Economic Development Track

Tuesday, August 11

2:10 pm – 3:00 pm

Regional Broadband Initiatives

Over a decade ago, visionaries began imagining smart & connected cities. More times than not, the reality was a smart alley or street as a demonstration project. More recently, following efforts in Europe to reframe the vision from city-scale to regional-scale, a number of American metropolitan areas are architecting, aligning, deploying infrastructure and guiding governance work at regional scale. This panel will explore a number of those regional efforts with leaders of those metropolitan-scale initiatives.



Jory Wolf – Vice President of Digital Innovation, Magellan Advisors
John Leary – Information Technology Manager, Westfield Gas + Electric

3:10 pm – 4:00 pm

State Broadband Initiatives: A Survey of Innovative Practices

Many states have taken action to speed deployment of broadband to unserved and underserved communities through programs that include financial incentives, legislative initiatives, partnerships with utilities, and other creative tools. This panel will include experts from the field reporting on the successes (and the challenges) of these state programs.


Elin Katz – Managing Director, Utilities & Associate General Counsel, Tilson Technology Management

Ann Read – Officer, Broadband Research Initiative, The Pew Charitable Trusts
Charlotte Bewersdorff – VP for Community Engagement, Merit/Moonshot
Ben Blink – Policy Advisor, Transportation & Technology Innovation, Office of Governor Doug Ducey, State of Arizona


Wednesday, August 12

8:00 am – 8:50 am

Transforming Telehealth

New telehealth technologies, such as tele-psychiatry, remote patient monitoring, and online addiction treatment, allow patients to receive direct and high-quality care even when doctors are not physically present in the community. Telemedicine solutions can reduce transportation costs and serve patients' needs even when there is limited emergency room availability. But telemedicine solutions must have access to high-speed ubiquitous broadband both to the health care provider and to the home. These panelists will discuss how they have used broadband networks to implement successful remote and interactive health care solutions that save money and improve patient care.


John Windhausen – Executive Director, Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition

Dr. Robert Wack, MD – Chief Medical Information Officer, Medical Director, Continuum of Care, Frederick (MD) Health; City Council President, Westminster, MD
Dr. Roberta Schwartz – CEO and Chief Innovation Officer, Houston Methodist Hospital

9:00 am – 9:50 am

More Muni Broadband Unfamiliar Success Stories

This panel features municipal fiber networks that arrived at the retail-service-model using different methods and assets. Some were incremental, some had other muni utilities, and they used different strategies with contracted help. We'll talk about what worked, what didn't, and why these networks have been important and valuable investments for their communities.


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

David Williams – Technology Services Director, Ponca City, OK
Carole Monroe – Chair of the Board, Community Outreach, ValleyNet, Inc.
Dwight W. Thomas, Jr. – Director, Broadband & IT Services, City of Mont Belvieu-MB Link Broadband
Nathan Watkins – City Manager, City of Mont Belvieu

10:00 am – 10:50 am

It’s Fast, It’s Low Latency, And It’s Empowering Communities

High speed, low-latency symmetrical broadband: This panel will discuss projects from around the country that rely upon this asset to create and implement powerful opportunities to teach, learn, and empower. International cybersecurity competitions, remote science experimentation, and more are all possible in communities with fiber connections.


Deb Socia – President & CEO, The Enterprise Center

Graham Dodge – Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Gigabit Innovation Collaboratory, Inc. (MAGIC)
Joe Kochan – CEO, US Ignite

12:45 pm – 2:05 pm

Cornerstone Awards Luncheon

Sponsored by Verizon

Ted Maulucci – President, SmartONE Solutions

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm

The ‘Sausage Making’ of Fiber Financing – How it Really Works

Consultants often say finding financing is the hardest step for any fiber project. Our panelists have made it through the financing process and are ready to share the stuff they went through in the “sausage making” process – including partnerships, property taxes and a mix of methods used to finance a coalition of multiple municipalities.


Doug Dawson – President, CCG Consulting

Chris Townson – CEO, DTC, Tennessee
Ben Fineman – President & Co-Founder, Michigan Broadband Cooperative
Leslie Nulty – CFO, Mansfield Community Fiber, Inc.

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Who Will Connect America’s Broadband?

In this session, attendees will hear about the unique role that electric utilities will play in connecting consumers to broadband, particularly in those areas where incumbents do not believe their investments would be justified. This includes both rural and municipalities are striving to ensure that their citizens are afforded the same level of internet services as that available to their urban/suburban peers. We will review some of the challenges and some of the unique opportunities afforded by already possessing a wire to every premise.


Heather Gold – President & CEO, HBG Strategies

Matt Sayre – Managing Director, Onward Eugene
Hank Blackwood – Chief Technology Services Officer, Dalton Utilities
Phil Sharps – Manager, Technical Services, Clarksville Connected Utilities

Thursday, August 13

9:10 am – 12:00


Welcome and Intro

9:10 am – 10:00 am

Session 1: Models for Successful Public-Private and Public-Public Partnerships

Broadband partnership is an idea whose time has come. All across the country, there are localities, states, and companies working together in innovative ways to solve broadband challenges in win-win ways. In this session, we will explore a range of different models for partnerships, based on practical experience, and learn how to develop the partnership that best meets your community’s needs.


Jim Baller – President, CLIC


Todd Holt – CEO, Point Broadband & ITC Capital Partners, West Point, GA
Dorothy Baunach – CEO, DigitalC, Cleveland Ohio
Michele Kohler – Business Development Manager/Network Investment, FACEBOOK, Seattle, WA
Scott Shapiro – Consultant to MetroNet, Former Innovations Officer, Lexington, KY



10:00 am – 11:00 pm

Session 2: Identifying and Selecting your Partner

One of the critical elements of a partnership strategy is a process to identify and select the right partners. This session will answer such questions as: How should you go about this? What kinds of process can help to identify companies that will work with you to meet your goals? And what kinds of characteristics should you seek – or avoid?


McKenzie Schnell – Legal Advisor, CLIC
Catharine Rice – Project Director, CLIC


Monica Webb – Director of Market Development, Ting Internet, Ontario, CN
David Finn – Director of Corporate Development, Google Fiber, Seattle, WA



11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Session 3: Broadband P3s and Federal and State Incentives: A Force Multiplier

New sources of state and federal broadband funding also create new opportunities for public/private and other partnerships. For example, a community can collaborate with a private broadband ISP to apply for state and federal grant funds, enabling the community to share with the state and federal governments – and the private sector – the considerable cost of solving its broadband challenges. The current environment of new, robust broadband funding creates new opportunity for such collaboration in a range of communities. In this session, some of the architects of successful partnerships will share their strategies, lessons learned, and guidance for other communities.


Joanne Hovis – CEO, CLIC


Kenrick Gordon – Director, Governor’s Office of Rural Broadband, State of Maryland
Christen Sullivan – Senior Budget Analyst, Harford County, MD
Andrew Cohill – President, CEO, WideOpen Networks & Design Nine, Inc., Blacksburg, VA

September 22-24, 2020

Virtual on the vFair platform

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