Please enter a valid search term.

Connected Nation Promotes Staff, Aligns Organization for Continued Growth Amidst National Focus on Closing Digital Divide

Bowling Green, Ky. (September 22, 2020) – Connected Nation (CN), a national nonprofit working to close the Digital Divide, is taking action to more effectively respond to the need for digital equity across the country by promoting and empowering key personnel.

“Today we celebrate four accomplished Connected Nation veterans—not only for their contributions to our organization but also in their stature among the country’s foremost leaders in their respective fields,” said Tom Ferree, Chairman and CEO.  “Our mission to close the Digital Divide for everyone, everywhere, is perhaps more relevant today than at any point in our history as the pandemic has shown the degree to which our lives are dependent on broadband and technology in general, and the access to it.

“With the increased leadership of these fine individuals, along with the other exceptional teammates at CN, our organization improves its alignment for the work ahead.  We will not stop until we can empower all individuals and communities to thrive in today’s digital world.”

As part of that effort, Connected Nation has promoted the following staff members to new roles (in alphabetical order):

Hitt Ashley 01 683x1024
Ashley Hitt

Ashley Hitt, Vice President, GIS Services
Connected Nation promotes Ashley Hitt to Vice President, GIS Services.  Ashley is responsible for the strategic direction of CN’s world-class geospatial analysis and data visualization services, driving real-world impact on broadband expansion nationally.  

In this role, she also oversees the day-to-day operation of the organization’s GIS and Engineering and Technical Services team. Ashley is responsible for developing strategies and services designed to positively impact policy, economic development, and the Digital Divide. Better broadband coverage mapping is a key component to identify areas that are unserved or underserved and guiding more effective infrastructure investments.

Johnson Ryan 01 Best 683x1024
Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson, Director, IT
Connected Nation promotes Ryan Johnson to Director, IT.  Ryan provides technical leadership and vision for the CN organization. 

He is responsible for the organization’s enterprise architecture as well as oversight of the network operations center and client systems at Connected Nation. In this role, Ryan executes the corporate IT strategy designed to optimize CN programs and projects in pursuit of increased digital equity.

Legg Brent 01 683x1024 Headroom 683x1024
Brent Legg

Brent Legg, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs
Connected Nation promotes Brent Legg to Executive Vice President, Government Affairs.  Brent is responsible for the organization’s strategic public policy agenda as well as leading CN’s government affairs and public policy resources. 

In this role, Brent oversees the working with federal, state, and local officials to advance legislation and/or executive actions that improve the access and the quality of broadband service and related technologies across the nation.  Brent is also responsible for tracking emerging technologies within the telecommunication sector and has extensive experience working on education technology and school connectivity issues.  Brent is a recognized expert on the federal E-rate program.

Pedersen Chris 01 Best 683x1024
Chris Pedersen

Chris Pedersen, Executive Vice President, Development and Planning
Connected Nation promotes Chris Pedersen to Executive Vice President, Development and Planning.  Chris provides both strategic and operational leadership in the design and implementation of the company’s mission.  In this role, Chris oversees the organization’s strategic planning process and is responsible for measuring and maintaining the organization’s impact and outcomes in closing the Digital Divide.

Chris also serves as the primary relationship manager for placement and development of innovative broadband programming both nationally and internationally.  Chris works with public and private sector leaders to build talented, mission-oriented project teams to identify the broadband needs of various state agencies, libraries, educational systems, etc., and responds with comprehensive solutions. He also speaks Danish and Spanish.

Media Contact:
Jessica Denson, Communications Director
(502) 341-2024

# # #

About Connected Nation: Our mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand access to and increase the adoption and use of broadband (high-speed internet) and its related technologies for all people. Everyone belongs in a Connected Nation.

Connected Nation works with consumers, local community leaders, states, technology providers, and foundations to develop and implement technology expansion programs with core competencies centered on a mission to improve digital inclusion for people and places previously underserved or overlooked. For more information, please visit: and follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.