FISPALIVE speakers are the models of success. They are leaders in their respective businesses, fields, and communities. They are recognized, respected professionals who bring a unique perspective to the conversations about the future of telecommunications. They are innovators within the business community or in their area of expertise who are willing to impart their knowledge, insights, and personal stories to inspire and educate our members, attendees, and colleagues. We have asked them to speak honestly – and from the heart – about their personal and professional experiences.
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Rob Bresnahan @ BKD, LLC
Speaking Topic: Accounting for Telcos
Speaking Date & Time: Tuesday, February 6 @ 10:30
Profile: Rob has more than 16 years of accounting experience, primarily in the telecommunications and utilities industries. His accounting, tax and consulting experience includes financial reporting, supervising and performing audits, preparing and reviewing compilations, tax preparation and planning for corporate, partnership and tax exempt entities, personnel training, regulatory reporting, budgeting, investment accounting and projections. Rob has also assisted clients convert from cash basis to accrual basis financial reporting and with forecasts to maintain and pursue business expansion opportunities. Rob is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Colorado Society of Certified Public Accountants. He received a B.S degree in Accounting from University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, in 2000. Rob joined BKD in 2016 when Kiesling Associates merged its operations.
Jaymie Cutaia, CEO @ JSA
Speaking Data & Time: Monday, February 5 @ 4; and Monday February 5 @ 5
Profile: As CEO of JSA, Jaymie oversees all aspects of company activities and operations, including sales, finance, marketing, public relations, events, advisory board management and product execution. Jaymie has a broad range of experience in marketing domestic and international technology companies, both public and private, and offers a journalistic view on strategic content writing.
Jaymie is also CEO and Founder of The CEO Exchange, an online executive networking platform and app for the telecom, technology and content provider ecosystem.
Prior to founding both companies, Jaymie was the Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Telx, the premier operator of colocation and interconnection facilities in the US. Jaymie contributed a creative approach to marketing business strategies and a journalistic understanding of networking and media research on all matters of event planning, marketing and PR for the company.
Prior to Telx, Jaymie worked as a news producer for MSNBC, a 24-hour, national news organization. Recognizing and encouraging her writing skills, MSNBC supported her story writing and research efforts into global headlines, including her Emmy-award winning coverage of the terror attacks on September 11th.
Jaymie is a member of National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and serves on the Boards of the American Shakespeare Center and Friends of the Augusta County Library. She is also a member of the VHCF Equestriennes, a volunteer women’s group supporting the Virginia Horse Center’s equine events and facilities. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude with highest thesis honors in English from Tufts University and a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from New York University.
Jim Hollis, Executive Director @ FISPA
Speaking Topics: Various
Speaking Date & Time: Various
Profile: Jim is the Executive Director & CEO of the FISPA (www.FISPA.org) the oldest and largest association serving the needs of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and emerging Competitive Local Exchange Carriers
(CLECs). Jim has been active with FISPA for 10 years – initially as a Vendor and ISP member; then serving on the Board of Directors, and for the past 6 years as Executive Director. Prior to FISPA Jim lead the Business Development Team and was co-owner and President of Internet Broadband Consulting, Inc. (IBC) providing business and technical consulting services specializing in data networks including licensed and unlicensed fixed broadband wireless applications. IBC also owned, operated, and sold 3 ISPs from 1996 to 2008 (Sierra.Net, First Coast Online and AppState.Net). Jim launched AppState.net in 2004 focusing on the difficult multi-tenant market in the college town of Boone, NC. Combining his FISPA experience with hundreds of ISPs and CLECs, personal understanding of wire line and wireless broadband networks, and technical and business leadership of operating ISPs provide Mr. Hollis with unique market strategies and quick-to-market solutions. In 2004 Jim was named Wireless Internet Service Provider Consultant of the Year by a national wireless ISP organization.
Mr. Hollis has been a speaker at several Internet related tradeshows (including Service Provider Summit, Broadband Expo, WiNOG, WISPCON, ISPCON, FISPA, NTCA, NATOA, SEATOA, eNC Wireless Symposium, CompTel, and Internet World) and brings over 30 years of business experience – these include Tandem Computers (now HP) where he was responsible for launching Tandem’s Internet strategy. Mr.
Hollis received his Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business Education from Western Illinois University.
Clearly Mr. Hollis understands both the challenges and operating issues of implementing solutions where the benefits overwhelm the costs. He has the credentials to lead both the public and private sectors to be proactive in their planning and achieve successful product and service deployments to reduce costs and implement new revenue generating solutions.
Jeff Kohler, Co-Founder & Chief Development Officer @ JAB Wireless, Inc. d/b/a Rise Broadband
Speaking Topic: Merger & Acquisitions Panel
Speaking Date & Time: Wednesday, February 7 @ noon
Profile: Mr. Kohler co-founded JAB Broadband (Rise Broadband’s parent company) in 2005, serves on the Board of Directors and is the company’s Chief Development Officer; responsible for all mergers and acquisitions, spectrum development and governmental affairs activities. Rise Broadband is the largest fixed broadband wireless access provider in the United States providing broadband and digital telephone services to approximately 200,000 residential and business subscribers in sixteen states. Under his leadership, more than 100 companies have been acquired since the company was formed. In 2017, Rise was named Service Provider of the Year by Fierce Telecom.
With 20+ years of wireless industry experience, Mr. Kohler previously served as Director of Corporate Finance and M&A with GVC Capital LLC, where he focused on mergers, acquisitions and capital formation within the wireless industry. Mr. Kohler was also CEO and Founder of Reason, Inc., a wireless management services company which was acquired by InPhonic (formerly NASDAQ:INPC) in 2002. Furthermore, he held senior positions with AT&T Wireless and McCaw Cellular Communications.
He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), is Co-Founder and Director of WISP PAC (wisp-pac.org), is a Voting Member of the Wireless Communications Association International (WCAI), and services on the FCC Committee for the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA). He is active in advocacy efforts with both the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as well as the U.S. Congress. Mr. Kohler received his MBA from Regis University (Denver) and BS/BA from the University of Denver.
Mitch McGrane, Vice President @ Legacy Capital, LLC
Speaking Topics: Merger & Acquisition Workshop & Luncheon; Merger & Acquisition Panel
Speaking Date and Time: Saturday, February 3 @ Noon; Wednesday, February 7 @ 1
Profile: Mitch McGrane, Vice President, was previously an analyst for Jefferson Capital Partners, L.P., a New Orleans-based venture capital fund specializing in providing mezzanine financing for middle market companies. During his time with Jefferson (2005 to 2006) he evaluated and participated in numerous investments in a wide range of industries. From 2001 to 2004, Mitch was a senior associate at J Folz & Associates, LLC, a Healthcare management-consulting firm based out of Memphis, TN. His career began at BDO Seidman, LP (1999 to 2001) where he was an associate in the Healthcare Business Advisory Services Group. He is a Registered Representative with FINRA.
Mitch graduated from Loyola University New Orleans in 1999, earning a B.B.A. with a double major in Finance and Marketing. He earned his M.B.A. in Finance and Management from the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University in 2006.
Nicholas ‘Nick’ Pena @ The Fibersmith Company
Speaking Topics: OSP Continuing Plant Records Training
Speaking Date & Time: Monday, February 5 @ 9-5
Profile: Nick Peña began as an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution developer in 1999 implementing and customizing ERP suites for small and medium size businesses. In 2002, Nick joined Socket Telecom, LLC, assisting with management of consumer sales, technical support, and the launch of several new products. While with Socket, Nick also helped design and manage the construction of Socket’s first fiber to the premise network, before joining FiberSmith in 2013. Since joining FiberSmith, Nick has managed client accounts and plant construction projects of up to $25 million in size. In addition to new plant construction, Nick also works closely with clients to establish and maintain electronic plant records, specializing in CAD and GIS-based plant management systems.
Peter Radizeski @ RAD-INFO
Speaking Date & Time: Monday, February 5 @4; Tuesday February 6 @ 10:30; Wednesday, February 7 @ 10:15
Profile: Peter Radizeski started as a Novell VAR in 1996, before switching to a career in telecom as an agent in 1999. On top of being an Agent, Radizeski is a consultant to service providers on go-to-market, sales, marketing and strategy. He has a well read blog about the telecom industry and is the author of four books. He moonlights as a start-up coach to help launch ideas into business in Tampa Bay.
Donny Smith, Senior Communications Consultant @ The Fibersmith Company
Speaking Topics: OSP Plant Records Training
Speaking Date & Time: Monday, February 5 @ 9:30-5
Profile: Since 1974 Donny has been in and out of the telecommunications, network design, programming, and data processing industries. He has a career spanning over thirty-five years with the US Army, E.F Johnson, Casio, IBM, Local Link, Jaguar Communications and now Fail Engineering. Donny’s military experience includes two years of active army, four years in the Army Reserve and four more years in the Army National Guard. Donny’s career in communications started as a tester on the fledgling network system called the ARPANET (the precursor of the modern day internet) in Decorah, IA before entering the army where he worked on missile guidance and tracking systems. Since then he has worked on database systems, wireless communication systems, internet systems, and all facets of fiber optic systems. Donny is familiar with most facets of regulatory procedures including interactions with Environmental Assessments and State Historical Agency reports, and government grant and loan Applications. He is also versed in all aspects of both Inside and Outside Plant design, evaluation, mapping (including GIS), implementation and testing. Donny is also the Chairman of the Ripley Town Board in Dodge County MN, is on the Planning and Zoning Commission, and is on the Hayfield Fire Department Board, all of which he has served for numerous years, giving him a unique perspective on municipal involvement with broadband networks. Donny holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and International Business from Mankato State University with an MBA from the Simon Graduate School of Business, University of Rochester in Rochester, NY.
Rick Stern, CEO @ NiTel
Speaking Topics: Luncheon Keynote
Speaking Date & Time: Tuesday, February 6 @ noon
Profile: He founded the business in 1997 as a telecom consultancy, which transitioned into a data network services provider in 2003. Since then Nitel has experienced explosive 100% organic growth, landing it on the Inc. 500|5000 for the past nine years running. Today Nitel is well known as a next-gen technology services provider offering fully managed, software defined and secure networks for enterprises and service providers across the globe. In the past five years, Nitel has accelerated its growth and increased its prominence in the industry through a series of strategic initiatives. These include the deployment of a nationwide network and expansion into next-generation technology services like SD-WAN and next-generation security. The company has earned a strong reputation for its industry redefining service as a result of a culture that is purpose built to focus on the critical importance of every customer.
Rick earned a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications from the University of Florida in 1990 and served six years in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He is a 2009 graduate of Harvard Business School’s Executive Education program in Owner/President Management. In 2010 he was named a Midwest finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® Award and in 2011 was named to the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. Rick is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization, a global network of young chief executives, as well as the Harvard Business School Club of Chicago. Rick also serves on the Dean’s Leadership Counsel at the College of Journalism at the University of Florida, is an Ambassador Board Member for Mercy Home for Boys and Girls and a former member of the Channel Partners Advisory Board.
Stern is an advocate for maintaining Nitel’s strong corporate culture. He believes in community involvement through corporate giving and by rallying the Nitel team to support several national and local philanthropic organizations.
Tim Stoll @ Transaction Catalyst
Speaking Date & Time: Wednesday, February 7 @ 8:30-9:30; and Wednesday, February 7 @ 2:30-5
Profile: I’m an escaped chemist. In the way of education, I’ve earned a PhD in Organic Chemistry and an MSIA (MBA), both from Purdue University. Working in the business side of the chemical industry for over 20 years I learned the value of systems and process. Most of my experience was in the area of catalysts for plastics that have so many uses in our lives.
I ran business units within a large corporation – sort of like running a small business inside of a corporate framework. After more than 20 years, I left to run my own business, working with local entrepreneurs offering business coaching and peer advisory board services as part of The Alternative Board community.
Even though my entrepreneur clients would set goals for themselves, they found it difficult to keep those goals front and center. I looked for a system that would help them make their goals more “sticky” and that’s when I read Traction, which described EOS, the Entrepreneurial Operating System, and I realized this was the system I’d been looking for. So I became a Professional EOS Implementer to help entrepreneurs implement EOS in their businesses to achieve their goals and get more out of their businesses.
Kris Twomey @ Law Office of Kris Twomey
Speaking Topics: Regulatory Issues that will Change your Business
Speaking Date & Time: Tuesday, February 6 @ 11:15
Profile: Kristopher E. Twomey has exclusively represented competitive telecommunications and broadband Internet providers for 20 years. After 5 years specializing in telecommunications and Internet law for firms in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, Kris created his law firm in 2002 from the depths of the dot com bust. Through focus and client loyalty, the firm has continued to grow now representing more than 100 competitive service providers across the U.S. The firm limits its representation to CLECs, fiber to the premise developers, wired and wireless ISPs, managed service providers, and VoIP providers. The firm also counsels international clients on U.S. telecommunications and Internet law. The firm provides a comprehensive set of legal services to telecom and internet providers including federal and state regulatory matters, contract drafting and negotiations, dispute resolution/litigation, and serving as outsourced general counsel. More information can be found at www.lokt.net.
Marianne Van Meter, Managing Director @ Legacy Capital, LLC
Speaking Topics: Merger & Acquisition Workshop & Luncheon; Merger & Acquisition Panel
Speaking Date and Time: Saturday, February 3 @ Noon; Wednesday, February 7 @ 1
Profile:Marianne Van Meter, M.B.A., Managing Director, founded Legacy Capital in 1994, and is actively involved in providing financial advisory services to corporate clients in various industries and in representing buyers and sellers. Prior to founding Legacy, Marianne was Vice President with A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc. from 1986 through 1993. Marianne developed and executed numerous mergers, acquisitions and corporate underwritings, and developed and managed the firm’s practice in hostile takeover prevention and defense. In 1988, she established A.G. Edwards’ New Orleans Corporate Finance office where she continued to execute selected merger and acquisition assignments nationwide while developing business in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. From 1984 until 1986, Marianne was an Associate in mergers and acquisitions with Morgan Stanley & Co., Incorporated in New York, New York. She is a Registered Representative and a Registered Principal with FINRA and a Candidate Member of the American Society of Appraisers. Ms. Van Meter has presented lectures on the buying and selling of closely-held businesses on behalf of Millsaps College and the Cambridge Institute. She is also on the Board of Directors for The Idea Village (http://ideavillage.org/).
Marianne graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Iowa in 1981, earning a B.S. with Honors in Economics. She received Mortar Board, Omicron Delta Kappa and Omicron Delta Epsilon honors. She earned her M.B.A. from the Colgate Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia in 1984.
Brian Worthen @ Mammoth Networks
Speaking Date & Time: TBD
Profile: Brian is the CEO of Mammoth Networks, a facilities-based reseller of data circuits from 66 data centers and Central Offices throughout the Western US. Brian and his partners started Mammoth as an off-shoot of a CLEC they had acquired along their path, graduating beyond traditional dialup and DSL services. Today, Mammoth provides service to more than 140 wholesale customers. Mammoth Networks was listed in the 2016 Inc 5000 as one of America’s fastest growing private companies.
Brian graduated from the University of Wyoming with a degree in Small Business Management. He entered the telecom market in 2001, and operates Mammoth Networks and its parent company Visionary Communications from Gillette, Wyoming.