Connecting Tennessee is What We Do

Posted: June 22, 2022

Convention spotlights united member mission to bring broadband to all Tennesseans

Carrie Huckeby headshotEarlier this month, I got to celebrate my first Tennessee Broadband Association (TNBA) Convention & Showcase as executive director. After months of planning with our convention committee and board and committee chair Jason Shelton, it was rewarding to see all of that hard work come to fruition. What we do matters. #ConnectingTN matters.

The convention kicked off — or I should say, teed off — with our annual golf tournament at Temple Hills Golf Club. It was a long and warm day at a new golf course and members were able to network around the links and compete for cash prizes.

The first full day of the conference opened with Tennessee Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton, who we are very fortunate to have as a broadband advocate in Nashville. It’s always a pleasure working with Speaker Sexton and sharing the work our members do on a daily basis, as well as discuss what else needs to be done to connect all Tennesseans to fiber broadband. We thank Speaker Sexton and his staff for being able clear his calendar for our event.

Fellow keynote speakers included NTCA Vice President – Federal Regulatory Brian Ford; NTIA Telecommunication Policy Analyst Amanda Herrera; Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development Broadband Director Taylre Beaty and Assistant Commissioner of Community & Rural Development Brooxie Carlton.

Loretto Telecom General Manager and TNBA President Jason Shelton moderated the TNECD panel, and Twin Lakes CEO Jonathan West led the policy panel. I want to personally thank Jason, Jonathan, Amanda, Brian, Brooxie, and Taylre. We are thrilled you were able to join us and discuss how we can work together to keep #ConnectingTN.

The general session concluded with Rock ‘n’ Roll Thought Leader Sandy Gennaro who, well, rocked the house. His energy, insight, and enthusiasm were a crowd favorite. Another favorite moment during Sandy’s session was rocking along with outgoing TNBA president Chris Townson as he led the audience in “We Will Rock You” on the drums. Sandy concluded with giving each attendee a drum stick to remind them they can achieve rockstar success in business and life.

In the afternoon, attendees were able to attend breakout sessions spanning a wide range of topics. JSI Director of Industry and Client Relations Andy Brown, BTC Fiber Engineer Manager Matthew Boynton, Jackson Thornton Principal Rod Ballard, NCTC Marketing Manager Amy Phelps, Pioneer Utility Resources Director of Accounts Sarah Lancaster, Twin Lakes Director of Technology Shane Heupel, Loftis Underground Kelsie McClain and WK&T Director of Human Resources Ellen Thomas facilitated our peer breakout sessions, and I cannot thank them enough for participating in this year’s convention. Your time, dedication, and effort are always appreciated. Thank YOU!

Later in the afternoon, breakout sessions began, spanning a range of topics. Aha! Creative CEO Ray Methvin, Gresham Smith Broadband Department Leader Greg Poston, Moss Adams Partner Camille Christiansen, Womble Bond Dickinson Counsel Jeff Lanning, Calix Field Strategy Leader Bob Carrick, and FRSecure Chief Technology Officer Oscar Minks led these sessions. Each did a wonderful job! It was clear to attendees and me that a lot of love and hard work were put into these presentations.

The day concluded with a silent auction and casino night. Elite Events made the evening spectacular and explained the rules of the games to attendees and guided them as they earned chips toward a special prize. It was a really fun and nice night enjoyed by all. You really can’t beat networking while playing a game of BlackJack, Roulette or Craps!

On the last day of the convention, we held our sold-out vendor showcase with nearly 60 booths. The showcase was full the entire time, and the vendors were engaging and fun to interact with. I want to thank each vendor who participated and the members for attending. It was my honor welcoming you this year.

During the showcase, additional breakout sessions took place congruently. Thank you to DxTEL Vice President of Business Development Kaleigh Cox, Clearfield National Market Manager, Utilities, Michael Wood, CNI Sales & Account Manager Luke Burkhart, and Ribbon Communications Vice President Technology & Sales Engineer Jamie Gibson for running these sessions.

The convention is one I won’t soon forget. I want to thank all of our members, attendees, speakers, sponsors, and committee members. There is no way this event would be possible without you. Thank you for supporting the TNBA and our mission of #ConnectingTN.