Drew Clark to Step Down as Broadband Illinois Executive Director, Housewright Named Interim


SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, July 26, 2013 – The Partnership for a Connected Illinois announced today that Drew Clark, Executive Director of the non-profit State Broadband Initiative entity in the Land of Lincoln for the past three and a half years, will resign effective August 1, 2013.

Clark will begin offering consulting services through a national association devoted to broadband internet services. He will work with state and municipal and rural broadband leaders, and internet providers, in creating opportunities to enhance Better Broadband, Better Lives.

“I am extremely grateful for the trust that has been shown me by Governor Pat Quinn, by the Board of Directors, and by the people of Illinois that we serve through our federal grants,” said Clark. “I look forward to continuing my relationship with Illinois stakeholders through the community of broadband interests, particularly in advancing Gigabit services.”

The Board of Directors of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois has named eTeam Director Brad Housewright as interim executive director, pending a search for a replacement for Clark.

“Illinois has always been at the forefront of telecommunications, from the days of the Bell System to the birthplace of MCI and the first commercial deployments of fiber optics,” said Robert Taylor, Chairman of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois, and Senior Advisor to Duff & Phelps. “Drew has helped Illinois enhance this leadership by building our organization from a tiny start-up to a model broadband entity that unites all of our State. I’m particularly pleased with how Drew has strengthened our relationship with private sector broadband providers.”

Under the leadership of Gov. Pat Quinn, the State and the Partnership for a Connected Illinois have been particularly enthusiastic about the need to raise the bar on broadband speeds. Quinn has done this through the Illinois Gigabit Communities Challenge, announced in the February 2012 State of the State address, to build ultra-high speed broadband in neighborhoods across Illinois.

“We want our neighborhoods to become Gigabit communities with Internet connections more than 100 times faster than today,” Governor Quinn said. “Our goal is to build smart communities that will foster the job engines of the future. Drew Clark has moved us toward that goal, and we appreciate his service to Illinois.”

The Gigabit Challenge vision builds upon how the Governor’s Broadband Deployment Council has used internet expansion to improve economic development in Illinois.

The Partnership for a Connected Illinois’ pioneering work in internet planning, convening and educating Illinois has set the standard for engagement between communications providers and users of internet services, who have different interests but are both essential to advancing broadband. The framework has been the 10 regional eTeams: community groups that link technology improvements to concrete economic development objectives.

“Coming from the Southern Illinois town of Du Quoin, I know that you can’t get people to live or relocate to rural Illinois without good quality broadband,” said Anthony Licata, Treasurer of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois and Chief Operating Officer of Shefsky and Froelich.

 

“Three years ago, I told Drew that I wanted to be able to point to a map that showed broadband coverage before the Partnership for a Connected Illinois, and after we had begun having an impact. In delivering on this and other commitments, Drew has helped us accomplish our mission from the State and the federal government.”

 

The maps, resources and toolkits available on http://broadbandillinois.org now provide the way that other state broadband entities are following. Under Clark’s leadership, the State received funds from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Federal Communication Commission – for a broadband lifeline grant for rural Western and Southern Illinois.

“For more than half a decade, together Drew and I have worked tirelessly to ensure that broadband data is and remains publicly available for all,” said Charles Benton, Vice Chairman of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois, and Chairman of the Benton Foundation. “As the State Broadband Data and Development program comes to a close in 2014, we pledge to ensure that the Federal Communications Commission and telecom incumbents do not return to their former policy of proprietary and closed data.”

 

Clark, who earned his B.A. (with Honors) from Swarthmore College, his M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and his J.D. from the George Mason University School of Law, is also Chairman of the Broadband Breakfast Club, the premier Washington forum advancing the conversation on broadband. He founded BroadbandCensus.com, serves on the board of the Rural Telecommunications Congress, and can be reached at drew@broadbandcensus.com.

 

For Further Information, please contact:

Brad Housewright, 618-833-0903
Drew Clark, 217-816-4151

 

Broadband Illinois promotes opportunities that high-speed internet offers for jobs, education, energy efficiency, healthcare, public safety, agriculture and government. We collect and publish telecom maps and information, collaborate with internet providers and economic development officials for deployment, and educate individuals and organizations on how to effectively use broadband. Officially known as the Partnership for a Connected Illinois, we are a Springfield-based 501(c)(3) non-profit entity. Learn more at http://broadbandillinois.org and connect at http://facebook.com/broadbandillinois.

Tags: brad housewright, Broadband Illinois, Drew Clark

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