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Bruce Abraham
Senior Broadband Consultant, ECC Technologies

With over 30 years in rural and urban economic development as well as real estate development, Bruce Abraham started and organized the North Georgia Network (NGN) which built 2,000 miles of fiber optic communications across north Georgia and now serves 7,000 community anchors and rural residents. As president of NGN, the first project awarded under the federal Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program, he presented the case for rural broadband to the US Congress Communications and Technology Committee and the Brookings Institute. He continues to enable community broadband now as Senior Broadband Consultant with ECC Technologies.

Before joining ECC, Bruce started Connect North Georgia as a regional broadband economic development agency, where he raised an additional $1.3 million beyond the initial $42 million investment in NGN. Prior to his technology-related work, Bruce started the Economic Development Department in Dekalb County, Georgia’s second largest county, where he organized the Dekalb Workforce Center and the Perimeter Community Improvement District.

In his earlier career in land development with Mobil Land and Duke Energy, Bruce specialized in developing community infrastructure and recruiting employers to the metro Atlanta area. As the Executive Director of the Lumpkin County Development Authority, which is an active industrial park developer, he organized and secured funding for the North Georgia Network, which was an initiative to bring higher-paying jobs to rural north Georgia.

As Senior Broadband Consultant with ECC Technologies, Bruce advises on community broadband project planning, design, management, and implementation. With offices in New York, North Carolina, Georgia, and California, ECC Technologies provides telecommunications services in the educational, corporate, government, public safety, and healthcare environments. ECC has developed and participated in over $1.5 billion in telecommunications projects worldwide.

Will Aycock
General Manager, Greenlight Community Broadband, City of Wilson

Will Aycock is currently the General Manager for Greenlight Community Broadband in Wilson, NC. Mr. Aycock has served in this position for 3 years.

Prior to taking this position, Mr. Aycock has served as an Assistant Director of ITS, GIS manager and GIS consultant.

Mr. Aycock is a graduate of both Appalachian State and East Carolina Universities and holds a Government Chief Information Officer Certification from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Jim Baller
President, The Baller Herbst Law Group, P.C.

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.

Jared Baumann
Manager, Market Development and Deployment, Consumer Fiber Services, C Spire

Jared Baumann, a 17-year telecommunications industry veteran, is manager of Market Development and Deployment for C Spire’s next-generation 1 Gbps broadband fiber optic consumer Internet technology initiative in Mississippi.

Since joining C Spire in 2012, Baumann has played a key role in company efforts to forge unique public-private partnerships with Mississippi cities to bring 100 times faster Internet and related super HD TV and phone service to consumers across the state. He is a key architect of the company’s broadband Internet strategy and vision.

An Ole Miss graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Baumann resides in Clinton, Mississippi. C Spire is a Ridgeland, Mississippi-based diversified telecommunications and technology services company.

Steve Biggerstaff
Founding President, Director and Advisor, Metronet

Steve Biggerstaff has devoted his professional career to developing large-scale infrastructure projects to sustain and grow economic development in communities. As a co-founder of Metronet, a fiber to the premises overbuilder, over the last 15 years Steve has helped Metronet expand into 21 Indiana communities by forging innovative public-private partnerships with local governments to achieve key economic development and fiber broadband infrastructure goals. He currently represents Metronet in front of prospective communities and advises Metronet’s senior leadership team on business development, legislative and community development issues.

Prior to joining Metronet, Steve was part of Duke Energy’s (f/k/a Cinergy Corp.) executive management team where he was responsible for large scale energy and telecommunication development initiatives in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. He also led multi-million dollar international business development energy projects in China, Indonesia, Argentina, and Panama. Steve also co-founded several regional economic development public-private partnerships and served on the Board of Directors of Indianapolis International Airport Authority, and a variety of philanthropic organizations.

Steve earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Evansville.

Hank Blackwood
Chief Technology Services Officer, Dalton Utilities

Hank, originally from Dalton, Georgia, graduated The Georgia Institute of Technology in 1993 with a BS in Civil Engineering and significant course work in Electrical Engineering. During and immediately after college, Hank worked for the City of Atlanta in water treatment and for the Mead paper company in materials testing. He went to work at Dalton Utilities in 1993 in the Engineering Services dept as a civil engineer. During his time as a civil engineer at Dalton, he began the second largest natural gas piping renewal project in the state at that time to meet new state and federal hazardous material standards. He also was the project manager for extending Dalton Utilities’ water system into unserved areas of the county, and expanded service to adjacent counties. In 2000, he began work on a new Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA) building fiber optic infrastructure to facilities in three counties. Leveraging the newly built infrastructure, Dalton offered high speed, point-to-point, data transport and internet service to industry it already served with traditional utilities. In 2003, Hank worked with a team of vendors, consultants, and utility employees to launch a PON based FTTU system to the residents of Dalton. Since that time, Dalton has expanded the FTTU foot print and service offerings. Hank currently is the Chief Technology Services Officer at Dalton Utilities which includes the OptiLink FTTU business unit.

Ron Bridges
State Director, AARP Kentucky

Ron Bridges is the Senior State Director for AARP in the state of Kentucky. He is responsible for building and leading a cohesive, integrated and highly functioning enterprise that focuses on increasing engagement, impact and relevance for Kentucky’s growing population of people age 50-plus by providing strong and effective leadership. He has more than 30 years of experience in governmental affairs, issue advocacy and community relations. Prior to taking the helm at AARP Kentucky in 2012, Bridges worked as Director of Government Affairs for AARP in the state of Ohio.

Bridges received a Bachelor of Science degree from The Ohio State University and a M.A. in public policy from The Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear appointed Bridges to the Commonwealth’s Institute for Aging in 2014. Bridges was also appointed by Governors Robert Taft and Ted Strickland to serve on numerous Boards and Commissions in Ohio.

Ron’s favorite pastimes involve following current events, enjoying new ethnic dining experiences and watching televised or live sporting events. He and his wife live in east Louisville.

Dave Brodin
Chief Technology Officer, Smithville Fiber

Dave Brodin is the Chief Technology Officer at Smithville Communications where he guides the company’s overall technology strategy. He has been with Smithville for over 14 years in a variety of roles and has directed major initiatives including the ongoing conversion to Fiber to the Home, the deployment of IPTV, and the expansion of the fiber network which now covers Central and Southern Indiana. He is a graduate of Bowling Green State University with Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science and Chemistry as well as a Master of Science in Computer Science, and he is a Cisco Certified Network Professional.

Heather Burnett Gold
President and CEO, FTTH Council Americas

Heather Burnett Gold is the President of Fiber-to-the-Home Council North America, 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 ten years ago to share knowledge and build industry consensus on key issues surrounding fiber to the home. See More

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 27 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.

Jonathan Chambers
Chief of the Office of Strategic Planning, Federal Communications Commission

Jonathan Chambers, as Chief of the Office of Strategic Planning at the FCC, works with the Chairman, Commissioners, Bureaus, and Offices to develop strategic plans and help identify the agency's policy objectives. He joined the Commission in May 2012 after working, since 1995, primarily for companies in the start-up stage of their businesses in the wireless and cable television industries. He worked both in the U.S. and in Europe in legal, regulatory, business development and strategic planning roles.

His previous government experience was with the U.S. Senate, where he worked from 1987-1994 for Senator John C. Danforth (R-MO) as legislative director, for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence as a professional staff member, and for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation as the Republican staff director.

Jonathan has a JD from the Georgetown University Law Center, an MA in international affairs from Columbia University and the Harriman Institute for Soviet Studies, and a BA in economics from Yale University.

Thomas W. Cohen
Partner, Washington, D.C. Kelley Drye

Thomas Cohen is a partner in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. His practice focuses on providing legal counsel to further the business interests of entities engaged in the provision of wireline and wireless telecommunications, cable (video), and broadband (Internet) services. He has significant experience in federal and state administrative and legislative advocacy, business-related legal matters, including transactions, and litigation.

Mr. Cohen has more than 35 years of experience in the communications/telecommunications industry sector, first as a government policy maker, serving for over a decade as assistant general counsel for legislation at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and as senior counsel for the Senate Commerce Committee. He then was a founder and principal in firms assessing and developing communications/telecommunications properties and advising businesses. He joined Kelley Drye in 2005.

Rollie Cole
Senior Fellow, Sagamore Institute for Policy Research

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:

Maura Corbett
CEO & Founder, Glen Echo Group

Maura Colleton Corbett is the CEO and Founder of the Glen Echo Group, with over two decades of communications, media, public affairs and coalition building experience with companies and organizations building the New Economy.

Corbett provides strategic counsel to clients faced with complicated issues particularly within the high-technology industry, including Internet competition, wireless technologies, broadband deployment and applications and content-related policy issues including privacy, security and copyright.

A proud New Jersey native, Corbett graduated from the University of Notre Dame and used to moonlight as the lead singer in a band. She is the mother of two marvelous daughters and one neurotic dog.

Michael Curri
Founder and President, Strategic Networks Group Inc.

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.

Peter D’Errico
Member Select Board, Town of Leverett, MA

Peter D’Errico is a member of the Town of Leverett, MA, Select Board, a town government elected executive board. He is also a consulting attorney on indigenous peoples’ legal issues. He graduated from Yale Law School in 1968, was a staff attorney in the Shiprock office of Dinebeiina Nahiilna Be Agaditahe Navajo Legal Services, 1968-1970, and taught Legal Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1970-2002. He is a columnist for Indian Country Today, a national media platform for Native voices and issues.

Aaron Deacon
Managing Director, KC Digital Drive

Aaron Deacon is the managing director for KC Digital Drive, a nonprofit startup that builds technology solutions for a better Kansas City. Working closely with the Kansas City mayors’ offices, KC Digital Drive was designed to drive innovation and collaboration in Kansas City and capitalize on next generation infrastructure. The organization covers a broad range of issues including education, health care, the arts, entrepreneurship, sustainability and digital inclusion.

Aaron has been an instrumental leader in helping Kansas City prepare to be the first market for Google Fiber. He helped create the Building the Gigabit City community brainstorming session, led the Give Us a Gig initiative for neighborhood education, engagement and advocacy, and organized the Gigabit City Summit to explore city infrastructure issues around next generation networks and help cities develop community playbooks to take advantage of ultra high-speed broadband.

He is the founder and principal of the research and strategic planning agency Curiolab. He serves as chairman 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.

Mark DeFalco
Telecommunications Initiative Manager, Appalachian Regional Commission

Mark DeFalco has worked in the Telecommunications Industry for over 30 years. He has worked for a regional Bell company, a rural telephone holding company, a large inter-exchange carrier and several competitive local exchange carriers. Mark specialized in competitive market entry and inter-carrier compensation issues. He has testified before state Public Service Commissions and state legislative committees in over 20 states.

He currently works at the Appalachian Regional Commission addressing rural telecom and broadband issues.

Tad Deriso
President and CEO, Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative (MBC)

Tad Deriso is the President & CEO of the Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative (MBC) with offices in Richmond and South Boston, Virginia. Over the past 20 years, Tad has helped rural, under-served communities and telecommunications companies with planning and coordinating broadband telecommunications networks. He has developed technology-based economic development strategies as well as performance based management structures and viable operational business models.

In 2003, Tad helped form MBC, a not-for-profit organization that has built an advanced open-access fiber optic network in Southern Virginia. The network, which is now in it’s 4th full year of operations, is cash flow positive, is helping to generate new jobs and investments in the region, and is a successful model of how public/private partnerships can work to extend advanced fiber optic middle-mile networks to under-served communities.

Prior to forming MBC, Tad was a senior consultant with expertise in telecommunications infrastructure design and deployment for rural regions, ICT assessments, middle-mile and last-mile broadband planning, business plan development, and financial modeling for open-access fiber network planning.

Tad has spoken at many Local, State, National and International conferences on the importance of open-access fiber networks, the role those networks play in economic development for data center recruitment, and how national and regional governing bodies can implement similar models to boost broadband access and enhance economic dividends for rural communities.

Tad holds a BBA in Management and International Business from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Wayne Easterwood
Chief Information Officer, Centerstone, Inc

Wayne Easterwood has served a total of 20 years with Centerstone leading Information Technology. He also has experience with Qualifacts Systems, Inc. as Director of Implementation. With Centerstone, Wayne has led the infusion of technology and electronic health record functionality to the desktop of clinical staff and into the hands of clinicians as care moves beyond the walls of traditional clinics. As an early adopter of the electronic clinical record, Centerstone overcame many of the barriers presented by its original merger of 5 regional mental health agencies. Wayne is continuing this work as he oversees system consolidation and expansion to handle organic growth, mergers and acquisitions.

With a 58-year history, Centerstone is one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit providers of community-based mental health and addiction services, offering a comprehensive array of mental health services, substance abuse and addictions treatment, educational services, housing and supports. Centerstone is made up of eight first-tier corporations and multiple second-tier corporations with a primary footprint in Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois and Florida. Operating with over 2,600 employees and hundreds of volunteers, Centerstone provides services to 84,000 individuals and families in more than 146 facilities, 220 partnership locations and through a provider network in 32 U.S. states and one Canadian province. Centerstone is CARF-accredited.

Mark Erickson
EDA Director, City of Winthrop, MN

Mark Erickson is the EDA Director for the city of Winthrop, Minnesota and has been helping organize and promote the RS Fiber project in West Central Minnesota since 2009.

Prior to Winthrop he was employed by Hiawatha Broadband Communications in Winona, Minnesota, working with communities interested in building advanced telecommunication networks.

He currently serves on the board of the Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association and is a past member of the Blandin Foundation’s Telecommunications Strategy Board.

Deborah Feinen
Mayor, Champaign, IL

A proud resident of Champaign for over forty years. Graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1989 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Education. In 1991, received Juris Doctor from the Illinois Institute of Technology Kent College of Law, and in 1992, admitted into the Illinois Bar. In 1993, worked at the Illinois Pollution Control Board as a Hearing Officer for four years. In 1998, joined the Nally, Bauer, Feinen & Mann, P.C. as its first associate, and was named partner in 2001. Joined Tummelson, Bryan, & Knox, LLP as a partner in 2013. Also in 2013, I was hired as an Impartial Hearing Officer for the Illinois State Board of Education.

Lives in Champaign with husband, Chuck, and two children, Karlee and Catherine. A few hobbies include running, horseback riding, and photography. Serves as a Champaign County Board member for fourteen years, was appointed to the Champaign City Council in 2007 as an at-large Council Member, and elected Mayor in 2015.

Secretary Lori Hudson Flanery
Office of the Secretary, Kentucky Finance & Administration Cabinet

Lori Hudson Flanery was appointed secretary of the Kentucky Finance & Administration Cabinet by Governor Steve Beshear on April 1, 2011.

Secretary Flanery serves as the chief financial officer and manager of the financial resources of the Commonwealth. The Cabinet includes the Commonwealth Office of Technology, Kentucky’s Revenue Department, and the offices of the State Controller, Financial Management and Procurement as well as the Department of Facilities.

Secretary Flanery serves on a multitude of boards and commissions, addressing such issues as state investments, affordable housing, student loans, economic development, environmental issues, workforce development, technology and information services, debt issuance, and major transportation infrastructure.

Her former posts include deputy chief executive officer and general counsel for Kentucky Housing Corporation, commissioner of Financial Incentives for the Cabinet for Economic Development and counsel with Peck, Shaffer & Williams, LLP and Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs. She is a graduate of and holds a juris doctorate from the University of Kentucky. She resides in Louisville with her family.

Ron Frye
Communications Field Operations Supervisor, LUS Fiber

Ron Frye has been the Communications Field Operations Supervisor for LUS Fiber since its inception in 2008. In his current role he supervised the complete construction of a city-wide Fiber-To-The-Home network for Lafayette, Louisiana. He is responsible for the day-to-day operations and maintenance of all outside plant facilities for LUS Fiber’s FTTH network as well as the company’s legacy wholesale network. He manages all new construction; oversees new customer installations including service provisioning; is responsible for the Network Operations Center and outage management; and manages the company warehouse for supplies and materials.

Prior to his current position he was a Fiber Optic Network Designer for Lafayette Utilities System. He was also a Project Manager for C-D Utility Construction and a Field Superintendent for Gulfgate Construction. He is trained in FTTH PON Design, DS1/DS3 SONET Fundamentals & Test Applications, PON Deployment, and a graduate of Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.

Keith Gabbard
CEO/General Manager, Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative (KY)

Keith Gabbard is CEO of Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative in McKee, KY. Keith has nearly 40 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, having served in numerous positions within PRTC. In 1996 he became CEO, and under his direction, PRTC has grown from being a POTS only provider, to becoming a broadband and HDTV cable provider, utilizing a recently constructed state-of-the-art FTTH network. PRTC was recently selected as a recipient of one of NTCA’s Smart Rural Community awards.

Keith holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration/Management from Eastern Kentucky University. He is a lifelong resident of McKee and serves on many local and national boards, and is involved in many civic organizations. As McKee has a high poverty and a high unemployment rate, Keith works diligently to improve economic development in his community.

Jon Gant
Director, UC2B

Dr. Jon Gant is a national leader in the areas of digital inclusion and broadband adoption. Jon is currently a professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he serves as the founding Director of the Center for Digital Inclusion (CDI). Under Jon’s leadership, CDI examines the social and economic impact of information and communication technologies globally. Jon is the principal investigator for the Illinois Digital Innovation Leadership Program. This is a collaboration with University of Illinois Extension and the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab to build local high tech hubs in Illinois based to support digital fabrication, digital media production and data analytics. CDI is currently developing new research on smart cities/communities and next-generation Internet applications to serve the public.

Since 2009, Jon served as a director of Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband (UC2B), a University of Illinois-led intergovernmental consortium with the City of Urbana and City of Champaign operating an Internet service provider startup providing gigabit speed Internet access serving households, businesses and community anchor institutions in Urban-Champaign, IL. UC2B received a $22 million Broadband Technology Opportunity Program grant to construct a 187-mile fiber-optic broadband network infrastructure. Jon served as director for business development and was responsible for designing and implementing an innovative data analytics approach for business development, network engineering and construction, and customer relationship management. Since the completion of the BTOP grant in 2014, UC2B is now a not-for-profit ISP. UC2B is partnering with ITV-3 to expand gigabit services, voice and video to households in Urbana-Champaign. Jon serves currently as the Vice Chairperson of the UC2B Board of Directors and will be the Board Chair starting on October 1, 2015.

Jon served as a research director for the evaluation of the Department of Commerce’s Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) as a consultant with ASR Analytics. Jon collaborated with the evaluation team to develop the mixed method research design, train and mentor the research and data analytics team, lead site visits, conduct interviews, brief senior NTIA officials, analyze the social and economic impacts, and co-author the case studies and final reports.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Organization for Economic Coordination and Development, the International Telecommunication Union, the State of Illinois, Partnership for a Connected Illinois, the American Library Association, and the National Science Foundation, among others, have funded Jon’s research.

Jon received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University, where he studied public policy and information management. Jon earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan.

Andrew Garfinkel
Federal Grant Management Expert, Keller McIntyre & Associates

Andy Garfinkel is a federal grant management expert. He has represented nonprofit institutions and organizations at the federal level for the past 15 years, following seven years as a senior congressional aide. Andy provides strategic planning, grant writing, and advocacy services on behalf of clients.

Prior to joining Keller McIntyre, Andy served as Principal of a boutique federal government relations firm, Aronnax Public Strategies. In this role, Andy worked with his team to identify myriad approaches to leverage federal and state resources, including grants, contracts, private-public partnerships and tax credits to achieve his nonprofit development and government objectives. Andy has helped develop hundreds of millions of dollars in private and public investments to fund local government, private and nonprofit initiatives in such diverse fields as economic development, transportation, housing, energy and environment, telecommunications, health care, government procurement, defense and homeland security.

While on Capitol Hill, Andy worked as a senior staff member for Rep. Ted Strickland (D-OH) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). Specifically, Andy has served as Legislative Assistant, Grants Director, and Legislative Director in the Congress.

Andy is a graduate of the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, and lives in Maryland with his wife Kristine and their three children.

Lev Gonick
CEO, One Community

Lev is co-founder of OneCommunity and became CEO July 1, 2013.

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 Communities honored him with their CornerstoneAward for “using fiber to build an inclusive society and empower individuals.” In 2010 he received recognition as “Visionary of the Year” from NATOA. Lev has been recognized by ComputerWorld as a Premier 100 IT leader and honored by CIO magazine with a CIO 100 Award. Northeast Ohio’s Inside Business has recognized Lev as one of their Power 100.

Lev was CIO at Case Western Reserve University from 2001-2013. He and his colleagues were internationally recognized for technology innovations in community engagement, learning spaces, next generation network projects, and organizational development. Lev’s innovations, including the Case Connection Zone catalyzed national projects, including US Ignite and Gig U.

A frequent international speaker and consultant, Lev currently serves on the Boards of Monarch Teaching Technologies (educational software developers for persons with autism), DecisionDesk, EGenio, Groundworks Dance Theater, and Cleveland Independents (Restaurants).

Jim Gray
Mayor, City of Lexington, KY

The former CEO of Gray Construction, an international construction firm, Jim Gray brought his executive’s approach to the Mayor’s Office in 2011. He came into office with three priorities: Create Jobs, Run Government Efficiently and Build a Great American City. In just three years, Mayor Gray and the city council have righted Lexington’s financial ship by getting things done – big things, small things and everything in-between. Tens of millions have been saved by reforming employee health insurance and the local city’s pension system, a reform that has become a national model. Lexington is on a path where city finances are in order, our local economy is strong and growing, and crime is low because public safety and quality of life are top priorities. Lexington is one of the safest cities of its size, anywhere in the country. Gray is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and in 1996 was appointed a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University.

Nicholas Hann
Senior Managing Director, Macquarie Capital/Macquarie Group Limited

Nicholas co-heads Macquarie's North American public infrastructure and PPP advisory team. As Senior Managing Director of Macquarie, Nicholas is involved in all aspects of Macquarie’s infrastructure and public private partnership (P3) businesses. He has extensive experience in the structuring and financing of major infrastructure projects which span a wide range of countries in both public and private sector roles. Nicholas’ expertise covers the social infrastructure, telecom, energy, water, urban planning, rail, toll road, port and airport sectors.

Projects of relevance:

Nicholas arranged financing for cable TV assets in Asia
Nicholas led Macquarie's successful pursuit of the MRCS public safety communications PPP in the Atlantic Provinces of Canada
Nicholas is currently leading Macquarie's North American initiatives in bringing the PPP model to mid mile and last mile fiber projects and specialized networks such as public safety communications ·
— These initiatives include development agreements with the Kentucky NG-KIH Project and the UTOPIA project in Utah
Nicholas is supported by Macquarie's strong Telecom, Media, Entertainment and Technology Group.

Karen Hanson
Manager, Partnerships and Interagency Affairs, NTIA (U.S. Department of Commerce)

Karen Hanson is the Manager of Partnerships and Interagency Affairs for the BroadbandUSA initiative within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Since March, Karen has served as NTIA’s project manager for the Broadband Opportunity Council (BOC), an interagency working group established by Presidential Memorandum and co-chaired by Assistant Secretary of Commerce and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling. Karen is also responsible for promoting the BroadbandUSA initiative among stakeholders and coordinating NTIA’s federal policy efforts to promote investments in broadband. Previously, Karen served as a Federal Program Officer with NTIA’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). Karen managed a $70 million portfolio of Public Computer Center (PCC) and Sustainable Broadband Adoption (SBA) grants. Karen was also NTIA’s project manager of the independent evaluation conducted by ASR Analytics of BTOP’s economic and social impact, released in January 2015. Karen’s background includes experience in the nonprofit, philanthropic, and private sectors. Prior to joining NTIA, Karen worked in California as a management consultant focused on the software industry and at ZeroDivide, a foundation dedicated to promoting broadband adoption within underserved communities in California. Karen also worked as an Education Policy Analyst with the National Council of La Raza. Karen has a B.A. from Duke University in Public Policy Studies and an MBA from the University of Southern California.

Mike Hayden
Executive Director, Kentucky State Government – Kentucky Emerging Technology

As the Director of Communications with the Commonwealth Office of Technology I lead the division of COT responsible for network administration of over 1,800 endpoints in all 120 counties in Kentucky. The division also manages firewall services, load balancing services, as well as audio and video services to other state agencies. The Communications division supports COT's Enterprise Phone System capable of handling over 100,000 VoIP telephones.

My vision for the Division is to be the key technology consultants and providers of efficient and quality enterprise solutions to meet the Commonwealth agency's business requirements. We will do this by providing premiere solutions and service delivery through innovation, quality, responsiveness, and customer value. We will align our business objectives with our customer's expectations. We will strive to be continuously improving and will relentlessly pursue excellence in everything we do.

Corinne Hill
Library Director, City of Chattanooga, TN

Corinne Hill has been Executive Director of the Chattanooga Public Library since March 2012. Hill was the recipient of the Urban Libraries Council's 2013 Joey Rodgers Leadership Award and named Library Journal’s 2014 Librarian of the Year. As a soughtafter international public speaker and thought leader on the future of public libraries, Hill has addressed the FCC during the commission’s Broadband Summit and Erate Modernization Workshop. In 2014 she completed the University of Houston Strategic Foresight Program and was selected to participate in the prestigious National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program. Under Hill’s innovative leadership, the Chattanooga Public Library was identified as “The Library of the Future” by The National Journal, and is recognized as an inspired 21st century public institution.

Hill received her Masters of Science in Information Science from the College of Information at the University of North Texas, where she was recently named the 2014 Outstanding Alumna. Prior to Chattanooga, Hill served as the Interim Director of Libraries for the Dallas Public Library. She is a current member of the American Library Association and The Public Library Association, and the International Federation of Library Associations.

Kyle Hollifield
Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, Magellan Advisors

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.

John Honker
President, Magellan Advisors

Mr. Honker is a seasoned executive with 20 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. He was former head of Columbus Networks’ Internet Services Division, deploying undersea fiber, Internet points of presence and international broadband services across the Americas region. He started and grew the Internet Services Division from inception to $50 million in annual revenue over 7 years. Columbus was recently purchased by Cable & Wireless for $1.85 billion.

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, over $1 billion dollars of broadband investments have been made worldwide.

Joanne Hovis
President, CTC Technology & Energy

Joanne Hovis is President of CTC Technology & Energy and a recognized expert in communications policy at the federal, state, and local levels. She has extensive experience as a broadband business consultant working for the public interest. She has developed public–private partnerships on behalf of numerous public sector networks, and provides communities with guidance on the structures, business models, and financing opportunities available for broadband development.

Joanne is a longtime advocate for the interests of local communities in communications policy. She has testified before Congress and the FCC and has been widely published and featured as a speaker on topics related to building broadband at the local and state levels. She is the co-author of Facilitating Broadband Construction, reporting on gigabit-capable networks, that is currently featured in Broadband Communities magazine.

Joanne serves on the Boards of Directors of OneCommunity and the Benton Foundation and is immediate past president of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA). She represents local government on the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition.

Joanne received her juris doctor, with honors, from the University of Chicago law school. She is a member (inactive) of the bars of Illinois and the District of Columbia.

Carrie Huckeby
Chief Marketing Officer, Telecom Management Services

Carrie Huckeby is Chief Marketing Officer with Telecom Management Services. She has 28 years experience in rural telecom, working in the cooperative environment. She began her career with Ben Lomand Connect in McMinnville, Tennessee, where her experience included customer service, sales of business solutions, public relations, CLEC operations and marketing.

In 2010 Carrie began splitting her time between Ben Lomand, WK&T in Mayfield, Kentucky, and Ardmore Telephone in Ardmore, Alabama. The following year she joined TMS as CMO. She currently manages marketing, public relations, sales and local channel operations for WK&T and Ardmore Telephone. Along with marketing duties for the two companies, Carrie recently stepped into the interim role as operations manager at Ardmore Telephone.

Carrie has been active in the rural telecom industry, serving on the NTCA Marketing Committee for several years and holding the chair and co-chair positions. She has also worked on the state level serving as chair of the Tennessee Telecommunications Association marketing committee.

Carrie believes her involvement in many product roll outs through the years, Internet, DSL and IPTV, prepared her for her greatest career challenge and most rewarding— a 100% fiber to the home project at WK&T.

C. David Hudgins
Director of Member and External Relations, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative Glen Allen, Virginia

C. David Hudgins is Director of Member and External Relations for Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC), Glen Allen, Virginia.

Old Dominion is an electric generation and transmission cooperative that supplies the electricity needs of eleven member electric distribution cooperatives that serve over 1.2 million consumers in Virginia, Delaware and Maryland. In his position, Hudgins works with these member cooperatives, the public, legislators, local, regional and state governmental agencies and the Administration to influence the establishment of laws, policies and regulations. Also works to expand and locate economic development opportunities by attracting businesses to locate in the predominantly rural areas served by these cooperatives.

Prior to joining Old Dominion in 1996, Hudgins served as the Director of Economic Development for Spotsylvania County, Virginia from 1991-1996. He began his career in manufacturing with E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Company where we held various positions.

Hudgins has served on a wide range of educational, civic and community organizations, including the Metropolitan Richmond Economic Development Council, the Richmond chapter of the American Red Cross, the Henrico County Industrial Development Authority, the Henrico East Business Council, the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce Board, Virginia War Memorial Foundation Board, Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

Most recently, Hudgins was instrumental in the conception and establishment of the Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative and has served as chairman and vice-chairman of the Cooperative’s board of directors.

A native of Gwynns Island, Mathews County, Virginia, Hudgins earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is married and the father of three children and resides in Henrico County, Virginia.

Larry Johnson
Director and Founder, The Light Brigade

Larry Johnson, founder of The Light Brigade, has been at the forefront of fiber optics since 1977. Over his three-plus-decade career, Mr. Johnson has built a reputation as an expert in all aspects of fiber optics, and he participated in the early development of fiber optic design, installation, testing, and measurement standards. He has developed numerous FTTx training courses, including the Certified Fiber-to-the-Home Professional (CFHP) course, the FTTx for Installers and Technicians course, and the new FTTx OSP Design course. His leadership in the industry has resulted in repeated invitations to speak and coordinate FTTx activities at key conferences worldwide.

Mark Johnson
Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Data Architecture, MCNC

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.

Joseph Jones
Executive Director, OnTrac, Inc.

Joseph Jones began service in the telecommunications industry in 1996. Through the past 15 years, Joseph has performed field installation services, quality assurance functions, and administrative roles. He has also played a key role in many system startups from the field to the office. Joseph currently serves OnTrac, Incorporated as Executive Director. His primary role is administrative communication and logistics between system operations and the corporate office. He also serves the company’s CEO and COO in day-to-day functions. Joseph has also served and chaired different committees within the FTTH Council Americas. He chaired the Planning and Marketing Committee for six years and is currently the chairman for the Community Toolkit Committee.

Douglas Kinkoph
Associate Administrator, Office of Telecommunications and Information (OTIA), NTIA, U.S. Dept of Commerce

Mr. Kinkoph is the Acting Associate Administrator for the Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications (OTIA) for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Office of Telecommunications Information and Applications at the U.S. Department of Commerce. In this capacity, Mr. Kinkoph leads the $4.3 billion Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), resulting from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which funded the deployment of broadband infrastructure, public computer centers, sustainable adoption of broadband service, and the statewide broadband planning and data collection initiative, leading to the creation of the National Broadband Map.

Mr. Kinkoph also directs NTIA’s post-BTOP Strategic Initiatives to promote broadband deployment and adoption across communities nationwide. Prior to this role, Mr. Kinkoph managed the OTIA team responsible for overseeing the BTOP broadband Infrastructure grants.

A telecommunications policy expert, Mr. Kinkoph has more than two decades of experience in the public and private sectors. Mr. Kinkoph held multiple executive roles in the communications industry before joining the Department of Commerce. Most recently, Mr. Kinkoph was Vice President of Operations at Soundpath Conferencing, responsible for all Sales, Marketing and Customer Service operations. His private sector experience also includes serving in senior regulatory and policy roles at XO Communications, Nextlink, and LCI. Mr. Kinkoph earned his M.A. in Administration from Central Michigan University and his BS in Telecommunication Management from Ohio University.

Ashley Kroh
Southeast City Expansion, Google Fiber

Ashley Kroh serves as the Southeast City Expansion Lead at Google Fiber. She has 9 years of experience at Google and has worked on a variety of projects in both traditional and online media.

In her current role, she leads a team focused on strategy, engagement and operations with cities, and other partners required to bring Google Fiber to more people in the Southeast, including in Nashville, Atlanta, Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business from Marshall University and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Kenneth Kuchno
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Policy and Outreach, USDA Rural Utilities Services

Mr. Kuchno is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University. In 1980 he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.

Mr. Kuchno started his career with the Rural Electrification Administration (now Rural Utilities Service) directly after graduating from Penn State in 1980 as an engineer in the North Central Area. In this position, he was responsible for reviewing system designs associated with the construction of telecommunication facilities for rural telephone companies. In addition, he was responsible for reviewing and approving plans and specifications and contracts for this construction.

In 1990 Mr. Kuchno was chosen to be a General Filed Representative for the Rural Utilities Service covering projects in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Hawaii, Guam, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Saipan and Marshall Islands. During the next seven years Mr. Kuchno traveled extensively assisting companies in a wide variety of activities from inspection of construction to the development of financial projections to support a loan application. His time in the field allowed him to experience first hand the day to day operations of a telecommunications company.

In 1997, Mr. Kuchno became the Engineering Branch Chief for the South West Area for the Rural Utilities Service. As Engineering Branch Chief, Mr. Kuchno was responsible for overseeing the engineering activities associated with the approval and monitoring of loans for a twelve state area and the Agencies Pacific Rim projects.

In 1999, Mr. Kuchno was selected for the position of Director, Eastern Area, Rural Utilities Service. He was responsible for administering the Agency’s loan portfolio for all projects located east of the Mississippi River.

In 2003, Mr. Kuchno became the Director for the Rural Utilities Service’s Broadband Division. Mr. Kuchno is responsible for the development of the processes and procedures associated with implementing the Rural Broadband Access Loan Program. Today he is responsible for a loan portfolio that exceeds $1 billion for this program. In addition, Mr. Kuchno is responsible for administering the Community Connect Grant Program. This grant program provides funds to construct broadband facilities in communities that do not have access to broadband service.

In 2009, Mr. Kuchno was charged with administering the day to day operations of the Broadband Initiatives Program in addition to his duties as the Director of Broadband Division. Approximately $3.5 billion have been awarded in this program.

In August 2013, In addition to his other duties, Mr. Kuchno was selected to lead the Rural Utilities Service’s efforts in developing an on-line application system along with automated review, underwriting and advance of funds systems. These IT efforts will span across the Telecom/Broadband, Electric, and Water and Environmental Programs of the Rural Utilities service.

In July 2014 RUS underwent a major reorganization and Mr. Kuchno was chosen to become the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Policy and Outreach. In this role Mr. Kuchno will be responsible for a variety of duties. These duties will include outreach events to promote RUS’ many programs, implementing and updating regulations, staying current with industry, responding to the FCC and many other activities.

Travis LeBlanc
Chief of the Bureau of Enforcement, Federal Communications Commission

Travis LeBlanc is Chief of the Bureau of Enforcement at the Federal Communications Commission where he leads the Commissions largest organizational unit, including its 24 field offices around the country.

Prior to joining the FCC, LeBlanc served as Special Assistant Attorney General of California and a senior advisor to Attorney General Kamala D. Harris. In this capacity, he oversaw the California Department of Justice’s operations and activities involving complex litigation, legislation, and policy matters such as technology regulation, telecommunications, high-tech crime, cybersecurity, privacy, intellectual property, antitrust, and health care. He established California’s first high-tech crime and privacy enforcement units. He also secured agreements with leading technology companies to protect consumer privacy, promote online safety, and respect intellectual property rights. He is an Affiliated Scholar at the University of California Hastings College of the Law and a member of the American Law Institute.

LeBlanc previously served in the Obama Administration as an attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, which advises the President, Attorney General, and general counsels of executive branch agencies on the constitutionality and legality of the programs and activities of the United States government. He has worked as an attorney at Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington, D.C. and Keker & Van Nest LLP in San Francisco, where his practice concentrated on white-collar criminal defense and complex civil litigation. From 2012-2014, LeBlanc was an Appellate Lawyer Representative to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and in 2012, he was selected as Columbia Law School’s Visitor from Government Practice. He clerked for the Hon. Stephen Reinhardt on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He has an A.B. from Princeton University, an M.P.A. from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and an LL.M. in International Law from the University of Cambridge.

Mike Lee
COO, First Solutions

Mike has over 15 years experience in the telecommunications industry, building and servicing last mile connections to commercial and residential users in mass markets. Mike specializes in delivering last mile services to commercial and residential users, acquiring new customers and managing existing accounts.

Hilda Legg
Former RUS Administrator and Vice Chair, Broadband Communities

A prominent broadband advocate and champion, Hilda Gay Legg served as the 15th Administrator of the Rural Utilities Service (RUS). Ms. Legg recently assumed the post of Vice Chair of Broadband Communities Magazine.

Appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed by a unanimous vote of the U.S. Senate on September 27, 2001, Ms. Legg administered a $6 billion loan and grant program for the infrastructure needs of rural America through Water and Environmental, Telecommunications and Rural Electrification Programs. RUS is part of USDA’s Rural Development mission area, which also includes agencies that serve rural housing, rural business, and community facility needs. As a result of her experience, Ms. Legg has a unique overview of the needs of rural America as it evolves into a diverse economy, In both public and private life, she has been committed to encouraging economic growth while helping improve the quality of life in all of rural America.

A long-time advocate of holistic approaches to economic development in rural America, Ms. Legg entered public service in Washington, D.C. from The Center for Rural Development in Somerset, Kentucky, where she served seven years as Executive Director and CEO. She was responsible for the overall management of the state-of-the-art facility as well as program development and outreach. The Center, whose concept is based on a holistic approach, is considered a national model for economic development.

In 1990, Ms. Legg was appointed by President George Bush as Alternate Federal Co-Chairman for the Appalachian Regional Commission in Washington, D.C. Her primary responsibilities were to represent and promote the economic policies for the region’s 21 million people, and to assist in the management of a $190 million budget aimed at job creation, building infrastructure, education and workforce training and numerous research programs relative to rural economic development.

Other Career Endeavors: During the late 1980’s, Ms. Legg was Director of Admissions and a faculty member at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Kentucky.

From 1985 to 1987, she was the Field Representative in the Bowling Green office of U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell. Ms. Legg served in the Reagan Administration at the U.S. Department of Education. She started her professional career as a teacher in the Adair County Schools and is certified both as an administrator and counselor.

Laurel Leverrier
Operations Branch Chief Policy and Outreach Division Telecommunications Programs, Rural Utilities Service

Laurel has served as the Operations Branch Chief for the Policy and Outreach Division of the Rural Utilities Service since July of 2014. Laurel works with the RUS telecommunications loan and grant programs, which provide low cost loans and grants to extend broadband infrastructure into rural areas. Her primary focus is on program policy and oversight, outreach activities, legislative and regulatory changes, IT systems maintenance and development, program reporting and the loan workouts and collections. Before transitioning into the Policy and Outreach Division, Laurel served as the Deputy Director of the Broadband Division since August of 2010, overseeing the Farm Bill Broadband Loan Program, Community Connect Grant Program and Broadband Initiatives Program. Prior to joining the Rural Utilities Service, Laurel spent five years with a small private healthcare firm in Kansas City as a Recruiter and Assistant Business Manager. Laurel has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and Economics from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.

Blair Levin
Communications & Society Fellow, Brookings Institute

Blair Levin serves as a non-resident Senior Fellow of the Metropolitan Policy Project of the Brookings Institute. He also serves as the Executive Director of Gig.U: The Next Generation Network Innovation Project, an initiative of three dozen leading research university communities seeking to accelerate the deployment of next generation networks. From 2009-2010, Mr. Levin oversaw the development of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler cited Mr. Levin’s work, noting that “no one’s done more to advance broadband expansion and competition through the vision of the National Broadband Plan and Gig.U.” Prior to his work on the National Broadband Plan, Mr. Levin worked as an analyst at Legg Mason and Stifel Nicolaus. Barron’s Magazine noted that in his work, he "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."

From 1993-1997 Levin served as Chief of Staff to FCC Chairman Reed Hundt. Previously, Mr. Levin practiced law in North Carolina, where he represented new communications ventures, as well as local governments. He is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School. He is the co-author of the “The Next Generation Network Connectivity Handbook” (2015) and, with Reed Hundt, “The Politics of Abundance” (2012).

Casey Lide
Principal, The Baller Herbst Law Group

Casey Lide is a Principal with Baller Herbst Stokes & Lide, PC, a national law firm based in Washington, DC, and Minneapolis, MN, that specializes in representing local governments and public power utilities in matters involving telecommunications, cable television, high-speed data communications, Internet access, wireless telecommunications, right-of-way management, pole and conduit attachments, and barriers to the public-sector entry into telecommunications.

Mr. Lide has particular expertise assisting public- and private-sector clients on contract drafting and negotiation matters, having successfully executed dozens of fiber optic IRUs and leases, easements, franchises, attachment agreements, ISP service agreements, interconnection and collocation agreements, strategic MoUs and others. He also regularly works with multi-disciplinary teams of legal, financial, engineering and other technical experts, assisting government entities and utilities in making comprehensive telecommunications and cable plans; developing state-of-the-art communications systems; and complying with state and Federal communications requirements.

Mr. Lide is a frequent author, speaker, and instructor on these topics.

Gregg Logan
Chief Technology Officer, C-Spire

After attending the University of Mississippi, Gregg began his now 36 year career in telecommunications working in the Independent Telco space. In 1990, Gregg was named Director of Technology for Telapex, Inc., the parent company of C Spire. After four years of focus on building the rural cellular markets of C Spire Wireless, Gregg moved full time to C Spire Wireless as Director of Technical Operations. He was responsible for building and operating the cellular network of the company that has since grown into the largest privately held cellular company in North America. In 1999 Gregg was named Vice President and General Manager of Telepak Networks, Inc., a startup company with all fiber based products and services. Telepak Networks placed the first Fiber-to-the-Home network in Mississippi and one of the first in the Southeast into service in 2006. In 2012, Telepak Networks, dba C Spire Fiber, introduced business class dedicated Internet access and full-featured IP phone services in conjunction with C Spire Business Solutions. In 2013, he was named Senior Vice President for C Spire Fiber where he was responsible for all day-to-day operations. Under Gregg’s management, the C Spire Fiber team put into place a fiber network throughout Mississippi that reaches into four states. In 2014 Gregg was named Chief Technology Officer of C Spire that includes the C Spire fiber network boasting more than 6,000 route miles of fiber, over 1700 cell sites, using 3G and 4G technology, as well as C Spire’s Fiber to the Home initiative that brings Gigabit Internet speeds, a full suite of IPTV and home phone service to eight markets throughout Mississippi.

Kristin Lough
Financial and Loan Business Specialist, USDA, Washington D.C. Metro Area, Government Relations

Kristin Lough works for the Telecom Program’s Policy and Outreach Division where she assists in implementing technology solutions by determining the business requirements of a project or program and communicating those processes clearly to stakeholders, facilitators, and partners. Kristin also develops technical solutions to business problems, including, analyzing, defining, and documenting requirements, in addition to testing and maintaining Rural Development IT systems.

Prior to managing IT projects for Telecom, Kristin worked as a financial analyst reviewing, processing, and monitoring Farm Bill projects under Telecom’s Broadband Division. While working as an analyst, Kristin attended night school at University of Phoenix’s Arlington Campus where she obtained her Master’s degree in Business Administration and Management. Before moving to Washington D.C. and working for USDA, Kristin received her Bachelor of Science in Economics at Shepherd University in 2006.

Ben Lovins
Senior Vice President, Telecommunications, Jackson Energy Authority

Ben Lovins is the Senior Vice President of the Telecommunications Division for Jackson Energy Authority (JEA). He has been directly involved with FTTH deployment and operation since the company’s entrance to the market in 2003 when it built its $70 million fiber-to-the-home system and with the most recent announcement to bring Gigabit service to its customers. Prior to joining JEA in 2003, Ben worked for Comcast in various positions. Ben’s 27 years in the Telecommunications industry includes operational, headend engineering, product and service deployment, video programming and services contract negotiations, and additional administrative responsibilities. Ben holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Organizational Leadership as well as an MBA from Union University. Ben is a current FTTH Council Board member.

The Honorable Crit Luallen
Lieutenant Governor, Commonwealth of Kentucky

Crit Luallen is Kentucky’s 56th Lieutenant Governor, having been appointed by Governor Steve Beshear.

Luallen is known as one of Kentucky’s most experienced and respected public leaders, after serving with six Governors and being elected twice to statewide office. Luallen was elected the state’s Auditor of Public Accounts in 2003 and re-elected in 2007. Prior to that, she served nearly seven years as Secretary of the Governor’s Executive Cabinet, the highest appointed position in Kentucky state government. Previous appointments include State Budget Director, Secretary of Finance, Secretary of Tourism, and Commissioner of the Department of the Arts. She also served as President of the Greater Louisville Economic Development Partnership, a regional economic development agency. In 2009 she was named Public Official of the Year by the Washington, D.C.-based magazine Governing for her positive impact on government in Kentucky.

During her tenure as State Auditor, she led her team to aggressively tackle fraud and abuse, leading to the prosecution of dozens of public officials. Her work also brought a new accountability to board-governed organizations across Kentucky after a series of high-profile audits exposing mismanagement.

Luallen is a native of Frankfort, a graduate of Centre College, where she serves on the Board of Trustees, and is married to Lynn Luallen.

Peter Lynch
President, OnLight Aurora

Peter Lynch was a member of a core team of volunteers that worked for months to start On Light Aurora in early 2012. He is now OnLight’s President and has general management responsibilities. OnLight is a non-profit that leases fiber capacity on the City of Aurora’s municipal, fiber optic network in Illinois. OnLight makes the benefits of the City’s extensive Gigabit fiber rings available to community anchor institutions in a City of 200,000 residents.

The focus of Peter’s career has been networks. He started with Cablevision Systems as a general manger in Massachusetts and was transferred by them to the United Kingdom where he develop early stage, broadband properties. He moved on to work for the former “baby bell” NYNEX in the UK developing their test market for integrated services before leading their residential marketing team in support of multiple, new systems. Peter return to the USA to be the COO of People’s Choice TV. He was a key contributor to reinventing this firm into a wireless ISP which led to its acquisition by Sprint. He subsequently became the President of a CLEC and worked as the COO of a system integrator before returning to marketing as a consultant.

Peter graduated from Boston College.

Cullen McCarty
Executive Vice President, Smithville Fiber

Cullen McCarty is the executive vice president of Smithville Fiber (formerly Smithville Communications), Indiana’s largest privately owned telecom. A recognized industry veteran, over the past two decades Cullen has been a tireless advocate on insuring competitive quality broadband, particularly for rural areas of the United States. A frequent traveler to Washington, D.C., Cullen regularly works with Congressional leaders and staffers to promote positive policy development for fiber broadband support and telecommunications advancement.

Cullen is a long-time leader in Indiana economic development. A former and current participant in several state task force committees for economic development and broadband support, he currently serves on the board of directors of Radius Indiana, a multi-county regional economic development partnership that includes the $1 billion high-tech Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division. Cullen represents Smithville Fiber in federal and regional trade organizations, including providing policy guidance.

Cullen holds a BA in history from Indiana University, Bloomington.

Lori McDaniel
Chief Marketing Officer, Dalton Utilities

Lori McDaniel is Chief Marketing Officer of Dalton Utilities/OptiLink where she has worked for the past 18 years. Lori was actively involved in all initial and ongoing marketing efforts for OptiLink’s fiber to the premise packages since its inception. Lori also handles all marketing, public relations and media relations for OptiLink and Dalton Utilities’ water, wastewater, electric and natural gas sectors. She is host of “The Local Scene” on WDNN North Georgia Television, a local events talk show. Additionally, she is very active in the Dalton and Chatsworth communities in arts, theatre and music projects/performances. She is currently president of Murray Arts Council in Chatsworth, GA where she lives with her husband David and children Joe, age 12, and Emma, age 8.

Jamie L. McMahan
County Planner Yancey County, North Carolina

Since 2008 Jamie McMahan has served as County Planner and Chief Building Official for Yancey County. Having studied Sustainable Community Development and Economic Development through Duke University Jamie has worked on numerous public facility and infrastructure projects, multiple building renovation and reuse projects for Yancey County and the Yancey County Economic Development Commission, the development of a multi-use sports and recreation park, and construction of water, sewer and other public utilities, and has chaired the Yancey County Transportation Taskforce and the Yancey County Broadband Taskforce. As chairman of the broadband committee he worked with internet service provider Country Cablevision, assisting them to obtain a $25.3 million broadband expansion to provide fiber to the home connectivity to all of Yancey County, making Yancey County the first, and at present only, county in North Carolina to provide fiber to the home connectivity and gigabit speeds for commercial users countywide.

Kathleen McMahon
Founder & Partner/Co-Chair, APA Smart City Task Force

Kathleen McMahon founded Applied Communications in 1994. Her consulting practice has focused on helping communities develop strategies for broadband and the 21st Century economy. She has worked on over 20 broadband strategic plans including the State of Montana Broadband Planning Project, Bozeman, MT Fiber Feasibility Study and broadband mapping projects in Montana and North Dakota. Currently she is co-chair of the American Planning Association Smart City Task Force and is on the project team for the Missoula, MT fiber project. She speaks frequently on strategic planning for broadband and routinely contributes articles on the topic to professional journals. She is the co-author of the APA PAS report - “Planning and Broadband: Infrastructure, Policy and Sustainability”.

Ms. McMahon has a Bachelors Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois and 30 years of city planning experience. In 1998, she received a Masters Degree in Educational Technology from George Washington University. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and Chair of the APA Technology Division. Ms. McMahon is a founding member and Past President of the Rural Telecommunications Congress.

Don Means
Sausalito, CA

With over 25 years experience in ICT, Means initiated the "Fiber to the Library" (FTTL) campaign in 2007 and in 2012 founded the Gigabit Libraries Network (GLN), an international collaboration of tech-savvy, innovation libraries .

Current project: Libraries WhiteSpace Pilot: Global initiative by public libraries installing TV WhiteSpace/WiFi equipment, using open public spectrum, to create regional scale wireless connections to support new library WiFi hotspots and for direct links among schools, clinics and other community anchor institutions.

Means is founder/principal of Digital Village Associates and Founding Chairman of the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition and Trustee for the Sausalito Public Library.

In 1996, he created the Community TeleStructure Initiative, a national consortium advocating local community responsibility for telecom infrastructure planning. In 1992-93, as a member of the Atrium Group, Means served as an advisor to the Librarian of Congress on digitization strategy.

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.

Brian Mefford
Founder & Partner/Co-Chair, APA Smart City Task Force

Brian Mefford is recognized as a leading resource for designing and executing broadband investment strategies. He has been featured in CSPAN’s “Communicators” series and has been profiled in The Economist and The Wall Street Journal for efforts to expand broadband across the United States. Brian previously was Founder & Chairman of Connected Nation, Inc., a nonprofit organization he led for a decade. Brian has led community broadband efforts in hundreds of communities across the U.S. and abroad.

Brian received a B.S. in Economics from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky and an International M.B.A. from Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management, in Arizona. He studied English literature at Regents College in London, England and participated in the Legislative Studies Program at Georgetown University.

Christopher Mitchell
Director, Community Broadband Networks, Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Christopher Mitchell is the Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) in Minneapolis. Mitchell is a leading national expert on community networks and Internet access.

Within his capacity at ILSR, he also serves as the policy director for Next Century Cities, a national collaboration of mayors and CIO’s seeking universal access to fast, affordable, and reliable Internet connections. He is also a Senior Advisor to the Coalition for Local Internet Choice.

On a day-to-day basis, Mitchell runs, the comprehensive online clearinghouse of information about community broadband. Their interactive community broadband network map tracks over 450 such networks. His research and reports are available online at

In 2015, the White House used Mitchell’s research as building blocks in a National Economic Council report encouraging community networks. He was honored as one of the 2012 Top 25 in Public Sector Technology by Government Technology, which honors the top “Doers, Drivers, and Dreamers” in the nation each year. That same year, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors named ILSR the Broadband Organization of the Year. Follow him @communitynets

Photo courtesy of Glenn Ricart

Kevin Morgan
Director of Marketing, ADTRAN

Kevin Morgan currently serves as the 2015 Board of Directors Chairman for the FTTH Council Americas. He was first elected to the Board in 2010 and is past Chair of the Government Affairs committee and Marketing committee for the FTTH Council. Kevin works for ADTRAN and responsible for Cloud & Service Marketing and has spent his career gaining experience in advanced communications technology, fiber optic systems, and business product marketing. He joined ADTRAN after working in the Science & Technology department for several years at BellSouth.

Kevin holds an Electrical Engineering degree from Auburn University and an MBA from the University of Alabama.

Joel Mulder
Vice President of Sales, ex2 Technology

Mr. Joel Mulder is the Vice President of Sales for eX2 Technology LLC. Over the years he has worked with multiple entities to design, construct, operate and maintain both wireless and fiber networks. Many of these networks have been public/private partnerships (P3) that enabled rural areas to receive advanced communications services on an open access basis. His background includes working with middle mile, tele-health and FTTH networks as well as physical security systems for our nations critical infrastructure.

eX2 Technology LLC was specifically formed by long-term industry experts to fill an industry gap that delivers multi-faceted solutions and services to your network project with greater efficiency, less cost, and a streamlined acquisition process. We specialize in financing, designing, installing and maintaining robust broadband, intelligent transportation and critical infrastructure networks for government agencies, consortiums and public/private partnerships (P3). Our business is a single source solutions provider for communities and public agencies seeking to build or enhance their intelligent infrastructure.

eX2 Technology LLC is a premier member of the FTTH (Fiber to the Home) Council. Joel is the company representative to the Council as well as serving as a Board Member for the Rural Telecommunications Congress. In 2010, he was appointed by then Governor Pat Quinn to the Illinois Broadband Deployment Council.

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

Bob Nichols
CEO, Declaration Networks Group, Inc

Declaration Networks Group, Inc ( is building state-of-the art broadband wireless networks and offering NeuBeam broadband services ( to residential and business customers. Bob is a recognized leader in the market development of new technologies for the telecom, internet and media industries, and prior to founding Declaration Networks Group, Inc he held executive positions driving business development, product, sales and corporate strategy at Neustar, USinternetworking, Iridium and American Mobile Satellite Corporation. In the course of starting Declaration Networks Group, Bob also co-founded the AIR.U initiative (, along with Google, Microsoft, and New America Foundation with the mission to accelerate the deployment of next-generation networks in Higher Ed communities.

Elliot Noss
CEO, Ting Internet

Elliot is CEO of Tucows. Tucows challenged how software was distributed in the 1990s and how domain names were offered and managed in the 2000s and is challenging how mobile phone service is provided today.

For nearly twenty years, Elliot has loved and championed the Internet as the greatest agent of positive change the world has ever seen. Through his role at Tucows, his involvement in ICANN and his personal efforts, he has lobbied, agitated and educated to promote this vision and protect an Open Internet around the world.

Elliot has been sitting in the same chair at Tucows for over fifteen years and finds every year more exciting than the previous!

Stewart Overton
Instructor, The Light Brigade

Stewart Overton earned a BSME in Mechanical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. During his 28 years with AT&T, he was heavily involved with the development of fiber optic outside plant technology. He was a member of the first AT&T team assembled to develop methods and procedures for installing, splicing, and testing fiber optic telecommunication cables. Mr. Overton has worked as a Consultant for many different telecommunication companies and has been an Instructor for the Light Brigade since 1998. During this time he has instructed students in all aspects of the design, installation, testing, restoration and maintenance aspects of fiber optic telecommunications networks.

Jane Patterson
President, The View Forward - Go Forward

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.

Billy Ray
Superintendent, Glasgow Electric Plant Board

WILLIAM J. RAY, P.E. - Billy serves as the Chief Executive Officer for the Glasgow Electric Plant Board. He is closely involved in all areas of the municipally owned utility, including the implementation of radical changes to it. Under his direction, the Glasgow EPB, starting in 1988, constructed a ubiquitous broadband network throughout the community that incorporates the provision of cable television, telephone, utility telemetry, and high-speed Internet access into a new "Infotricity Utility" for the benefit of the people of Glasgow. This project has won many awards including the Energy Innovator Award from the American Public Power Association, the "Innovations in State and Local Government" award from the Ford Foundation in conjunction with Harvard University; the James H. McGraw Award from the McGraw-Hill publishing company; and, once tied with Insight Communications for most innovative cable company in the annual Interop Infrastructure Awards Program from Interactive Week magazine.

In 2015 Glasgow EPB was awarded a Smart Energy Technology Grant by TVA, which has Billy and his team installing the latest array of technology available today in the hope of proving that his “infotricity” theories will indeed demonstrate that daily energy takings can be reshaped to match the output of the most efficient generation sources.

Billy has provided expert testimony before the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. House of Representatives Telecommunications Subcommittee, the United States Senate Communications Subcommittee, the Commerce Department and others on the subjects of municipal ownership of broadband communications systems, competition in telecommunications services, and the concept of combining electric power and broadband to produce a new energy source, infotricity.

Michael Render
President & Leading FTTH Researcher, RVA LLC

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.

Catherine Rice
Project Director, CLIC

Catharine Rice is Project Director for the Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC), and consultant with Broadband-Matters. For more than a decade, Catharine has been a cable and broadband consultant serving North Carolina communities in planning and deploying local broadband systems and closing the digital divide, focusing particularly on those communities in the Research Triangle area and surrounding rural counties. Highlights of her work includes working with the Town of Chapel Hill on the development of a free Wifi network to serve underprivileged students in the public housing neighborhoods who have no internet access at home (now in pilot phase); assisting Carrboro in its role as a participant in the Triangle’s NCNGN project, and contributing to the development, implementation and now current promotion of North Carolina’s first community-owned, fiber-to-the-home Gigabit network Wilson, North Carolina. Ms Rice is known for spearheading a grassroots effort, and lobbying to defend, local community authority to offer broadband services between 2007 and 2011. She is currently on the Board of Directors of NATOA, the Secretary/Treasurer for its Virginia Chapter, VATOA and a Council delegate on the City of Alexandria, Virginia’s IT Commission. She holds a Masters’ Degree from the Annenberg School of Communications and a B.A. from the University of Michigan.

Steve Ross
Editor-at-Large, Broadband Communities Magazine

Steven S. Ross is a long-time technology writer and former Columbia University professor and is also the Editor-at-Large 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.

Deputy Secretary Steve Rucker
Deputy Secretary, Kentucky State Government, Kentucky Emerging Technology

Steve Rucker was appointed Deputy Secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet by Governor Steve Beshear on Jan. 16, 2013.

Dep. Sec. Rucker focuses on facilities and support services, procurement services, managed print, broadband outreach, business analytics and EEO/contract compliance.

Previously, Rucker was the commissioner of the Commonwealth Office of Technology overseeing IT governance, enterprise IT strategic planning, vendor management and business continuity planning.

Deputy Secretary Rucker currently resides in Frankfort with his family.

David Russell
Senior Marketing Director, Calix

David is responsible for marketing Calix’ fiber access solutions. David has spent over twenty years in business development and marketing of broadband access systems. He served on the Fiber-to-the-Home Council Board between 2008-2010. He holds 8 patents in broadband technologies. David did his undergraduate work at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA and graduate work at the University of Minnesota.

Dean Russell
Chief Engineer and Project Manager, Country Cablevision

Since 2010 Dean Russell has been the Chief Engineer and Project Manager of Country Cablevision’s $25.5 million “Fiber to the Home” project which serves Yancey and Mitchell Counties. This project is the fastest countywide Internet speed in North Carolina according to the state of North Carolina’s Broadband Division.

Dean has been in the telecommunications industry for more than 31 years. He formerly owned and operated Russell’s Cable and Splicing Inc., and Russell and Buza Fiber Consulting Company. He worked with Ervin Cable for 15 years serving as a regional splicing supervisor.

Currently Dean serves on the Board as Treasurer for the Yancey, Mitchell and McDowell Counties Telehealth Program.

Brian Schrand
Senior Application Engineer, Clearfield

As an industry veteran with more than 22 years of telecommunications industry experience, Brian Schrand is the company’s technical expert responsible for working with Clearfield's customers to help them achieve the most cost effective deployments of FTTP networks. Previously Schrand was Senior Specialist for Network Engineering, Construction and Operations at Cincinnati Bell Telephone (CBT), the 9th largest telephone company in the U.S. While at CBT, Schrand held various management positions within the company, including Outside Plant Construction, Installation, Information Technology (IT), and Outside Plant Staff. Prior to CBT, he assisted in engineering and constructing the City of Cincinnati’s first fiber network.

Frank Shap
Senior Analyst and Economic Development SME CTC, Technology & Energy Kensington, MD

Frank Shap has multiple decades of experience in economic development, technology deployment, sales/marketing, business development and program management spanning both public and private sectors.

Frank recently joined CTC Technology & Energy as a senior analyst supporting CTC clients in the municipal broadband space.

Prior to that, Frank was the Assistant Director of Economic Development for Garrett County Maryland with responsibility for technology infrastructure, business recruitment/retention, and workforce development. During his 14 year tenure at Garrett County, Frank was directly responsible for developing the County Broadband strategic plan, management of federal and state grants to deploy a 50 mile fiber optic middle mile backbone, and connection/service delivery to over 45 Community Anchor Institutions county wide.

Before retiring from Garrett County, he led the County Last Mile Broadband Wireless Network project, securing $1.5 million in grant funds to make affordable broadband service available to 3000 un/underserved residents.

Other accomplishments include shared development responsibility of the Garrett College Career Technology Training Center and the Garrett Information Enterprise Center technology business incubator, located on the Garrett College campus in McHenry MD.

Frank’s professional experience before joining Garrett County Economic Development in 2001 included both technology and management positions at companies including Westinghouse Electric, Digital Equipment Corporation, Apple Computer, Honeywell and Northrop Grumman.

Frank resides in Garrett County, and enjoys travelling to visit his two sons and 3 grandchildren. In his spare time, Frank pursues hobbies including motorcycle and automotive adventure travel, music, reading, volunteer activities, and keeping abreast of current events.

Scott Shapiro
Senior Advisor, The Mayor’s Office, City of Lexington, KY

Scott Shapiro comes to the Mayor’s office having just earned a masters in public administration degree at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Before returning to school to pursue a new direction in public service, Scott co-owned a consulting company and was a senior executive with a health care organization. He lives in Lexington with his wife, a high-risk obstetrician at UK, and three boys.

Deb Socia
Executive Director, NextCentury Cities

Deb Socia is the Executive Director of Next Century Cities, a new initiative that strives to support community leaders across the country as they seek to ensure that all have access to fast, affordable, and reliable Internet. More than 60 cities strong, Next Century Cities is committed to celebrating city successes, demonstrating the value of truly high speed broadband, and elevating the importance of next generation broadband as essential infrastructure.

Prior to her role as the Executive Director of Next Century Cities, Deb was the Executive Director of the Tech Goes Home program whose mission is to ensure digital equity. Tech Goes Home provides training, hardware, and low cost Internet access to Boston residents and supported nearly 14,000 participants during Deb’s tenure.

Previously, Deb spent 32 years as an educator and administrator. She was the founding principal of the Lilla G. Frederick Middle School, a Boston Public School where she led the one-to-one laptop initiative.

Deb was named the NATOA Community Broadband Hero in 2013, received the 2013 Pathfinder Award from MassCUE, the 2010 “Leadership and Vision” award from CRSTE (Capitol Region Society for Technology in Education), the Quincy/Geneva Community Advocate award in 2009, and the Lilla G. Frederick Award in 2008.

Joe Starks
Founder & President, ECC Technologies Inc.

Joe Starks is the founder and President of ECC Technologies, Inc. In addition, Joe is a founder and partner of several successful for-profit and municipally based not-for-profit Broadband technology companies. Joe specializes in the development of technology based collaborative partnerships between diverse entities. These partnerships include government, educational, business and other organizations both public and private, and amount to over a billion dollars globally.

The companies Joe is credited with founding include ECC Technologies, Inc., Fiber Systems/Fibertech L.L.C., Southern Tier Network, Navigator Networks L.L.C. and Finger Lakes Regional Telecommunications Development Corporation. All of these companies are successfully operating today and amount to nearly $1 billion in total value.

Joe is considered a leader in the development of Public-Private Partnerships for the purpose of technology-led economic development. Joe is a pioneer in the development of municipally based Open Access Models, broadband initiatives, and community-wide fiber infrastructure development. His Open Access Fiber Models have been considered an ideal model for rural communities by the Federal Communications Commission and have received considerable national and international attention.

More recently Joe and ECC Technologies team has been named the commercialization partner for the $150 million MCNC/ GLRBI BTOP Round 2 fiber backbone being implemented throughout the State of North Carolina.

Ashley Stelfox
Associate, The Baller Herbst Law Group, P.C.

Ashley Stelfox is an associate at Baller Herbst Stokes & Lide, PC, a national law firm based in Washington, DC, and Minneapolis, MN, that specializes in representing local governments and public power utilities in matters involving telecommunications, cable television, high-speed data communications, Internet access, wireless telecommunications, right-of-way management, pole and conduit attachments, and barriers to the public-sector entry into telecommunications.

Ms. Stelfox works closely with Jim Baller and other partners on community broadband matters, in particular concerning the Coalition for Local Internet Choice. She is the co-author of “Economic Development: The Killer App for Local Fiber Networks,” Broadband Communities Magazine (Nov-Dec 2014). Before joining the firm, Ms. Stelfox was a Legal Fellow at the United States Department of Homeland Security.

Ms. Stelfox is a 2013 graduate of the American University Washington College of Law, and is admitted to the bar in the State of Maryland.

Sean Stokes
Principal, Baller Herbst Stokes & Lide

Sean Stokes is a Principal of Baller Herbst Stokes & Lide, PC, a national law firm based in Washington, DC, and Minneapolis, MN. The only law firm in the United States to be named to Broadband Community Magazine’s FTTH Top 100 for each of the past two years, Baller Herbst Stokes & Lide specializes in representing public sector entities including State and local governments and public power utilities on a wide range of regulatory, administrative, legislative, and judicial matters involving broadband, telecommunications, cable television, wireless communications, right-of-way management, pole and conduit attachments and barriers to public-sector entry into communications. His clients include the American Public Power Association, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA), regional and state utility associations and municipal leagues and public and private entities in more than 35 states, including the majority of publicly-owned fiber-to-the-home networks in the country.

As a litigator, Mr. Stokes has been involved in numerous competition cases involving complex factual, legal and policy issues, multiple parties, and large amounts in controversy. He was part of the legal team representing the City of Chattanooga, TN and Wilson, NC in their petitions to the FCC to preempt state barriers to broadband.

Mr. Stokes regularly works with multi-disciplinary teams of legal, financial, engineering and other technical experts, assisting government entities and utilities in making comprehensive telecommunications and cable plans; developing state-of-the-art communications systems; complying with state and Federal communications requirements; drafting, negotiating and enforcing cable and telecommunications franchises; drafting integrated right-of-way and zoning ordinances, licenses, and permits; and negotiating pole, fiber, and tower agreements.

Mr. Stokes is a graduate of the National Law Center at George Washington University. He is a member of the Bar of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth, Eighth and Eleventh Circuits as well as the Federal District of Columbia; and the local courts of the District of Columbia. He holds an “AV” rating, the highest peer review rating from Martindale-Hubbell.

René F. True
Executive Director, ConnectKentucky

As Executive Director for ConnectKentucky, René provides primary direction and management for the company’s broadband related projects in the Commonwealth. In addition, René serves as Project Manager on selected projects for Connected Nation (parent corporation for ConnectKentucky), where he also provides corporate real estate asset management services. He currently provides business development support for Digital Works, a tech-based job training and placement program of Connected Nation.

Before joining ConnectKentucky, René served as Executive Director of the Office of Research and Information Technology in the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. His responsibilities included coordinating the agency’s strategic planning efforts, providing business recruitment support services, managing the inventory of the state’s industrial site and building database, representing the agency on multiple committees & taskforces, and overseeing the Cabinet’s IT functions.

Previously, René served over three years as Deputy Secretary of the Kentucky Revenue Cabinet, where he helped develop and implement the Cabinet’s first strategic plan, lead the agency legislative efforts, handled media communications, and coordinated a statewide re-assessment program. Twice elected Fayette County Property Valuation Administrator (PVA), René implemented one of the first Geographic Information Systems for a PVA office.

In addition, René is a licensed real estate broker and principal auctioneer. He operates True Real Estate Group, with a concentration on acquiring distressed properties for long-term investment purposes, and providing commercial and investment real estate brokerage services. René graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelors of Business Administration degree in December 1984 and received his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Kentucky in December 1995. René graduated from the Economic Development Institute, University of Oklahoma in April 2000.

Nicol Turner-Lee
President and CEO, NAMIC, Inc.

Nicol Turner-Lee is Vice President and Chief Research and Policy Officer for the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC), a 28-year old minority media advocacy organization, where she is responsible for designing and implementing its research and policy agenda. In her prior tenure at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Dr. Turner-Lee created the first “National Minority Broadband Adoption Study” which was cited in the Federal Communications Commission’s congressionally mandated National Broadband Plan as well as a subsequent report detailing the information needs of communities. In 2011, Dr. Turner-Lee was appointed to the Federal Advisory Committee on Diversity in the Digital Age by former FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. She has received numerous awards and is the author of several publications with one forthcoming on online privacy concerns of vulnerable populations. She received her B.A. from Colgate University and her doctorate in Sociology from Northwestern University.​

Aldona Valicenti
Chief Information Officer, City of Lexington, KY

Mayor Jim Gray named Aldona Valicenti as Lexington’s Chief Information Officer on September 27, 2013. She defined the role as the first appointed CIO for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and served during Governor Paul Patton’s administration. During her tenure, she also was president of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers(NASCIO).

Since leaving state government, Valicenti has been vice president of consulting services at CGI, an international information technology firm and vice president of business development and strategy for Oracle Corp., one of the world’s largest enterprise software companies.

She has undertaken a review of all systems, processes and operations. A number of new systems are being implemented and investments have been made in network operations and cyber security. She is also leading the Gig for Lex project with staff from the Mayor’s Office.

Valicenti, who lives in Lexington, holds a master’s degree from Wayne State University in Detroit and has received numerous awards, which included recognition as “public official of the year” by Governing magazine.

She has testified in Congress, advocating for state technology issues, and has advised a number of states and governors on the CIO role and organization of the CIO office.

Valicenti continues to be a frequent panelist, speaker and a member on the GAO Executive Committee on Information Management and Technology.

Dr. Robert Wack
City Council President, City of Westminster, MD

Dr. Robert Wack is the President of the Westminster Common Council in Westminster, and a practicing Pediatrician at Frederick Memorial Hospital, in nearby Frederick, MD. He has served on the Westminster Council since January 2003 when he was appointed to fill a vacancy, and since then was re-elected in May 2003, 2007, 2011, and 2015. He is the Chair of the Finance Committee, and has led various technology initiatives with the City, most recently the construction and operations of the Westminster Fiber Network, the first community wide gigabit network in the mid-Atlantic region. He is also the Director of Pediatric Services at Frederick Memorial Hospital, and a part time writer and published novelist.

Ron Walters
Executive Director, PANGAEA Internet

Ron is a 32 year veteran of the telecommunications and internet industries and is currently Executive Director of PANGAEA Internet. Ron joined PANGAEA in 2007 as a consultant and wrote the company’s first comprehensive business plan and is responsible for the overall management of the company. Previously Ron had a very successful career at both large and small telecommunications companies, including AT&T (Indianapolis), Ameritech (Chicago), Intermedia Communications, Z-Tel Communications and Trinsic Communications (all in Tampa). His past positions included finance, investor relations, product marketing, sales, project management, contract management, customer service, and regulatory/industry policy. Ron has BA and MBA degrees from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Trinity Christian School and the Isothermal Community College Business Sciences Advisory Committee and was an Adjunct Professor of Accounting at Spartanburg Community College.

Joseph S. (Jody) Wigington P.E.
General Manager, CEO Morristown Utility Systems Morristown, TN

Mr. Wigington is a registered Professional Engineer with 37 years’ experience in the utility and manufacturing sector. After jobs with TVA and the BASF Corporation, he has worked for the Morristown Utility Systems since 1995 serving as General Manager since 2007. As CEO, he is responsible for managing utility operations to provide power, water, wastewater and telecommunications services for the City of Morristown. Mr. Wigington helped guide Morristown’s entry into telecommunications in 2006 as a Fiber to the Home community to improve broadband services, lower rates, and enhance economic development. Most recently he has lead MUS in the developing advanced metering for Smart grid technologies utilizing the fiber network to achieve operational efficiencies and peak load reduction.

Masha Zager
Editor, Broadband Communities Magazine

Masha Zager is the editor of Broadband Communities. She has contributed to many technology and telecommunications publications, including Rural Telecommunications, REALTOR Association Executive Magazine, NewsFactor Network and Call Center Magazine.

She is the former editor of Customer Service Newsletter, the author and co-author of four books and several industry studies.

Previously, she was a senior manager for several agencies of New York City government, responsible for information technology, customer service, procurement and strategic planning.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from St. John’s College and did graduate work at the University of Virginia.









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