With the acquisition of several large grants and the development of a comprehensive implementation strategy, the regional broadband network proposed by Region 10 is becoming more of a reality by the day.

As this project accelerates, the need for a high level of detail and technical knowledge to implement the strategy are the utmost importance. Region 10 created a position dedicated to this very need, and recently filled the opening.

Chris Kennedy, the new Regional Broadband Project Director hired by Region 10, brings over 25 years of experience in integrating telecommunication technology systems and developing successful models of implementation.

Kennedy’s background is a robust mixture of public service and entrepreneurialism. Kennedy’s public service spans from his time serving in the United States Marine Corps to his current role as Councilman at Large with the City of Grand Junction.

Kennedy’s tenure in the private sector has centered on telecommunication technology. With a resume that boasts titles such as Director Engineering with Charter Communications, Systems Integration Manager with CompuCom and Technical Operations Manager with Bresnan Communications, Kennedy has dedicated the bulk of his professional career to proliferation of information technology. He also started his own business—Kennedy Telecom—which has an 11 year track record of delivering information technology solutions to small businesses in Western Colorado.

Approaching a professional crossroad, Kennedy needed to determine if he wanted to continue down the road of his corporate path or to do something with a deeper impact on his community.

“I wanted to do something more altruistic with an NGO or non-profit that focused on improving quality of life and entrepreneurial opportunities in the broadband space,” Kennedy states.

During his tenure with City of Grand Junction, Kennedy was introduced to the state and local efforts to expand broadband on the Western Slope during a conference in Vail last year. As a result of this networking event, Kennedy learned about Region 10, and kept close tabs on the organization’s efforts. Once the Broadband Project Manager position was created, Kennedy knew that he was the right fit for the job.

“Region 10 is pleased to have someone with Chris’ experience in both the private and public sectors, as it serves the overall mission and intent of the Region 10 project in the best possible way,” states Michelle Haynes, Executive Director of Region 10. “We are looking forward to having Chris’ expertise to lead the implementation of the Region 10 project, as well as assist our local governments to leverage the project as it works best in their local communities.”

Kennedy will serve as the primary liaison for all of the existing partnerships—including Region 10 municipalities and county governments, internet service providers, utility coops, and a plethora of engaged community stakeholders—that are driving the construction of the new network.

Calling himself a “cheerleader for broadband,” Kennedy is passionate about the delivery of this service throughout communities in need to adapt to a 21st century economy. “My vision is to get as much affordable, high-speed data access to as many people in as many places as is economically feasible,” he comments.

As the new public face of broadband, Kennedy will face the daunting task of coordinating the existing broadband implementation strategy, which includes the buildout of middle-mile infrastructure designed to deliver affordable, abundant, and redundant internet service to the six-county region served by Region 10.

The position is funded in part by a $75,000 grant awarded to Region 10 by the El Pomar Foundation for two years.

In an official statement, the El Pomar Foundation wrote the following in regards to the grant: “Recognizing the impact of access to broadband on the region’s economic development efforts, Region 10 and the San Juan Regional Council of El Pomar Foundation have recognized the value of a regional broadband coordinator. Region 10 has received this grant from the San Juan Regional Council to support this effort.”

Only a few days into his first week, Kennedy hit the ground running. Region 10’s broadband committee is currently reviewing request for proposals for construction on the first phase of the network’s buildout, which covers Delta County and parts of Montrose County.

“Region 10 is certainly heading in the right direction when it comes to broadband,” Kennedy comments.

Considering the resources set aside specifically at the state and federal level, Kennedy adds, “It’s a good political environment and funding environment to make that happen.” Kennedy remains optimistic about the future of broadband for the region.

For more information regarding broadband, Kennedy can be reached at chris@region10.net and (970) 765-3139.