Director Statement

Today, technology plays a pivotal role in how businesses operate, how institutions provide services, and where consumers choose to live, work, and play. The success of a community has become dependent on how much the community adopts technology resources, which includes access to reliable, high-speed networks, the digital literacy of residents, and the use of online resources locally for business, government, and leisure.

As noted in the National Broadband Plan (NBP), broadband internet is “a foundation for economic growth, job creation, global competitiveness, and a better way of life.”

Connect Michigan works with local, regional, state, and federal partners to facilitate and build Michigan’s capacity for leveraging technology for improved quality of life and community and economic development. Through broadband and technology mapping, research, and community planning, we work to bring light to the issues of digital inequality and create more digitally inclusive communities. To accomplish this goal, we take a comprehensive approach to technology development.

Connect Michigan recognizes that in order to fully participate in a digital economy, the state needs to address issues not only of the access to broadband (supply) but also the ways in which it is adopted and used (demand). Wired and wireless signals are useless if they cannot be leveraged to improve civic engagement, retain families and youth, improve leadership, expand our economy, and develop local human capital and talent.

Everyone belongs in a Connected Nation.

Eric Frederick
Executive Director, Connect Michigan

OUR TEAM

Eric Frederick, Vice President, Community Affairs

Eric Frederick serves as Vice President, Community Affairs for Connected Nation. Eric is responsible for managing the development and implementation of the Connected Community Engagement Program (ConnectedSM) across the United States. Eric develops and maintains Connected partner relationships in support of Connected Nation’s mission. In addition, Eric provides primary management, oversight, and support for Connect Michigan’s state strategy as a context for advancing methodologies relevant to Connected. Prior to his role of Vice President, Community Affairs, Eric served as the Executive Director for Connect Michigan. In this role, he developed relationships with statewide, national, and international groups that are partnering with Connected Nation to solve problems of connectivity and to bolster the value of internet connections. Eric also led a nationally recognized team that produced the nation’s first certified Connected community. Eric holds a master’s in urban and regional planning from Michigan State University and a bachelor of science in urban planning and GIS from Northern Michigan University.

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Dan Manning, Community Technology Advisor

Dan Manning serves as Community Technology Advisor for Connect Michigan. Dan coordinates and manages the activities of regional planning teams across the state. Dan provides train-the-trainer activities to the regional planning teams on the broadband landscape to spur digital literacy activities in each region. In addition, with assistance from Connected Nation’s communications staff and the volunteers of the regional planning teams, he works to increase regional and local awareness of the planning teams, the planning process, the benefits of increased broadband adoption, and Connect Michigan through the media and local organizations. Dan holds a bachelor of science in mathematics from Western Michigan University.
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Tom Stephenson, Community Technology Advisor

Tom Stephenson serves as Community Technology Advisor for Connect Michigan. Tom coordinates and manages the activities of regional planning teams across the state. Tom provides “train-the-trainer” activities to the regional planning teams on the broadband landscape to spur digital literacy activities in each region. In addition, with assistance from Connected Nation’s communications staff and the volunteers of the regional planning teams, he works to increase regional and local awareness of the planning teams, the planning process, the benefits of increased broadband adoption, and Connect Michigan through the media and local organizations. Tom holds a bachelor of science and a master of science in administration from Central Michigan University.
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Wes Kerr, Director, Community Solutions

Wes helps ensure the implementation of Technology Action Plans developed for communities through Connected Nation’s Connected Community Engagement Program (Connectedsm) and works closely with clients and stakeholders to provide solutions that will help them meet their technology goals.
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Heather Gate, Director, Digital Inclusion

Heather Gate serves as Manager of Digital Inclusion Program Development for Connected Nation. Heather is responsible for managing the development and implementation of Connected Nation’s digital inclusion programs. Heather provides high-impact project management services, including day-to-day program management and funding research. Heather also helps to maintain existing program partner relationships and assists with identification of potential new partners or innovative business opportunities which are in line with program missions. Heather holds a bachelor of science in computer science, a master’s in computer science, and a master’s in public administration from Kentucky State University.
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Career Opportunities