2014 Spring Biographies

Sheryl Abshire, Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer, Calcasieu Parish Public Schools, Lake Charles, La.
For more 40 years, Dr. Sheryl Abshire has served as a catalyst to initiate the integration of technology, working in diverse staff development programs throughout the nation involving restructuring schools through the infusion of technology and curriculum enhancements.  As a teacher, school librarian, principal and now CTO for the Calcasieu Public Schools, she has provided leadership on numerous international, national, state and district committees focusing on the role of technology and curriculum in changing educational practice. She is on the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) Board of Directors, Blackboard K -12 Advisory Board, Dell Platinum Advisory Committee, International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards & Accreditation Committee, ISTE Voices Carry Advocacy Committee and is chair of the CoSN Policy Committee. Additionally, Dr. Abshire is the past president of the Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators and now serves as the vice president of Programs and Advocacy. She recently completed a term on the FCC Universal Services Administrative Corporation (USAC) Board representing our nation’s K-12 schools and libraries on E-rate issues. ISTE awarded Dr. Abshire the first Public Policy Advocate of the Year Award in 2009 for her decades of work promoting educational technology. In 2013, she was the recipient of the National Coalition for Technology in Education & Training, NCTET Community Builder Award for exemplary service in support of policies and practices designed to facilitate the effective integration of technology into teaching and learning across the nation’s educational system.
Shaun Andrews, Senior Vice President of Global Voice Services, Level 3 Communication
Shaun Andrews is the senior vice president of Global Voice Services for Level 3 Communications, where he manages the enterprise, collaboration, contact center and wholesale voice portfolios delivered via Level 3's advanced, SIP-enabled global network. His responsibilities also incorporate business development, financial performance and continued delivery of leading edge customer solutions. Andrews has more than 15 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. Before rejoining Level 3, he served as general manager at Intelepeer, where his leadership drove material expansion of their peering network and revenue growth. Andrews originally came to Level 3 in 2006 with the acquisition of WilTel, where he was vice president of North American and International voice services. Andrews earned a B.S. in Business from Miami University and an M.B.A. from Northwestern University.
Steve Augustino, Partner, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP
Steve Augustino is a partner in the Kelly Drye’s Washington, D.C., office, where he focuses his practice on telecommunications and enforcement matters. Augustino represents all types of telecommunications service providers, including competitive local carriers, VoIP providers and prepaid calling card providers.  His work for these clients covers all aspects of their business, including initial registration, carrier-to-carrier negotiations, and billing disputes. Augustino defends clients in FCC enforcement actions, including Universal Service Fund (USF) compliance investigations and Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) reporting audits.  Previous enforcement matters include customer proprietary network information (CPNI), network outage reporting, prepaid card marketing, cramming, fax marketing, slamming, “fat finger dialing” and other carrier practices.
Mitchell H. Auster, Senior Director, Market Development, Ciena
Mitch Auster has been in the telecommunications industry for more than  25 years, having spent the past 20 years in various product management, marketing and business development positions across data, voice and video communications markets. Auster is senior director, Market Development for Ciena, with responsibilities spanning SDN and NFV, network analytics, cloud networking and related solutions. Prior recent activities included consulting with network operators to combine and leverage Ethernet, MPLS and optical switching with intelligent control plane technologies to enhance service agility and network efficiency. Auster earned a B.S. in Computer Science from Penn State University and  an M.B.A. from Rutgers Graduate School of Management.
Jeb Benedict, Vice President for Federal Regulatory Affairs & Regulatory Counsel, CenturyLink
Jeb Benedict is vice president for Federal Regulatory Affairs & Regulatory Counsel at CenturyLink. Based in the company’s Washington, D.C., office, he is responsible for advocacy before the FCC and other federal offices, as well as supporting the policy planning and legislative teams, helping manage FCC complaints and related litigation, and providing regulatory and legal advice to business units. Benedict began his career in regulatory and litigation work at Jones Day, as the first step in more than 25 years as a lawyer in the nation’s capital. Over the past 14 years, he has worked in regulatory law for the Sprint, Embarq and CenturyLink. Benedict, a Washington, D.C., area native, studied public policy at Davidson College, then attended Columbia Law School where he was on the Law Review.
Christopher Bloise, Partner, Court Square Capital Partners
Christopher Bloise has been a member of the Court Square investment team since 2003. Prior to that time, he was the director of Finance of Focalex, a technology firm focused on online marketing and worked in technology investment banking at Credit Suisse First Boston. Bloise serves on the board of Encompass Digital Media, Fibertech Networks and SPS. He previously served on the board of IWCO Direct, Mosaic Sales Solutions and nTelos. Bloise earned a B.S. from Washington University and an M.B.A. from the MIT Sloan School of Management. 
TJ Bouda, Senior Sales Executive, Appcore
TJ Bouda is a senior sales executive at Appcore, where he leads the company’s sales initiative in providing software-based automation management platforms for service providers.  With vast experience in server and storage management technologies, he is responsible for business development and channel strategy that aligns with the Appcore foundation of simplifying cloud automation. Prior to Appcore, Bouda was a manager for American Megatrends Inc., the worlds’ largest BIOS firmware vendor.  Bouda has 10 years of sales experience, with server and datacenter experience in both OEM and service provider markets, and specializes in market analysis and channel strategies. Bouda earned a B.S. in MIS from Iowa State University. 
Sean Buckley, Senior Editor, FierceTelecom
Sean Buckley is the senior editor of FierceTelecom. He joined the FierceTelecom staff in July 2009 and is responsible for covering news and trends in the wireline section of the telecom industry. Before joining the FierceTelecom staff, Buckley most recently served as the Editor-in-Chief for Telecom Engine from 2006 to 2009 overseeing both the former print publication Telecommunications Magazine Americas and its transition to a web-based publication. Buckley returned to Telecommunications in July 2006 after a brief one-year stint covering the public sector IT and mobile network infrastructure trends as a senior analyst at Current Analysis.
Jeremy Bye, Vice President – Carrier, Cox Business
Jeremy Bye has served as the vice president of Carrier, Wholesale and National Accounts since 2011. Prior to that, he led the network and Cox Business operations teams in the company’s Virginia market for five years. He originally joined Cox’s New England system in 2002, where he led carrier access and service delivery operations. Currently, Bye oversees all wholesale sales, sales operations and technical support functions, and is responsible for growing and managing the base of national account customers purchasing retail services from Cox on a marketwide basis. Bye began his telecommunications career with New York Telephone/NYNEX and Verizon, where he led engineering, construction, voice switching, installation and repair, and special service teams. He also served as staff director of operations assurance and process integration, where he drove fulfillment improvement initiatives, and managed carrier-to-carrier metric quality as director of wholesale and retail quality assurance. Bye earned a B.A. from Colgate University and an M.B.A. from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business. 
William E Cheek, President, Wholesale Markets Group, CenturyLink
Leading the Wholesale Markets Group, William Cheek is responsible for Product, Marketing, Sales, Service and Operations for the portfolio of Wholesale Products – including LightCore – offered to inter-exchange carriers, competitive local exchange carriers, wireless providers, pay telephone providers
and local exchange carriers. Additionally, he is responsible for the Sales, Service and Operations of the Pay Telephone division of CenturyLink.
Cheek had a leading role in the merger of CenturyTel and Embarq, creating CenturyLink in 2009, and used that experience again in the 2011 consolidation of Qwest into CenturyLink.
Cheek previously served as Assistant Vice President – Strategic Sales and Account Management in Sprint Business Solutions, where he was responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with Sprint’s largest wholesale customers.
Cheek held other senior management positions with Sprint, including President of Wholesale Markets in Sprint’s Local Telecommunications Division, Vice President – Sales and Account Management in Sprint’s Local Telecommunications Division and Assistant Vice President – Regulatory Policy,
where he was responsible for development and advocacy of state and federal policy.
A 35-year veteran of the telecommunications industry, Cheek began his career with Allied Tel in 1977, before joining Sprint in 1981.
Thomas Cohen, Partner, Kelley Drye
Thomas Cohen is a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Kelley Drye, where his practice focuses on providing legal counsel to further the business interests of entities engaged in the provision of wireline and wireless telecommunications, cable (video), and broadband (Internet) services. He has significant experience in federal and state administrative and legislative advocacy, as well as business-related legal matters, including transactions and litigation. Cohen has more than 35 years of experience in the communications and telecommunications industry sector, first as a government policymaker, serving for over a decade as assistant general counsel for legislation at the FCC and as senior counsel for the Senate Commerce Committee. He then was a founder and principal in firms assessing and developing communications/telecommunications properties and advising businesses. He joined Kelley Drye in 2005.
Joe Cumello,  Chief Marketing Officer, Cyan 
Joe Cumello oversees all aspects of Cyan’s global marketing efforts, from product marketing to global brand development. He has significant experience with both equipment suppliers and service providers. Prior to joining Cyan, he served as vice president of Marketing at both Sidera Networks and SafeNet. Earlier in his career, Cumello spent eight years with Ciena as senior director of Global Marketing, where  he focused on the development of next-generation optical and Ethernet services and accompanying marketing plans to support and grow Ciena’s service provider partners. He also oversaw Ciena’s industry and regional marketing efforts targeting the telecom, wireless backhaul, financial services, healthcare and government markets across North America. Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Cumello is a graduate of the University of Maryland College Park.
Craig M. Drinkhall, Chief Technology Officer, Lumos Networks
Craig Drinkhall is a seasoned marketing and business development executive who successfully develops, implements and actualizes strategies across organizations to promote company growth and expansion. He has held several distinct positions with various corporations, which deepened his background in product/life-cycle management and information technology while supplying a proven track record in building partnerships and launching products to sales channels.  For more than 30 years, Drinkhall has helped companies successfully leverage their assets to enter new markets and become leaders in a rapidly changing technology world. Prior to working at Lumos Networks, Drinkhall served in Engineering, Product Development and Marketing positions in several telecommunications, data center and Internet technology companies, most recently as senior vice president, Product Delivery & Emerging Opportunities for Level 3 Communications, the largest Internet backbone company in the world.  He was recently named to FierceTelecom’s “Rising Stars of Wireline 2013.”
Eric Einhorn, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs & Strategy, Windstream
Eric Einhorn is senior vice president of Government Affairs & Strategy for Windstream, where he is responsible for managing the company’s regulatory and legislative initiatives and strategies at the federal and state levels. He previously served as vice president of Federal Government Affairs. Prior to joining Windstream in 2006, Einhorn held positions at AT&T, SBC, and in private legal practice in New York City and Washington, D.C. He also worked at the FCC, where he served in several roles, including chief of the Telecommunications Access Policy division in the Wireline Competition Bureau, and clerked for Judge Roger Strand in federal district court in Phoenix. Einhorn earned a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University, a J.D. from Boston College Law School and an M.B.A., with distinction, from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management.  
Jeff Gardner, President & CEO, Windstream
Jeff Gardner has worked in the telecommunications industry for more than 25 years and is executing a focused strategy to transform Windstream and create value for shareholders. Windstream has completed nine acquisitions since its 2006 spinoff from Alltel Corp., adding more than $4 billion in revenue and creating approximately $300 million in operating and capital synergies. The company completed four acquisitions in 2010 totaling $2.2 billion. In 2011, Windstream acquired PAETEC, a leading communications firm for $2.3 billion. Gardner was appointed to his current position in December 2005. He previously served as executive vice president and CFO of Alltel Corp. He joined Alltel in 1998, when the company merged with 360° Communications. Gardner earned a degree in finance from Purdue University and an M.B.A. from William and Mary. 
Joseph Gillan, Consultant, Gillan Associates
Joseph Gillan is a consultant specializing in the economic evaluation of regulatory policies and related business opportunities in the telecommunications industry. He previously served on the staff of the Illinois Commerce Commission and was later at US Switch, ultimately becoming its vice president of Strategic Planning. Gillan has testified in roughly 40 states, in addition to international work before the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission and the Finance Ministry of the Cayman Islands. He is on the Advisory Council to New Mexico State University’s Regulatory Studies Program and was named in 2008 to the USAC Board of Directors. Gillan earned Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Economics from the University of Wyoming.  
Iain Gillott, Founder and President,  iGR
Iain Gillott, the founder and president of iGR, is an acknowledged wireless and mobile industry authority who has been involved in the wireless industry, as both a vendor and analyst, for more than 20 years. iGR was founded in 2000 as iGillottResearch, Inc. in order to provide in-depth market analysis and data focused exclusively on the wireless and mobile industry, and has expanded to cover broadband telecom services to the home, as homes and businesses have become more connected. Before founding iGR, Gillott was a group vice president in IDC's Telecommunications practice, managing IDC's worldwide research on wireless and mobile communications and Internet access, telecom brands, residential and small business telecommunications and telecom billing services. Earlier in his career, he was in various technical roles and a proposal manager at EDS (now HP), responsible for preparing new business proposals to wireless and mobile operators. Gillott earned a B.S. in Computer Systems Engineering from the University College of North Wales, Bangor, Wales, with a concentration in hardware and software design. 
Greg Green, Co-Founder and President, Fatbeam
Greg Green is the co-founder and president of Fatbeam, where he spearheads campaigns to provide high-speed and high-capacity Internet solutions to education, healthcare, government and enterprise customers in rural communities. Green founded Fatbeam with the purpose of addressing customer needs in areas that have little or no access to fiber optic networks. He is a seasoned senior executive and entrepreneur with more than 20 years experience in the telecommunications sector. He began is career when he launched Tel-West, a telecommunications provider of PBXs and competitive access and a reseller of voice services that was acquired by NEXTLINK, a Craig McCaw-owned organization. Green became president of NEXTLINK Washington and was part of the core team to take NEXTLINK public (now named XO Communications, NASDAQ: XOXO).  He then went on to launch OneEighty Communications, a telecommunications provider focusing on markets with populations of less than 500,000, which was later bought by Avista Corporation (NYSE: AVA) and renamed Avista Communications. 

Trent Harkrader, Associate Chief,  Wireline Competition Bureau, FCC
Trent Harkrader is an associate chief in the Wireline Competition Bureau at the FCC, where he is responsible for developing the Bureau’s policy for the E-rate program, as well as the universal service Lifeline and rural health care programs. Prior to taking this position, Harkrader was the chief of Telecommunications Access Policy Division, where he supervised Bureau staff working on all universal service fund matters.  Harkrader also has worked in the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau.

John Heitmann Partner, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP
John Heitmann is a partner in Kelley Drye's Washington, D.C., office, where he is chair of the firm's Telecommunications practice group and a member of the firm's Privacy and Information Security practice group. Heitmann has nearly 20 years of experience representing wireline and wireless carriers, broadband, Internet and information service providers, VoIP providers and other enterprises on regulatory policy, litigation, dispute resolution and enforcement matters before federal and state regulatory agencies, and in state, federal and appellate court litigation. He also counsels extensively on compliance policies and issues arising from the Communications Act, the FTC Act, and numerous other federal and state laws governing privacy, information security and telecommunications.  
James Henry, Co-Founder and Senior Managing Director, Bank Street Group LLC
James Henry is a co-founder and senior managing director of Bank Street Group LLC, and has been actively involved in the communications infrastructure and services (CIS) sector for more than a decade. Henry leads Bank Street’s CIS Investment Banking team, which counts AboveNet, Black Rock Cable, First Communications, Hibernia Networks and IP Networks among its roster of clients and transactions executed in fixed-line competitive carrier sector.  Prior to Bank Street, Henry was a senior managing director at Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc., where he served as the senior research analyst responsible for the telecom and Internet service and infrastructure sectors. Henry has spoken at major industry conferences, testified before Congress on communications sector matters, and been quoted in national publications, such as Business Week and The Wall Street Journal.
Alan Hill, Senior Vice President, Government Relations, COMPTEL
Alan joined COMPTEL in 2011 as senior vice president of Government Relations. Prior to that time, he was vice president of Federal Business Development for a large construction company, where he led the creation of the company's internal division focusing on federal government contracts and developed partnerships and joint ventures to support those efforts. Earlier in his career, he was director of Legislative Affairs at XO Communications LLC, representing the company and the competitive industry before Congress. He also worked on Capitol Hill for 10 years, advising on telecommunications, energy and national security issues. Hill earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kentucky and is also a graduate of the College of Naval Command and Staff at the United States Naval War College.
Jim Hintze, Vice President of Global Business Development, BTI Systems
Jim Hintze is vice president of Global Business Development at BTI Systems, the leading provider of intelligent networking software and systems that empower content and service providers to capitalize on the demand for bandwidth driven by long-term trends in cloud services, mobility and Internet video.  In his role, Hintze is responsible for building corporate alliances and channels globally. Previously, he served as corporate senior vice president of Commercial Sales at Frontier Communications, where he led a companywide sales team focused on business and government customers. Hintze also served as senior vice president of Sales and Marketing at Fujitsu Network Communications. In these roles, he was responsible for global sales, business management, marketing communications, strategic business development, proposals, media/analyst relations and competitive intelligence. His career in telecommunications began in 1989 at AT&T Network Systems (now Alcatel-Lucent) in corporate marketing. In the early 1990s, Hintze moved into transmission systems sales to Qwest. Throughout the 1990s, his responsibilities expanded to include all wireline, wireless and professional services as vice president of sales. Hintze earned a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has also attended the University of Oxford, England, and is a graduate of the Business Executive Program of Stanford Graduate School. 
Kristie C. Ince, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, tw telecom inc.
Kristie (Flippo) Ince began her regulatory and legislative career in 1993 in the office of Texas State Rep. Kenny Marchant as a committee clerk, then served as his chief clerk in 1995. She then worked for Texas State Sen. David Cain as his legislative director from 1997 until April 2000, when she took the position of vice president of Regulatory Affairs with tw telecom.  In this role, she covers a multi-state region for tw telecom, interfacing with both the PUCs and state legislatures on behalf of the company, as well as being involved with the company’s FCC advocacy. Ince earned a B.A. in German from the University of Texas at Austin and attended the University of Wuerzberg in Germany. 

Sam Kline, Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy, Granite Telecommunications, LLC.
In his role as senior vice president of Corporate Strategy for Granite Telecommunications, LLC., Sam Kline manages carrier contract negotiations, development of new products and oversees other legal and growth initiatives for the company, which is the fourth-largest wireline business telephone company in the U.S. and one of the fastest growing wireline companies. Prior to joining Granite, Kline held senior executive positions at other communication companies that involved a variety of products, including wireless and voicemail. He has been awarded several patents and is a past member of the research staff at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and served on the Board of Advisors to the University of Colorado.

Tim Koxlien, CEO TeleQuality Communications
Born and raised in rural Western Wisconsin, Tim Koxlien has become one of the country’s most respected and effective leaders on rural health care telecom issues. He is recognized widely by health care providers as an articulate, knowledgeable advocate for deployment of broadband connectivity throughout rural America. When Tim speaks about rural health telecom funding issues with the FCC, USAC, Congress and industry leaders, policymakers listen.
Rural Health Telecom, founded by Tim in1999 to take advantage of benefits provided by the USAC-RHC federal funding program, has focused exclusively on upgrading telecommunications networks and providing sound guidance and support for rural health care providers in 32 states.
His telecom career began in 1986 with U.S. West (Qwest). In 1991 he founded The Koxlien Group as a design and project management firm for US West and Ameritech in Minneapolis-St. Paul, working closely with the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Gunderson Lutheran, and other Midwest health care providers, representing major telecom service companies.
Rural health care providers will come away from this presentation with a much clearer understanding of how to tap federal funding for their current and future telecom networks.

Angie Kronenberg, Chief Advocate and General Counsel, COMPTEL
Angie joined COMPTEL as chief advocate and general counsel in 2013 after serving for three years in an advisor role for FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. Prior to that, she 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.
Allen Lepke, Product Manager for Cloud Services and Managed Services,  CHR Solutions
Allen Lepke is the product manager for Cloud Services and Managed Services at CHR Solutions, where he oversees new and existing product design and development of CHR’s Cloud and Managed Services. Lepke works closely with the CHR leadership team to define and drive new product direction and strategies for the company; and assists in developing white papers and business cases that showcase the value of investing in the cloud.  Prior to CHR, Lepke spent six years working for Innovative Systems, a provider of BSS/OSS to rural communication service providers, as a network administrator and client advocate. He also worked as the director of Fundraising for Dakota Wesleyan University, and served as an elected official on the Mitchell, South Dakota, City Council for six years. He has served on numerous boards and committees throughout his career and is a graduate of the South Dakota Governor’s Leadership Institute. Lepke earned an Associate’s Degree in Computer Systems from Mitchell Technical Institute and a B.S. in Business Management from Indiana Wesleyan University. He also served in the military with the South Dakota Air National Guard for nine years as a jet propulsion specialist.
Gary Ludgood, Senior Vice President, Global Network Field Operations, AT&T Services, Inc.
In November 2008, Gary Ludgood was named senior vice president of Global Network Field Operations for the AT&T Network Operations organization, where he is responsible for wireline and wireless core network operations. His team is comprised of over 7,300+ employees worldwide, and supports MoW (Most of World) network operations in 64 countries. Previously, Ludgood served as senior vice president, Network Methods and Support, responsible for local network services methods, procedures and line support for construction and engineering, core installation and repair, and U-verse operations. Before that,  he served as senior vice president, Network Services where he was responsible for the customer provisioning, repair, construction and maintenance of the network infrastructure in the Southeast. Ludgood began his career in 1979 with BellSouth, and held various assignments in network operations, supporting planning, engineering, construction, business development and system design support. Ludgood  graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Electrical Engineering Technology. He also has completed post-graduate programs at the University of Alabama - Birmingham and Emory University.
Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, SDNCentral
Managing Editor Craig Matsumoto joined SDNCentral in July 2013, having become one of the pre-eminent journalists covering SDN and related topics. A fixture in the Silicon Valley tech community, Craig previously spent 11 years at Light Reading covering telecom infrastructure –  particularly, routing, Ethernet, and optical transmission – tracking network equipment vendors from technological and financial angles. 
David Mayo, Senior Vice President, Technology, T-Mobile USA 
David Mayo serves as senior vice president, Technology for T-Mobile USA, where he has business management responsibility for $10 billion in capital and operating costs. He is also responsible for development and implementation of key strategic initiatives. Mayo joined the company (then Western Wireless) in 1996 adn pioneered the mass deployment of fiber to T-Mobile’s cell sites in the mid-2000s. Prior to joining T-Mobile, Mayo held leadership positions at US West New Vector Group, Flow International Corp. and Price Waterhouse. Mayo earned a degree in business administration from the University of Washington, with concentrations in accounting and operations and systems analysis.
Daniel J. McCarthy, President and COO, Frontier Communications
Daniel McCarthy has been president and COO of Frontier since April 2012 and served as executive vice president and COO from January 2006 to April 2012. Before this, he served in a variety of roles at Frontier, including senior vice President, Field Operations; senior vice president, Broadband Operations; and president and COO of Electric Lightwave. McCarthy has been with Frontier since 1990, when he joined the company's Kauai, Hawaii, electric division. In 1995, he moved to Flagstaff, Ariz., and assumed responsibility for the company's energy operations. In 2001, he was promoted to president and COO of Citizens Public Services sector, responsible for the company's energy and water operations. He is a trustee of The Committee for Economic Development and serves on the Board of Trustees of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn. McCarthy earned a bachelor's degree in marine engineering from the State University of New York Maritime College at Fort Schuyler, and holds an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix. 
Charles McKee, Vice President, Government Affairs, Federal & State Regulatory, Sprint Corp.
Charles McKee is vice president, Government Affairs, Federal & State Regulatory for Sprint Corp. He is responsible for non-spectrum-related regulatory matters before the FCC, including consumer protection, 911, CALEA, USF, ICC, Net neutrality and others. He also is responsible for all state PSC proceedings, including arbitrations, merger reviews and access proceedings. McKee has been employed at Sprint since 1996, during which time he has handled a wide range of issues at both the state and federal level. Earlier in his career, McKee was a litigator with a law firm in Kansas City and tried telecommunications cases before state regulatory agencies.
McKee earned a B.A. from the University of Kansas and J.D. from the University of Minnesota.     
Ron Mudry, CEO, Tower Cloud
Ron Mudry has more than 30 years of experience in the telecommunication industry. He is the founding CEO of Tower Cloud, a company focused on serving the fast growing wireless backhaul market.  Prior to Tower Cloud, Mudry was the founding President and CEO of Progress Telecom, which was established in 1998. Under his management, Progress Telecom became one of the largest wholesale broadband providers in the Southeast.  Prior to his tenure at Progress, he spent 15 years with Verizon.  Ron earned a Bachelor degree in Business at the University of Michigan and an M.B.A. from University of Tampa. 
Chip Pickering, CEO, COMPTEL
Chip Pickering was named CEO of COMPTEL in January 2014. Pickering was a six-term Congressman, representing Mississippi’s Third District. During this time, he served on the House 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.  Most recently, 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. There, he also played a vital role as one of the principal negotiators in developing a wireless industry agreement for interoperability in the 700 block.
Brandon Ross, CEO and Chief Network Architect, Network Utility Force
Brandon Ross has nearly 25 years of experience in technical leadership roles in network engineering and architecture for organizations such as the University of Florida, MindSpring, NetRail, Comcast and Sockeye Networks. Since June 2010, Ross has led professional services engineering teams focusing on network architecture for service providers and enterprises, and was recently selected by the North American Network Operators Group (NANOG) to operate the industry association’s network services. Shortly after founding Network Utility Force in December 2011, the company’s close partnership with Walker and Associates has Ross working with service providers all over the United States. Ross earned a B.S. in Telecommunications from the University of Florida, is an active participant in NANOG and the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), and plays an integral role as team lead for the InteropNet, which supports the Interop trade show.
Rich Ruben, CEO, PEG Bandwidth
Rich Ruben is the CEO of PEG Bandwidth and has been leading communications and technology companies for more than 20 years. His CEO roles have included XOS Technologies, WireOne Communications and V-SPAN. As president of Spectacor, Ruben engineered the merger that created Comcast-Spectacor, owner of the Philadelphia Flyers, Philadelphia 76ers and related businesses. He began his career at Coopers & Lybrand, and he entered the communications industry in 1986 with Bell Atlantic. Ruben pushed aggressively to expand Bell Atlantic’s wireless footprint and helped develop the plan that eventually turned Bell Atlantic Mobile into Verizon Wireless. Ruben began implementing that plan as vice president of Planning and CFO of Bell Atlantic Mobile. He also has worked with numerous communications and technology businesses in board and consulting roles. Ruben earned a law degree and an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University and is a CPA.
Glenn Russo, Executive Vice President, Corporate Strategy & Development, Zayo Group
Glenn Russo is executive vice president of Corporate Strategy & Development for Zayo, where he is responsible for strategic planning, acquisitions, marketing and channel development. He is also responsible for the performance of Zayo’s European business. Since joining Zayo, Russo has held several positions, including most recently, president of Zayo Networks, where he developed Zayo's regional sales and solutions organization and expanded its business with large enterprise and regional carrier customers. He has more than 20 years of telecommunications, IT and related services experience both as a communications service provider and corporate IT executive. Prior to Zayo, Russo was senior vice president at Level 3 Communications responsible for Transport and Infrastructure services. During his eight years at Level 3, Russo led a broad range of businesses, including fiber, transport, colocation, voice, IP and data services. Earlier in his career, Russo was a senior executive at Bridgeworks and spent 16 years with ExxonMobil’s global chemical product division in a range of IT, sales and finance leadership positions. Russo earned a B.S. in Engineering from Cornell University.
Mike Sabelhaus, Principal Photonics Solutions Architect, Fujitsu Networks Communications Inc.
Mike Sabelhaus joined Fujitsu Network Communications in July 1993, and has held positions in the Product Management, Planning and Strategic Planning groups, where he has been involved in many of Fujitsu’s optical products and design tools. Sabelhaus has served as Director of Optical Planning, EMEA, which included global product planning for Fujitsu’s next generation products, business development and support of the Verizon/AT&T EMEA projects. After returning to the U.S., he directed Fujitsu’s efforts in AT&T Domain Product Management and has most recently concentrated on next generation 400G and ROADM optical strategies. Prior to Fujitsu, Sabelhaus worked in the design and development of optical equipment at Opcom Inc. and Honeywell Opto Inc. He started his career in the automation field doing control system design and has been a consultant in various fields ranging from electrical circuit design to data networks. Sabelhaus earned two engineering degrees and has done graduate level work. He holds a US patent, is a life member of the electrical engineering honor society, Eta Kappa Nu, and member of IEEE.
Dale Schmick, Chief Operating Officer, YourTel America, and Chairman, COMPTEL Board of Directors
Dale Schmick is COO of YourTel America, which was founded in 1995 to supply core city residents with low-cost telecommunication services. Schmick began his telecommunications career working for PageNet in the New York City, selling wireless products. He was then promoted to manager of reseller distribution in Kansas in 1993.  He has been with YourTel America since 1997 in various leadership positions, leading the migration of the company from a reseller of paging products to a full-fledged switch- based CLEC, ISP and wireless carrier.  Schmick is also the COO of TerraCom Inc. and serves as the chairman of COMPTEL’s Board of Directors.  In addition, he serves on the board of Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey and is a fire captain with the Southern Platte Fire Protection District.
Fedor Smith, President, ATLANTIC-ACM
Fedor Smith is the president of ATLANTIC-ACM, a market research and consulting firm based in Boston, where he specializes in operations analysis, customer feedback research and market sizing.  Smith heads up proprietary projects, ranging from competitive benchmarking to customer satisfaction, for major telecommunications providers. He has worked extensively in both the wireless and wireline markets. He also has been regular panelist and speaker at some of the nation’s premier prepaid and mobile conferences.  Prior to joining ATLANTIC-ACM, Smith worked at Alloy Media and Marketing in New York City, Eureka Broadband and Putnam Investments.  Smith earned a Bachelor’s degree in History and Economics from Hamilton College and has done graduate work in finance, marketing and operations management at Harvard University. 
James M. Smith, Of Counsel, Davis Wright Tremaine
Jim Smith is a telecommunications attorney in the Washington, D.C. office of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, an international law firm of 500 attorneys with a significant telecom, transactional and corporate practice. Smith’s practice centers on telecommunications regulatory advice, public policy advocacy, and transactional representation, including representing clients and coalitions before federal, state and foreign regulatory bodies on universal service, privacy and international transactional issues . For more than 30 years, as an attorney, telecommunications company executive and industry association leader, Smith has been a nationally recognized leader in telecommunications law and policy. Prior to joining Davis Wright in 2002, he held the position of vice president, Law and Public Policy of Excel Communications Inc., then the fifth largest long distance telecommunications company in North America. From 1990-1997, Smith was president of the Competitive Telecommunications Association (CompTel), where he led the U.S. competitive telecom industry's advocacy culminating in the passage of the landmark Telecommunications Act of 1996. Prior to his tenure at CompTel, he was a partner in the Washington law firms Reed Smith Shaw & Mcclay and Pierson, Ball & Dowd, where he represented domestic and foreign telecommunications carriers and manufacturers and broadcast, journalistic and telecom industry associations.
Mary Stanhope, Vice President of Product and Marketing, Global Capacity
Mary Stanhope is vice president of Product and Marketing for Global Capacity, where she is responsible for the definition, strategic positioning and market adoption of the company's products and services. She has more than 23 years experience in the communications industry holding business development, product marketing, and systems implementation roles of increasing responsibility with companies such as Sidera Networks, RCN, Teleport Communications, Atos Origin and SchlumbergerSema.  From the introduction of SMS and prepaid wireless to the development of online communities and launch of Ethernet and cloud services, Stanhope has been a pioneer for new products and architecting change in how businesses communicate as recognized by FierceTelecom 2013 Top 10 Women in Wireline.  She is an active participant in the MEF and Light Reading Ethernet Executive Council.  Stanhope earned a B.A. degree from Syracuse University.
Thane Storck, Group Vice President of Time Warner Cable’s Carrier Services Group
Thane Storck serves as the group vice president of Time Warner Cable’s Carrier Services Group. Thane has been with TWC for more than 10 years in various capacities. After assisting TWC in the construction of an Alternate Channel unit, he began focusing on the development of the Mobile Backhaul Practice and Carrier Last Mile Access Strategy. Both of these carrier strategies have quickly grown into impactful lines of business for the TWC Commercial Services Unit. Thane has more than 20 years of experience in the telecom space, focusing in the carrier and wholesale sector. Prior to arriving at TWC, Thane held positions in the wholesale segment of the telecom industry with Broadwing and Winstar Communications.
Colby Synesael, Director and Senior Research Analyst, Cowen and Company
Colby Synesael is a director and senior research analyst specializing in the telecom and data services industries. Synesael has been covering the telecom and data services industry as a senior analyst since 2006. Prior to joining Cowen in March 2010, he was a senior vice president for Kaufman Brothers, and before that spent nearly three years in a similar role at Merriman Curhan Ford. From 2001 to January 2006, Synesael worked at Thomas Weisel Partners as a research associate, spending his last three years covering telecom services. Before joining Weisel, he spent a brief time working at Allegiance Telecom. He earned a B.S. from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.
Kurt Van Wagenen, President and Chief Executive Officer, FirstLight Fiber
Kurt Van Wagenen is the President and CEO of FirstLight Fiber. Prior to that, he was president and CEO of FiberTower from April 2008 until November 2012. He was the president and CEO of NEON Communications from January 2007 until NEON was acquired by RCN Corp. He also served as president and COO of Globix Corp. Van Wagenen began his career at Verizon Communications and its various predecessors, holding positions of increasing responsibility.
Van Wagenen earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst.
Vijay Venugopal, Manager of Product Marketing, Cisco Systems 
Vijay Venugopal is manager of Product Marketing in Cisco Systems, where he heads Product Management for Service Provider SDN & Virtualization. He has more than 18 years of experience in the networking industry and has worked previously in several start-ups and large telecom equipment manufacturers before joining Cisco. As head of product management for SP SDN & Virtualization, Venugopal is responsible for defining Cisco’s strategy and product roadmaps for SDN, network function virtualization (NFV) and service orchestration. He has worked extensively with worldwide service providers to understand their business challenges and to build Cisco solutions that apply SDN and virtualization to address these challenges.
Stephen Webster, Vice President, Carrier Sales, Charter Business
Stephen Webster is vice president of Carrier Sales at Charter Business, the business-to-business sales unit of Charter Communications Inc.  In this role, he is responsible for the development and growth of the carrier/wholesale market segment for Charter nationwide. Webster joined Charter in 2004 and has nearly 20 years’ experience in the telecommunications industry.  He came to Charter from Comcast where he was vice president of Sales at Comcast’s Colorado regional office. He previously served in various corporate strategy and field leadership roles at TCI and AT&T Broadband. Webster also spent time in Washington, D.C., as an aide to Sen. William V. Roth, Jr. of Delaware. Webster earned a B.A. in Government from Hamilton College and an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 
Lisa R. Youngers, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel - Federal Affairs, XO Communications
Lisa Youngers is vice president and assistant general counsel - Federal Affairs at XO Communications, where she is responsible for all federal policy, regulatory and legislative matters affecting XO’s interests before the FCC, Congress and all levels of executive administration including regulatory and legislative strategy.  Youngers also oversees the company’s corporate PR and messaging. Prior to joining XO, she was a Washington, D.C.-based federal regulatory counsel for General Communication Inc., a telecommunications and cable television provider operating primarily in the state of Alaska, whom she represented before the FCC on wireline, wireless, universal service, telehealth and school access issues. Youngers also served as federal regulatory counsel for MCI, appearing before the FCC on competition policy, enforcement matters and consumer issues.  Youngers is a former assistant attorney general for the state of Minnesota, where she served as legal counsel to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.  Youngers earned a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin and received her J.D. magna cum laude from William Mitchell College of Law.  She is a member of the Minnesota and District of Columbia Bars.