Jennifer Harris, State Program Director

Jennifer Harris serves as the State Program Director for Connected Nation Texas. She also serves on the Governor's Broadband Development Council. Jennifer is responsible for primary management and administrative project oversight and leadership for CN Texas’ state strategy for development and implementation of broadband strategies throughout the state of Texas. This includes working to close the Digital Divide in rural parts of the Lone Star State. Jennifer also creates and maintains partnerships by engaging with communities, local municipalities, and state and federal government.

Holding degrees from both The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University, Jennifer considers herself truly bi-partisan. Having worked in state government since 2005, Jennifer has held a wide range of jobs in the public sector. Her professional experience includes legislative, public policy, communications, and government affairs work with the Texas Legislature, and policy and communications work for the Florida Department of Education, along with a variety of roles on local and statewide political campaigns.

Chris Pedersen, Vice President, Development and Planning

Chris Pedersen acts as the primary relationship manager for placement and development of new broadband programming both nationally and internationally. Chris identifies the broadband needs of various state agencies, libraries, educational systems, etc., and responds with comprehensive solutions. He also speaks Danish and Spanish.

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 Connected Nation’s Connected Community Engagement Program. He also develops and maintains partner relationships and provides primary management, oversight, and support for Connected Nation Michigan’s state broadband strategies and leverages that experience to lend guidance to Connected Nation's other state programs.

Tom Stephenson, Community Technology Advisor

Tom Stephenson serves as Community Technology Advisor. 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 Connected Nation's state programs through the media and local organizations. Tom holds a bachelor of science and a master of science in administration from Central Michigan University.

Wes Kerr, Director, Community Solutions

Wes Kerr 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.

Heather Gate, Director, Digital Inclusion

Heather Gate serves as Director 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.

Charles (Chip) Spann, Director, Engineering & Technical Service

Chip leads the ETS team in discussions with broadband service providers on data collection and improvements, developing propagation models for wireless coverage, and providing engineering solutions for providers, communities, and states. He also oversees extensive field validation and mobile drive testing.

Career Opportunities

Connected Nation, Connected Texas' parent organization, has been recognized as a Top 10 Best Places to Work Winner for its commitment to providing a positive and productive work environment where employees can excel. Connected Texas offers a unique benefits package including: vacation/sick days; holiday pay; health, dental, and vision insurance; professional development opportunities; and reimbursement for broadband services and fitness memberships. Our office environment is professional and high-tech and our team members are career- and team-focused.