White House to Honor NTIA Recovery Act Broadband Grantees as Innovators in Infrastructure

NTIA's Recovery Act broadband infrastructure projects  are connecting communities across the country to high-speed Internet, creating jobs, and supporting economic growth.

Tomorrow, the White House will recognize two individuals who helped develop and are now implementing broadband infrastructure projects that are key to revitalizing their communities. Joe Freddoso, President and CEO of MCNC, and Donald Welch, President and CEO of Merit Network Inc, will be among 11 local leaders honored at the White House as “Champions of Change” who are using innovative techniques to develop valuable projects helping to improve America’s infrastructure.

Merit Network and MCNC both received Recovery Act grants from NTIA for broadband infrastructure projects that are currently underway and connecting community anchor institutions, including schools, libraries, and hospitals, to high-speed Internet.  Under the leadership of Welch and Freddoso, Merit and MCNC have put hundreds of people to work and are laying the groundwork for sustainable economic growth and improved education, healthcare, and public safety. These projects emanated from the communities where they are being carried out; each project is designed to best meet the needs of local people and institutions and to get the biggest bang for every grant dollar. Merit’s project is serving Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsula, and MCNC is serving communities across North Carolina.

At the event, the Champions will be honored for their work in the community and share their stories with the audience online and in the room. The event will include formal remarks by Administration officials, followed by a panel discussion with the Champions. This event will be viewable live at www.whitehouse.gov/live, and will be posted on YouTube.

To watch this event live, visit www.whitehouse.gov/live at 1:30 pm ET on February 15th.

The White House created the Champions of Change program  as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, the program highlights a different sector and recognizes groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.