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, Steve 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 developing and established markets, including major wireless service providers, manufacturers, trade associations and emerging telecom businesses. Regarding the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Steve is involved in counseling and appeals concerning the use of auto-dialers, calls and texts to mobile telephone numbers and receipt of customer consent. Teaming with litigation colleagues in the TCPA defense practice, Steve advocates for clients in FCC petitions, waiver proceedings and declaratory ruling proceedings involving TCPA issues. Steve represented intervenors in an appeal of the FCC’s 2015 Declaratory Ruling on TCPA matters, and provides counseling and strategic advice on calling, texting and faxing practices.
Senior Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs
Paula H. Boyd is currently senior director of Government and Regulatory Affairs for Microsoft Corporation, where she partners with colleagues to develop Microsoft’s communications policy positions and advocates those positions before the FCC, Congress and the Administration. On behalf of Microsoft, Paula champions a variety of voice, video and text communications issues such as those related to spectrum, accessibility, broadband, universal service, next generation 911 and Internet governance. Prior to joining Microsoft in 2002, Paula was senior counsel to the Senate Subcommittee on Communications. She joined the Subcommittee in April of 1997 and while there, she drafted legislation, developed legislative strategy, organized hearings and briefings, managed consideration of bills on the Senate Floor, and advocated the Senate position in House and Senate Conferences. She handled issues such as broadband deployment, spectrum management, digital television transition, and competition in the local telecommunications marketplace. Paula joined the Office of the General Counsel of the FCC in February 1994, where she reviewed draft orders involving broadcast issues and worked on issues involving tax certificates and preferences for designated entities in PCS. In September 1994, Paula began working with the International Bureau on satellite policy issues. Paula began her legal career at Verner, Liipfert, McPherson and Hand in 1997, where she worked on a variety of litigation, transportation and other issues.
Vice President, Sales
Multapplied Networks Inc.
Logan Campbell is a highly successful sales leader with over 12 years’ experience with direct sales. He has represented Fortune 500 companies and sold more than $250 million in annual recurring revenue. Logan opened his first direct sales business when he was 24 years old.
Founder and CEO
Theresa Caragol is founder and CEO, AchieveUnite Inc., a strategic consulting and education firm that provides channel, partnering and business acceleration services to global enterprises. AchieveUnite offers partner and channel development, go-to-market strategy, M&A channel integration, and executive education forums. Theresa 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. She co-founded an industry Channel Think Tank designed to influence and support the industry’s digital transformation, numerous advisory boards, and was one of 15 women selected for the First Leadership Foundry in Washington, D.C. – an organization dedicated to mentoring and recruiting women for positions on corporate boards. Theresa has received numerous IT industry channel accolades including the Informa Top Industry Influencer (2017) and CRN’s Top 50 Most Influential Channel Chiefs (2014). She was recently featured in the new book, “How To Be A Woman In Technology (While Focusing On What Matters Most).” Prior to founding AchieveUnite Inc, Theresa held senior executive roles at Extreme Networks, Ciena and Nortel.
Chief Strategy Officer
Phillip Deneef got his official start in telecom more than 19 years ago spearheading a team of B2B data specialists for T-Mobile and Cingular. By 2003, Phillip had quickly advanced into various positions of leadership in business development and marketing for a series of global manufacturing and telecommunications companies. Over the course of the next 15 years, he developed a highly regarded reputation as a telecom expert with a consistent track record of implementing proactive strategies that more than doubled company revenue and valuation. In 2014, Phillip was personally recruited by GeoLinks’ Co-Founder and CEO, Skyler Ditchfield, to join the company as the director of Marketing and Sales. Over the course of the next three years, Phillip’s drive, innovative ideas, technical know-how and innate business acumen played an instrumental role in driving the company to achieve a 748% growth rate, landing GeoLinks on Inc. Magazine’s Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America in both 2017 and 2018. Today, Phillip holds the position of chief strategy officer at GeoLinks, overseeing a wide range of company initiatives including the development of strategic national partnerships, product expansion, and improving the overall customer experience. He represents GeoLinks as a principle member of both local and national consortiums and organizations that actively advocate and influence policies that aim to resolve the broadband gap in rural America.
Founder and CEO
Ben Edmond is the founder and CEO of Connected2Fiber. Prior to founding Connected2Fiber, Ben served as the chief revenue officer at Global Capacity, where he was responsibility for all aspects of the company’s customer go to market strategy and execution. Ben has 20 years of experience in the fiber, telecom and networking industries, encompassing broad expertise in the areas of executive leadership, strategy, customer experience, sales, marketing and operations.
Co-founder and Chairman of the Board
DISH and EchoStar
In 1980, Charlie Ergen co-founded EchoStar Communications Corporation as a C-Band satellite-TV distributor. Under EchoStar in March 1996, DISH Network emerged as the consumer brand providing direct broadcast satellite service to customers. In 2008, DISH Network spun off from EchoStar to separate the satellite service and technology sides of the business. Today, Charlie acts as the chairman of EchoStar and DISH.
Vice President, Corporate Development
Mark Fahner is responsible for M&A and non-traditional growth opportunities for the Cincinnati Bell's Entertainment & Communications businesses in Ohio, Kentucky and Hawaii, as well as its North American IT Services business. In that capacity, Cincinnati Bell acquired three companies in 2017-18 with transaction sizes ranging from $10 million to $650 million to expand both the E&C and IT Services business. Over the course of his 20-year career, Mark has held a variety of senior leadership roles, including responsibility for the accelerated deployment, P&L and capital plan for Consumer/SMB fiber-to-the-home, the launch of Gigabit Internet and an upgraded TV platform, expansion of enterprise and carrier fiber and hosted VoIP products, and B2B sales leadership in mid-market and enterprise segments. Prior to Cincinnati Bell, Mark also held various leadership roles at MCI WorldCom and UUNet.
As leader of the firm’s Communications Practice, and co-chair of the global industry sector team, Michele Farquhar 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. She also leads teams advising major global companies on regulatory strategy issues involving a range of international jurisdictions. Michele joined the firm in 1997, after serving as chief of the 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 (NTIA) 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.
Tamar Finn has over 15 years of experience representing clients on telecommunications, enhanced services and Internet regulatory issues before the courts, FCC, state public utility commissions and Congress. She advises competitive providers on regulatory compliance and enforcement, contract, and business issues. Tamar regularly counsels clients in the day-to-day management of incorporating regulatory compliance into their business. Regarding intercarrier compensation and interconnection issues, for example, Tamar works closely with clients in developing policy; implementing the policy by negotiating—and, if necessary, litigating—agreements; and resolving any subsequent contract disputes through dispute resolution, litigation, and/or comprehensive settlement negotiations. Regarding information services, Tamar counsels clients on regulatory classification and developing products to take advantage of regulatory classifications. She additionally defends those classifications before state and federal agencies, the Congress, and courts. Tamar advises clients on all aspects of universal service, including contributions to the universal service fund (USF) and distributions from federal USF programs. She assists clients with developing basic regulatory USF compliance programs, comprehensively planning to manage and potentially reduce their contributions, prosecuting appeals before both the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) and the FCC, advocating policy changes, and defending companies under audits and investigations for possible violations of USF laws and regulations. Tamar is also a frequent speaker in TMT’s webinar program, covering issues ranging from intercarrier compensation to universal service. Prior to joining Morgan Lewis, Tamar was a partner in the corporate practice of another international law firm.
The Wall Street Journal
Drew FitzGerald is a telecom reporter for The Wall Street Journal, based in Washington, D.C. His coverage focuses on trends in media, network infrastructure and technology policy around the world. Drew’s recent reporting has covered a range of telecom controversies, including the protracted court battle over AT&T's purchase of Time Warner and the long courtship between T-Mobile and Sprint. He has also written about roadblocks hindering 5G network deployment, competitive forces buffeting the pay-TV industry and the physical impact deep-pocketed Silicon Valley companies have made on the Internet's plumbing. He previously covered the online travel and retail sectors for the Journal, where he chronicled RadioShack's decline and ultimate bankruptcy.
Michael B. Galvin
Granite Telecommunications, LLC
Mike Galvin leads Granite’s strategic and tactical legal initiatives, initiating the development of corporate policies and assists with major sales, large vendor relations, employment matters, public relations and marketing and is responsible for the work of in-house and outside counsel. Before Granite, Mike was a partner at a prominent, Boston-based law firm that specialized in business and commercial disputes, and also worked as a state prosecutor. He is active in several bar and civic organizations, including the Federal Communications Bar Association and the YMCA. He also is a multiple time Ironman finisher. He lives near Boston with his wife and three children.
James H. Henry
Senior Managing Director
Bank Street Group LLC
James Henry has been actively involved in the communications infrastructure and services sector for more than two decades. His extensive and multi-disciplinary knowledge of the industry is the product of his roles as an equity research analyst and as an investment banker executing capital markets and strategic transactions. James is a co-founder and senior managing director of Bank Street and has been a driving force in the growth and development of the firm's investment banking practice with a focus on financial and strategic transactions for companies in the fixed-line and mobile wireless infrastructure sector. Bank Street has been at the forefront of key strategic transactions in these sectors and counts Agile Networks, Clearwave, Hunter Communications, NTS Communications and SummitIG among its roster of clients and recently executed deals. Prior to Bank Street, James was a senior managing director at Bear, Stearns & Co. where he served as the senior research analyst responsible for following the communications infrastructure and services sector. As a recognized expert, James has spoken at industry conferences, testified before Congress on communications sector matters, been quoted in national publications, such as Business Week and The Wall Street Journal, and ranked in Institutional Investor Magazine's All-American Research Team Survey.
Pamela Sherwood Hollick
Assistant General Counsel
Pamela Sherwood Hollick, Assistant General Counsel for CenturyLink, is responsible for legal and regulatory matters for 11 states and coordinates national regulatory advocacy. Pamela has extensive legal and regulatory experience in the telecommunications industry. Before joining CenturyLink in 2017, Pamela served in a similar position at Level 3/tw telecom for 14 years. Early in her career, she was in private practice, developing a specialty in telecom issues. In recent years, she has served as a witness in regulatory proceedings, given speeches on various telecommunications topics, including pole attachments, USF and network construction issues, while serving in leadership roles in industry groups.
Chaitanya “Chet” Kanojia
Co-Founder & CEO
Chaitanya “Chet” Kanojia is co-founder and CEO of Starry Inc., a vertically integrated technology and internet service provider, pioneering the deployment of next generation, high-capacity, point-to-multipoint, fixed wireless broadband. Starry is reimagining how consumers connect to the internet by developing an eco-system of products designed to make broadband access simple and affordable. Prior to Starry, Chet was founder and CEO of Aereo Inc., the groundbreaking online television platform that enabled consumers to record and watch live HD broadcast television on virtually any type of internet-connected device via a cloud-based OTA antenna and DVR. Previously, Chet was the founder and CEO of Navic Networks. Like Aereo, Navic Networks addressed the challenges of today’s highly fragmented media landscape. Under Chet’s direction, Navic Networks grew to be the undisputed industry leader in advanced television advertising. Navic Networks was acquired by Microsoft in 2008. Chet holds more than 31 patents in fields ranging from robotics to data communications systems and is an innovative leader known for pushing beyond the conventional and developing breakthrough solutions. He has been recognized as one of the "Top Disruptors of 2013" by Forbes magazine, noted as part of Vanity Fair's 2013 "Next Establishment List” and named one of Inc. Magazine’s 2013 “Entrepreneurs of the Year.” Aereo's technology was also named one of TIME magazine's Top 50 Best Websites (2012) and a Top 50 Technology (2013) by MIT Technology Review. In 2019, Chet was honored with Public Knowledge’s IP3 Award for Internet Protocol for his years of work developing technology in the interest of competition and consumer choice.
Chief Advocate and General Counsel
Angie Kronenberg joined INCOMPAS in 2013 as its chief advocate and general counsel, managing the INCOMPAS policy team and its work before the federal government. FierceTelecom named Angie was named a "Rising Star in Wireline" in 2014 and one of the Top Women in Wireline in 2015 for her advocacy work on behalf of INCOMPAS members. Angie is a member of the Federal Communications Bar Association and has been involved in its leadership as a former Executive Committee and Nominations Committee member. 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.
Principal Member of Technical Staff
Brian Kurkowski has been with FirstLight Fiber and its predecessor companies since its inception in 1997. During this time, he has held the senior technologist position as chief technology officer and now the principal member of Technical Staff. He is responsible for strategic technology direction, network architecture and large customer initiatives. Prior to FirstLight, Brian served in the United States Navy for 11 years as a submarine reactor operator. Concurrent with these roles, he has owned and operated various enterprises engaged in utility construction, software development and real estate management.
Co-Founder and CEO
As co-founder and CEO of ZenFi Networks, Ray applies his leadership and proven industry expertise to build and deliver innovative communication infrastructure solutions to enterprise, carrier and wireless mobility providers in the New York and New Jersey metro markets. In this role, Ray oversees all aspects of business operations for the company that recently merged with Cross River Fiber, and effectively leads a team of nimble, forward thinking experts to solve clients’ network challenges created by the proliferation of mobile data. In addition to his role at ZenFi, Ray is also a founding member of Metro Network Services, LLC, a company focused on fiber optic and mobile network planning, engineering, and deployment solutions for mobile network operators, tower owners and telecommunications service providers throughout the New York metro market. Ray is a network technology industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience managing teams that design, build and operate complex, high-capacity communication networks for large enterprises, carriers and wireless mobility providers. Prior to ZenFi and Metro|NS, he served as president and CEO of Lexent Metro Connect, LLC from 2004 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.
Vice President, Network Engineering and Operations
Christopher Levendos is vice president of Network Engineering and Operations for Crown Castle’s national fiber infrastructure network. Crown Castle’s comprehensive portfolio of towers, small cells, and fiber gives people and communities access to essential data, technology and wireless service and opens the door to countless opportunities and possibilities. Chris recently was executive vice president of Field Operations for Frontier Communications, where he was responsible for service delivery across 29 states. Prior to joining Frontier, Chris was an executive of Google Fiber (Alphabet), where he led network deployment and operations and helped expand Google Fiber’s network operations from three cities to ten cities. Chris also served as region president of New York City for Verizon, where he worked for 26 years. Prior to that he served as vice president of National Operations and supported Verizon’s annual capital program investments and operational process improvements. He joined New York Telephone as a field technician in Harlem in 1989, and served in positions of increasing responsibility in operations and engineering. While at Verizon, his teams led the planning, design and early build of Verizon’s fiber-to-the-home network across New York City. Chris helped lead a number of key operational innovations in fiber-optic deployment and holds two patents. After superstorm Sandy, Chris led the recovery effort of Verizon’s wireline infrastructure in Lower Manhattan, converting the entire local distribution system to fiber-optic based infrastructure within six months. Chris serves on the boards for Junior Achievement of New York, the Regional Planning Association and INCOMPAS. He also is a member of the President’s Leadership Council at Stevens Institute of Technology. Chris earned a Bachelor’s degree in History from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, where he was a member of the Phi Alpha Theta Historical Honor Society. Chris also received a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from New York University and a Master’s degree in Telecommunications Management from Stevens Institute of Technology.
Richard S. Lukaj
Senior Managing Director
Bank Street Group LLC
Richard Lukaj has nearly 30 years of investment banking experience having originated, structured and executed hundreds of deals totaling over $100 billion of transaction value. Richard is a founder and managing partner of Bank Street and aspires, with his colleagues, to create a premier investment banking franchise focused on growth sectors of the global economy. He has executed transactions over the course of his successful investment banking career, ranging in variety from mergers and acquisitions, underwriting of debt, equity and derivative securities, restructurings, exclusive sales, and other financial advisory mandates. Although heavily weighted towards the media, communications and technology industries, he also has a very broad industry experience in industrial, consumer, retailing, energy, aerospace, specialty finance, real estate and natural resources arenas.
Vice President of Corporate Development
Bradford Lutz is vice President of corporate development at GTT, responsible for leading the supplier management organization worldwide and serving as a contributor to the company’s investor relations program as well as other areas of corporate development. He has more than two decades of experience in the telecommunications industry in senior management roles. Bradford joined GTT via the Hibernia Networks acquisition in 2017, where he led supplier management and network development. Prior to Hibernia Networks, he held senior roles at CS Technology, Telwares, Global Crossing, IXnet and Worldcom.
Senior Vice President of Marketing and Product Management
Maura Mahoney is responsible for leading all aspects of marketing and product management at FirstLight Fiber, including public relations, marketing communications, brand management, product management and development, and event planning. Maura has more than 20 years of experience in the communications industry holding sales, marketing and business development roles of increasing responsibility with companies such as Conterra Broadband Services, Sidera Networks, RCN Communications, NEON Communications, Bell Atlantic and its various predecessors.
Mattey Consulting LLC
Carol Mattey is the principal of Mattey Consulting LLC, a Washington, D.C. metro area-based firm that provides regulatory, strategic and public policy advisory services to broadband providers, governmental entities, non-profit organizations, and others active in the telecommunications industry. Carol has more than 30 years of experience formulating, enforcing and advising on federal communications regulation. Prior to launching her own firm, Carol was deputy chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau at the FCC from March 2010 to February 2017, focusing on modernizing the FCC’s universal service programs, including the creation and implementation of the Connect America Fund. Before that, she served as senior attorney advisor on the FCC’s National Broadband Plan from September 2009 to March 2010. From 2005 to 2009, she was a director in Deloitte’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications practice advising private sector clients on business strategy and regulatory compliance matters. Between 1994 and 2004, she held several management positions at the FCC, including deputy bureau chief, focusing on wireline policy issues including local competition, merger condition enforcement, privacy, and universal service. Previously, she worked on telecommunications, media and spectrum issues at the National Telecommunications & Information Administration. She started her professional career as an attorney at Wilmer Cutler & Pickering (now WilmerHale) in Washington, D.C. Carol received a J.D. cum laude and M.A. in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. from the University of Virginia.
Vice President, Access Services
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 CTO 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. 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, and since 2016, he has served on the Defense Innovation Board.
Vice President, Emergency Services Operations
Tina Metivier is vice president, Emergency Services Operations for Inteliquent, a premier communications enabler that is truly modernizing emergency communications. With 20+ years’ experience bringing new 9-1-1 solutions to life from an operations, product, and solution development and implementation perspective, Tina is a transformational leader responsible for delivery and operations of Inteliquent’s Emergency Service solutions for each carriers and public safety. Tina started her career as a software engineer and found her passion in doing work that matters when she led the country’s first wireless 9-1-1 “Phase 1” deployments in 1998. She has held prominent senior leadership positions in operations, service delivery, program and project management, product management, and software and cloud solutions engineering, in high-stakes fast-paced organizations from early-stage startups to Fortune 100 companies.
Katherine K. Mudge
Katherine Mudge’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, USF, 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 Enoch Kever, 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, merger acquisitions and asset purchases, and compliance with municipal, state, and federal rules and regulations. 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. Katherine also was in private practice with a boutique telecom law firm, an Austin-based medium firm, and a large firm with an Austin office.
Senior Vice President of Sales
Unite Private Networks
Travis Noble is senior vice president of Sales with Unite Private Networks. He has more than 26 years of telecommunications and management experience with companies such as MCI, tw telecom and Level 3. During his tenure in telecom, Travis served as the vice president and general manager for multiple markets, including Greensboro, N.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Kansas City, Mo. At Level 3, he managed teams in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa regions. As senior vice president of Sales, he oversees all sales sectors at UPN.
Emotional Intelligence Leadership Training Solutions, LLC
Cheryl O’Donoghue, MS, is a businesswoman, author and emotional intelligence leadership advocate. She is president of Emotional Intelligence Leadership Training Solutions, LLC, a leadership performance improvement company, and co-founder of Mission Sisters Who Work, a 501(c)3 humanitarian organization dedicated to providing grant funding to nonprofit, education and community organizations serving low-income women working or planning careers in business. She is also a guest presenter at women’s events and organizations, inspiring audiences to act in ways that give their lives more meaning and purpose. Over the years, Cheryl’s writing has appeared in numerous business publications across the financial services, contact center, healthcare, and corporate training industries. Her book, “How to Be a Woman in Business (while Being True to Yourself),” was released in February 2018. Cheryl recently published the book How to Be a Woman in Technology (while Focusing on What Matters Most).” Cheryl began her professional career working in computer magnetic storage sales while she paid her way through college. Upon graduation, she landed a job in broadcasting as a radio personality and then transitioned to business marketing and communications, and eventually to organizational development. Earlier in her career, Cheryl held the position of chief communications officer, vice president of human resources and marketing for VNA Health Care and before that senior vice president for Financial Training Resources; as well as other executive roles in technology-based learning and development, healthcare, and financial services organizations.
Chief Financial Officer
Ben Pace joined C Spire in 2000. In his role as Chief Financial Officer, he is responsible for all accounting and financial control functions. In addition, he oversees capital financing, mergers and acquisitions, and participates in the strategic planning of the company. Prior to joining the C Spire, Ben served as a vice president with Regions Bank (formerly Deposit Guaranty Corporation) and as a staff accountant with a Big Four accounting firm. He is a Certified Public Accountant, a Charter Global Management Accountant and a member of several professional affiliations including the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants. Ben serves on the industry committee of the Mississippi Society. Along with his duties at C Spire, Ben is a member of the Mississippi State University School of Accountancy Advisory Board, serves on the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership Board, the Mississippi Aquarium Board and has volunteered with the Boy Scouts of America where he served as the Advancement Chairman for several years.
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.
President, Ridge Innovative
Founder, Past President Alliance of Channel Women
With over 26 years’ experience as a professional sales person, consultant and hands on executive (an Inc. 500"winner), Nancy’s passion is delivering the best business outcomes to her clients in terms of technology, cost, contract flexibility and quality. Since 2005, Nancy Ridge has built a partner program at national technology distributor Technology Source that is focused on helping agent partners take a strategic approach to grow their businesses. Nancy has focused on business plan modeling, breakthrough sales strategies, ongoing education and competitive commissions in a personalized, collaborative environment. In addition, Nancy is a professional consultant to SMB and enterprise clients. She brings value by eliminating time and risk in choosing qualified partners and technologies allowing her clients to focus on their own business objectives. Previously Nancy was vice president of sales for ATI, where she was responsible for creating and managing the indirect sales channel. In the mid to late nineties Ridge was vice president for a consulting firm and pioneered the TEM concept. She was also a principal in a demand-side energy service company for 10 years. Nancy is the founder and past president of the Alliance of Channel Women (formerly Women in the Channel), a non-profit where women collaborate to grow their businesses, support each other as women and mentor each other and young women into tech.
Vice President and Consultant
Inteserra Consulting Group
Carey Roesel’s telecommunications consulting expertise involves a broad range of services, including state and federal regulatory strategies, M&A, market entry/certification, advocacy, compliance and pricing. Carey also spends much of his time guiding intercarrier agreements and resolving intercarrier compensation disputes. Carey has provided expert testimony in numerous telecom cases, including subjects such as intercarrier compensation, tariff compliance and call completion. Carey has been a consultant at Inteserra since the early days of competition in telecommunications resulting from the 1996 Telecom Act. His initial perspective on telecom regulatory matters was formed during his tenure with the ILEC now known as CenturyLink, where he held various regulatory and business planning positions. Since that time, Carey has guided many clients through constantly changing regulatory policies and technological innovations, which have characterized the telecommunications industry over the last 20 years. His clients include large and small companies from both developing and established telecom markets, such as intermediate carriers, cable providers, wireless resellers and application service providers.
Chief Innovation Officer
Craig Sparks serves as chief innovation officer and leads the technology and product development teams at C Spire, a leading telecommunications and technology services company with deep roots and a strong commitment to the southeastern portion of the U.S. and its people. He brings more than 20 years of experience in the field of telecommunications engineering. He was recognized by Fierce Wireless as one of their “Executives to watch: 13 rising stars of wireless in 2018.” Craig joined C Spire in 2016 as vice president, Technology, coming from Sprint where he had served as a distinguished member of technical staff facilitating intra-department technology path decision making for executive business strategies at strategic planning venues, including M&A activities. His prior entrepreneur role at NetGames USA saw him lead the company as president and CEO through acquisition by Microsoft Corporation. Craig began his career as a radio frequency design engineer working on DARPA digital beamforming radio systems and later at Digital Ocean where the companies media access control IP became part of the foundation for WiFi 802.11b when acquired by Intersil. A graduate of radio frequency design and telecommunications programs at the University of Kansas, Craig holds bachelor and master of science degrees in electrical engineering from the school.
Vice President, Deputy General Counsel of Governmental Affairs
Uniti Fiber and Uniti Group
Jeff Strenkowski is the vice president, deputy general counsel of Governmental Affairs for both Uniti Fiber and its parent company, Uniti Group. He is responsible for overseeing Uniti's regulatory, compliance, legislative and other strategic matters. Previously, he was in private practice, most recently at the Washington, D.C., office of Morgan Lewis & Bockius, where he was a member of the telecommunications, media and technology practice group. In that role he represented U.S. and foreign communications and technology companies, including Uniti, on a broad range of corporate, financial and regulatory matters.
President and Consultant
Inteserra Consulting Group
Sharon Thomas provides Inteserra clients with the practical advice and support they need to operate successfully in a regulated industry, including market entry and exit strategies, FCC reporting, M&A due diligence and regulatory filings, tariff and price list planning and preparation, developing FCC compliant CPNI policies and procedures, and escalated regulatory complaint tracking and response preparation. Prior to joining Inteserra in 2004, Sharon served as director of Regulatory Affairs at Talk America Inc. where she managed the staff responsible for the company's compliance with state and federal regulations. She prepared comments before the FCC on various regulatory issues and was responsible for the development of a comprehensive complaint management system and of internal documentation required for compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley. Sharon served in a similar role as director of Regulatory and Public Policy for Advanced Telecom Group, Inc. from 1999- 2001, where she provided regulatory support to the company’s local operations in multiple states. Before joining ATG, Sharon served as director of Regulatory Operations at the Nevada Public Utilities Commission, where she directed staff in developing and presenting testimony, comments, analyses and recommendations regarding matters in the telecommunications and energy industries.
Kurt Van Wagenen
President and CEO
Kurt Van Wagenen is the president and CEO of FirstLight Fiber. Prior to assuming that role, he was president and CEO of FiberTower from April 2008 until November of 2012. He also served as president and CEO of NEON Communications from January 2007 until NEON was acquired by RCN Corporation, and earlier was president and COO of Globix Corp. Kurt began his career at Verizon Communications and its various predecessors, holding positions of increasing responsibility. Kurt also is a long-time Board member of non-profit organizations A Better Chance and Pathways To College.
Deb Ward is a seasoned and respected veteran in the telecom industry, providing leadership and strategic direction to various companies since the early 1980s, when she initially founded TMS, a Pacific Bell Joint User in California that resold local and long distance services. In 1999, she founded Televergence, a nationwide switchless reseller, reselling local and long distance services. Deb is well versed in all aspects of the business, from sales and marketing to network and product development. Today, Televergence is a facilities-based carrier providing long distance, international and toll-free services to carriers, resellers, agents and retail end users via traditional TDM and/or VoIP interconnections. Deb is one of the few female CEOs in a male-dominated and highly competitive telecom space. She is a regular contributor to various groups devoted to the promotion of females in executive leadership positions. Deb serves on the Executive Committee and as chair of the Membership Committee for INCOMPAS, and is on the board of advisors for the Alliance of Channel Women.
Rural Broadband Advisor, Office of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai
Federal Communications Commission
Preston Wise advises Chairman Pai on rural broadband issues. He joined the Chairman's Office from the Wireline Competition Bureau, where he has served as an attorney-advisor in the Telecommunications Access Policy Division. Prior to joining the Commission in January 2017, he worked as an attorney for Smith Porsborg Schweigert Armstrong Moldenhauer & Smith in Bismarck, N.D.
Brian Worthen graduated from the University of Wyoming with a Bachelor's degree in Small Business Management, with an emphasis on Finance. Worthen grew up in the family motorcoach business and after college was instrumental in the company’s sale to Coach USA, which later went through a public offering and a series of acquisitions and rollups. Prior to departing the transportation industry, Worthen managed more than 300 employees in five states. He purchased ownership in Visionary Communications in 2001 and worked to develop the company’s broadband portfolio in Wyoming. Seeing an opportunity in the telecom marketplace, Worthen and his management team formed Mammoth Networks in 2005 to provide wholesale telecommunications services to ISPs and regional carriers. Mammoth quickly evolved into a Layer 2 Aggregator of disparate technologies and services onto a single, managed platform. Today, Worthen oversees strategic direction for the company’s operations from Seattle, Wash., to Minneapolis, Minn., to Albuquerque, N.M.
Vice President of Business Development
David Wuensch joined Axcent Networks with 33 years of experience in sales & marketing, having lead sales teams for more than 13 years. He was consistently selected for high visibility special projects because of his expertise in breaking new ground and achieving results. Throughout his career, Wuensch has built a reputation for innovative strategic thinking, problem solving and ability to provide focus. He leveraged his key talents at Siecor Optical Cable (now Corning Cable Systems), Fujitsu Network Communications, TrustPoint Management Group and MRV Optical Communications Systems. Wuensch earned a Bachelor of Science degree at the United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., after which he served as an Artillery Officer with the 1st Armored Division in Zirndorf, Germany, and with the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Division at Ft. Campbell, Ky.