Spring 2024 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 1-day workshops, held in nine locations throughout the state.

Getting Ready for BEAD Funding: Permitting, Engagement, and Learning from Experience

Sponsored by

Red, gold, black University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension logo with crest
Wisconsin office of rural prosperity logo
Wisconsin Counties Association logo
Wisconsin Broadband Association logo
Wisconsin Broadband Office logo
Public Service Commission of WIsconsin logo

Also in partnership with

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)
  • Permitting authorities (WisDOT, DNR, Forest Service, Railroad, and more)
  • Internet Service Providers

Dates and Locations

March 14, Dodgeville

Iowa County Law Enforcement Center
109 East Leffler St
Dodgeville, WI 53533
Room: Conference Room
Map

March 21, Kenosha

UW-Parkside
900 Wood Rd
Kenosha, WI 53141-2000
Room: Molinaro L111
Map

April 10, Green Bay

STEM Innovation Center
2019 Technology Way
Green Bay, WI 54911
Room: Flex Room
Map

April 16, Viroqua

Vernon County Sherriff’s Office
1320 Bad Axe Ct.
Viroqua, WI 54665
Room: Training Room
Map

April 25, Stevens Point

Portage County Annex
1462 Strongs Ave
Stevens Point, 54481
Room: Conference Room
Map

May 1, Hayward

Flat Creek Lodge
10290 WI-27
Hayward, WI 54843
Room: Grand Ballroom
Map

May 14, Chippewa Falls

CESA 10 Offices
725 W Park Ave
Chippewa Falls, WI 54727
Room: Conference Center
Map

May 22, Antigo

Northcentral Technical College
Antigo, WI 54409
Room: TBA
Map

May 29, Waterloo

Fireman’s Park Pavilion
500 Park Ave
Waterloo, WI 53594
Room: Pavilion
Map


Agenda

Workshop Agenda

8:30 Registration & Networking
9:00Welcome
UW-Madison Extension Broadband Team & Local Extension
Regional Representative (TBD)
9:15Title TBD: Update from Public Service Commission/National Telecommunications & Information Administration
PSC/NTIA Staff will provide important BEAD updates (speakers TBA)    
10:00Setting local broadband projects up for success: Understanding your role in the permitting process
Staff from various permitting authorities across the region will share common issues that cause delays, and how to set your project up for success (speakers TBA)      
12:00 Lunch
1:00Choosing wisely: Making engagement and endorsement work for your community
Speaker(s) TBA  

In the context of the BEAD grants, what does engagement and endorsement mean? Learn how to prepare for it ahead of the grant deadlines and continue to engage well beyond the deadlines as you look ahead to adoption.   
2:30BREAK  
2:45Learning from Experience (Case Studies): How Communities & ISPs are Preparing for BEAD 
Regional Speakers (TBA)    
How are other communities and ISP partners preparing for BEAD? What has worked/not worked for them? What are they planning to do moving forward?
3:45  
Wrap Up  
Regional representative (TBA)
UW-Madison Extension Broadband Team & Local Extension Team  

Final thoughts on broadband efforts in the region and statewide
4:00  Adjourn   


Register Now

Registration for each 1-day session is $25 and covers lunch, refreshments and materials.


Our Speakers – Expand each section to see a list of speakers

Check back for updates to our speakers list!

March 14, Dodgeville Speakers

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. 

Rory Tikalsky, Wisconsin Broadband Office

Rory Tikalsky is manager of the Wisconsin Broadband Office (WBO) and is responsible for overseeing grantmaking, outreach, mapping, and planning efforts to make high speed internet accessible and affordable for all Wisconsinites. Rory has a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to joining WBO, Rory worked in budget management and policy development for the Wisconsin Legislature. 

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.

Gail Huycke, UW-Madison Extension

Gail Huycke 

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. 

Chris Stark, UW-Madison 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, UW-Madison Extension

Jessica Beckendorf is a Community Economic Development Specialst focusing on Broadband Partnerships at UW-Madison Division of Extension. Jessica was facilitator for the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband during its first year, 2020-2021. Her previous roles have spanned the community and economic development spectrum – from Cartographer/GIS to Urban & Regional Planner to AVP of Economic Development. 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. 

John Parrish

John graduated from UW-Madison with a B.S. in Geography and a certificate from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and then began his career working on geographic information systems in the telecommunications, energy, and defense industries. After serving in the U.S. Army as a Geospatial Engineer, John used the G.I. Bill to earn a Master of Science in the Urban Agglomerations program at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences in Germany. Since then, he has worked on policy issues in the field of community and economic development for local and state governments. John and his wife enjoy the great outdoors in Wisconsin, especially biking along the 400 and Elroy-Sparta state trails.

James Yach

James Yach comes to the DNR from the Department of Workforce Development where he was a district director before being named the DNR’s northern region Secretary’s Director in July of 2017. Prior to joining the State of Wisconsin, James retired from the United States Navy after serving on active duty for over 20 years as a Naval Aviator at multiple duty stations across the country and abroad.

A Wisconsin native, James was born and raised in Stevens Point and has a degree in Business Administration from the University of San Diego, and currently resides in Rhinelander. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, enjoying many outdoor activities and spending time at his lakefront property in Presque Isle, though his great passion is musky fishing.

March 21, Kenosha

Joe Potente, Kenosha County

Joe Potente is the Communications Manager for Kenosha County. Prior to that, he was an award-winning Reporter and Editor for the Kenosha News, covering local and state government and countless other issues of community interest. Joe is a Kenosha native who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He lives in Pleasant Prairie with his wife and two children. 

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. 

Rory Tikalsky, Wisconsin Broadband Office

Rory Tikalsky is manager of the Wisconsin Broadband Office (WBO) and is responsible for overseeing grantmaking, outreach, mapping, and planning efforts to make high speed internet accessible and affordable for all Wisconsinites. Rory has a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to joining WBO, Rory worked in budget management and policy development for the Wisconsin Legislature. 

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.

Gail Huycke, UW-Madison Extension

Gail Huycke 

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. 

Brittany Beyer

Brittany Beyer is a Community Economic Development Specialist with UW Madison, Division of Extension. Brittany brings her decades of experience to the team, with positions that have spanned arts and culture management, economic development, rural prosperity, and community engagement. She is a member of the statewide broadband support team with a focus on Relationship Procurement. Broadband became a focus of her work as the director of Grow North Regional Economic Development Corporation (2018-2022), leading her to be named the inaugural Chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband (Chair 2020-2022, continued membership) and working as a Senior Broadband Consultant for HealthTech Solutions / Solarity on multiple projects around the country. Brittany is also the recipient of the 2021 Wisconsin Idea Award.

Chris Stark, UW-Madison 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, UW-Madison Extension

Jessica Beckendorf is a Community Economic Development Specialst focusing on Broadband Partnerships at UW-Madison Division of Extension. Jessica was facilitator for the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband during its first year, 2020-2021. Her previous roles have spanned the community and economic development spectrum – from Cartographer/GIS to Urban & Regional Planner to AVP of Economic Development. 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. 

John Parrish

John graduated from UW-Madison with a B.S. in Geography and a certificate from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and then began his career working on geographic information systems in the telecommunications, energy, and defense industries. After serving in the U.S. Army as a Geospatial Engineer, John used the G.I. Bill to earn a Master of Science in the Urban Agglomerations program at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences in Germany. Since then, he has worked on policy issues in the field of community and economic development for local and state governments. John and his wife enjoy the great outdoors in Wisconsin, especially biking along the 400 and Elroy-Sparta state trails.

Geri Radermacher

Geri Radermacher is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Madison with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Zoology and Biological Aspects of Conservation and a Certificate in Environmental Studies. Geri has served as a Water Management Specialist (WMS) in the DNR’s Office of Energy since October 2017. Previously, Geri was a WMS in the Southern District from 2001 to 2017.  They have completed numerous WDNR sponsored training sessions as well as external training sessions on waterway and wetland related topics and utility infrastructure.

Kathy Jennings

Kathy Jennings has a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin Platteville. In her current position in the Bureau of Highway Maintenance at WisDOT, she is involved with reviewing and approving permits for various utilities in WisDOT right-of-way, including electric transmission lines and fiber optic (broadband) cable. Prior to Kathy’s work at WisDOT she worked in the private sector, with 20 years of experience in municipal street and utility design, transportation projects and construction.

March 22, Waterloo

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. 

Rory Tikalsky, Wisconsin Broadband Office

Rory Tikalsky is manager of the Wisconsin Broadband Office (WBO) and is responsible for overseeing grantmaking, outreach, mapping, and planning efforts to make high speed internet accessible and affordable for all Wisconsinites. Rory has a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to joining WBO, Rory worked in budget management and policy development for the Wisconsin Legislature. 

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.

Gail Huycke, UW-Madison Extension

Gail Huycke 

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. 

Brittany Beyer

Brittany Beyer is a Community Economic Development Specialist with UW Madison, Division of Extension. Brittany brings her decades of experience to the team, with positions that have spanned arts and culture management, economic development, rural prosperity, and community engagement. She is a member of the statewide broadband support team with a focus on Relationship Procurement. Broadband became a focus of her work as the director of Grow North Regional Economic Development Corporation (2018-2022), leading her to be named the inaugural Chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband (Chair 2020-2022, continued membership) and working as a Senior Broadband Consultant for HealthTech Solutions / Solarity on multiple projects around the country. Brittany is also the recipient of the 2021 Wisconsin Idea Award.

Chris Stark, UW-Madison 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, UW-Madison Extension

Jessica Beckendorf is a Community Economic Development Specialst focusing on Broadband Partnerships at UW-Madison Division of Extension. Jessica was facilitator for the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband during its first year, 2020-2021. Her previous roles have spanned the community and economic development spectrum – from Cartographer/GIS to Urban & Regional Planner to AVP of Economic Development. 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. 

John Parrish

John graduated from UW-Madison with a B.S. in Geography and a certificate from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and then began his career working on geographic information systems in the telecommunications, energy, and defense industries. After serving in the U.S. Army as a Geospatial Engineer, John used the G.I. Bill to earn a Master of Science in the Urban Agglomerations program at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences in Germany. Since then, he has worked on policy issues in the field of community and economic development for local and state governments. John and his wife enjoy the great outdoors in Wisconsin, especially biking along the 400 and Elroy-Sparta state trails.

Gene Dalhoff

Gene Dalhoff is Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at the Madison Region Economic Partnership, also know as MadREP.  Gene has been with MadREP for eleven years and currently focuses his efforts on building and maintaining relationships on behalf of MadREP with key stakeholders in the economic development field, including government officials, industry-leading businesses, educational institutions, and other key economic/workforce development partners.  He is also responsible for research and analysis of economic development data to support the work of MadREP and the information needs of partner organizations and other entities.  Prior to joining MadREP, Gene ran the Sauk County Development Corporation for three years, and before that the Baraboo Area Chamber of Commerce for 15 years. A product of the Midwest, he has lived in Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois in addition to Wisconsin.  Gene holds bachelors and master’s degrees from UW-Madison.

Matt Marcus

Matt Marcus is the Broadband Policy Lead at the Wisconsin Broadband Office (WBO) and is responsible for leading the design, planning, and implementation of broadband-related policy projects that span multiple state and federal programs. Matt has a Master’s degree in International Public Affairs from the La Follette School at UW-Madison and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from CUNY Hunter College. Prior to joining the WBO, Matt worked in broadband-related policy and advocacy roles with the New America Foundation Open Technology Institute and the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. 

Melanie Platt-Gibson

Melanie Platt-Gibson, Sauk County Economic Development Director, handles development for Sauk County in government relations, economic, community and business development, brand and special projects. She is a life-long resident of Sauk County. With her extensive experience in branding, government, economic development and areas like strategic planning, she brings a wealth of knowledge to the position.

April 10, Green Bay

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. 

Alyssa Kenney, Wisconsin Broadband Office

Alyssa Kenney is the State Broadband and Digital Equity Director for the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. At the Commission since 2019, Alyssa manages the talented team that coordinates the BEAD and Digital Equity program along with numerous state and federal broadband grant programs, the Wisconsin Broadband Map, the State Universal Service Fund and numerous projects and initiatives that support a more connected Wisconsin. Before coming to the Commission Alyssa served as the executive director of a digital equity and community technology focused non-profit. She serves as the Chair of the Madison Public Library Board, and vice-chair of the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board and serves as Governor Evers designee on the FCC’s Intergovernmental Advisory Committee. Alyssa is a proud University of Wisconsin-Madison alumna and longtime Wisconsin resident. She was named a Top 25 Doer, Dreamer, and Drivers by Government Technology in 2023. She is passionate about solving wicked problems and connecting people to each other (mostly through great broadband).

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.

Gail Huycke, UW-Madison Extension

Gail Huycke 

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. 

Brittany Beyer

Brittany Beyer is a Community Economic Development Specialist with UW Madison, Division of Extension. Brittany brings her decades of experience to the team, with positions that have spanned arts and culture management, economic development, rural prosperity, and community engagement. She is a member of the statewide broadband support team with a focus on Relationship Procurement. Broadband became a focus of her work as the director of Grow North Regional Economic Development Corporation (2018-2022), leading her to be named the inaugural Chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband (Chair 2020-2022, continued membership) and working as a Senior Broadband Consultant for HealthTech Solutions / Solarity on multiple projects around the country. Brittany is also the recipient of the 2021 Wisconsin Idea Award.

Chris Stark, UW-Madison 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, UW-Madison Extension

Jessica Beckendorf is a Community Economic Development Specialst focusing on Broadband Partnerships at UW-Madison Division of Extension. Jessica was facilitator for the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband during its first year, 2020-2021. Her previous roles have spanned the community and economic development spectrum – from Cartographer/GIS to Urban & Regional Planner to AVP of Economic Development. 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. 

John Parrish

John graduated from UW-Madison with a B.S. in Geography and a certificate from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and then began his career working on geographic information systems in the telecommunications, energy, and defense industries. After serving in the U.S. Army as a Geospatial Engineer, John used the G.I. Bill to earn a Master of Science in the Urban Agglomerations program at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences in Germany. Since then, he has worked on policy issues in the field of community and economic development for local and state governments. John and his wife enjoy the great outdoors in Wisconsin, especially biking along the 400 and Elroy-Sparta state trails.

Natasha Gwidt, WI Department of Natural Resources

Natasha Gwidt is a licensed professional engineer with the state of Wisconsin and has a Bachelors of Civil Engineering degree from Michigan Technological University.  Her experience includes working at WisDOT managing and overseeing various design and construction projects in the NER region including the US41 Mega projects in Brown and Winnebago counties, as well as many environmental projects.  Currently she is the Field Operations Director for the Waste and Materials Management program at DNR where she oversees the implementation of regulations related to solid and hazardous waste.  Additionally, she is the Acting NER Secretary’s Director for the DNR.

Kathy Jennings, WI Department of Transportation

Kathy Jennings has a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin Platteville. In her current position in the Bureau of Highway Maintenance at WisDOT, she is involved with reviewing and approving permits for various utilities in WisDOT right-of-way, including electric transmission lines and fiber optic (broadband) cable. Prior to Kathy’s work at WisDOT she worked in the private sector, with 20 years of experience in municipal street and utility design, transportation projects and construction.

Kelly Scarbrough, UWDA Forestry Service

Kelly Scarbrough is the Lands Program Manager with the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. She has held that position since August 2022 and started with the Forest February 2020 as a Realty Specialist.

Kelly has held federal service positions since 2010 when she joined the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Lewistown, MT under the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) as an Outdoor Recreation Planner. 

She holds an MS in Applied Geospatial Sciences from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ.

Barb LaMue, New North

Barb serves as the President & CEO of New North, Inc., an 18-county regional economic development corporation in northeast Wisconsin whose mission is to be a catalyst for regional prosperity for all through collaborative action. This is done primarily through the creation, implementation, and marketing of regional strategies for business and talent development.

Prior to this role Barb served as Vice President of business and community development for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). In addition to working with companies and communities on growth strategies and investments, she directed Downtown and Minority Business Development and has over 25 years of senior leadership experience in economic development.

Barb holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and a bachelor’s degree in business administration and economics from Lakeland University.  She is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), a designation granted by the International Economic Development Council that is the industry gold standard for excellence in the profession. She also received her Economic Development Finance Professional certification through the National Development Council.  Barb currently serves on the boards of the Transportation Development Association, the Wisconsin Business Development Finance Corporation, Wisconsin Procurement Institute, On Broadway District, Wisconsin Innovation Board, and the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).  Barb is a Trustee with Lakeland University, a Commissioner with the Brown County Harbor Commission, Board member of UWGB’s Institute for Women’s Leadership and the NEW Manufacturing Alliance, mentor with the Green Bay Packers Mentor Protégé Program, and Advisory Board member of African Heritage, Inc.   Barb recently was named one of the top 275 most influential business leaders in Wisconsin by BizTimes Media and a top 100 Titan for Wisconsin.  She is a recent past president of the Mid-American Economic Development Council (representing 12 Midwestern states) and recent board members with the Wisconsin Economic Development Association, UW Madison Grainger Institute, and the UW-Stevens Point Wisconsin Sustainable Technology Institute (WIST).  Barb has been appointed by governors of both parties to serve on various state commissions.

Barbara Koldos, New North

Barbara Koldos is the Vice President, Business Development at New North Inc., the regional marketing and economic development organization for the 18 counties of Northeast Wisconsin.

With extensive experience within architecture, engineering and construction firms and a deep history of developing relationships, Barbara leads the organization’s regional business attraction efforts, which includes the site-selection process, marketing of Opportunity Zones, the Gold Shovel site-certification program, and engagement with local partners and real estate professionals to proactively identify and market sites/buildings. She also guides Global New North efforts around Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and export activity, represents the region at trade shows and site selector events, and oversees regional broadband efforts.

A firm believer in being a part of a community versus simply living in it, she serves on a variety of boards, committees, and task forces for the De Pere Area Chamber, Mid-America Economic Development Council, the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband, and is President of ACEL (Asian Corporate + Entrepreneur Leaders) Northeast Wisconsin Chapter. A past recipient of the Greater Green Bay Chamber’s Current Young Professionals’ Future 15 award and named one of Wisconsin’s Most Influential Asian American Leaders, Barbara is a frequent presenter in the region on real estate market trends and her lived Asian American experience.

Barbara holds a bachelor’s degree in business-marketing. She is a member of the Leadership Green Bay Class of 2020, a member of the inaugural class of Leadership Howard-Suamico School District, and a Forward 48 Fall 2022 co-hort alum as well as an emeritus of the Women’s Fund of Greater Green Bay Advisory Board.

Brian Leone-Tracy, Fox Valley Literacy

Brian Leone-Tracy has served as the Executive Director of Fox Valley Literacy since 2019. He has 20 years of experience focused on non-profit operations and fundraising and a Bachelor’s from University of Illinois and a Master’s from University of Southern California. He also served on Fox Valley Literacy’s Board of Directors, assuring a thorough understanding of the organization, its mission and its challenges to provide quality adult educational services without restrictions.

Mike Zuege, East Central WI Regional Planning Commission

Mike Zuege is the GIS Manager at East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission and has been with the Commission for 23 years.  He is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography.  Mike’s primary duties include representing GIS interests on project teams, coordinating work with planners and staff, developing and maintaining work schedule for GIS division.  Other duties include developing data sets and producing digital maps and graphics for analysis, reports, and presentations. 

Mick O'Malley, Nsight

Mick O’Malley has been with Nsight for 20 years working in a number of different roles and is currently Director of Sustainability, Government Relations and Project Management. Nsight is parent company of Nsight Telservices & Cellcom. 

Mick is an experienced grant writer and has worked closely with community leaders, Public Service Commission of Wisconsin staff, and internal stakeholders at Nsight to build partnerships and craft successful broadband expansion grant applications in every PSCW broadband grant round since FY2018.

Keri Solis, Marquette County

Keri Solis is Marquette County Economic Development and Tourism Coordinator. With a career that began in marketing and communications roles, Keri is known for her ability to take complex topics and break them down into easy-to-understand context, thinking outside the box, and picking up on trends in the very early stages.

With a knack for market research, she has successfully used market insights to make changes to both products and their marketing. These changes resulted in significant increases in sales on multiple product lines throughout her career. Using these same strategies with her current tourism duties, she has also been successful in driving growth in traffic to websites and creating social media content with engagement above industry standards.

Within her economic development duties, she has helped initiate new events, including those for downtown businesses. She has assisted businesses and municipalities with grants and led large county-wide initiatives such as broadband expansion. She has been a resource for communities and entrepreneurs, assisting them with the tools they need for initiatives.

April 16, Viroqua

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. 

Alyssa Kenney, Wisconsin Broadband Office

Alyssa Kenney is the State Broadband and Digital Equity Director for the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. At the Commission since 2019, Alyssa manages the talented team that coordinates the BEAD and Digital Equity program along with numerous state and federal broadband grant programs, the Wisconsin Broadband Map, the State Universal Service Fund and numerous projects and initiatives that support a more connected Wisconsin. Before coming to the Commission Alyssa served as the executive director of a digital equity and community technology focused non-profit. She serves as the Chair of the Madison Public Library Board, and vice-chair of the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board and serves as Governor Evers designee on the FCC’s Intergovernmental Advisory Committee. Alyssa is a proud University of Wisconsin-Madison alumna and longtime Wisconsin resident. She was named a Top 25 Doer, Dreamer, and Drivers by Government Technology in 2023. She is passionate about solving wicked problems and connecting people to each other (mostly through great broadband).

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.

Gail Huycke, UW-Madison Extension

Gail Huycke 

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. 

Brittany Beyer

Brittany Beyer is a Community Economic Development Specialist with UW Madison, Division of Extension. Brittany brings her decades of experience to the team, with positions that have spanned arts and culture management, economic development, rural prosperity, and community engagement. She is a member of the statewide broadband support team with a focus on Relationship Procurement. Broadband became a focus of her work as the director of Grow North Regional Economic Development Corporation (2018-2022), leading her to be named the inaugural Chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband (Chair 2020-2022, continued membership) and working as a Senior Broadband Consultant for HealthTech Solutions / Solarity on multiple projects around the country. Brittany is also the recipient of the 2021 Wisconsin Idea Award.

Chris Stark, UW-Madison 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, UW-Madison Extension

Jessica Beckendorf is a Community Economic Development Specialst focusing on Broadband Partnerships at UW-Madison Division of Extension. Jessica was facilitator for the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband during its first year, 2020-2021. Her previous roles have spanned the community and economic development spectrum – from Cartographer/GIS to Urban & Regional Planner to AVP of Economic Development. 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. 

John Parrish

John graduated from UW-Madison with a B.S. in Geography and a certificate from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and then began his career working on geographic information systems in the telecommunications, energy, and defense industries. After serving in the U.S. Army as a Geospatial Engineer, John used the G.I. Bill to earn a Master of Science in the Urban Agglomerations program at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences in Germany. Since then, he has worked on policy issues in the field of community and economic development for local and state governments. John and his wife enjoy the great outdoors in Wisconsin, especially biking along the 400 and Elroy-Sparta state trails.

Jill Schoen, WI Department of Natural Resources

Jill Schoen works for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as Director for DNR’s Watershed Management Program.  She is currently serving as acting Secretary’s Director for DNR’s West Central Region based out of the Eau Claire Office.

Kathy Jennings, WI Department of Transportation

Kathy Jennings has a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin Platteville. In her current position in the Bureau of Highway Maintenance at WisDOT, she is involved with reviewing and approving permits for various utilities in WisDOT right-of-way, including electric transmission lines and fiber optic (broadband) cable. Prior to Kathy’s work at WisDOT she worked in the private sector, with 20 years of experience in municipal street and utility design, transportation projects and construction.

Chris Hardie, 7 Rivers Alliance

Chris Hardie has been the CEO of the 7 Rivers Alliance, one of nine regional economic development organizations in Wisconsin, since Sept. 2017. Prior to joining the 7 Rivers in September, Chris was the executive director of the Black River Area Chamber of Commerce for two years. He spent more than 30 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter, editor and publisher, where he was the past president of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association and has received numerous state and national journalism awards, including being nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2001. He still writes a weekly column published in many state newspapers.

Tamaya Loewe, Juneau County Economic Development Corporation

Tamaya is the Executive Director of the Juneau County Economic Development Corporation and has completed nearly a decade of service there.  Her recent initiatives have included broadband expansion, workforce attraction & retention, housing development, inventor & entrepreneur training, childcare services fortification, and government contracting.

A Wisconsin native, Tamaya studied and worked in the Greater Boston Massachusetts area, completing her undergraduate work and Master’s in Business Administration before returning home.  The variety of education and employment she pursued has served her well and cultivated strengths in creative problem-solving, strategic guidance, servant leadership, and relatability to others.

Tamaya also loves spending time with her family and 4 young grandsons.  She maintains a hobby homestead and teaches others about self-reliance and holistic living.

Charlotte Peters, UW-Madison Extension, La Crosse County

Charlotte is a Community Development educator at La Crosse County Extension.

MaryAnne Lippert, consultant

MaryAnn Lippert has over 30 years’ experience working in and with rural communities.  For 6 years she served as the Wisconsin Governor’s Northern Director, and now consults with rural Central Wisconsin counties and organizations with a focus on broadband access, community capacity building and advocacy.

April 25, Stevens Point

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. 

Alyssa Kenney, Wisconsin Broadband Office

Alyssa Kenney is the State Broadband and Digital Equity Director for the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. At the Commission since 2019, Alyssa manages the talented team that coordinates the BEAD and Digital Equity program along with numerous state and federal broadband grant programs, the Wisconsin Broadband Map, the State Universal Service Fund and numerous projects and initiatives that support a more connected Wisconsin. Before coming to the Commission Alyssa served as the executive director of a digital equity and community technology focused non-profit. She serves as the Chair of the Madison Public Library Board, and vice-chair of the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board and serves as Governor Evers designee on the FCC’s Intergovernmental Advisory Committee. Alyssa is a proud University of Wisconsin-Madison alumna and longtime Wisconsin resident. She was named a Top 25 Doer, Dreamer, and Drivers by Government Technology in 2023. She is passionate about solving wicked problems and connecting people to each other (mostly through great broadband).

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.

Gail Huycke, UW-Madison Extension

Gail Huycke 

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. 

Brittany Beyer

Brittany Beyer is a Community Economic Development Specialist with UW Madison, Division of Extension. Brittany brings her decades of experience to the team, with positions that have spanned arts and culture management, economic development, rural prosperity, and community engagement. She is a member of the statewide broadband support team with a focus on Relationship Procurement. Broadband became a focus of her work as the director of Grow North Regional Economic Development Corporation (2018-2022), leading her to be named the inaugural Chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband (Chair 2020-2022, continued membership) and working as a Senior Broadband Consultant for HealthTech Solutions / Solarity on multiple projects around the country. Brittany is also the recipient of the 2021 Wisconsin Idea Award.

Chris Stark, UW-Madison 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, UW-Madison Extension

Jessica Beckendorf is a Community Economic Development Specialst focusing on Broadband Partnerships at UW-Madison Division of Extension. Jessica was facilitator for the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband during its first year, 2020-2021. Her previous roles have spanned the community and economic development spectrum – from Cartographer/GIS to Urban & Regional Planner to AVP of Economic Development. 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. 

John Parrish

John graduated from UW-Madison with a B.S. in Geography and a certificate from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and then began his career working on geographic information systems in the telecommunications, energy, and defense industries. After serving in the U.S. Army as a Geospatial Engineer, John used the G.I. Bill to earn a Master of Science in the Urban Agglomerations program at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences in Germany. Since then, he has worked on policy issues in the field of community and economic development for local and state governments. John and his wife enjoy the great outdoors in Wisconsin, especially biking along the 400 and Elroy-Sparta state trails.

James Yach, WI Department of Natural Resources

James Yach comes to the DNR from the Department of Workforce Development where he was a district director before being named the DNR’s northern region Secretary’s Director in July of 2017. Prior to joining the State of Wisconsin, James retired from the United States Navy after serving on active duty for over 20 years as a Naval Aviator at multiple duty stations across the country and abroad.

A Wisconsin native, James was born and raised in Stevens Point and has a degree in Business Administration from the University of San Diego, and currently resides in Rhinelander. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, enjoying many outdoor activities and spending time at his lakefront property in Presque Isle, though his great passion is musky fishing.

Kathy Jennings, WI Department of Transportation

Kathy Jennings has a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin Platteville. In her current position in the Bureau of Highway Maintenance at WisDOT, she is involved with reviewing and approving permits for various utilities in WisDOT right-of-way, including electric transmission lines and fiber optic (broadband) cable. Prior to Kathy’s work at WisDOT she worked in the private sector, with 20 years of experience in municipal street and utility design, transportation projects and construction.

Kelly Scarbrough, UWDA Forestry Service

Kelly Scarbrough is the Lands Program Manager with the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. She has held that position since August 2022 and started with the Forest February 2020 as a Realty Specialist.

Kelly has held federal service positions since 2010 when she joined the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Lewistown, MT under the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) as an Outdoor Recreation Planner. 

She holds an MS in Applied Geospatial Sciences from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ.

John Robinson, Marathon County

John Robinson has been a member of the Marathon County Board of Supervisors since 2006.  He is currently the chair of the Human Resources, Finance and Property Committee and the Marathon County Broadband Task Force.  He and his wife Mary live in Wausau.

Justin Huebner, Solarus

Justin Huebner, CPA.CITP
Justin is the General Manager at Solarus. He transitioned into this role in early 2017 after sixteen years in a consultative environment at Kiesling Associates. His extensive experience coaching telecoms through a host of financial, regulatory and tax projects has fostered a keen sense for economic growth and strategy development. Now part of the operative team environment, he’s excited to have the breadth of shared knowledge, experience and resources to execute on that strategy. Justin exudes a genuine passion for all things technological – that he says can even be evidenced in his family life, where his wife, Stefanie, and children Greta and Oliver, are often “forced” to be test subjects of his most recent discoveries.


Workshop Resources

Broadband forward! Community Sample Ordinance

Telecommuter forward! Community Model Resolution

NTIA Permitting and Environmental Information App

Coming soon! We’ll add information after the sessions.


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 oaic@extension.wisc.edu.Para pedir adecuaciones para la comunicación en un idioma distinto al inglés, favor de comunicarse con: oaic@extension.wisc.edu.Rau kev sib tham pab cuam rau qhov lwm yam lus ntawm lus As Kiv (English), thov sau ntawv rau: oaic@extension.wisc.edu.
For communicative accommodations based on a disability, please contact Heather Lipinski Stelljes at: heather.stelljes@wisc.edu 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: heather.stelljes@wisc.edu
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