SPEAKERS, PANELISTS & MODERATORS
STANLEY ADAMS - KS Department of Commerce
Stanley Adams leads state of Kansas broadband development planning efforts as Director of Broadband Initiatives at the Dept. of Commerce. He is responsible for promoting economic development through broadband technology, overseeing, managing and expanding programs to encourage local communities to harness advanced broadband deployments to maximize their economic growth. Adams serves as the liaison and primary point of contact on all broadband-related topics and issues for the state. kansascommerce.gov
JADA ACKERMAN - Blue Valley Telecom
Jada Ackerman has been a part of Blue Valley Tele-Communications since 1992, where she served as the operations manager for one of its subsidiaries. In 2003 she was named director of public relations and community development for the cooperative. In 2017 she assumed responsibility of the video production and customer service departments.
Jada is currently responsible for developing communication strategies focused on broadband growth and development through publications, partnerships with membership organizations, social media and other media outlets, and community outreach efforts.
Jada has served on numerous local, state, and national boards and committees. She is a graduate of Manhattan Christian College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and Ethics. She has two sons and a passion for sports photography – taking thousands of shots each football, wrestling, and track season.
MENDI ANSCHUTZ - Nex-Tech
Mendi Anschutz, Economic Development Specialist, began her career with Nex-Tech,
Inc. in 2008.
She is responsible for assisting communities in the retention, recruitment and expansion of industrial, commercial and retail businesses as well as assisting schools, municipalities and healthcare organizations. She also is responsible for managing the company’s Revolving Loan Fund and packaging Rural Economic Development Loan Grant (REDLG) applications.
Since 2013, Mendi has been active in the creation and expansion of the non-profit organization Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc. by facilitating and training youth in career development and internship programs as well as writing numerous grants for the organization.
Prior to joining Nex-Tech, Inc., Mendi spent 10 years working for the economic development organization in Hays and Ellis County, Kansas.
Mendi is a proud graduate of Fort Hays State University, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication, with an emphasis in Public Relations.
MIKE BRIGMAN - Kansas Fiber Network, KFN
Mike joined Kansas Fiber Network, LLC as the President in May, 2017. As President & General Manager, Mike strives to exceed expectations of the entire customer base, deliver highly reliable products and services, promote a positive work environment for all employees, and deliver value for the shareholders.
Mike has over 25 years of experience in telecommunications management. He got his start in communications industry during his service in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Previously, Mike served as the Senior Director of Territory Sales at Nokia, formerly Alcatel-Lucent. Before that, Mike was the VP of Business Development & Sales at Fidelity Communications. As a senior executive at Fidelity, Mike established a successful carrier sales channel, led a team of 15 direct sales and support staff, streamlined the sales and back office processes, and was instrumental in developing a new strategic vision that transitioned the company into a nimble, entrepreneurial-focused communications provider.
While serving as VP of Business Development & Network Planning with Bluebird Network (formerly Missouri Network Alliance), Mike built the carrier sales division, envisioned and implemented strategic network expansions, and managed carrier relations and member services. Mike also served on a Tiger Team that consulted and implemented the initial phases of creating Kansas Fiber Network and Illinois Network Alliance.
In addition to his professional responsibilities, Mike enjoys donating his time and talents to several conservation and education related philanthropies as well as spending time in the great outdoors hunting, fishing, and farming.
Along with numerous technical certifications, Mike earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Rockhurst University, as well as a Master’s in Telecommunications Management and an MBA from Webster University. ksfiber.net
BRANDON HINES - Hays Public Library
Brandon Hines, Director of the Hays Public Library (KS), oversees one of the most frequented libraries in the state. The library engages Hays citizens both in the library facility and through outreach in various sectors of the community. Technology and reliable broadband is critical to facilitation of resource sharing, offering programs, and library management. In his previous role as the County Administrator for Coffey County Libraries (KS), Brandon worked cooperatively with schools, healthcare, and various government components in a county-wide fiber optic network delivering highspeed internet to each entity including the six rural libraries that make up the library system.
LYNNE HINRISHSEN - USDA DIRECTOR, KANSAS
Lynne served the state of Kansas as the Agribusiness Development Director for the Kansas Department of Agriculture for the past four years. Prior to working in the public sector, she owned and operated a professional staffing service for 13 years where she provided human resource consulting services to companies as well as temporary and permanent employment opportunities to people.
She has an extensive background in sales, marketing, advertising, management, strategic planning and business development through her career in the staffing, beef cattle and food distribution industries. Lynne is a graduate of Michigan State University with dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Animal Science and Agricultural Communications. And she remains active in the agricultural industry through membership in the American Angus Association, Kansas Angus Association, American Angus Auxiliary, Kansas Angus Auxiliary, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Kansas Livestock Association. She has served in officer and committee roles within several of these organizations and most recently was the President of the American Angus Auxiliary after serving eight years on the board.
COLLEEN JAMISON - Jamison Law, LLC
Colleen Jamison has worked in the telecommunications industry for almost twenty years, beginning with a twelve-year stint at the Kansas Corporation Commission as senior litigation counsel. She joined the Caplinger, Chtd. law firm in 2011 and opened her own firm, Jamison Law, LLC, in 2019. Colleen represents rural telecommunications companies throughout Kansas in local, state, and federal matters. She is a member of the Topeka and Kansas bar associations, is an active member of the Downtown Topeka Rotary Club, and is on the board of the Western Missouri/Kansas branch of the National Kidney Foundation. She serves on the Kansas Statewide Broadband Expansion Planning Task Force. Colleen and her husband Alonzo have five adult daughters.
ANGIE KREIDER - Rainbow Communications
Angie Kreider is the Director of Business Development for Rainbow Communications, Everest, KS. After a sixteen year career in banking, she joined the Rainbow Team as Customer Service Manager for five years, Sales Manager for five years and has most recently moved into the position of Director of Business Development. In addition to providing customers with Fiber Internet, Cable and Phone services, Rainbow provides business customers with advanced solutions which include; security, surveillance, phone systems, Cloud services, Hosted PBX, and Wi-Fi/networking Solutions.
Angie says the best part of her job is getting to partner with the diverse Cities, Businesses and Farmers in Northeast Kansas and become their trusted advisor to bring Technology solutions to their operations.
When Angie is not working she spends her time on her farm with her two Lab puppies, Elle & Emmett and visiting her daughter Reba in Manhattan at K-State, GO CATS!!
MARK PFLUM - RVW, Inc.
Since joining RVW in July of 2008, Mark Pflum has been working with clients on Cable TV systems, Fiber-to-the-Premises designs, and Central Office Electronics (FTTP, Transport, and Switching electronics).
Prior to joining RVW, Mark worked for Motorola, Inc. as systems engineer. He started out working in Motorola’s satellite communications division. Mark worked on the Celestri and Teledesic program which were sometimes referred to as “The Internet in the Sky”. Mark then spent the last 8 years of his career at Motorola working in their CDMA infrastructure division.
ROB MCDONALD - MT Networks
Rob McDonald is the Operations Manager of Madison Telephone- MadTel. MadTel brings broadband to customers in Madison, Lamount, New Strawn and Burlington Kansas. Rob is an avid outdoors-man and loves spending time with his family. MT Networks
DARIN MILLER - IRON CLAD COWORKING
Darin Miller founded Iron Clad Coworking in Wamego Kansas in 2016. “Our local internet provider installed fiber in Wamego over 13 years ago and we would not have located our coworking space in Wamego without it. When we found out they were extending fiber into Manhattan, we decided to also open a space there a year later. Our coworking spaces are not only popular with area businesses and entrepreneurs, but they have accommodated visitors from all over, including other states and countries. Some businesses in our space would not be in our small town without access to coworking with broadband. So we have direct feedback that broadband in our small town has brought business here and consequently, available broadband enables us to tell people they can do business remotely from one of our coworking spaces." ironcladcoworking.com
KATIE MOORE - Senior Legislative Assistant for Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D.
Katie Moore currently serves as Senior Legislative Assistant for Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. (KS-01), handling a number of legislative issue portfolios for the Congressman, including telecommunications, financial services, transportation, tax, and infrastructure. Prior to starting with Congressman Marshall at the beginning of the 115th Congress, she worked for Congressman Steve Chabot (OH-01) as Administrative Director, overseeing the operations and management of his Washington, D.C. office. Katie graduated in 2012 with a B.A. in Political Science from Taylor University in Upland, IN, and is originally from Minnesota.
CATHERINE MOYER - PIONEER COMMUNICATIONS
Catherine Moyer is the General Manager and CEO for Pioneer Communications, a telephone and communications company that serves residents and businesses across southwestern Kansas. Catherine currently serves on the CoBank board of directors. Catherine also serves as Chairman of the board of directors of Telcom Insurance Group, is the Chairman of the Kansas Lottery Commission, and is the immediate Past Chairman of the Kansas Rural Independent Telecommunications Association of Kansas. She also sits on the board of the Rural Trust Insurance Company. She is a past board member of NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association, and past chairman of the board of directors of OPASTCO, a telecommunications trade association that was joined with NTCA. Catherine holds a bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College in Vermont and a law degree from Washburn University. She resides in Ulysses, Kansas, with her husband, Kevin.
HONORABLE AJIT PAI - CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS
Ajit Pai is the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. He was designated Chairman by President Donald J. Trump in January 2017. He had previously served as Commissioner at the FCC, appointed by then-President Barack Obama and confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate in May 2012.
SHEKINAH PEPPER - RUS
Shekinah Pepper is a Telecom GFR for Rural Utility Service. Shekinah works with rural telecoms throughout Kansas, Oklahoma, Alaska and Maine. rd.usda.gov
CHRIS PEDERSEN - Connected Nation
Chris Pedersen serves as Vice President of Development and Planning for Connected Nation, a national non-profit focused on improving lives through technology. Chris leads nationwide development efforts related to initiating community development, workforce, broadband expansion, and digital inclusion programs. Chris collaborates with various federal, state, and local entities, libraries, educational systems, and foundations to identify their current broadband and technology needs and opportunities and respond with comprehensive solutions.
Working with Connected Nation’s team of broadband experts in community engagement, research and planning, GIS, public policy, and engineering, and technical services, Chris initiates and develops targeted programs to help communities bridge the digital divide by expanding broadband access, adoption, and use. Connected Nation programs include the Connected Community Engagement Program, Digital Works – Connecting People & Jobs, Every Citizen Online, Computers 4 Kids, and other programs designed to create opportunities for people to improve their lives through technology. Chris has been actively engaged in public-private partnerships across various sectors in over a dozen states and Puerto Rico, and the administration of a grant portfolio exceeding $80 million.
Prior to Connected Nation, Chris served executive level roles in Fortune 500 companies with over ten years’ experience in sales and marketing, account management, and business development. Chris holds a B.A. in English and Spanish from Centre College and an M.A. in secondary education from the University of Kentucky. connectednation.org
JEAN RICE - SR. Broadband Program Analyst
Jean Rice is a telecommunications expert and advisor who works with federal agencies, tribal, local and state governments, industry, universities and non-profits on smart cities and communities projects and provides technical assistance to support the widespread deployment of broadband infrastructure. Ms. Rice focuses on the development of cutting-edge, cross-sector smart cities and broadband projects and collaborations and leads NTIA’s partnership with the National Institute of Technology and Standards’ Global Cities Team Challenge program. She focuses on smart agriculture and rural, smart buildings, wireless, smart states, inclusion and smart regions. She is a member of the Networking and Information Technology and Research and Development Program’s Cyber-Physical System’s Interagency Working group and the Federal Smart Grid Task Force and had been a member of the prior NITRD Federal Smart Cities and Communities Task Force. Ms. Rice co-founded and coordinates the Smart Cities and Communities Leadership Forum hosted by NTIA, NIST, NSF, and DHS S&T. Ms. Rice has received several awards including an award from the Commerce Department for leadership in smart cities. She has developed numerous publications, including a number of Toolkits for NTIA, including “Powering a Smart City Through Partnerships; a Toolkit for Local and Tribal governments”. For 25 years, Ms. Rice was the CEO of a telecommunications consulting company for US cities and states. NTIA is responsible for advising the President on Telecommunications and Information Administration policy issues. NITA’s programs and policy making focus on expanding broadband internet access and adoption in the US, expanding the use of spectrum by all users, and ensuring that the Internet remains and engine for continued innovation and economic growth. NTIA.GOV
LISA ROBERTS PROFFITT- Executive Director FlagshipKansas.Tech
Lisa Roberts Proffitt may have three legal names, but she’s known by many more – Connector, Collaborator, Executive Director, Business Owner, Adjunct Instructor, and (her favorite) Persistently Curious Marketing Professional. She counts herself fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to facilitate some amazing change in marketing, education, transportation, and health care. In 2019 she set her sights on facilitating change in technology – how we think about it, how we talk about, and what we do about it. Her superpower lies in the ability to bring together strengths in marketing, technology, and social interaction to make a positive impact in the lives of the people she touches.
When Lisa began her career, Tim Berners-Lee hadn’t introduced the World Wide Web, broadcast was the standard for distributing an advertising message, and analog cellular (yes, 1G) was the standard for the mobile phone. While she’s witnessed dramatic change in technology over time, some things have remained as important as ever – the need to connect, develop solid relationships, and help each other. That’s why Lisa does what she does every day to make a difference in technology and in our world. FlagshipKansas.tech
LYNN ROGERS - LT. Governor of Kansas
Lynn Rogers was sworn in as Lieutenant Governor of Kansas on January 14, 2019.
Lynn is a businessman, former State Senator, and former Wichita Board of Education president, who has been fighting for Kansas families for decades.
Lynn spent over thirty years traveling Kansas as an agriculture banker assisting farmers and ranchers with financial planning and investment. He worked to provide more than $750 million in leasing and financing services to farmers, ranchers, and grain cooperatives. This experience helped him understand the challenges Kansans in rural communities and in the agricultural sector face.
In 2001, Lynn was elected to the Wichita USD 259 Board of Education. He worked on behalf of the children and parents in Wichita serving as president or vice-president for seven of those years. Lynn also volunteered on his local Parent Teacher Organization and his local church.
Lynn represented the 25th District which includes parts of Wichita from 2017 to 2019. He is a commonsense leader who has a passion for public schools and improving the lives of Kansas families.
As Lieutenant Governor, Lynn will head the newly created Office of Rural Prosperity. He will focus on expanding opportunities in rural communities by working with farmers, ranchers, business owners, health professional and communities.
Lynn has lived in Wichita for over 30 years with his wife, Kris. They have three adult children – Kyle, Kelsey, and Keegan – all of whom are graduates of Wichita North High School.
JUSTIN RUPERT - GOODWILL INDUSTRIES
IT Mobile Lab - Goodwill Ind. of Kansas
ANGIE SCHWERDTFEGER - TCT Broadband
Angie Schwerdtfeger has been the Director of Public Relations for TCT for the past 11 years. Angie grew up in Garden City, Kansas and has worked with the public throughout her career in the newspaper, radio and television industries, as well as in her own business.
As part of her duties as the Director of Public Relations she works with community groups in TCT’s exchanges areas, oversees TCT’s community and economic development initiatives, and administers the company’s Community Project Assistance Grant.
Angie serves on various boards and committees, and is passionate about Rural Broadband. When she is not working or volunteering, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family. tctelco.net
STACY SIMMER - Rainbow Communications
Stacy Simmer is the Community Relations Manager for Rainbow Communications and has been in the telecommunications industry for 5 years. Stacy started her career in safety consulting, where she was an Account Manager for 4 years. Stacy also serves on the Board of Directors for the Foundation for Rural Service, Northeast Kansas Enterprise Facilitation, local Kiwanis Club as President and the Hiawatha Foundation for Economic Development where she’s Chairman of the Marketing and Membership Committee. She also helped plan in the 2016, 2017, and 2019 Broadband and Technologies Conference. Stacy got her Bachelor's at Kansas State University. rainbowtel.net
ANDY SMITH - CoBank
A graduate of Auburn University, Andy has over 25 years of experience in the banking industry and has been with CoBank since 1998. Andy began his career with CoBank as a credit analyst in CoBank’s Telecommunications Lending Group and moved into his current position as a Relationship Manager in 2001. As a Relationship Manager, Andy is responsible for sourcing, underwriting, structuring and monitoring loans to communications companies serving predominantly rural communities. During his tenor at CoBank, Andy has closed over $1.0 billion in loan facilities to Rural Local Exchange, Wireless, Cable, Fiber Transport, Data Center and Tower companies. Andy’s customers are providing and deploying robust broadband networks in some of the most rural locations in the United States. In addition to his responsibilities as a Lender, Andy is responsible for keeping up with technological, regulatory and competitive trends affecting the Telecommunications Industry.
MIKE TEEPLES - TCA
Mike has worked as the Controller for a rural telephone cooperative and for a CPA firm that specializes in auditing independent telephone companies. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Lacrosse with an Accounting degree in 1997. Mike currently serves on TCA’s Board of Directors and co-manages the TCA Financial Consultant group while heading up TCA’s Merger and Acquisitions effort. He has served in leadership roles for several state telecommunications associations and on NTCA’s Associate Member Advisory Council. He and his wife, Jodi, have two active daughters involved in Marching Band and Cross Country. They spend their free time riding and hiking the Colorado mountains, but always make time to cheer on the Wisconsin Badgers, Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Lions. tcatel.com
RICK TIDWELL - ValuNet Fiber
Rick Tidwell has been in the telecommunications field since 1984, when the breakup of the Bell Operating Companies opened doors for competition in Long-Distance Telecommunications and the sale of privately owned telephone equipment.
Mr. Tidwell’s telecom career began in Business Telephone Equipment sales, but he moved on to create a Telecommunications Equipment Company combing forces with a locally owned Inter-exchange Carrier (Valu-Line of Kansas) to create a Long-Distance Service and Telephone Equipment firm that sold to businesses throughout the State of Kansas. The company grew from less than one million in annual revenue to over 15 million in over the next few years.
In 1997 Mr. Tidwell developed and implemented a plan to put the company into the local telephone business as the first Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) in the state. In 1998 the company was sold to Birch Telecom, where he remained for a number of years, holding several Sr. management positions including Vice President of Regulatory and Industry Relations, Vice President of Sales, and Sr. Vice President of Network Engineering & Operations and Sr. Vice President of Customer Service.
After leaving Birch Telecom he spent considerable time working with telephone companies and power companies to implement wireless broadband technology in rural areas, as well as “smart grid” applications and in 2010 he created a plan to build an all Fiber Optic network in Emporia Kansas, which today is Valu-Net LLC.
Recruiting 3 partners from Valu-Line of Kansas as the management team for Valu-Net LLC, the company raised over six million dollars in local equity for construction of the network and has over 50 local investors. Valu-Net LLC provides Gigabit Broadband Fiber, Telephone Service and HDTV service to the community. To date the company has over 5,500 customers in Emporia Kansas all of which have gigabit fiber connections to their homes and businesses.
MIKE ZAMRZLA - Office of U.S. Senator Jerry Moran
Mike Zamrzla is the Deputy State Director, Office of U.S. Senator Jerry Moran. Mike Graduated from Wilson High School. Mike's undergrad comes from Kansas State University in Agricultural Communications with a minor in Ag Economics. Mike obtained his Master's Degree from Kansas State University in higher education administration. He is married to Eunice, and has a three-year-old son, Easton.