and institutions of North Carolina, particularly in rural areas. Prior to taking this leadership position in 2001, Patterson worked for North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt through his four terms in office, first as secretary of administration, then as chief advisor for policy, budget and technology, and finally as senior advisor for science and technology and director of the office for technology.

Patterson’s background also includes working in the private industry as vice-president of ITT Corporation- Network Systems Group, of ITT-Alcatel and Alcatel, NA. and has served as a vice chancellor at UNC-Wilmington and in positions with research programs at the University of Pennsylvania and UNC-Chapel Hill. She has been an advisor to many countries in the planning for deployment of national information infrastructure.

Patterson has served in many positions that have direct impact on the growth of Geographical Information Systems technologies including chairing the founding year of the Global Spatial data Initiative. Patterson consistently leads focused efforts, both for her state and nationally to improve technology and its application, in order to enhance the economy of North Carolina and the United States as well as to advance educational opportunities for future generations.

Jane is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has completed post-graduate degree work at N.C. State University and additional studies at Harvard University. She serves on a number of boards for nonprofit organizations, including the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

Andrew Pincon

Andrew Pincon is the Executive Director of Digital Workforce Education Society (DWES), an Illinois and Wisconsin non-profit technology work skills training agency. As an Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Small Business Development Center Affiliate, DWES has been providing technology planning, training, digital media production and hosting services and technology infrastructure throughout Illinois and Wisconsin for 15 years. During this time DWES’s institutional partnerships and clients included the U.S. Postal Service, The U.S. Small Business Administration Region V, OSHA Region V, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), US Department of Commerce’s Manufacture America Program, Illinois Small Business Development Association, Illinois Office of Educational Services, City Colleges of Chicago and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. DWES’s current list of partnership include City of Chicago’s Treasurer, Wilbur Wright College Humboldt Park, a City College of Chicago campus, DCEO, Illinois Department of Employment Service, Marquette University, University of Wisconsin Colleges and various local community organizations and k-12 schools in Illinois and Wisconsin.

As an Environmental Engineer, Mr. Pincon is the holder of 8 US and international patents having built and subsequently sold an international engineering and manufacturing holding company based in Chicago with wholly owned subsidiaries in Norway, Holland, Singapore and the Caribbean.

Damon Porter

Damon Porter is Managing Director of MoBroadbandNow, a public-private initiative established by Governor Jay Nixon to expand and enhance broadband accessibility and adoption. He has led the high-speed project and advised the administration since November 2010. MoBroadbandNow has been profiled in Governing magazine, the nation's leading state and local public policy publication and TechNet's 2012 State of Broadband. Damon has held leadership positions in both the public and private sectors, including with a Fortune 500 telecommunications company and in Missouri state government. He is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former Marshall Memorial Fellow of the German Marshall Fund.

Jason Portner

In 1997, in his junior year of high school, Jason Portner started Jason's Agri-Net. A internet web-site company focused on agricultural businesses based in rural Winthrop, Minnesota on his family farm. Jason's Agri-Net continued through 2003 as he earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Minnesota in Agricultural Industries and Marketing. Jason then spent the next nine years at United Farmers Cooperative, in Lafayette, Minnesota, where he started as an agronomy salesman and within a few years was in charge of their Precision Ag department. As the Precision Ag Specialist, Jason was in charge of managing the client's grid sampling fertility data as well as their multi-year yield information. In July 2012, Jason became a Region Manager for Precision Planting where he supports 40 plus dealers across central Minnesota while running his office out of his home in Winthrop, Minnesota. Precision Planting is an industry leader in Cloud services that allow rural farmers the ability to manage information from their planter and combines remotely to increase yield production.

Michael Render

Michael Render is president of Render, Vanderslice & Associates, the premier U.S. market research firm in the area of fiber-to-the-home and fiber-to-the-premises. RVA has a 30-year history of diverse market research service.

Render has overseen a census of North American FTTH deployments for each of the last three years and has been quoted in national publications such as Business Week and The Wall Street Journal . Render is a frequent speaker at conferences dealing with FTTH/FTTP, and has been invited to update officials at the Federal Communications Commission and other federal agencies regarding the progress of the technology.

Render has several articles published on issues related to innovation in the practice of both consumer and business-to-business oriented market research. In addition to his work in broadband, Render has consulted with a wide range of firms ranging from Fortune 100 corporations to promising start-ups. He has served on the board of directors of both non-profit organizations and high technology corporations.

In 2005, he received a special Broadband Properties Cornerstone Award for his contributions to FTTH research.

Paula Robinson

Paula Robinson is the President and managing partner of the Bronzeville Community Development Partnership a community development corporation revitalizing Chicago's historic African American community as an international tourism destination. Robinson is a marketing communications veteran operating her own firm for more than 10 years; she is recognized with numerous industry awards. A fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago, Robinson is advisor emeritus on the national board of advisors for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She holds a B.S. in Communication Arts from Southern Illinois at Carbondale and has completed all required coursework at DePaul University, where she is pursuing an MS from the School of New Learning with a focus area on Heritage Tourism as a Sustainable Development Strategy for Urban Markets. In 2012 she became a Founder of the Urban Innovation Center, an incubator supporting social enterprise and civic entrepreneurship in Tourism, Technology and Transportation. Robinson is also the President of the Black Metropolis National Heritage Area Commission (BMNHAC), The BMNHAC is a candidate of congressional designation showcasing Chicago’s Black Belt and The Great Migration as a significant American story. Robinson has been successful in working with the Illinois General Assembly to commemorate a yearlong Centennial celebration for the Great Migration in 2016. She holds several certificates in community economic development from the Neighborhood Institute as well as a certificate from the Minority Business Executive Program, Amos Tuck School of Business Administration.

Steve Ross

Steven S. Ross is a long-time technology writer and former Columbia University professor and is also the Corporate Editor of Broadband Communities Magazine. The national publication (www. is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for ultra-connected communities.

Ross is a highly respected journalist and an expert on broadband technologies. He also has domestic and international expertise in architecture, land-use planning, business, and education.

Since the dawn of the commercial World Wide Web in 1993, Ross has been conducting annual surveys on media and cyberspace, with special emphasis on how emerging technologies shape Internet use. He has consulted on these issues for the Pulitzer Prize board at Columbia and for some of the world’s largest media companies and foundations.

Ross is well known in journalism circles for his CD-ROM-based instructional software and for his expertise in distance learning and computer-assisted reporting, also known as "analytic journalism".

Ross holds a BS in Physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an MS in Journalism from Columbia. He has authored or edited 19 books, including a massive, continually updated encyclopedia of computer technology and major reference books on land-use planning, product safety, and environmental issues. He has edited magazines and newsletters for McGraw-Hill, MBA Communications, Boardroom Publishing and others. He’s won numerous technical, professional, and journalistic awards.

He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemists and has taught statistics in academic and industrial settings.

His community government experience includes more than a decade on the planning board and environmental commission of Leonia, New Jersey, and two stints as President of New Jersey Environmental Lobby. He helped establish the New Jersey Environmental Education Fund in 1983. He has lectured and consulted in 84 countries.

Ross taught for 19 years at Columbia University. He was on the full-time faculty of the Graduate School of Journalism, which he helped computerize in the 1980s and where he established the world’s first courses in analytic journalism. He had been an adjunct there as early as 1973, when he taught the world’s first courses in environmental reporting. He was teaching online database access as early as 1979 at Columbia, in a pioneering national reporting course.

Don Samuelson

Don Samuelson was the author and monitor of the $7.2M BTOP award to develop Internet training for seniors in 23 low income housing buildings in 10 cities in northern Illinois. That experience is thoroughly documented and evaluated in It became clear that Internet training of seniors at scale would have to use online training programs. His current interest is in showing how communities can use government senior housing as a "hub" for local Internet training and job search networks for seniors.

Don is 72, appropriate for his interest in Internet training and health care. His education was in K-12 public schools in suburban Chicago, Dartmouth College, the Peace Corps in Nigeria, a year selling Fuller Brushes door-to-door, the University of Chicago Law School and an associate litigation attorney at Kirkland & Ellis.

His work experience included: Assistant Dean at the University of Chicago Law School, Assistant Director of the Illinois Housing Development and Special Assistant to the President of the Inland Steel Development Authority. By then he was 35 and began to work for himself in a variety of start-up businesses.

He spent: 35 years in the development, ownership and management of government assisted housing, with an emphasis on services and Internet training; 10 years doing Executive Search for major national law firms; 4 years doing consulting on the HUD LIHPRHA program; and 5 years consulting on BTOP.

Panning is in his Swedish genes. He reads a great deal, thinks and writes and consults with clients who are trying to figure out how to use broadband networks to accomplish local economic development objectives.

David Sandel

David is an accomplished Gigabit City executive focused on leadership, planning and the successful execution of Smart or Gigabit City urban economic development initiatives. David currently serves as President of Sandel & Associates. Sandel & Associates works with cities, community organizations and service providers to develop a plan for the economic development of their Gigabit infrastructure or Smart City. In this regard David currently serves as an advisor to the Google Fiber Mayors Bi-state Innovation Team MBIT and Mid-America Regional Council MARC of Kansas City.

David is also the founder of The Gigabit City Summit. The Gigabit City Summit is a Telepresence based global round-table which explores the issues of leadership, funding, economic development and collaboration that are central to the success of all Smart or Gigabit City initiatives. Cities that have participated in the global round-table thus far include San Francisco, Kansas City, St. Louis, Toronto, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Singapore.

From 2001-2008, David served as President of The St. Louis Regional Exchange Collaborative and was appointed by local government and Washington University to lead, fund and execute a plan for the economic development of the St. Louis metropolitan Internet - the first appointment of its kind in the United States. During this same period, David was also the co-founder of Datotel a cloud and managed services provider. As a result, David has significant business development and contractual experience in the public and private sectors including municipal utilities and government, education, public safety, healthcare, energy management, financial and service provider Internet infrastructure.

From 1997 - 2001 David was a senior systems engineer in the Cisco Service Provider division located in Tulsa Oklahoma where he worked in the product development labs of WorldCom, Williams Communications and Brooks fiber. During this period, David was the lead designer of WorldCom's MAE East and MAE West exchange points and Williams Communications private line backbone. While at Cisco Systems, David received several awards for Excellence, Product Development and Successful Innovation.

David received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree from Washington University in St. Louis where he also attended graduate school. He has also served on a variety of state and local government economic development councils as well as entrepreneurial and regional planning boards.

Specialties: Smart or Gigabit City leadership, economic development and revenue generation, premium real-estate development, energy management, high value job creation, urban innovation, media, social inclusion and related technologies.


Chris Schweitzer

Bio coming soon...

Dan Seals

As Assistant Director for the Illinois Department of Economic Opportunity Dan Seals helps lead the largest economic development organizations in Illinois. DCEO efforts support a broad range of economic development, including small business; emerging technologies; exports, and specialized training, to name a few. Dan is responsible for setting strategy for DCEO and attracting business to Illinois. Dan has spent his career in both the public and private sector. In the private sector, Dan served as a Director for GE Commercial Finance, where he focused on improving customer service and focus. His efforts there contributed to double digit growth for his business unit, and ranked Dan in the top 10 percent of the company. Prior to that he worked as Group Marketing Manager for Sprint, where he helped increase penetration into mature markets. On the public sector side, Dan served as an Aide to the Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Commerce. There he focused on export and technology issues for the Department. He later moved to Capitol Hill where he served the U.S Senate as an Economics Fellow. His focus in the Senate was on issues of economic development, taxes, trade, and budget. Dan has also taught public policy at Northwestern University. Dan received his MBA from the University of Chicago and his Masters in Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He is fluent in Japanese. Dan lives with his wife Mia and their three young daughters.


Rick Serafini

Bio coming soon...

Craig Settles

For over 25 years Craig Settles’ workshops, consulting services and books have helped organizations worldwide use technology to cut costs, improve business operations and increase revenue.

Author of “Fighting the Next Good Fight: Bringing True Broadband to Your Community,” blogs and many in-depth analysis reports, Mr. Settles as a prominent thought leader on executing appropriate broadband strategies.

He currently is the host of Gigabit Nation, a weekly Internet radio talk show, and Co-Director of Communities United for Broadband, a national grass roots effort to assist communities launch their networks.

Mark Shlanta

Mark Shlanta leads SDN Communications as its Chief Executive Officer, a position he has held since 2000. He worked as SDN's network planning and operations director for two years before becoming CEO. Prior to joining SDN, Shlanta held various positions with Contel, GTE, Ameritech Cellular and Consolidated Communications. He led projects like SDN's REED Network, the BTOP Stimulus Grant that SDN received for telecommunications expansion across South Dakota and the new Data Center/Co-Location facility on the edge of Sioux Falls, SD.

Shlanta is a South Dakota native. He holds degrees in mechanical engineering and engineering management from the University of Missouri - Rolla.

He is chairman of Forward Sioux Falls, chairman of the Education Telecommunications Board for South Dakota Public Broadcasting, and has served as president of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. In addition, Mark is a volunteer for the Boy Scouts, Junior Achievement, and Holy Spirit Catholic Church. Mark and his wife, Peg, have four boys.

Mike Smeltzer

Michael K. Smeltzer is the Director of Network Infrastructure at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also used to be the Director of Networking, but then he got this crazy idea about building a community fiber network, and soon he no longer had time to manage the #1-ranked college-campus network.

Mike was the PI (Principal Instigator) behind the Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband (UC2B) Consortium’s $29.4 million BTOP infrastructure proposal that was funded by NTIA in March of 2010. The UC2B project is evenly split between seven middle-mile fiber rings connecting more than 200 Anchor Institutions throughout the community to gigabit fiber, and a last-mile Fiber-to-the-Premise gigabit infrastructure passing some 4,650 households and 200 businesses in "underserved" neighborhoods. Close to 900 locations are now operational.

Before returning to the University in 2005, Mike was the local Operations Manager for McLeodUSA, where he helped create and manage a $7 million fiber-to-the-MDU project. Mike has been a faculty member in the University’s College of Communications, at Eastern Illinois University and at University High School. He currently also serves as the University's representative to Gig.U.

A very long time ago, Mike was a professional photojournalist for the United Press International (UPI) and a cinematographer and television news anchor for WCIA-TV. He also served as Publisher and General Manager of the Illini Media Company. While he likes to believe that his circuitous career path displays a deep capacity for life-long learning, his wife of almost 39 years believes that it simply demonstrates that he cannot keep a job.

Tony Q. Smith

Tony is a specialist in feasibility, strategy and financial aspects of community and economic development. While at SB Friedman, he has led numerous assignments including tax increment financing (TIF) analyses and eligibility studies, area revitalization strategies, feasibility-testing for redevelopment scenarios, negotiation and structuring of public-private financing for high-impact projects, and a range of New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC)-related services. In the past seven years, he has participated in origination of approximately $764 million of public-private financing (including tax credit, TIF, revenue bond, and gap financing loan transactions) in support of about $2 billion of projects. Of this activity, over 70% took place in low-income and disinvested communities as part of economic revitalization efforts. Tony has extensive NMTC-related experience, including the preparation of multiple successful NMTC allocation applications, securing $293 million of allocation and structuring/closing of over $200 million in NMTC transactions. He holds both Master's and Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the American Planning Association, Urban Land Institute, Lambda Alpha Honorary Land Economics Society, and the Council of Development Finance Agencies (for which he also serves as national TIF curriculum advisor and instructor and lead editor of CDFA’s 2009 Advanced TIF Guide).

Lori Sorenson

Lori Sorenson currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer for the Illinois Department of Central Management Services, Bureau of Communications and Computer Services. In this capacity, she is responsible for the strategic operations of the Illinois Century Network including the implementation of a $96 million broadband stimulus grant.

Lori has over 15 years experience in the telecommunications and IT industry. She has a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Illinois Springfield and a Bachelor of Science degree from Illinois State University.

Marty Stern

Mr. Stern provides strategic and policy advice to telecommunications, information technology and media firms in the United States, Asia and elsewhere in the world. Mr. Stern assists telecom and broadband providers on all aspects of network build-out and operations. He has served as lead telecom regulatory and land use counsel in connection with numerous domestic and international undersea and terrestrial fiber-optic cable projects, as well as on permitting issues associated with the siting and deployment of wireless facilities.

Mr. Stern also handles complex regulatory issues in connection with mergers, acquisitions, financings and restructuring activities of telecom, broadband and media companies, including foreign investment in U.S. telecom providers and security-related issues with U.S. Executive Branch Agencies. He also represents clients on policy matters before the administration, Congress, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and handles the full range of FCC spectrum licensing and equipment authorization issues.

Mr. Stern has provided commercial, strategic and regulatory advice in connection with the roll-out of next-generation networks involving both wireless and wireline technologies. On the content side, he has represented both satellite programmers and distributors on regulatory, policy and commercial matters. He was recently named a "Lawdragon 500: New Stars, New Worlds," for his great depth and experience in the telecommunication area, as well as the complexity of his work.

Sharon Stroh

Sharon Stroh is the principal at SE Resources, providing independent consulting work that strengthens organizations and improves efficiency and effectiveness through a variety of core functions including project management, training/facilitation, strategic planning, non-profit board governance, and fund development. She also serves as the Marketing & Communications Manager for iMAN, an economic development initiative focused on building community-owned fiber optic infrastructure for rural communities.

Prior to these achievements, Stroh spent 13 years as the CEO of the Steuben County Community Foundation, growing a fledgling organization of $2 million in assets, to an effective, compliant, and financially secure nonprofit with over 300 funds and $18 million in contributions. Under her leadership, the foundation earned its national and state accreditation for Ethical and Operational Standards. In addition, she earned her Certificate in Fundraising Management at the IU Center on Philanthropy’s Fundraising School.

Regardless of the organization she serves, her primary focus is on community leadership and mission-fulfillment, especially for young grassroots efforts, encouraging them to think and act strategically for growth and security. She can be reached at or (260) 667-7668.

Maria Alvarez Stroud

Maria Alvarez Stroud is the director of University of Wisconsin – Extensions newly created Center for Community Technology Solutions. For the past two years she has led the BTOP funded endeavors of UWEX; a 45 Million dollar effort bringing additional fiber to Wisconsin for community anchor institutions and a community education and outreach effort aimed at those most difficult to reach about broadband. She is a seasoned executive with over 25 years of experience in creating new service streams within the public sector and seeking out new ways of reaching underserved audiences. She has done this is a variety of settings from the non-profit sector to public broadcasting and higher education. She is experienced in change management, strategic partnership advancement, and fund development, having created numerous tools recognized nationally.

Maria has successfully started her own business, been a management consultant for both profit and non-profit enterprises, instituted community engagement as a new core service of Wisconsin Public Television, was the founder and CEO of the National Center for Media Engagement and is now assisting UW-Extension to institute broadband as a core community infrastructure throughout Wisconsin. She holds a BS and a Masters in Public Policy & Administration from UW Madison.

Edmund G. Urban III

Edmund G. Urban III is President and CEO of the group of companies. Ed holds a BS from Bradley University with an extensive computer programing and technology background. He also holds a JD from DePaul University and has attended Law School classes at Oxford University.

In 1997 he founded Urban Communications, Inc. an Internet Services Provider based in Oak Forest, IL. Subsequently he formed Wireless LLC, which operates a fixed wireless broadband network from towers throughout the Chicago metro area. Fiber networks, Inc. which operates a private fiber network utilizing a combination of IRU fiber from the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority as well as other private fiber. Clearvon LLC, a licensed Illinois CLEC providing regulated telecommunication services including fiber, voice and video IP services in Illinois. In 2013 he formed Fiber Operations, Inc. which has been selected by the SSMMA to operate the Chicago Southland Fiber Network (CSFN). is the oldest and most robust fixed wireless broadband Internet company in the Chicago Metro area. Since 1997, has been the premier high speed broadband wireless access provider in the Chicago area serving government agencies, enterprise businesses, and small businesses. The network consists of a 100% diverse metro-ethernet network using licensed carrier grade microwave radios linking all of our towers. is the only fixed wireless carrier to provide an additional redundancy by bridging our microwave network with a 50 mile fiber optic connection lit by equipment providing gigabit speeds end to end.

Since 2007 has been the Internet Service Provider to the City of Aurora, Illinois’ second largest city. In 2012 upgraded their backbone to provide a 10 Gbps fiber connection to support the City’s OnLight Aurora Project.

In 2011 has selected by Norther Illinois University to design build and operated the high speed microwave links used to connect remote school and government locations to the iFiber network, a $68.5 BTOP program laying 900 miles of fiber throughout the north west portion of the State of Illinois. provides internee, VoIP and other cloud services to CAI’s and commercial customers on the iFiber network. also operates high speed fixed wireless networks used by both commercial and governmental users including the Winnebago County IL, Orland Fire Protection District, Village of Tinley Park, Village of Frankfort and Northern Illinois is currently in the process of designing and building a next generation multi-gig microwave backbone to support data, voice and video surveillance for the Government of Bermuda. provides cloud services including hosted VoIP and video conferencing from their data center located in Oak Brook, IL and from their soon to be expanded data center in Oak Forest, IL.

Rick Usher

I am the City Manager's liaison to the City Council's Special Committee on Small Business. In this capacity, I am working with City Departments and our private sector partners to establish a business-friendly customer service culture in City Hall. You can view our efforts online at

In March 2010, I facilitated the public-private GoogleKC coalition's response to Google's Fiber for Communities RFI. I lead the City's negotiations with Google and in May 2011, Kansas City, Missouri joined our sister city, Kansas City, Kansas, as the first Google Fiber Communities. I am now the City's Single Point of Contact managing the deployment technical committee and participating in collaborative community efforts to ensure the successful deployment, implementation and use of the Google Fiber network. Contact the Google Fiber Team at

I am the Single Point of Contact relative to the City's agreement with Time Warner Cable. Contact Time Warner Cable at

Additionally, I am responsible for expediting downtown development; reducing delays resulting from working with various jurisdictions; accelerating construction and completion of downtown improvements; ensuring that downtown organizations are adhering to directives and policies as agreed upon with the City; serving as master facilitator, action plan coordinator and resource expert; and, evaluating existing program effectiveness and developing new plans to improve initiatives.

Specialties: Public private partnerships

Amy VanDeVelde

Amy VanDeVelde is the National Program Manager for OASIS Connections, an evidence based technology training curriculum geared to adult learners over the age of 50. She has a personal stake in Media Literacy and Digital Citizenship and is interested in technology that supports and enhances interpersonal relationships. Amy has been engaged in training adult learners for the entirety of her career in both rural and urban settings. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication from Illinois State University which included a semester studying international communication theory in Salzburg, Austria.


Edward VanHoose

Mr. VanHoose serves as the Director of Information Technology for the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives based in Springfield, Illinois. He advises the AIEC’s 25 electric and 8 telephone cooperative members on various technology issues ranging from network security, smart grid deployment, and broadband adoption. Electric cooperatives operate in 90 of the 102 counties in Illinois. VanHoose serves on the Governor’s Broadband Deployment Council, the Steering Committee for the East Central Illinois Development Corporation, the eci Super Region Steering Committee, as well as several of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois’ eTeams. In all these roles, his primary concern is extending both availability and adoption of broadband access to rural Illinois, with an eye toward the economic development benefits associated with a robust broadband infrastructure. For the past four years, VanHoose has written a column in Illinois Country Living (ICL) magazine advising readers of consumer specific technology issues, including broadband adoption. ICL reaches more than 500,000 rural citizens of Illinois monthly. VanHoose holds a B.S. in Computer Information Systems and a B.A. in English. He is also currently working toward his M.B.A. Throughout the course of his career he has spent over 15 years in leadership roles for various technology projects throughout Missouri and Illinois, including a stint teaching at the Illinois Eastern Community Colleges system.

Mike Waldner

Mike Waldner has worked in the information technology industry his entire career. Currently working for the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications, Waldner is the State Broadband Capacity Manager for the State of South Dakota. He is working on the State Broadband Initiative to extend broadband access in ways that stimulate our state economy, creates sustainable jobs and ultimately to improve the quality of life for all South Dakotans. Prior to working on the broadband initiative Waldner directed the State K-12 Data Center providing technology services to all K-12 schools in SD.

Throughout his 20+ year career Waldner has started and co-founded several technology related companies and serves as an adjunct professor at Dakota State University teaching computer forensics and computer classes. He has served as an expert witness at several trials using his forensics background.

Waldner holds a Master of Science in Information Systems degree, currently serves as the Public Safety City Commissioner for the City of Madison, SD and when possible he enjoys running road races and competing in triathlons, or riding his bike in support of some charity or worthwhile cause with friends and family.

Warren Walker

Warren Walker is President and Founder of Atmosphere Communications, Inc, a technology service company providing Internet, Voice, Television, Automation & Security and General I.T. Consulting in the Greater Chicagoland area.

Starting in 2004 Atmosphere has built a fixed wireless network providing last mile connectivity to many commercial and residential multi-dwelling facilities in Chicago (office buildings, student housing and apartment/condominium complexes) including the Technology Innovation Center in Evanston: a technology incubator supporting over 40 startup companies.

In 2011 Atmosphere was lead technology company for a $7.2 million BTOP grant to provide technology assessment of 23 senior citizen housing buildings in Northern Illinois from Rockford to Chicago, to Kankakee to the Quad Cities. Atmosphere also constructed computer labs and in built out in building Internet networks and provided Internet service to all residents in 6 of the buildings including Mills Park Tower the 200 unit Oak Park Housing Authority senior facility.

In 2012, using the Churchview Assisted Living building (one of the BTOP buildings) as a hub, Atmosphere began development and management of a free public WiFi network for Greater Southwest Development Corp that has “lit” 17 city blocks in the Chicago Lawn and West Lawn areas of Chicago. Once fully implemented, the program will have lit over 80 city blocks. With the pilot segment completed thousands of residents and businesses are accessing the network each month.

Prior to his position at Atmosphere, Mr. Walker has held senior technology positions at Mantis (Dynergy), ABNO Bank (Bank of America) and Vancom Transporation. He has also held positions at Sears Technology, Wesley Jessen (Sherring Plough) and Hartmarx Corp.

William Wallace

William Wallace brings to US Ignite more than 25 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, most recently as co-founder and Executive Vice President of DigitalBridge Communications (DBC), a venture-backed startup dedicated to bringing 4G broadband wireless services to underserved portions of the U.S.

Prior to DBC, Mr. Wallace was co-founder and CEO of OnePoint Communications, which was purchased by Verizon Communications in 2000. OnePoint and its successor company, Verizon Avenue, provide bundled communications services to concentrated communities nationwide, including apartment communities, military bases, and rural areas.

Previously, he served as head of the Telecommunications practice and Chief Operating Officer for Gemini Consulting, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Cap Gemini Sogeti group. In that role, he led teams that developed strategies and improved operations for many of the world's largest carriers.

Mr. Wallace received an AB degree in Government and Economics from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Tom Weisner

Tom Weisner is currently serving his third term as Mayor of Aurora, Illinois, the state’s second largest city, with a population of nearly 200,000, after running unopposed in the April, 2013 election.

In his 8+ years as Aurora’s Mayor, Tom Weisner has propelled this former “blue collar town” into the 21st century as a high performing, progressive city by strengthening neighborhoods, revitalizing Aurora’s riverfront core, promoting sustainable development practices, developing a top-notch telecommunication infrastructure and vastly reducing crime. By focusing on public private partnerships to spur revitalization, Mayor Weisner is successfully cleaning up polluted riverfront areas and breathing new life into Aurora’s downtown urban core, the most recent example of which is RiverEdge Park, a spectacular new music venue on the banks of the Fox River.

Shortly after taking office in 2005, Mayor Weisner initiated the construction of two, highly redundant, self-healing fiber optic rings, covering 42 linear miles of Aurora, in order to gain efficiencies and realize cost savings for city operations. The City saved almost a half a million dollars in year one, while developing a Voice-Over-Internet Protocol (VOIP) City phone system, a $15 M centralized traffic management system and a dependable low-cost platform for its new 911 and Public Safety Radio systems. The fiber optic network has recently expanded to over 60 miles in reach.

In 2011, Mayor Weisner determined to offer inexpensive, high-speed bandwidth to area schools, hospitals and businesses through the City’s network. OnLight Aurora, a separate 501 c 3 and L3C, was created in order to accomplish this mission. OnLight Aurora was a recent recipient of a $1 million “Gigabyte Challenge” grant from the State of Illinois and has already successfully enrolled such major institutions as the Illinois Math & Science Academy, Rush-Copley Hospital and Indian Prairie School District #204, among others.

Prior to being elected Mayor of Aurora, Tom Weisner served the City in a variety of functional areas over seventeen years, including public works, transportation, organizational development and community outreach. Mayor Weisner served as President of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) in 1997-98.

Mayor Weisner and his wife, Marilyn, served as Peace Corps Volunteers on the Island of Guadalcanal, Solomon Island from 1981-85.

Don Welch

Dr. Donald J. Welch has been the President and CEO of Merit Network, Inc. since joining Merit in July 2006. In 2010 Merit won $103 million in grants towards a $130 million project to build network infrastructure throughout rural areas of Michigan. In 2010 he was named the “Grant Thornton/Lawrence Tech Leader and Innovator of the Year” as well as one of Michigan’s Top CEOs by Corp! Magazine. In 2012 he was honored by the White House as a “Champion of Change” for leading one of the best infrastructure projects funded by the Recovery Act. In 2013 Merit won the 21st Century Achievement Award from the Computerworld Foundation.

Prior to his arrival at Merit, Don was the Director of Enterprise Technology (CTO) and Merchandising Applications for H-E-B, a $12 B retailer in Texas and Mexico. He had responsibility for enterprise architecture, integration, infrastructure and security as well as delivering and supporting Merchandising applications. In addition, he created H-E-B’s Technology Innovation Store, where new technology was developed and piloted in a working store.

Before joining H-E-B, he served for 25 years in the U.S. Army attaining the rank of Colonel and earning the Legion of Merit for his service. His last assignment was as the Associate Dean for Information Technology (CIO) and Professor of Computer Science at West Point. He was responsible for the computer operations and infrastructure used to educate future Army officers. He built West Point’s wireless network, one of the first large and secure wireless networks, which was the recipient of a Computerworld “Best Practices in Mobile and Wireless” award for security. He is also a recipient of the Apgar Award for innovation in teaching for his work in the classroom.

Among his other Army assignments, Don was the Chief of Software Engineering for the Army's counterterrorist unit, Delta Force. In this role he oversaw the integration of numerous applications into an enterprise database as well as pioneering technologies such as global positioning system (GPS) and digital maps. He has also been the senior human resources manager for the Army's professional information technology workforce, where he helped to reshape the officer corps to better meet a changed approach to information technology. While at West Point, he taught computer science, information technology, and information warfare at the undergraduate level. At the start of his Army career he commanded two light infantry companies and three infantry platoons.

He has been active in information assurance and software engineering research with over 25 publications and a dozen invited talks in those disciplines. He is a frequent speaker on networking, regional networks and related topics. He is involved in the research and education community in many ways. He is a member of the Educause and Internet2 Network Council, a think tank on advanced network and technology for research and education. He is the Vice Chair of The Quilt (Research and Education Network Association) Board of Directors and is the Vice Chair of the State and Regional Network Roundtable. He is a member of the Michigan State 9-1-1 committee, the State CIO’s cyber security advisory council and the Governor’s Cybersecurity Strategy Executive team. He has contributed to the FCC National Broadband Plan published in 2010 and the State of Michigan’s Cyber Security Strategy published in 2011.

He has earned the Army’s Ranger Tab and Paratrooper Wings.

Dr. Welch received a B.S. from the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, a M.S. in Computer Science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and he earned the Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Lori Williams

Lori Williams is currently the Vice President of Membership for the Illinois Hospital Association and has been with the association for 7 years. Prior to that, she served as Executive Director of the Illinois Rural Health Association and the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council. She has worked on rural development programs for Governor Edgar and three different Lieutenant Governors in her 14 years in state government. She currently serves on several statewide rural development boards and commissions.


Mike Wilson

Bio coming soon...

Rusty Winchel

Rusty Winchel’s broadband experience covers an extensive array of telecommunications and data technology including Voice over IP (VOIP), circuit switched voice and high-speed data and Ethernet transport applications for broadband, long-haul, and CATV industries and extensive data and voice network design for business and educational applications. Starting with construction of fiber networks for voice long-haul applications during his tenure at Sprint, Rusty has continued to advocate for fiber based transport systems in support of local, municipal and wide-area networks to provide connectivity for both public and private sector organizations. Extensive involvement with projects such as Illinois Rural HealthNet (IRHN), Chicago Southland Fiber Network (CSFN-SSMMA) and many other municipal fiber connectivity projects has been a direct result of that continuing advocacy. Rusty’s broadband work experience has included network sales, consulting, engineering and construction for Northern Illinois University (NIU), Motorola, Digital Equipment Corporation, Sprint and Pioneer Standard.

Mr. Winchel is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Platteville; Business, Industry and Communications (BIC).

John Windhausen

John Windhausen, Jr. is the Executive Director of the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, a diverse coalition of community anchor institutions, broadband companies (for-profit and non-profit), foundations (such as the Gates Foundation) and public interest groups. Mr. Windhausen also represents a variety of non-profit and commercial organizations through his consulting firm, Telepoly Consulting. His current clients include the American Library Association, EDUCAUSE and The Quilt. Prior to opening his consulting practice in 2004, he served as President of a telecommunications trade association, as counsel and senior counsel to the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee for nine years, and as staff attorney at the FCC. Mr. Windhausen graduated from Yale University and the UCLA School of Law.


Katherine Yager

Bio coming.

Ed Zabrocki

Edward J. Zabrocki has led a life dedicated to public service, education, community and family.

Mr. Zabrocki has been Mayor of the Village of Tinley Park since 1981, following 10 years of service before that on village commissions and then the Village Board. He was also elected and served as 37th District State Representative to the 89th Illinois General Assembly.

During this time, Mr. Zabrocki has received numerous awards and accolades for his outstanding commitment to the community from such organizations as the Tinley Park Chamber of Commerce, the Crisis Center for South Suburbia, local service clubs and organizations, local school districts, veterans groups, and Chicago and local newspapers. His far-reaching reputation for distinguished public service led to his selection as a 2005 finalist for the World Mayor Award sponsored by the City Mayors international organization. He was also given a Community Leadership Award by Diversity, Inc., and is featured in the Who’s Who in Government publication.

His longtime leadership experience and expertise has been sought out by many government associations. He has served as president of both the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, as well as in all other offices for those two groups. He has also served as a director of the Illinois Municipal League, and as a member of the Cook County Community Block Grant Advisory Committee, the South Suburban Council, the Orland/Tinley Economic Development Committee, the Metropolitan Economic Development Alliance, and the Northeast Planning Authority.

His devotion to service also extends to the field of education. Retired in 2005 as Director of Guidance at Brother Rice High School in Chicago, Mr. Zabrocki has also been recognized by his peers for his career achievements. Awards include Man of the Year from Brother Rice as well as induction in that school’s Hall of Fame, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from St. Mary’s University in Winona, Minnesota, and the Outstanding Alumni Award from Annunciata Grade School in Chicago.

Mr. Zabrocki and his wife, Emily, have lived in Tinley Park since 1970. They are the proud parents of two children and the grandparents of six.

Leadership Committee

Susan Crawford

Susan Crawford is a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, where she leads the Institute's work on making high-speed Internet access a universal, affordable resource for all Americans. She is the author of Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age (Yale University Press, 2013).

Susan Crawford is the (Visiting) Stanton Professor of the First Amendment at Harvard's Kennedy School, a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School, a Professor at Cardozo Law School, and a contributor to Bloomberg View and Wired. She served as Special Assistant to the President for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy during 2009 and co-led the FCC transition team between the Bush and Obama administrations. She is a member of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Advisory Council on Technology and Innovation.

Ms. Crawford was formerly a professor at the University of Michigan Law School (2008-2010). As an academic, she teaches open government policy, Internet law, and communications law. She was a member of the board of directors of ICANN from 2005-2008 and is the founder of OneWebDay, a global Earth Day for the internet that takes place each Sept. 22. One of Fast Company's Most Influential Women in Technology (2009); IP3 Awardee (2010); one of Prospect Magazine's Top Ten Brains of the Digital Future (2011); one of Newsweek's 100 Digital Disruptors (2012). She is a member of the boards of Public Knowledge and TPRC as well as a faculty co-director of the Berkman Center.

Ms. Crawford received her B.A. and J.D. from Yale University. She served as a clerk for Judge Raymond J. Dearie of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, and was a partner at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (now WilmerHale) (Washington, D.C.) until the end of 2002, when she left that firm to enter the legal academy. Susan, a violist, lives in New York City and Cambridge, MA.

Follow Susan on Twitter @scrawford.

David Isenberg

David S. Isenberg spent 12 years at AT&T Bell Labs until his 1997 essay,"The Rise of the Stupid Network," was received with acclaim everywhere in the global telecommunications community with one exception -- at AT&T itself!

So Isenberg left AT&T in 1998 to found, LLC (an independent telecom analysis firm based in Cos Cob, Connecticut), to publish The SMART Letter, an open-minded commentary on the communications revolution, to blog at and to organize tech policy conferences such as F2C: Freedom to Connect, now in its sixth year.

Laura Lane

Laura Lane is the Regional E-Team Leader for Partnership for a Connected Illinois. In that role she promotes high speed, affordable broadband access and the next generation applications to move the Chicagoland region forward. As Co-Director of the Woodlawn Broadband Expansion Partnership, Laura brought together regional stakeholders and helped to create market potential for high speed broadband in the mid-south region if Chicago. Past technology ventures include being a principal at Chicago Systems Group, member of the Illinois Integrated Justice Information Planning Committee, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Milhouse Engineering and operations lead for technology installations in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Laura has extensive background in non-profit and public sector management including seven years at the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County and eight years in community economic development. Laura received her B.A. in International Relations from Lake Forest College and J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law.

James Salter

James Salter serves as Chairman of Atlantic, the company he founded 15 years ago.

Atlantic was an early proponent of fiber as the ultimate access technology and was a charter member of the FTTH Council, where James served as President in 2002. The company built the nation's first FTTH city in Kutztown Pennsylvania in 2001 and has designed and built over 30 cities with FTTH networks in the past 10 years.

Today, Atlantic is leading the idea of combining FTTH and Smart Grid technologies into a single business plan for municipalities and rural electric cooperatives.

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