C-Suite Breakfast Session - After the Deal: Keys to Successful Integration
Untangling the Web: The Impact of the Current Net Neutrality Debate
SD-WAN: Killer App in the Making
API and FLY: CPaaS enablement, Combining Apps, Networks, and APIs
New Business Cases and Revenue Streams: The Impact of SDN on Fiber Management and Orchestration
Women's Networking Breakfast Women in the Channel (WiC) presents Confidence and Connections: Elevating Each Other
Executive Insights: The Truth Behind Converged Network Solutions
Bridging the Digital Divide: Microsoft's Rural Airband Initiative
Network Deployment Workshop: Opportunities and Impediments for Network Builders
Small Cell Synergies
Network Solutions Implemented to Enable Ubiquitous Connectivity
The Edge for Tomorrow: How the Edge will Continue to Re-Shape the Network
Steven A. Augustino, Kelley, Drye & Warren LLP
Steve Augustino’s telecommunications practice is both broad and deep, ranging from regulatory, legislative and administrative law counsel to transactional advice, advocacy and litigation. An advocate since the early days of competition in telecommunications, Mr. Augustino has guided clients through the shifting policies, exponential growth and extraordinary innovation in the telecommunications industry over the last 25 years. His clients include companies and organizations from both developing and established markets, including major wireless service providers, manufacturers, trade associations and emerging telecom businesses.
Lori Blair, Ericsson
With over 19 years of experience in the wireless industry, Lori Blair is now Customer Solutions Sales Director at Ericsson. In her role at Ericsson she is responsible for growing enterprise sales of indoor small cell solutions through an indirect channel program. Prior to Ericsson Lori led the DAS Solutions business segment at Hutton Communications, a national wireless distribution company. In her role as Vice President of DAS Solutions she was responsible for the development and execution of customer and supplier strategies, and grew the segment to 20% of the company’s annual revenue. Lori’s dedicated focus to in-building cellular coverage solutions began in 2002. She continues to remain in the forefront of this evolving sector of the wireless industry and the dynamic future ahead.
Theresa Caragol, Founder and CEO, Achieve Unite
Achieve Unite, LLC, is a strategic advisory firm that provides performance partnering and business acceleration services to global enterprises including partner and channel development, go-to-market planning, M&A channel integration, and executive learning forums. Theresa Caragol has more than 20 years’ experience in building and managing multi-million dollar indirect channel teams and strategic alliance programs from inception to sales success. Ms. Caragol co-founded the Penton/Informa Channel IT Think Tank designed to influence and support the industry’s digital transformation. She was also one of 15 women selected for the First Leadership Foundry in Washington, DC – an organization dedicated to mentoring and recruiting women for positions on corporate boards. Ms. Caragol has received numerous IT industry channel accolades including: the Informa Top Industry Influencer (2017) and CRN’s Top 50 Most Influential Channel Chiefs (2014). Prior to founding TCC, she held senior executive roles at Extreme Networks, Ciena and Nortel. Ms. Caragol holds a Bachelors Degree from Virginia Tech, an M.B.A from University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and an Executive Masters in Leadership from Georgetown University.
Steve Childers, Chief Financial Officer, Consolidated Communications
Steve Childers is the Chief Financial Officer at Consolidated Communications, Inc. (CCI). He has a diversified background in accounting and a lengthy career with CCI which began in 1986. He was named Chief Financial Officer in 2004, with responsibilities for all accounting, treasury, tax and regulatory functions. Prior to his current role, he served as the Director of Accounting and as President of the former Consolidated Market Response. Mr. Childers served in a number of executive roles with McLeodUSA during the time of the merger with CCI, leading the company's Business Process Teams to implement revenue assurance processes and controls. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, serving as Treasurer. He is also a member of the Lake Land College Foundation Board of Directors and the Business Advisory Board of Eastern Illinois University. Mr. Childers holds a bachelor’s degree in Business from Eastern Illinois University and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Kevin Connolly, Director, Microsoft Airband Initiative
Kevin currently serves as Director in Microsoft's Airband Initiative – an organization that partners with start-ups and commercial organizations worldwide to help make Internet connectivity more accessible.
Prior to joining Affordable Access Initiatives, Kevin was accountable for Microsoft’s Windows commercial and public sector businesses across worldwide emerging markets; managed the Windows and Devices businesses across Sub-Saharan Africa for four years while based in Nairobi, Kenya; led business development initiatives focused on education and public health scenarios across Middle East & Africa region while based in Johannesburg, South Africa; and spent two years in Paris, France in Microsoft’s Europe, Middle East, & Africa Headquarters. Before his overseas roles, Kevin served as a Group Product Manager in Redmond, Washington at Microsoft's corporate headquarters in the USA. He completed his Masters degree and PhD coursework in Political Science at the University of Wisconsin.
Cameron Couch, Vice President, Channel Business - Multapplied Networks, Inc.
Cam Couch (link to LinkedIn) is an expert with languages, music, and SD-WAN - in that order. As Cam has been working in the SD-WAN category for over seven years, you can probably imagine how annoyingly knowledgeable he can be, then, with obscure music references and grammar. He’s taught Spanish to teenagers, typography to college students, and SD-WAN to hundreds of sales reps around the globe. As the Vice President of Business Development, Cam is responsible for revenue and channel growth at Multapplied and has worked with over 100 service providers the world over to commercialize their SD-WAN service. In addition, he chairs our product committee – a partner-driven forum where partners can ensure the technology does what they and their customers need it to do.
Larry Cushing, Chief Technology Evangelist, TPx
Larry Cushing has been a technology leader for more than 25 years, starring as a consultant and in-house management guru overseeing complex migrations and strategic planning for Fortune 500 companies, both domestic and global. He was a trailbreaker in the managed services arena. In 2007, he founded a New England-based company delivering a full set of services to businesses, including virtual CIO. In 2014, Mr. Cushing sold that company to DSCI, now a division of TPx. He serves as TPx’s Chief Technology Evangelist, helping guide the company’s strategy as the premier national Managed Services Carrier. He gives many talks and presentations across the country helping businesses understand and profit from the rapidly evolving technology driving managed services.
Evan Engstrom, Executive Director, Engine
Evan Engstrom is the Executive Director of Engine, a non-profit advocacy and research organization that promotes pro-startup public policy. Prior to joining Engine, Evan was an attorney at Farella Braun + Martel in San Francisco, focusing on copyright and other intellectual property litigation matters. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Representative Anna Eshoo
Like the Silicon Valley region she represents, Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo exemplifies innovation. She’s creative, boundary breaking and productive. She is a problem solver and a consensus builder. In Rep. Eshoo’s two decades in Congress, she has defended consumers, promoted American competitiveness and innovation, fought for access to health care for families and children, protected the environment, and encouraged development of clean energy technology.
Rep. Eshoo’s work consistently earns the highest approval from a wide range of organizations, including the League of Conservation Voters, the Humane Society, the American Association of University Women, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the Science Coalition. The San Jose Mercury News named her one of the ten most powerful women in Silicon Valley “because she sits on committees that oversee the Internet and biotech—areas vital to the valley’s interests.”
James C. Falvey, Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellot, LLC
Jim Falvey has 25 years of experience handling telecommunications regulatory matters at the state, federal, and local levels, primarily for competitive local exchange carriers. For the past 15 years, he’s served as a senior executive and in-house counsel for telecom carriers. Jim specializes in litigating intercarrier disputes, including more than $80 million in awards and settlements of intercarrier compensation complaints. He also represents fiber network companies, litigating a variety of rights-of-way and other disputes and negotiating municipal franchise agreements, conduit agreements, and private easements. Before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Jim represents competitive carrier interests on many fronts, including intercarrier compensation, IP Transition, Open Internet, merger approvals, and numbering issues. At the state level, Jim addresses carrier state regulatory requirements ranging from financing approvals to certification to merger approvals. Before practicing law, Jim was a legislative assistant for U.S. Sen. Harry M. Reid.
Michele C. Farquhar, Partner, Hogan Lovells
As leader of the firm's Communications Practice, and co-chair of the global industry sector team, she helps clients with a range of global and U.S. communications policy initiatives, spectrum auctions, licensing and compliance matters, and regulatory strategy involving M&A transactions as well as litigation. Michele obtains regulatory approvals, waivers, and other licenses for many new and cutting-edge technologies. And she leads teams advising major global companies on regulatory strategy issues involving a range of international jurisdictions. As a legal authority in her industry, she also speaks and writes extensively on a range of communications issues. Michele joined the firm in 1997, after serving as Chief of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. While at the FCC, she led the agency's new spectrum auction initiative and held primary responsibility over several major auctions and spectrum policy initiatives, as well as the bureau's implementation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Previously, Michele served as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary and Chief of Staff for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce. She played a lead role in developing the administration's positions on telecommunications reform as well as spectrum, international, electronic commerce, and other policy issues. As Vice President for Law and Regulatory Policy at the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, she gained industry knowledge and regulatory advocacy experience while representing cellular carriers on regulatory, policy, and legal issues before the FCC. Michele also served as senior legal advisor to FCC Commissioner Ervin Duggan and as the mass media advisor to two FCC general counsels.
Mike Frane, VP SD-WAN, Data and Security, Windstream
Mike Frane is VP SD-WAN, Data and Security at Windstream, leading the company's SD-WAN strategy. Since joining the organization in 2008, he's overseen the launch and lifecycle of products including LTE wireless, Ethernet and MPLS IPsec access elements, Secure WiFi & Analytics, Application Performance Optimization, IPsec VPN and Unified Communications services. Prior to their merger with Windstream, Mike and his team launched EarthLink's SD-WAN service, which was the company's most significant product introduction in over a decade. Mike holds a bachelor's degree in Genetics and Cellular Biology from the University of Minnesota.
Dane Jasper, CEO and Co-Founder, Sonic
Jasper co-founded Sonic, an Internet and telecommunications company, in 1994, at a time when many people hadn’t yet heard the terms Internet, email address or World Wide Web. Today, Sonic is the largest independent Internet service provider in Northern California. “As a 20-year industry veteran, I've seen a lot of change, but I remain committed to the concept of alternative competitive broadband access services.” From its Fusion phone and data service to its recent roll-out of Gigabit fiber Internet, Sonic is breaking new ground in broadband access.
Under Jasper’s guidance, Sonic established privacy policies that have become the industry’s gold standard, and Sonic has received a perfect 6-point privacy score from the Electronic Frontier Foundation since the EFF’s inception. Sonic is hailed for taking exceptional care of its customers; something that is rare within the industry. Jasper is an industry-wide key influencer with a devout following, expressing his opinions on topics such as Net Neutrality, security and regulatory policy.
Angie Kronenberg, Chief Advocate and General Counsel, INCOMPAS
Angie Kronenberg joined INCOMPAS in 2013 as its chief advocate and general counsel. Angie manages the INCOMPAS policy team and its work before the federal government. Angie was named a Rising Star in Wireline by FierceTelecom in 2014. In 2015, FierceTelecom named her one of the Top Women in Wireline for her advocacy work on behalf of INCOMPAS members. Angie is a member of the Federal Communications Bar Association and sits on its Executive Committee. Before joining INCOMPAS, Angie was legal advisor to FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn where she was primarily responsible for the Commissioner’s wireline and broadband agenda, including the Commissioner’s work as chair of three federal-state joint boards. Prior to that, Angie was a special counsel in the Spectrum and Competition Policy Division of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. She also practiced telecommunications and media law in the Washington, D.C. office of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP for more than a decade. Angie earned a Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from the Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America, where she also earned a certification from The Institute for Communications Law Studies, and she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, from Baylor University and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
Ray La Chance, President & Chief Executive Officer, ZenFi
As President and Chief Executive Officer of ZenFi, Ray applies proven industry management expertise to deliver cutting-edge communication network solutions to the market. Ray oversees all aspects of business operations, effectively leading a team of experts to solve industry challenges created by the proliferation of mobile data. In addition to Ray’s role at ZenFi, he is also a Founding Partner of Metro Network Services, LLC, a company focused on network planning, engineering, deployment and maintenance.
Ray is an Information Technology industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience managing teams to design, build and operate complex, high-capacity networks for large enterprises, financial firms and telecommunications service providers. Prior to ZenFi and Metro|NS, Ray served as President and CEO of Lexent Metro Connect, LLC from 2007 to its successful sale in December 2010 to Lightower Fiber Networks. Ray was also the Co-Founder of Realtech Systems Corp., an enterprise network integration and professional services firm, where he served as President and CEO. Ray received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the State University of New York at Albany in 1985.
Andrew Lipman, Partner, Morgan Lewis's Telecommunications, Media & Technology
Andrew Lipman is a partner in Morgan Lewis’s Telecommunications, Media & Technology practice group. He practices in most aspects of communications law and related fields, including regulatory, transactional, litigation and legislative. Andy’s clients in the private and public sectors include those in the areas of telephone common carriage; Internet services and technologies; wireless services; satellite services; broadcasting; telecommunications equipment manufacturing; and other high-technology applications. He helped shape crucial provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and used similar approaches to promote the opening of foreign markets. Andy served as senior vice president, legal and regulatory affairs, for MFS Communications, the nation’s largest competitive local services provider. One of the founders of MFS, Andy helped guide the company from start-up to its eventual sale for $14.4 billion to WorldCom. A highly regarded thought leader, he frequently writes and speaks on telecommunications and related technology issues.
Dave Malfara, President and CEO, ETC Group
David J. Malfara is President/CEO at ETC Group and leads its efforts to support those clients who wish to understand legacy and emerging business models for various types of communication service providers. He advises clients on valuation trends and directs and conducts due diligence efforts on behalf of those clients in M&A initiatives. Mr. Malfara advises service provider clients in developing strategies and business models based upon emerging technologies and the evolving needs of both commercial and consumer broadband customers. These efforts encompass wireline and wireless technologies and business strategies, as well as emerging operational frameworks such as Software-Defined Networking (SDN), Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) and DevOps.
Mr. Malfara has a long history of creating and growing successful companies. As founder and CEO of next-generation service provider Remi Communications, his efforts placed Remi among the first service providers to offer Metro Ethernet virtual private networks to commercial customers in the US. He was the founding president of nationwide provider Z-Tel Network Services (now Birch Communications), growing annualized revenue from $0 to nearly $300M; Chairman & CEO of Pace Communications – a nationwide carrier which he later sold to Qwest (now CenturyLink), and Pace Network Services – one of the largest suppliers of SS7 signaling connectivity for Interexchange Carriers prior to its sale to ICG Communications (now Level 3 Communications).
Don MacNeil has over 25 years of experience in network architecture and design; network engineering, access and optimization; customer operations; product and more. In his role as Chief Operating Officer for FiberLight, he will be responsible leading revenue growth efforts, enhancing the customer experience, and expanding the company’s network and product portfolio. Before joining FiberLight, Don served as Chief Technology Officer for EdgeConneX, where he was responsible for identifying and introducing new technologies and product capabilities to address evolving data center needs. His industry experience also includes roles as EVP, Chief Operating Officer, CMO and Vice President of Carrier Services Operations during a 15-year tenure with XO Communications. Don retired from the United States Navy in 2013, where his duties as a Surface Warfare Officer included serving at-sea in operational leadership roles as well as various leadership roles in weapon system design and procurement. Don has an MBA, Business Administration from William and Mary and a Master’s Degree of Physics from the United States Naval Postgraduate School. He completed his BS in Naval Architecture from the United States Naval Academy.
Jim McCulloch, Vice President of Real Estate, Vertical Bridge
Jim McCulloch is the Vice President of Real Estate of Vertical Bridge. McCulloch is responsible for the development and expansion of Vertical Bridge’s real estate portfolio. Prior to joining Vertical Bridge, McCulloch was Vice President of Real Estate for Global Tower Partners (GTP) where he developed the company’s real estate portfolio, and expanded existing landlord relationships. His experience also includes serving as partner at DGP Development, a leading provider of Distributed Antenna Systems to hotels and sports stadiums and a successful consulting practice advising buyers, sellers, and owners of commercial real estate on a variety of technology and financial matters. Additionally, he was vice president of Information Technology for Destination Hotels and Resorts.
Charles McKee, Vice President - Government Affairs, Federal and State Regulatory, Sprint Corporation
Charles McKee is Sprint Corporation’s Vice-President of Government Affairs, Federal and State Regulatory. During his twenty eight years as a telecommunications regulatory attorney, Charles has represented Sprint before multiple state and federal agencies, testified before Congress, presented oral argument before U.S. and state courts of appeal, and tried cases in state and federal court. He is well acquainted with the many issues facing wireless telecommunications carriers from a regulatory, operational, and business perspective. Charles joined Sprint in 1996 and prior to that was a litigator with a law firm in Kansas City.
Charles received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kansas and his law degree from the University of Minnesota.
Chris McKee, General Counsel and EVP, Corporate Development, GTT
Chris McKee is GTT’s general counsel and EVP, corporate development and corporate secretary for the GTT board. Mr. McKee is responsible for all of the company’s corporate legal requirements, human resources and supplier management. Mr. McKee also oversees the development of strategic business opportunities for the company, including all merger and acquisition activities. Mr. McKee has over 20 years of broad legal experience in the telecommunications industry. Prior to joining GTT, he served as general counsel for StarVox Communications where he was responsible for the company’s legal department, mergers and acquisitions, employment law, litigation, and legal support for the sales teams. Mr. McKee also formerly served as vice president and assistant general counsel for Covad Communications where he headed Covad’s Washington DC office and directed the federal and state regulatory compliance and advocacy efforts for the company. Mr. McKee previously worked for XO Communications, Net2000 Communications and was in private practice in Washington DC as an associate at Dickstein Shapiro and Cooley LLP. Mr. McKee also serves as a director of Cool Technologies, which is developing heat dispersion technologies for use in various product platforms worldwide (NASDAQ: WARM). Mr. McKee received a Bachelor of Arts from Colby College and a law degree from Syracuse University.
Milo Medin, Vice President - Access Services, Google Inc.
Milo Medin has been part of the Internet development community for more than 25 years. He is currently the vice president of access services at Google, where he oversees a number of projects to improve access to the Internet, primarily focused on expanding the speed, robustness and pervasiveness of wireless networks. Prior to joining Google in 2010, he was founder and CTO of M2Z Networks, a company that sought to deploy a national broadband wireless network system, and before then he was co-founder and the Chief Technology Officer of Excite@Home, where he led the development of the company's national infrastructure, and helped deliver the first large scale residential broadband access service in partnership with major cable operators, including the development of the DOCSIS cable modem standard. Earlier, Milo worked at NASA's Ames Research Center, where he developed the first peering point between backbone networks, and managed primary west coast interconnect for the Internet, and architected and managed the global NASA Science Internet, including the deployment of the first Internet connections to a number of countries around the world. Milo majored in computer science at UC Berkeley. He has participated in a number of public policy forums, including two National Academy of Sciences panels, given testimony in Congress and before the Federal Communications Commission on Broadband technology policy, and served on the PCAST working group on Spectrum Sharing. He holds several patents in the field of network access technology, and sits on the FCC’s Technical Advisory Committee, and Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee. Since 2016, he has served on the Defense Innovation Board, which is chartered to provide recommendations to the Secretary of Defense to drive more innovation and agility in how the Department achieves its mission.
Drew Mullin, Senior Vice President of Business Development & Strategy, Lightower Fiber Networks
Drew Mullin is the Senior Vice President of Business Development & Strategy for Lightower Fiber Networks. Lightower is a leading provider of metro fiber-based services, with over 33,000 route miles of network and 22,000 on-net locations. Crown Castle recently announced the purchase of Lightower, and when that transaction is complete, the combined company will have approximately 40,000 towers, 50,000 small cell nodes, and 60,000 route miles of fiber. In his role, Mullin supports Lightower’s efforts to provide a best-in-class service across all sales channels, and throughout its North American metro markets. Mullin has more than 17 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, with a focus on building dense metro networks. Prior to joining Lightower, he spent six years at Global Crossing (now Level 3) in Product Management, providing strategic direction for transport services, including DWDM, ATM, and Ethernet. Most recently, Mullin has been engaged with States and municipalities to find Public-Private Partnerships that facilitate the continued build-out of metro connectivity (fiber and wireless). One example of this is the State of Connecticut’s $93 million dollar BTOP grant (award NT10BIX5570150), where the company supported Access Connecticut’s successful project connecting 660 anchor institutions across over 5,500 miles of new fiber infrastructure. Mullin earned an MBA from the William E. Simon School of Business Administration in Rochester, NY, and a BA in economics from St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY.
Katherine K. Mudge, Partner
Katherine’s law practice covers regulatory, legislative and business issues facing providers of telecommunications, broadband, cable, wireless, and electric utility services. Katherine primarily advises businesses in Texas and other states regarding government and administrative law and policy, competitive issues, right-of-way disputes and litigation at both state agency and trial court levels. She also works with clients on business risk management in regulated environments to enable clients to minimize potential risk exposure while continuing to provide effective, efficient, and economical services. Prior to joining the firm, Katherine was Executive Vice President and General Counsel of a national telecommunications company where she was responsible for all legal matters, advocacy, and business strategy for the company, including personnel policies and procedures, litigation, state and federal regulatory and legislative matters, contract negotiations and compliance with municipal, state, and federal rules and regulations. Katherine assisted the company (and its predecessors) with merger acquisitions, asset purchases, and analyses of a variety of operational and business topics. She also participated in state, regional, and nationwide carrier organizations involving legislative and regulatory efforts. Katherine shares with her clients valuable experience she has gained both in the public sector and private practice. Katherine served as an Assistant General Counsel and an Administrative Law Judge at the Public Utility Commission of Texas for five years, where she worked on a wide range of electric and telecommunication matters including contested cases, complaints, and rulemaking proceedings, as well as serving as an advisor to Commissioners. Before that, Katherine worked for five years at the Railroad Commission of Texas, where she was a Senior Hearings Examiner and Assistant Special Counsel to the Commissioners where her responsibilities included gas utility regulation, oil and gas production, disposal well regulation, gas pipeline safety, and transportation. In private practice, after attending Texas Tech School of Law, Katherine started out as a commercial business litigator at McGinnis, Lochridge & Kilgore, and gravitated to administrative law and utility regulation. She worked for the Railroad Commission and Public Utility Commission of Texas holding positions ranging from Gas Utilities Hearings Examiner, Assistant Special Counsel, Staff Attorney, Senior Administrative Law Judge, and advisors to Commissioners at both agencies. After her time in the public sector, she joined a nationwide law firm establishing its Administrative Law Section in the Austin Office. Then, Katherine helped form a Texas-based law firm that focused primarily on utility regulation issues with a practice across the country in contract negotiations, arbitrations, contested case proceedings, and legislative advocacy.
Kevin Nethercott, Vice President, Telestax
Kevin has over 25 years of experience in launching companies and doing business development globally. His focus has been in the Unified Communications, VOIP and WebRTC spaces. Kevin’s leadership has forged successful strategic relationships with leading companies like Microsoft, NEC, Hitachi, Cisco, IBM, Amazon and NTT. He has forged new and creative business models in global regions such as Japan, Kenya, India, Korea, Spain, Malaysia, Philippines and the US.
Chris Parra, Vice President, Small Cell Networks
Chris Parra is vice president of small cell networks at Uniti Fiber. Chris is responsible for the development and implementation of small cell networks. He oversees a large portfolio of small cell nodes across multiple jurisdictions and use cases. Prior to overseeing small cells for Uniti Fiber, Parra served as the vice president of corporate development and was responsible for developing strategies, partnerships and leading asset acquisition negotiations. Before Uniti Fiber Chris spent 7 years with Tower Cloud, a leading fiber optic network operator in the southeast, and held managing roles in their corporate development and finance departments. Prior to Tower Cloud Parra worked as a controller and also in public accounting for Deloitte & Touche. Parra holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Kansas and a master’s in accounting from the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business. He is also a certified public accountant in Florida.
Chip Pickering, CEO, INCOMPAS
Chip Pickering has been CEO of INCOMPAS since January 2014. During that time, INCOMPAS has achieved significant growth with leading internet, backbone, business broadband, wireless, and international companies. Under his leadership, INCOMPAS has led numerous public policy campaigns promoting competition through an open internet and in the business broadband market. Pickering was a six-term Congressman representing Mississippi’s Third District. During his time in the House, he served on the Energy & Commerce Committee, where he was vice chairman from 2002 to 2006 and a member of the Telecommunications Subcommittee. He also was co-chairman and founder of the Congressional Wireless Caucus and an assistant minority whip of the House. Previously, Chip worked for Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and served as a staff member on the Senate Commerce Committee, where he helped shape the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Because of his role in drafting the 1996 Act, he became well known as a Congressional leader on telecommunications issues. While in Congress, Chip served as chair of the subcommittee overseeing the transition to the commercial internet, the establishment of domain names, registries, and internet governance. He also successfully led a bipartisan legislative effort to codify net neutrality principles through the House in 2006. Prior to joining INCOMPAS, Chip was a partner with Capitol Resources LLC, a public affairs and government relations firm, where he represented an array of telecom clients, including wireless, cable and competitive broadband providers, as well as non-profits and companies specializing in education, energy, technology and defense.
Brian Proffit, Vice President of Business Development & Smart Cities Infrastructure, Adtell
Brian Proffit is Vice President of Business Development & Smart Cities Infrastructure. His role is focused on the launch of Adtell’s nationwide Professional Services Division, most notably its training to support agile ‘smart cities’. A 17-year veteran of the telecommunications industry, Mr. Proffit was previously Sr. Director of Strategic Business Development and Sr. Analyst at CTC Technology & Energy, a bandwidth infrastructure think-tank that serves the consulting and engineering needs of state and municipal governments and electric cooperatives. As such, Mr. Proffit leveraged his industry relationships and experience to coordinate efforts to engage carriers as partners in public bandwidth infrastructure projects. He has supported clients in analyzing carrier activity, conducting outreach to carriers, and planning and developing Public Private Partnerships (P3s). Prior to CTC, Mr. Proffit served as Director of Research & Education Solutions at Zayo Group. He also focused on government and regional carriers’ telecommunications needs in previous roles at Level 3, TelCove, RCN, and XO Communications.
Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Marketing, ADTRAN
Kurt Raaflaub leads ADTRAN’s strategic solutions marketing, and has
more than 20 years’ experience in telecom. He
has global product marketing responsibility for all ADTRAN solutions keying on
Gigabit broadband, software-defined access and subscriber analytics solutions
directed at the residential, enterprise and mobile access markets. Prior
to his current position, Raaflaub was responsible for directing ADTRAN’s
Broadband, Carrier Ethernet and Packet Optical solutions marketing activities
within ADTRAN’s Carrier Networks Division. In 2006, he joined ADTRAN from
Nortel’s wireless division where for over a decade, he held various roles
focused on marketing and managing new disruptive market opportunities.
Karen Reidy, Vice President - Regulatory Affairs, INCOMPAS
Karen Reidy joined INCOMPAS in 2006 as vice president of Regulatory Affairs, where she represents the association on issues such as business data services, technology transitions and network build issues. She also represents INCOMPAS on the North American Numbering Council (NANC). In 2013, Fierce Telecom named Karen one of the “Women in Wireline" for her leadership in shaping telecom services, innovation and policy. Prior to joining INCOMPAS, she spent nine years as an attorney in MCI Communications' Federal Law and Public Policy department, representing the company before the FCC and the Department of Justice, on a wide range of telecommunication issues. Earlier in her career, Karen was corporate counsel and assistant project manager at a consulting firm, working mostly on a project that dealt with regulations associated with the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. She earned a Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Nancy Ridge, Executive Vice President, Telecom Brokers
With over 20 years experience as a consultant and hands on executive at a telecommunications reseller (an "Inc. 500" winner!); Nancy Ridge’s passion is delivering the best solutions in terms of technology, cost, contract flexibility and quality to my customers. With access to 170+ data, managed services and voice companies, including the most extensive wholesale portfolio in the industry, and a large network of telecom and IT professionals, I am your resource for anything related to telecommunications and IT services, whether they are in-house solutions, outsourced or cloud services or a combination. The only missing piece is learning what you and your business want and require today!
Chris Riley, Director of Public Policy, Mozilla
Chris Riley is the Director of Public Policy at Mozilla, working to advance the open Internet and Web through public policy analysis and advocacy, strategic planning, coalition building, and community engagement. Prior to joining Mozilla, Chris worked as a program manager at the U.S. Department of State on Internet freedom, a policy counsel with the non-profit public interest organization Free Press, and an attorney-advisor at the Federal Communications Commission. Chris holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University and a J.D. from Yale Law School. He has published scholarship on topics including innovation policy, cognitive framing, graph drawing, and distributed load balancing.
Ken Schmidt, Steel in the Air
Mr. Ken Schmidt, President of Steel in the Air and a Partner in SteelTree Partners, LLC, is considered to be a well-seasoned thought leader in the wireless infrastructure industry especially on the topics of tower and small cell leases. Mr. Schmidt regularly posts insightful articles and industry related content to the Steel in the Air blog and to LinkedIn. Since 2004, Steel in the Air has advised and counseled a few hundred municipalities, airports, subway systems, major universities, and public utilities in addition to thousands of private landowners on wireless infrastructure lease related issues. Steel in the Air also regularly provides bespoke research on the wireless infrastructure industry to hedge funds and investment banks. Steel in the Air maintains one of the best proprietary tower and small cell lease and location databases in the US. Multiple cities and municipal government organizations have retained Mr. Schmidt to advise them on small cell policies and leases. SteelTree Partners provides sell-side advisory services to tower owners. Over the last 15 years, SteelTree has assisted private tower owners with the sale of over $2B worth of wireless infrastructure related assets (primary towers) in the United States, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Mr. Schmidt is regularly retained as an expert witness in cell tower and small cell lease valuation and is engaged for strategic planning by companies looking to enter into the wireless sector. Mr. Schmidt has also been interviewed and quoted in many newspapers and magazines, such as Bloomberg, New York Times, LA Times, Fierce Wireless, RCR News, and AGL Magazine regarding issues about small cells and cell towers. Mr. Schmidt has also spoken at numerous conferences, including CTIA’s Annual Tower and Small Cell Summit and the US Department of the Navy’s Annual Appraisal Conference.
Randall Schwartz, Wireless 20/20
Randall Schwartz has been a key participant in the broadband wireless market for the last 20 years. He is the founder of Wireless 20/20, a leading broadband wireless consulting group and the developer of the award-winning WiROI Business Case tool. The Wireless20/20 group has helped operators around the world develop winning strategies for broadband wireless, and create opportunities to maximize profit. Schwartz has led development projects with over 120 operators around the world, helping clients by developing business cases, supporting technology selection, and build network deployment plans. Wireless 20/20 has successfully helped operators build plans for deploying networks with 3G, , LTE, LTE Advanced, 5G, IOT, WiFi and other broadband wireless technologies.
Kevin Smithen, Partner, Digital Bridge
Kevin Smithen is a Partner at Digital Bridge. Mr. Smithen brings over 21 years of investing and M&A experience in global communications services and infrastructure. Mr. Smithen spent the past five years in the equity research division of Macquarie Securities (USA) Inc., most recently as Managing Director, US and LatAm Telecom Services and Infrastructure and Sector Head for TMT. He has been recognized by StarMine, Bloomberg and Institutional Investor as a leading stock picker and thought leader in the space. Mr. Smithen has been a frequent contributor on telco infrastructure to CNBC, Bloomberg TV, the Wall Street Journal, Barrons and other leading financial media companies. Additionally, Kevin has moderated and spoken on several panels at tower, fiber and service provider industry trade shows. Prior to joining Macquarie, Mr. Smithen was a portfolio manager for Stetson Street Capital, a market-neutral TMT hedge fund in Chicago. From 2001 to 2008, Kevin worked as a senior analyst and Portfolio Manager for the Lazard Global Opportunities Fund and the Lazard TMT Advantage Fund. This followed a stint as the first investment analyst at Coatue Capital, a leading TMT sector hedge fund. Mr. Smithen began his career as an investment banker at Smith Barney, Inc. (Citigroup) in the Media and Telecommunications Group. Mr. Smithen earned a BA magna cum laude with Distinction from Duke University.
Mike Stafford, Vice President - Process Development, Windstream
Mike is an accomplished business leader with over 20 years of professional leadership and management experience in the telecommunications industry. His tenure includes experience in merger & acquisition integration, process improvement, engineering, operations, and data analytics for both wireline and wireless telecommunications companies as well as the U.S. Department of Defense. Mike is a Master Black Belt in Six Sigma, holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering Technology, and is a veteran of the United States Navy. He has served or serves on various boards covering engineering, economics, marketing, city government, non-profit, & academia.
Misty Stine, EVP Business Development, ex2 Technology
Misty has more than 30 years of experience in the communications and security industries. She is skilled at driving business strategy and generating new business opportunities. Misty is responsible for developing relationships with customers, organizations and vendors/suppliers.
Abel Tong, Senior Director - Solutions Marketing, Blue Planet, Ciena
Abel Tong is Senior Director of Solutions Marketing for Ciena’s Blue Planet software solutions. He is responsible for helping to transform networks through the application of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV), to deliver value, create new services, and to simplify network operations for Ciena’s customers.
With over 15 years of networking and telecommunications systems experience, Abel is an active blogger, speaker, and thought leader in the industry. Abel joined Ciena through the acquisition of Cyan in 2015. Prior to Cyan, Abel ran Marketing for Omnitron and led the launch of several Carrier Ethernet products. Abel has also held positions at Aktino, Calix, ADC and Pairgain.
Abel is a long-time contributor to the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF). Abel works with the MEF to define and drive their Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO). He is also a part of MEF’s Project UNITE, an industry wide collaborative initiative bringing standards development organizations together to create the building blocks for LSO and Third Network. Additionally Abel is a member of Open Daylight and the Open Networking Foundation (ONF).
Deb Ward, CEO, TSI
Deb Ward is a respected leader in the telecom space, providing strategic direction to various companies she has founded and managed since the early 80’s. Her Service As A Competitive Advantage and C-Level Account Management philosophy has earned her and the companies she has founded and managed an impeccable reputation. A critical factor in her long-term success strategy in this industry has been her unparalleled integrity and relationship skills with carriers, agents, and customers, and the direct market intel regarding unmet needs that these direct relationships have provided.
The first company she founded was TMS, a Pacific Bell Joint User in Southern California. In 1999, she founded Televergence Solutions (TSI) to meet the needs of customers outside the Pacific Bell territory, reselling CLEC and long distance services nationally. Throughout the decades, Televergence Solutions (TSI) has morphed to meet changing market trends, demands, needs, and opportunities.
Today, Televergence Solutions (TSI) is a facilities-based carrier providing services to Call Centers, Agents, and Business Customers, utilizing VoIP and TDM connectivity technology. The Company’s solutions include competitively priced, high capacity, Toll Free and Long Distance for call center and business customers.
Deb has expertise in all aspects of the business and oversees the product development, sales, marketing, and network development activities. She was recently re-elected as the first chairwoman of INCOMPAS (formerly known as Comptel), is one of the few female CEOs in this male-dominated and highly competitive telecom space, is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), the Women in the Channel (WIC), and participates in the Channel Partners’ Women in the Channel (WIC) Mentor Program. She is a regular participant in industry webinars, trade association panels, and executive committee forums. She contributes regularly to various groups devoted to the promotion of females in executive leadership positions, and is highly regarded by her peers, employees, and customers.
Doug Wiest, CEO, NextEdge Networks
Mr. Wiest has over 30 years of experience in telecom, wireless networks and tower companies. Doug, along with Titan Grove, helped form NextEdge Networks in November of 2016 as a spin-off from EdgeConneX’s wireless division, Edge Wireless. Prior to NextEdge Networks, Doug held the position of Executive Vice President at EdgeConneX since 2009 and managed Business Development and the Wireless Services Division. Prior to EdgeConneX, Doug was President and CEO of Lightower from July of 2002 until 2009, recently acquired by Crown Castle. The business began as a startup under the ownership of National Grid (NYSE:NGG), a UK-based utility company. Before engaging in the Lightower opportunity, Doug was the COO of American Tower (NYSE:AMT), the largest tower owner and operator globally. Doug managed the tower, services, manufacturing, tower lighting, RF engineering divisions as well as IT development. Doug has also held executive operating positions at Nextel, McCaw Communications and Pacific Telesis, a Regional Bell Operating Company acquired by AT&T. Doug has an MBA from the Marriott Business School at Brigham Young University, an MS in Telecommunications from Golden Gate University and a BS in Psychology from Brigham Young University.
Michael Wood, Vice President - Marketing, VeloCloud
Michael Wood is vice president of marketing for VeloCloud Networks, responsible for worldwide marketing, revenue generation, channel and sales enablement and communications. He has more than 20 years of leadership and management experience in the networking industry. Prior to VeloCloud, Wood served as vice president of product management and marketing for Akamai Technologies’ Cloud Networking Business Unit. He also was an executive in residence, and is currently an adviser, for Plug and Play Tech Center, a startup incubator and accelerator. Early in his career, Wood was with StrataCom as a senior member of the technical staff. After Cisco acquired StrataCom in 1996, Wood spent 15 years with Cisco in various positions, culminating in the director of product management and marketing role for the multibillio dollar branch office integrated services router business for enterprises and service providers. Wood has a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from San Jose State University.
David Wuensch, Vice President of Business Development, Axcent Networks