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Rural Broadband: Successes and Challenges

Monday, April 22, 2024, 12:30 PM until 1:30 PM Eastern Time (US & Canada) (UTC-05:00)
Videoconference information will be provided in an email once payment is received.
Additional Info:
Event Contact(s):
Judith R Hurd
International Professional/Personal Development
Registration is required
Payment In Full In Advance Only
No Fee

Listen to a panel of broadband experts discuss the successes and challenges of delivering broadband to rural communities.

Meet the Panel:

Jon Webster, External Affairs Manager, AEP/Appalachian Power Company WV
Jon entered the department of External Affairs with Appalachian Power in June 2018.  Jon is currently one of four external affairs managers in West Virginia responsible for oversight and implementation of local & county governmental affairs, media communications liaison, community relations and local/regional economic development operations.  Jon also serves as AEP’s primary community field contact.  Prior to this role, Jon served as the Environmental & Lab Supervisor at the John E. Amos Power Plant from 2008 to 2018. Over his career, Jon has held positions in both public and private sectors.  Prior to working for AEP/APCo, Jon worked in the private sector as an Environmental & Engineering Manager for Waste Management, Inc., from 2003 to 2008, with principal responsibilities focusing on regulatory requirements for multiple hauling companies, landfills, and transfer stations.  Jon received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from West Virginia University.

Kelly Workman, Director, West Virginia Office of Broadband
Kelly has nearly 30 years of experience in economic development, specializing in the management of state and federal grant programs that support critical infrastructure investments in West Virginia. As Director of the West Virginia Office of Broadband, she is coordinating the expansion of broadband connectivity throughout West Virginia, working closely with the U.S Department of Treasury, U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Appalachian Regional Commission. Since 2018, she has partnered with the West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council to establish West Virginia’s comprehensive broadband mapping, data, and program development initiatives. In 2022, Kelly led West Virginia’s creation of broadband expansion programs under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), through which West Virginia became one of the first four states in the nation to secure its allocation of Capital Projects Funds, resulting in a $136 million investment. She holds a master’s degree from Marshall University and a bachelor’s degree from Concord University. 

Michael Clemons, Founder and CEO/CTO, GigaBeam Networks
Starting the company as entrepreneur in 1997, Michael has led the company from a computer repair and hardware services business to breaking into Internet Service Provider industry using fixed wireless technologies, to now developing Fiber to the Premise (FTTX) networks in the southern West Virginia and southwest Virginia regions. Michael has a vast knowledge and history of successful partnerships with public and private organizations to develop and build broadband infrastructure. A graduate of Virginia Tech, Michael also has employment experience in public school and local government operations.

Eric Workman, Chief Strategy Officer, GigaBeam Networks
Eric works in coordination with the CEO, providing administrative and operational support and strategies to all departments across the company. Eric has diverse experience, knowledge, and training associated with public-private partnerships, infrastructure development, and education. Prior to joining GigaBeam Networks in 2023, Eric served as the county administrator in Bland County, Virginia. During Eric’s tenure in that role, his focus was on infrastructure, economic, and community development by fostering opportunities for businesses, residents, civic and governmental agencies to work together by encouraging various partnerships. As a former teacher and school administrator, Eric has strong understanding of educational programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at Bluefield University as well as on various boards across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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