Broadband Regional Workshops: Agenda and Registration

Image of a journal, pen, smartphone, and laptop with two hands joining two puzzle pieces depicted on the laptop screen

Join us for these 2-day workshops, held in four locations throughout the state.

Maximize the Impact of BEAD Funding: Planning and Partnering Toward Internet for All.

Sponsored by

Red, gold, black University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension logo with crest
Northwood Technical College logo
Wisconsin Counties Association logo
Wisconsin Broadband Office logo
Public Service Commission of WIsconsin logo

Also in partnership with

Wisconsin Broadband Association logo
Wisconsin office of rural prosperity logo
Extension's local government education logo

Who should attend?

  • Elected officials, community leaders, staff, and volunteer committee members working on expanding access to broadband in their community.
  • Organizations supporting broadband planning and expansion (school and library staff, regional economic development organizations, regional planning commissions, Extension educators, etc)
  • Internet Service Providers

Dates and Locations

September 6-7, Rice Lake

Northwood Technical College
1900 College Drive
Rice Lake 54868

Room: 241, 243, 245

September 28-29, Tomah

Cranberry Country Lodge
319 Wittig Rd
Tomah 54660

Room: Blossom Rm 403

October 9-10, Fond du Lac

Radisson Hotel &
Conference Center
625 Rolling Meadows Dr
Fond du Lac 54937

Room: TBA

October 25-26, Rhinelander

Nicolet Area Technical College
5353 College Dr.
Rhinelander 54501

Room: TBA


Agenda – Maximize the Impact of BEAD Funding: Planning and Partnering Toward Internet for All

DAY  1 
9:30Welcome/Goals for the two Days
Gail Huycke, Community Broadband Outreach Specialist; Christopher Stark, Digital Equity Outreach Specialist; Jessica Beckendorf, Community Development Outreach Specialist
UW-Madison, Division of Extension    
9:40The Role of Local Government in Broadband 
Mark O’Connell, President and CEO, Wisconsin Counties Association   

Positioning our communities for success looks very different today compared to the past.  The decisions our local leaders make today may well determine the level of success we have tomorrow.   
10:10Broadband Timeline – past, present, future  
Carah Koch, National Telecommunications & Information Administration
Wisconsin Broadband Office Staff  

Learn about the BEAD and Digital Equity plan timeline for implementation, current PSC planning grants, and setting yourself up for success to access funds.    
10:40 Telling your economic story with data 
Matt Kures, Community Economic Development Specialist and Researcher, UW-Madison Extension   

Using data is a powerful way to understand your needs and tell your story effectively. Learn about how to use data to inform your plan and where to find it. We’ll share data sources related to access, affordability, equity, economic and workforce development.    
11:40Workforce development & broadband 
Dr. Aliesha Crowe, Vice President of Academic Affairs
Northwood Technical College   

Learn about Northwood Tech’s Broadband Academy and National Digital Badging Program   
12:00LUNCH  Table Discussions: Broadband Topics
1:00Push-Pull Factors Affecting Broadband 
Kristin Runge, Communication Research Specialist and Principal Investigator for the Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center, UW-Madison, Division of Extension    
Developing Public Private Partnerships  
Michelle Grimm, Community Development Educator; Barry Hottmann, Community Development Educator; Gail Huycke, Community Broadband Outreach Specialist; Jessica Beckendorf, Community Development Outreach Specialist, UW-Madison, Division of Extension  

How to Find Private Partners  Questions to Ask of Providers  When and How to Engage Internet Service Providers  Looking Beyond Current/Incumbent Providers  Creating a Win – Win Partnership  Roles and Responsibilities    
4:15 – 4:30  Wrap Up Day 1 
Gail Huycke, Community Broadband Outreach Specialist;
Christopher Stark, Digital Equity Outreach Specialist;
Jessica Beckendorf, Community Development Outreach Specialist
UW-Madison, Division of Extension  
9:30Welcome & Extension’s Broadband Toolkit Demo 
Jessica Beckendorf, Community Development Outreach Specialist, UW-Madison Division of Extension     
9:45County Options for Financing Broadband 
Karl Green, Local Government Education Program Manager
Bill Oemichen, Local Government Educator   

Explore funding mechanisms available to Wisconsin Counties for broadband expansion, use a decision tree to discover what makes sense for your community, and explore tools for implementing financing and funding options.    
10:30How do you know the deal is right for your community? Legal Considerations  
Legal Staff – Wisconsin Counties Association
11:15 Wrap Up  
Gail Huycke, Community Broadband Outreach Specialist;
Christopher Stark, Digital Equity Outreach Specialist;
Jessica Beckendorf, Community Development Outreach Specialist
UW-Madison, Division of Extension   
Public-Private Partnerships from a Provider’s Perspective
12:30 – 3:30  Public-Private Partnership Conversations    
Scheduled meetings with Internet Service Providers  

Register Now

Registration for each 2-day session is $90 and covers lunch, refreshments and materials.

Our Speakers

Mark O'Connell, WCA

Mark O’Connell serves as WCA President & CEO and has been with the Association since 1989. 

Mark is president of WCA Services, Inc., serves as an executive officer of the Wisconsin Higher Education Business Roundtable, is Vice President of Competitive Wisconsin and was a principal in the Wisconsin Way effort. 

He serves on several state boards and commissions including the UW Colleges and UW-Extension Board of Visitors, of which he is president. 

Previously, he worked for the State of Wisconsin in the Department of Administration, Department of Natural Resources, and Legislative Audit Bureau. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin. 

Mark coached youth sports for several years, is a pretty good cook and is a Master Sheepshead player. 

Carah Koch, NTIA

Carah Koch is the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Federal Program Officer for Wisconsin.  Carah has over 25 years of experience in federal, regional, and local government, serving in both professional and elected roles. 

Wisconsin Broadband Office

The mission of the Wisconsin Broadband Office (WBO) is to make high speed internet service accessible and affordable for all Wisconsinites. As part of the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, WBO leads statewide efforts to expand broadband access, adoption, and affordability.

Matt Kures, Extension

Matt Kures is a Distinguished Community Economic Development Specialist with the Division of Extension’s Community Development Institute. Matt works in partnership with Extension’s statewide network of resources to assist communities and organizations in the areas of regional economic analysis, labor force research, and industry sector competitiveness.

Dr. Aliesha Crowe, Northwood Technical College

Dr. Aliesha R. Crowe serves as the Vice President of Academic Affairs at Northwood Technical College. In this role she provides leadership for the Academic Affairs division including all undergraduate programs and related support. Aliesha holds a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development from the University of Minnesota, a Master of Science in Agriculture Education from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from UWRF. A lifelong resident of rural, Northwestern Wisconsin, she is active in her family’s agri-businesses and will be the fourth generation to own her family ranch. 

Kristin Runge, Extension

Kristin Runge is a Communication Research Specialist for the Community Economic Development Program and serves as Principal Investigator for the Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center where she focuses on issues at the intersection of the economy and the environment. 

Michelle Grimm, Extension

Michelle Grimm is the community educator in Taylor County of Area 3. Michelle focuses on organization and leadership development, local food systems, and broadband. Michelle has a Master of Science in human and community relationship and adult education from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a Bachelor of Science in earth science from Winona State University.

Barry Hottmann, Extension

Barry Hottmann is a Senior Community Development Educator with the Division of Extension’s Community Development Institute. Barry is based in Iowa County and works on designing and conducting educational programs that engage community leaders and citizens with new perspectives, skills, research-based information, and strategies for community betterment.  Barry has advanced numerous educational programs that have focused on developing an understanding of conservation stewardship, water quality, renewable energy, broadband, leadership, recognizing and valuing differences, and strategic planning & thinking.  Extension’s Community Development Educators strengthen the community’s capacity to meet pressing needs, with the result being a better quality of life for Wisconsin residents. 

Gail Huycke, Extension

Gail is a Professor of Practice with the University of Wisconsin Extension where she serves as a Broadband Specialist. Gail has 39 years of experience in delivering community outreach programs in family and community economic development. She joined the Broadband Education Center in 2015 serving as Director for the Connected Aging Communities Initiative. Connected Aging Communities is a groundbreaking initiative that’s uses a unique “high tech, high touch” holistic, community development approach to enable aging residents to live independently at home. Gail’s current broadband efforts center heavily on community planning for broadband access. She is a member of the National Digital Extension Education Team and has played a key role in the development of broadband community planning curriculum, training Extension staff at a national level. Gail has developed training materials for the National 4-H Council’s Tech Changemakers- Digital Ambassador program on digital inclusion. Over the last two years, Gail has served as a member of the Wisconsin’s Governor’s Task Force on Broadband.

Christopher Stark, Extension

Chris Stark is the Digital Equity Outreach Specialist for UW-Madison, Division of Extension. Based in Eagle River, he is responsible for working with Wisconsin communities to improve broadband access, affordability, and adoption for all Wisconsin residents. A believer in the power of the internet to transform people’s lives, Chris is focused on building the conditions to help all generations of Wisconsinites learn digital skills.

Prior to taking this role in 2022, Chris was a Community and Economic Development Educator for Vilas and Forest County Extension offices for 10 years. Prior to joining UW- Extension, Chris worked as a NASA Contractor and was a state and local economic development practitioner.

Jessica Beckendorf, Extension

Jessica Beckendorf is Community Development Outreach Specialist at UW-Madison Division of Extension. Jessica’s work is currently focused on digital equity, community change networks, and leadership development. Jessica was facilitator for the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband during its first year, 2020-2021. Jessica holds a master of arts degree in Communications & Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University, and a bachelor of arts degree in Urban & Regional Studies from UW-Green Bay.

Bill Oemichen, Extension (LGE)

William L. (Bill) Oemichen is Professor of Practice – Law in the Local Government Education (LGE) Program within the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Division of Extension. Bill is licensed to practice law in Wisconsin, Minnesota and in much of Canada. He is well versed in both telecommunications and local government. He worked closely with Wisconsin’s telecommunications cooperatives during the 14 years he served as President & CEO of the Wisconsin/Minnesota cooperative trade association and he also led Wisconsin’s primary telecommunications fraud program as Administrator of Trade & Consumer Protection. Bill is a former St. Croix County supervisor, chaired the Wisconsin Counties Association Tax & Finance Steering Committee, served as both a village and town officer, and currently serves as New Glarus School Board President. 

Karl Green, Extension (LGE)

Karl Green is the Local Government Education (LGE) Program Manager for the UW Madison Division of Extension.  Through this role, Karl works with local elected officials, extension educators, and partnering local government institutions such as the Wisconsin Towns Association, the Wisconsin League of Municipalities, and the Wisconsin Counties Association to improve local government operations and their services. Before this role, Karl served 17 years as the La Crosse County Community Development educator.

Karl has a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse and a Bachelor’s of Science in Geology from Winona State University. 

Andy Phillips, Atolles Law, s.c.

Andy Phillips  Andy is the President and CEO of Attolles Law, s.c., where he focuses on assisting counties, school districts and other governmental entities with their most difficult and challenging legal concerns.  He is proud of his service as outside general counsel for the Wisconsin for nearly 20 years and enjoys being a part of the local government family where important policy decisions, impacting real people, are made.

Josie Lathrop, Public Service Commission

Josie Lathrop is a Program and Policy Analyst with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. She works with her Wisconsin Broadband Office teammates to implement the BEAD and Digital Equity funding allocated to the State of Wisconsin. Prior to joining the PSC, she worked at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and Wisconsin Department of Administration in various roles. 

Bill Esbeck, Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association

Bill Esbeck has been the Executive Director of the Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association since 2002. 

Bill began his career in the office of Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, where he served as Policy Advisor for Utilities, Infrastructure, and Economic Development. Following his six-year stint with Governor Thompson, Bill accepted an appointment at the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, serving as Executive Assistant to Commissioner Joe Mettner. Immediately prior to joining WSTA, he was Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Strategies, Inc., managing the Wisconsin operation for the regional government affairs and public relations firm. 

Bill served as a board member of the United States Internet Industry Association from 2008 to 2012. He also served as chair of the National Council of State Telecom Association Executives in 2013 and 2014. Bill was named Grassroots Advocate of the Year in 2014 by NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association. 

Bill holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Equal Employment Opportunity & Affirmative Action Statements

We value inclusion and access for all participants. We are happy to provide accommodations to help you fully participate in this event.

An EEO/AA employer, University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension provides equal opportunities in employment and programming, including Title VI, Title IX, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act requirements.Como empleador que brinda igualdad de oportunidades en el empleo y acción afirmativa (EEO/AA, por sus siglas en inglés), la University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension, proporciona igualdad de oportunidades en el empleo y en sus programas, incluyendo los requisitos del Título VI, Título IX, la ley federal para personas con discapacidades en los Estados Unidos (ADA, por sus siglas en inglés) y los requisitos de la Section 504 del Rehabilitation Act.Tus Tswv Hauj Lwm Ntawm (EEO/AA), ntawm lub Tsev Kawm Ntawv Qib Siab (University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension) pab rau kev ncaj ncees txog kev hauj lwm thiab kev pab cuam, xws li nyob rau hauv Title VI, Title IX, thiab ntawm tsab cai Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) yuav tsum kom muaj thiab Feem 504 ntawm the Txoj Cai Kev Pab Rov Tsim Kho Uas Tau Teev Tseg.
Please make requests for reasonable accommodations to ensure equal access to educational programs as early as possible preceding the scheduled program, service, or activity.Para asegurar un acceso igualitario a los programas educativos, haga el favor de solicitar adecuaciones razonables lo más pronto posible antes de la fecha del programa, servicio o actividad.Xav thov kom ua txoj kev thov laj thawj thiaj li tau cov kev pab cuam ntxov li ntxov tau ua ntej rau li lub caij nyoog ntawm cov kev pab cuam, kev pab los yog dej num no.
For communicative accommodations in languages other than English, please contact pedir adecuaciones para la comunicación en un idioma distinto al inglés, favor de comunicarse con: kev sib tham pab cuam rau qhov lwm yam lus ntawm lus As Kiv (English), thov sau ntawv rau:
For communicative accommodations based on a disability, please contact Heather Lipinski Stelljes at: for the public.Para personas del público que quiera pedir adecuaciones para la comunicación debido a una discapacidad, favor de comunicarse con: heather.stelljes@wisc.eduRau kev sib tham pab cuam rau kev puas cev xws li tes taw, thov sau ntawv rau:
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