SHLB Coalition Board of Directors

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Chairman of the Board: Eric Brown, County Manager, Washoe County
Eric Brown

Eric Brown became the Washoe County Manager in November of 2019, as appointed by the Board of County Commissioners, and leads Nevada’s second largest county with more than 2,700 employees. As Washoe County’s top executive, Eric serves as liaison between the Board of County Commissioners, elected and appointed department directors, government and community agencies, businesses, employees and citizens.


Prior to becoming the county manager, Brown served as the president of California Telehealth Network, which provides broadband connections and other health technology services to hospitals and clinics in rural and medically underserved communities. With more than 500 sites, the California Telehealth Network is one of the largest statewide telehealth networks in the nation.  


Brown brings over 20 years of a robust executive leadership and management background in a variety of organizational settings, including multiple Fortune 500 companies. He has extensive experience in consumer brand management with a variety of consumer product companies, including The Procter & Gamble Company, H.J. Heinz, and Bumble Bee Seafoods. Eric is a former chairman of the California Cable and Telecommunications Association (CCTA), and is a recipient of the prestigious National Cable & Telecommunications Association Vanguard Award for excellence in cable operations, and the cable industry’s CTAM Chairman’s Award for excellence in cable marketing.


Eric received his Master of Business Administration in Marketing and General Management from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, and his Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from the University of California in Los Angeles.

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Vice Chairwoman of the Board: Rachelle Chong, Principal, Law Office of Rachelle Chong
Rachelle Chong

Rachelle Chong is a nationally recognized authority on broadband policy issues. She served as an FCC Commissioner during the 1996 Telecom Act era, the first wireless auctions and creation of many new wireless services, and the digital TV transition.  After her federal service, Rachelle led broadband initiatives in California, starting in 2006 when she was appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger as a commissioner of the California Public Utilities Commission. After serving on the Governor's California Broadband Task Force, Rachelle created the California Advanced Services Fund at the California PUC to bring critical broadband infrastructure to rural areas with no broadband or slow broadband. Following her CPUC term, she worked for two years as special counsel at the California Technology Agency on statewide digital literacy efforts, and helped bring major federal economic stimulus dollars to California for broadband and smart grid projects. Rachelle has been a partner in two international law firms, Graham & James and Coudert Brothers. She has served as vice president of government affairs for Comcast’s California region, and general counsel for two Silicon Valley tech start-ups: Broadband Office and Sidecar. She has also served on various boards, both of publicly traded companies, nonprofit organizations working on broadband issues, and with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area. Currently, she runs the Law Offices of Rachelle Chong, where she is a strategic consultant, regulatory lawyer, and registered state lobbyist headquartered in San Francisco, California. Rachelle works primarily in the broadband, telecom, transportation, and energy spaces, representing competitive carriers, app-enabled providers of ridesharing and ferry services, and nonprofit organizations working in the broadband space before the FCC and the CPUC.

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Treasurer: Elwood Downing, Principal, ELAE Enterprises, LLC.
Elwood Downing

Elwood Downing has served as an executive, strategic leader for over 15 years, providing strategic leadership, technical consulting, and service engagement to organizations including public universities, private colleges, community colleges, K-12 organizations, research organizations, government, healthcare, and nonprofit organizations.

Most recently, he served as the vice president for business development and community networks for Merit Network. Elwood has had tremendous success over the years and has served as a key contributor to the achievements of the organizations he’s worked with. Elwood helped lead the communication and outreach effort for two ARRA NTIA/BTOP-funded projects that included more than 2,300 miles of fiber-optic network infrastructure, which was used to help create the K-12 Michigan statewide education network. Additionally, he has led efforts for SHLB membership growth and helps communities build networks, share resources, and promote economic development.

Elwood received his Bachelor of Arts in business administration, with a specialization in business information systems from Eastern Michigan University. Elwood has also served as Merit’s liaison to the Merit Advisory Council, and as a member of the Internet2 U.S. UCAN Advisory Committee.

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Secretary: Debra Kriete, State E-rate Coordinator, South Dakota
Deb Kriete SHLB Board Member

Debra Kriete has been involved with and an advocate for universal service for more than 30 years. She first served as assistant consumer advocate with the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General, representing consumers’ interests in state telecommunication regulatory proceedings. She then became chief counsel to a PUC Commissioner, helping to shape policy recommendations concerning all aspects of universal telecommunications service. In 1996, Deb was appointed to the staff of the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, the group that recommended to the FCC the rules and policies for implementing all USF mechanisms, and in 1998 she was appointed as the first general counsel to the federal E-rate administrator. After leaving USAC, she provided legal counsel to service providers and applicants until being retained as the South Dakota State E-rate Coordinator – a position she has proudly held for the past 14 years. In this capacity she operates an E-rate help desk and provides in-person and virtual training for the state’s schools, libraries, and service providers, and files the E-rate applications for South Dakota’s statewide broadband and Internet consortia applications. Debra is an active member of the State E-rate Coordinators Alliance.

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Cindy Aden, Distinguished Practitioner of Residence, The Information School at the University of Washington
Cindy Aden

Cindy Aden has focused on communication, strategic partnerships, and information technology—particularly search, discovery and metadata—with opportunities for leadership and recognition within the library and publishing industries. She served on nonprofit boards and committees to support library services, publishing standards, and information access. Cindy has participated in numerous speaking and training engagements about libraries, discovery, publishing, metadata, and career development. Some career highlights include being Amazon’s first librarian, hired in 1998 to manage browse, categorization, cataloging—i.e. data quality and publisher relations. She earned the distinguished Career Award, University of Washington ISchool, in 2002. Finally, Cindy was the president of the board, World Corps Association, a nonprofit putting Internet kiosks in rural India, Mexico, Kenya and the Philippines, 2001-2005.


As the coronavirus pandemic closed schools and libraries, Cindy co-led a partnership to establish over 600 drive-in Wi-Fi hotspots around Washington state from March to June 2020. FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks recognized her and three colleagues for their work on the project with the Digital Opportunity Equity Recognition Program in October 2020. 


In August 2020, Cindy joined the University of Washington's Information School as its third distinguished practitioner in residence.

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Scott Boone, Director of Information Technology, Kent County Government
Scott Boone

Scott Boone has 20 years of public and private sector experience in the fields of telecommunications and information systems and has served on the board of directors of the Maryland Broadband Cooperative. Most recently, Scott has focused on digital inclusion by managing the Kent County Broadband Expansion Program, which connects 70 anchor sites to Kent County’s 110-mile fiber network. Scott managed the rollout of Kent County’s free public Wi-Fi initiative, which consists of gigabit-connected homework hotspot locations throughout the County. Currently, Scott works with the Maryland Office of Rural Broadband to expand network offerings by participating in that Office’s first round of pilot projects.


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Paula Boyd, Senior Director, Microsoft Corporation
Paula Boyd Board Member

Paula leads Microsoft’s policy engagement with the FCC, Congress, and the Administration on broadband, spectrum, Internet protocol voice, and video and text issues. She advises and briefs executives and colleagues on regulatory issues and federal legislation. Paula advances Internet policy objectives with key industry trade associations and think tanks, and advocates for the Microsoft's position on panels and with policy stakeholders. Prior to joining Microsoft, Paula was senior counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Subcommittee on Communications. She advised Senator Ernest “Fritz” Hollings during his time as Chairman (2001-2002) and ranking member (1997-2001) of the Senate Commerce Committee, and advised democratic committee members on communications policy. She oversaw the full range of federal communications issues including telephone, broadband, spectrum, cable, and broadcast policies.

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Doug Casey, Executive Director, Connecticut Commission for Educational Technology
Doug Casey Board Member

Doug Casey designs and manages strategic plans that ensure the successful integration of technology in Connecticut schools, libraries, universities, and towns. The CET oversees statewide programs such as its flagship research and education broadband network, the CEN. Doug’s prior experience includes managing technology and security for a network of magnet schools that are helping to close the achievement gap between urban and suburban learners. He holds a B.A. from the College of William & Mary, an M.A. from Georgetown University, and an M.S. from George Washington University.



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Erik Heinrich, Senior Manager Education, CommScope
Erik Heinrich

Erik Heinrich is the senior manager of education for Ruckus Networks at CommScope and a frequent speaker at National SLED events, sharing his thought leadership on public sector trends and innovative solutions. Erik brings over 20 years of experience working in IT Operations, including with companies like SONY Music and the Pacific Stock Exchange. Prior to joining CommScope and Ruckus Networks, Erik spent over seven years with the San Francisco Unified School District as IT Director and Interim Chief Technology Officer, modernizing the network infrastructure across all 150 locations supporting over 56,000 students and 6,000 employees. Erik remains committed to the support of Education through his membership in the California Educational Technology Professionals Association, and serves as the technology adviser to the Board for the Pacifica Education Foundation.

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Larry Irving, President and CEO, Irving Group
Larry Irving Board Member

As the president and CEO of the Irving Group, Larry Irving provides strategic advice and assistance to international telecommunications and information technology companies, investors, philanthropies and nonprofit organizations. Additionally, Larry currently holds a position on the board of directors for ENA, a broadband and technology solution provider for community anchor institutions. From September 2009 to July 2011, Larry served as vice president for global government affairs for the Hewlett-Packard Company, the world’s largest technology company. Prior to founding the Irving Group in 1999, Larry served for almost seven years as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), where he was a principal adviser to the president, vice president and secretary of commerce on domestic and international telecommunications and information technology issues. Larry was one of the principal architects and advocates of the Clinton Administration's telecommunications and internet policies, and was a point person in the Clinton Administration's successful efforts to reform the United States telecommunications law, resulting in passage of the most sweeping change in America’s telecom policy framework in 60 years. Larry is widely credited with coining the term “digital divide,” and sparking global interest in the issue. In large part due to his work to promote policies and develop programs to ensure access to advanced telecommunications and information technologies, Larry was named one of the fifty most influential persons in the 'Year of the Internet' by Newsweek Magazine. In 2019, he was named to the Internet Hall of Fame.

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Jane Patterson, Partner, Broadband Catalysts
Jane Patterson SHLB Board Member

For 11 years, Jane Smith Patterson served as executive director of the e-NC Authority, an organization with the goal of bringing affordable, high-speed Internet access to citizens, businesses, and institutions - particularly in rural and lower income urban areas. Prior to taking this leadership position in 2001, Jane worked for North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt through his four terms in office, first as secretary of administration, later as chief adviser for policy, budget, and technology, and finally as senior adviser for science and technology, and director of the Office for Technology. Jane served as a member of the Clinton Gore National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council and was co-chair of the applications committee, and later served as chair of the Rural Telecommunications Congress, completing her term in 2015. Jane’s background also includes working in the private industry as vice president of ITT Corporation- Network Systems Group, of ITT-Alcatel and Alcatel, NA. She has served as a vice chancellor at UNC-Wilmington, and in positions with research programs at the University of Pennsylvania and UNC-Chapel Hill. She has been an adviser to many countries in the world in planning for deployment of national information infrastructure.

Jane serves on a number of boards for nonprofit organizations, including the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. Jane was a founding president for the NC Aquarium Society and the North Carolina Health Communications Information Alliance. She has worked as an adviser on digital communications, science, and technology issues in countries across Asia, North America, and Europe. With ITT Corporation (International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation-a multinational corporation) and ITT-Alcatel and Alcatel, Jane held director and vice-president positions that oversaw operational activities worldwide.

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Melissa Slawson, General Counsel and VP of Government Affairs and Education, GeoLinks
Melissa Slawson

Melissa Slawson serves as general counsel and vice of government affairs and education at GeoLinks. Melissa has 10 years of legal experience in the telecommunications regulatory field, starting her career at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). During her time at the CPUC, Melissa held positions both at the staff level in the Communications Division, working on broadband mapping and video franchise matters, and at the executive level, serving as telecommunications and legal adviser for Commissioner Catherine Sandoval. Before joining the GeoLinks team, Melissa served as general counsel to a small wireless reseller offering subsidized wireless service to low-income consumers under the Lifeline program. Prior to that, Melissa held an associate position at Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP, specializing in legal policy work for the wireless, broadband, and cable industries before the CPUC and other state and federal regulatory agencies. Melissa earned a J.D. from California Western School of Law in 2007 and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Arizona in 2002 (Magna Cum Laude).

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Ray Timothy, CEO, Utah Education and Telehealth Network
Ray Timothy

Dr. Ray Timothy currently serves as the CEO/executive director of the Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN). He comes to UETN with a vast K-12 educational background, having taught in Salt Lake, Granite, and Box Elder School Districts, and having served as an administrator at the elementary and secondary levels. Ray has been the superintendent of schools for Millard and Park City School districts, and served at the state level as the deputy superintendent for the Utah State Board of Education. During his 40+ years of experience, Ray has been at the forefront of embracing and promoting the use of technology in education. His experience spans the early years of pioneering some of the first integration of desktop computing in Utah classrooms, up to the implementation of a model district-wide 1:1 initiative. He continues to serve in various leadership positions as UETN remains actively engaged in support of personalized learning in Utah.

Dr. Timothy has served in multiple leadership roles and received numerous awards including: Utah State University Outstanding Alumni Administrator; Utah PTA Outstanding Administrative Educator of the Year; and the Utah Association of Elementary School Principals Human Resource Developer of the Year.

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John Windhausen Jr., Executive Director, SHLB Coalition (non-voting)
John Windhausen

John Windhausen Jr. founded the SHLB Coalition in 2009 with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As executive director, he spearheads SHLB's membership growth and shapes its broadband policy recommendations. Previously, he served as president of the Association for Local Telecommunications Services, spent nine years on Capitol Hill, and started his career as a staff attorney at the FCC. In his role as senior counsel to the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, John was a principal staff person responsible for drafting the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and served as chief legal adviser on telecom issues to Senators Fritz Hollings and Daniel Inouye.


John has authored several papers documenting the benefits of broadband. His EDUCAUSE whitepaper, "A Blueprint for Big Broadband," resulted in the creation of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). In 2012, John was named the Community Broadband Hero of the Year by the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisers.


John sits on the board of directors for the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA). He holds a J.D. from UCLA Law School and a bachelor's degree in history from Yale University.