Knowles to focus on legislative issues impacting rural broadband
NASHVILLE, Tennessee — The Tennessee Broadband Association (TNBA) has named industry veteran Carrie Huckeby as its new executive director. The McMinnville native will take the helm of the state’s premier broadband group November 30.
“There has never been more collective will, from all levels of government as well as the private sector, to solve the rural broadband challenge in Tennessee and across the country— and we are confident Carrie is the right person to lead our organization into this new era,” said Chris Townson, CEO of DTC Communications in Alexandria, Tennessee, and current TNBA board president.
The TNBA is comprised of cooperative and independent companies that connect almost 30% of the state with broadband and related services. Collectively, these providers are on track to invest some $400 million in fiber networks between 2019 to 2022, delivering high-quality telecommunications services to some of the hardest-to-serve areas of Tennessee.
“The TNBA is doing important work, and it’s an honor to be chosen as the next executive director,” said Huckeby. “The member companies of this association have made tremendous progress in delivering broadband to the towns and countrysides of Tennessee. Our challenge ahead is to build on that work until we’ve connected every Tennessean who can’t participate in our connected economy due to a lack of broadband.”
Huckeby has over three decades of experience in the telecommunications industry, beginning with a 23- year career at Ben Lomand Connect in McMinnville where she held various positions in marketing, sales, and competitive services. In 2010 she joined WK&T Telecommunications Cooperative and the following year took the role of chief marketing officer for the cooperative’s Telecom Management
Services group. She was part of an executive team that managed what was then the largest grant/loan fiber network project in the nation. Huckeby joined the staff of WordSouth, a content marketing company serving broadband providers in several states, in 2018 as director of strategy and training. In that position she helped broadband providers across the Southeast brand, train for and launch broadband projects into new areas.
Huckeby holds an Associate of Science, business administration and management from Motlow State Community College; a Bachelor of Science, business administration and management from Mid- Continent University; and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Bethel University. She serves on McMinnville’s industrial development board and three years ago launched the “Power of 100” volunteer group that has raised more than $140,000 that have benefited 12 nonprofit groups in Warren County.
Current TNBA Executive Director Levoy Knowles, also a resident of McMinnville, has been named Government Affairs Director and will focus on legislative issues.
“I’ve enjoyed my work the past 9 years because I feel like we’ve made real progress in expanding broadband access,” said Knowles. “I look forward to focusing my efforts more on the legislative component that is so critical to successful broadband deployment.”
Knowles will be working closely with elected officials on bills impacting broadband policy in the state.
“Levoy has done an outstanding job as TNBA’s executive director,” said Townson, “and we are pleased he will continue working with the TNBA to help us keep telling the rural broadband story in the halls of state government.”
Under Knowles’ leadership, the association rebranded to focus on and raise awareness of the TNBA’s work in deploying broadband. The association launched the podcast “Lead Tennessee Radio,” along with other initiatives, to strengthen visibility and relationships with elected officials and leaders across the state. The group’s membership, which includes vendors and other stakeholders, is at its highest point ever, as is TNBA’s social media presence and engagement. During the past three years alone, TNBA member telcos have earned millions in state and federal loans and grants to extend broadband to rural Tennesseans.