Board of Directors

William Wallace

William Wallace is a Co-founder of US Ignite and now serves as the Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors. He brings to US Ignite more than 30 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, most recently as co-founder of DigitalBridge Communications (DBC), a venture-backed startup dedicated to bringing 4G broadband wireless services to underserved portions of the U.S.

Prior to DBC, Mr. Wallace was co-founder and CEO of OnePoint Communications, which was purchased by Verizon Communications in 2000. OnePoint and its successor company, Verizon Avenue, provide bundled communications services to concentrated communities nationwide, including apartment communities, military bases, and rural areas.

Previously, he served as head of the Telecommunications practice and Chief Operating Officer for Gemini Consulting, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Cap Gemini Sogeti group. In that role, he led teams that developed strategies and improved operations for many of the world’s largest carriers.

Mr. Wallace received an AB degree in Government and Economics from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Lev Gonick

Lev Gonick is an educator, technologist, and smart city architect, and currently serves as Chief Information Officer at Arizona State University.

Prior to his current role, Lev was co-founder and CEO of DigitalC, the award-winning non-profit organization enabling and celebrating innovation, collaboration, and productivity through next generation broadband networks, big open data solutions, and IoT for public benefit.

Lev was also previously CIO at Case Western Reserve University from 2001-2013. He and his colleagues were internationally recognized for technology innovations in community engagement, learning spaces, next generation network projects, and organizational development. Lev’s innovations, including the Case Connection Zone catalyzed national projects, including US Ignite and Gig.U.

Joe Kochan

Joe Kochan is one of the Co-founders of US Ignite. He helped launch US Ignite in 2012 and served as CEO from January 2020 – May 2021.

Prior to US Ignite, Joe worked as part of the Department of Commerce’s BTOP grant program. Prior to that role, he was a founder and Vice President–Operations of DigitalBridge Communications (DBC), a Virginia-based startup backed by over $40M in venture funding dedicated to bringing broadband services to small, underserved markets nationwide using broadband wireless technology. Previously, he was with Verizon, with responsibility for strategic planning and strategic project management, specifically focusing on the military housing market and the implementation of the first Verizon FiOS networks at military bases across the country.

Joe received a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree from Princeton University and lives in Washington, DC.

John Leibovitz

John Leibovitz is a Venture Partner with Columbia Capital, an investment firm that builds companies in the mobility, Internet infrastructure, and enterprise IT sectors. Previously, he served as Deputy Chief of the Wireless Bureau and Special Advisor to the Chairman for Spectrum Policy at the Federal Communications Commission. Prior to the FCC, John helped launch the Technology, Innovation, and Government Reform working group for President Obama’s transition team. Before that, he was a wireless entrepreneur and strategy consultant. He started his business career with McKinsey & Company. John has written about technology and telecom policy in the Yale Law Journal and the Yale Journal of Law and Technology. He holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.Phil. from Cambridge University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

Mike Marcellin

Chief Marketing Officer, Juniper Networks, Inc.

Mike Marcellin is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, leading the global marketing team responsible for marketing Juniper’s product and services portfolio and stewarding the brand, driving preference for Juniper in the market, training its partners and sales teams, and developing a differentiated digital experience for its customers. Before joining the global marketing organization, Marcellin led business strategy and marketing for Juniper’s industry-leading portfolio of high-performance routing, switching and security products.

Prior to joining Juniper in 2010, Marcellin served as Vice President of Global Managed Solutions for Verizon, where he oversaw product development and marketing of its managed IP networking, hosting, security and IT solutions for businesses around the world. He also served as Vice President of Global Product Marketing for Verizon Business, executive director of Verizon Business’ IP and Ethernet portfolio as well as leading the company’s eCRM marketing division. Marcellin began his career with Price Waterhouse IT consulting.

Marcellin is a Board Vice-Chair for the Telecommunications Industry Association and a Board Member of US Ignite, an NSF-sponsored initiative. Marcellin holds two patents and was a Rodman Scholar at the University of Virginia, where he received a bachelor of science degree with distinction in systems engineering. He is based in Sunnyvale, California and you can follow him on Twitter

Nick Maynard, PhD

Nick Maynard serves as the Co-founder and  CEO of US Ignite, where he is responsible for leading the organization in its mission to accelerate the smart community movement and to strengthen public-private partnership programs to drive smarter community development and advance key network and sensor-based technologies. In his previous role as COO, Maynard was instrumental in building out US Ignite’s smart community program and in establishing the Smart Bases program.

Prior to US Ignite, Nick was a Program Director at the National Science Foundation, where he launched a national advanced wireless research. He was also the Assistant Director at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where he managed federal IT R&D portfolio, launching more than $1B in new programs, including a photonics foundry as well as the President’s ConnectHome program to bring broadband to underserved students. Previously, Nick was a member of the National Broadband Taskforce at the FCC, where he created a public-private partnership to offer technology training to small businesses in low-income communities. Nick also spent ten years in the telecom industry, consulting with leading global carriers and vendors on next-gen networks and services. Nick received his BA and MA from the University of Chicago and a Public Policy PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Celia Merzbacher

Celia Merzbacher is Deputy Director of the Quantum Economic Development Consortium (QED-C), where she is building a new consortium to enable and grow a robust quantum industry and supply chain in the United States. Cr. Merzbacher has extensive experience in industry consortia direction and management having previously held the position of Vice President for Innovative Partnerships at the Semiconductor Research Corporation, a consortium of the semiconductor industry. She has navigated the creation of programs that bring together industry, government and academia to meet the goals of all part of the innovation ecosystem.

In 2003-2008, Dr. Merzbacher was Assistant Director for Technology R&D in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where she oversaw the establishment and coordination of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. She also served as Executive Director of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). Dr. Merzbacher began her career as a materials scientist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington D.C., where her research led to six patents and numerous scientific and technical publications. She has served as Chair of the National Materials and Manufacturing Board of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, on the Board of Directors of ANSI, as well as on advisory boards of startups and university research centers.

Renata Rawlings-Goss

Dr. Renata Rawlings-Goss is a biophysicist and a nationally recognized leader in Data Science.

She is the Executive Director of The South Big Data Innovation Hub, an NSF-funded 16 state center connecting industry, academia, and government around data science innovation. She is the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Georgia Institute of Technology – Institute for Data Engineering and Science (IDEaS), and also the founder of Good with Data LLC, which runs The Data Career Academy for professionals and faculty looking to accelerate their careers with data.

Formerly, Dr. Rawlings-Goss worked with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy founding the National Data Science Organizers and co-leading the writing team for the Federal Big Data Strategic Plan. Through her roles, she has served as an executive strategist, career mentor, and policy advisor to Fortune 500 companies, individuals, as well as over 19 federal and state government agencies around data science education, Big Data, Digital Transformation, Public-Private Partnerships, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning, Data Career Success, Professional Development and Data Innovation.

Author of “Data Careers, Training, and Hiring” published in 2019 by SpringerPress, her work across fields has been recognized in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and as one of White House’s Top 100 Impacts in Science and Technology.

Dorothy Robyn

Dorothy Robyn is a public policy expert who writes and consults on transportation, energy and telecommunications policy.  She is a Non-Resident Senior Fellow with Boston University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy.

Dr. Robyn served in the Obama Administration as the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations & Environment in the Department of Defense, where she had DoD-wide oversight of U.S. military bases around the world (2009-2012), and as Commissioner of Public Buildings at the U.S. General Services Administration (2012-2014).

From 1993-2001, Dr. Robyn was a Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy on the staff of the White House National Economic Council, where she coordinated policy issues related to aviation, aerospace, defense, telecommunications, and science and technology.  Previously she was an assistant professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government; a principal with The Brattle Group, an economic consultancy; and a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution.  She is the author of Braking the Special Interests: Trucking Deregulation and the Politics of Policy Reform (University of Chicago Press) and Toward an Evolutionary Regime for Spectrum Governance: Licensed or Unrestricted Entry (Brookings Press) (with William J. Baumol).

She has an MPP and Ph.D in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley.

Glenn Ricart

Founder and CTO, US Ignite

Glenn Ricart brings forty years of innovation in computer networking and related fields to US Ignite. Glenn is an Internet pioneer who implemented the first Inter-net interconnection point (the FIX in College Park, Maryland) and was recognized for this achievement by being inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in August 2013. In one of his previous roles where he was academic CIO at the University of Maryland, his campus implemented the first institution-wide TCP/IP (Internet) network in 1983 using low-cost PDP-11 routers (“Fuzballs”) with software devised at the University of Maryland. Glenn was principal investigator of SURAnet, the first regional TCP/IP (Internet) network of academic and commercial institutions.

Dr. Ricart has also held other senior management positions including Executive Vice President and CTO for Novell in the 1990s, Managing Director of PricewaterhouseCoopers, and CEO and President of National LambdaRail. Dr. Ricart is also the founder or co-founder of five startups; the one previous to US Ignite, CenterBeam, was sold to Earthlink in 2013 after 14 years of independent operation.

Glenn’s formal education includes degrees from Case Institute of Technology and Case Western Reserve University, and his Ph.D. in Computer Science is from the University of Maryland, College Park. His inventions have resulted in more than a dozen patents. Dr. Ricart has served on the boards of three public companies, CACI, the SCO Organization, and First USA Financial Services, in addition to numerous non-profits.

Deb Socia

Deb Socia accepted a position as CEO of the Enterprise Center in Chattanooga in 2019. Prior to that, Deb started and ran the nonprofit organization Next Century Cities. The group began with a modest 32 members, but grew to more than 200 communities. The nonprofit has assisted local governments in their vision of better connectivity and local policies that encourage broadband investment. Before getting Next Century Cities off the ground, Deb was the Executive Director of the Tech Goes Home program whose mission is to ensure digital equity. Deb also spent 32 years as an educator and education administrator, a role that gave her many of the skills she has used to bring people together. Deb worked as the founding principal of the award winning Lilla G. Frederick Middle School, a Boston Public School where she led the one-to-one laptop initiative.

She has received a many awards for her work in education and in helping local communities get their populations connected, including recognition as the NATOA Community Broadband Hero in 2013, the 2013 Pathfinder Award from MassCUE (Mass Computer Using Educators), and the 2010 Leadership and Vision award from CRSTE (Capitol Region Society for Technology in Education), the Google Digital Inclusion Champion Award, Motherboard Human of the Year, and an NTENny Award.

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