State Government

Utility execs join new broadband board

Governor Phil Scott today 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.

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. He earned his electrical engineering technology degree from Vermont Technical College in Randolph.

Categories: State Government

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