SHLB Coalition Board of Directors

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Chairman of the Board: Eric Brown, President, California Telehealth Network
Eric Brown

Eric Brown is an experienced manager in the telecommunications industry — a 15-year veteran of the cable television industry with a rare blend of senior-level experience in cable network affiliate relations, and experience managing multiple broadband systems' marketing and operations. Most recently, Eric served as executive vice president of affiliate relations for Herring Broadcasting and for The Africa Channel. He also served as president of western division operations for Charter Communications, and president of the Minnesota division of Time Warner Cable.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.

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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, Washington State Librarian
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.

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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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Erik Heinrich, Senior Manager SLED Business Development, Ruckus Networks
Erik Heinrich

Erik Heinrich is the senior manager of SLED business development at Ruckus Networks 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 Ruckus Wireless, 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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Crosby Kemper III,  Executive Director, Kansas City Public Library

Crosby Kemper III is the executive director of the Kansas City Public Library and former CEO of UMB Financial Corporation. Educated at Pem-Day, Andover, Eton, and Yale, he has taught English at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, and been a bookseller in Grand Central Station in New York City. He is the editor of, and contributor to, "Winston Churchill: Resolution, Defiance, Magnanimity, Good Will," published by the University of Missouri Press. From 2003 to 2004, Crosby chaired the Commission on the Future of Higher Education in Missouri for Governor Holden. He has served on the board of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, and the boards of the Kansas City Symphony, Union Station, and Lapham’s Quarterly. He helped Marilyn Strauss found the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival and was its first Board Chair. He also founded and chaired the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival. He co-founded and actively chairs the Show-Me Institute, a libertarian public policy think tank for the state of Missouri. In 2008, Crosby received the Difference Maker Award from The Urban League of Kansas City; and he and the Library received the Gold Medal for Libraries from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, presented at the White House by former librarian, Laura Bush. In 2009 he was inducted into the Mid-America Education Hall of Fame by the Kansas City Kansas Community College Endowment Association. 

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

For eleven 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.