Governor unveils names of new Task Force members

I think many of us have been waiting for this news! Governor Dayton has announced the new Broadband Task Force members:

Task Force Members

  1. Shirley Walz, Sr. Director of Technology for Thomson Reuters
  2. Bernadine Joselyn, Director of Public Policy and Engagement for the Blandin Foundation
  3. Margaret Anderson Kelliher (Chair), Director of the Minnesota High Tech Association
  4. Steve Lewsader, President of the Communication Workers of America (CWA), Local 7201
  5. Duane Ring, President of the nine-state Midwest Region of Century Link
  6. Gary Evans, CEO of Hiawatha Broadband Company (HBC)
  7. Dick Sjoberg, Sjoberg’s Cable
  8. Daniel Richter, President of MVTV Wireless
  9. Danna MacKenzie, Director of Information Systems for Cook County
  10. Maureen Ideker, Director of Telehealth, Essentia Health
  11. Matt Grose, Superintendent, Deer River Public Schools
  12. Steve Peterson, Bloomington City Council
  13. Bob Bass, Bloomington, AT&T Wireless
  14. Keith Modglin, Information Systems Director for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
  15. Bao Vang, President/CEO of the Hmong-American Partnership

*Please note I added links where I could; some are better than others for more info on the person.

It’s good to see some familiar faces returning from previous Task Forces (Shirley Walz, Dick Sjoberg, Bob Bass) in terms of intuitional knowledge. It’s good to see some rural faces (Bernadine Joselyn, Duane Ring, Gary Evans, Dick Sjoberg, Dan Richter, Danna MacKenzie, Maureen Ideker, Matt Grose and Keith Modglin). I like to see the representation of qualified women. It’s nice to see folks interested in adoption and use – as well as deployment.

The Task Force will have more official support than they had in previous iterations (although I think the original Task Force was boosted by tremendous unofficial support from Thomson Reuters). This time around the Task Force will get support from Diane Wells from the Department of Commerce and Bill Hoffman with Connect Minnesota.

So there are a lot of pieces from which to build a successful team. It will be interested to see if they all fit together well. Also it will be interesting to see what will be expected of them both immediately and in the long term. According to the announcement I received their job will be to develop an action plan…

According to Governor Dayton, the Task Force will develop an action plan for identifying and correcting disparities in access and adoption of Broadband in all Minnesota communities – urban, rural, and suburban. Dayton says that action plan will help ensure that residential homes, schools, hospitals, and businesses have access to the technology and information resources they need to thrive in a global economy.

Members of the taskforce, listed in the attached document, represent a balance of broadband interests, including consumers, business and residential users, educational and health care institutions, traditional telephone and cable companies, wireless providers as well as metro and rural local units of government.

That is a little looser that the tasks set out by Executive Order 11-27 which providing for the establishment of the Task Force. The Executive Order specified that…

By December 30, 2011, the task force shall inventory, assess and report on:

  1. The needs, barriers, issues and goals for broadband access
  2. The needs and use of broadband in Minnesota’s education systems, health care system, energy sector, industries and business, libraries, governmental operations, public safety and other key economic sectors
  3. Internet literacy
  4. Broadband accessibility for unserved and underserved populations
  5. Progress of the federal ARRA broadband projects and mapping in Minnesota
  6. Opportunities to coordinate with federal, state, and local agencies

By January 31, 2012, the task force shall develop a Minnesota Broadband Plan outline, including strategies, tasks, action items, and recommendations.

You know the old rule of consultants – good, fast and cheap; choose two. I hope that the Governor will recognize that old adage and will adapt the timeline to suit the timing of this announcement. We know these Task Force members are volunteers – but given adequate time I think they can definitely be good. The report on the current state of the Internet in Minnesota may still be possible with the excellent staff support, but with a time crunch I think the action plan would definitely suffer.

This entry was posted in Blandin Foundation, MN, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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