Governor Phil Scott Appoints Patty Richards And Dan Nelson To The Vermont Community Broadband Board
Montpelier, VT (STL.News) Governor Phil Scott announced the appointment of Patty Richards and Dan Nelson to the newly established Vermont Community Broadband Board (VCBB). Richards will serve as chair and Nelson will fill one of four board member positions.
The Board was created through Act 71, An act relating to accelerated community broadband deployment, to assist and accelerate community efforts to achieve universal access to reliable, high-speed broadband service. The Board will be responsible for awarding grants and assisting the Communication Union Districts (CUDs) in their planning, development, and implementation of broadband projects.
“Patty and Dan bring a vast amount of knowledge and experience to the Board and their commitment to the cause will be very beneficial to this effort,” said Governor Phil Scott. “Connecting more Vermonters with broadband is critical to our work to grow the economy and workforce in all 14 counties, and increasing economic equity from region to region. I’m very pleased to have such a talented team help lead this important initiative.”
Richards has served as the general manager of Washington Electric Cooperative (WEC) since 2013. During her time at WEC, Richards led the cooperative to 100% renewables, set up a program during COVID to help struggling members create individual budgets and apply for arrearages, implemented a new rate structure to lower the cost per kilowatt hour, transformed WECs response to power outages, and much more. Prior to WEC she had two decades of experience with energy utilities, including 17 years at Burlington Electric Department.
“I’m honored and eager to take on this important role,” said Patty Richards. “With significant federal dollars, and the Governor and Legislature agreeing broadband is a priority, we have a real opportunity to deliver this vital and essential service to rural Vermonters.”
Nelson currently serves as vice president of Technology and leads the Telecommunications and Information Technology teams at VELCO. He has 20 years of experience serving in a variety of management and director positions including responsibility for conception, buildout and maintenance of VELCO’s 1,600-mile fiber optic network. Dan earned his electrical engineering technology degree from Vermont Technical College in Randolph.
“I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity to serve,” said Dan Nelson. “The pandemic emphasized the need for Vermont to expand broadband to every home, and I look forward to lending my time and commitment to build our collective network.”
The Board will consist of five members: Two have now been appointed by the Governor, one will be appointed by the Speaker of the House, one appointed by the Senate Committee on Committees, and one appointed by the Vermont Communications Union District Association. The Board and its work will be supported by $150 million from the federal American Rescue Act Plan (ARPA), a proposal made by Governor Scott and supported by the Legislature.
The new Board will be housed within the Department of Public Service.
“Patty and Dan bring high-level experience and expertise to support Vermont’s Communications Union Districts in their planning and execution of broadband buildout. I look forward to working with them and the full board to deliver for Vermonters,” Public Service Commissioner June Tierney said.
The first meeting of the Board will occur the week of August 9.