Meet Conexon’s Executive Leadership Team
Conexon Founding Partner Randy Klindt is a pioneer of the electric cooperative broadband movement, having conceived, built and operated the nation’s first successful electric cooperative fiber network as well as the nation’s largest electric cooperative fiber network.
With over 20 years of hands-on operational experience as a cooperative employee, Randy is widely credited for architecting the most cost-efficient fiber-to-the-home design in use by electric co-ops today. His unwavering vision that fiber broadband is possible for all rural Americans is changing the rural landscape. Randy built his vision, which has become the defining standard of rural electric co-op fiber networks.
Randy’s first fiber project with Missouri’s Co-Mo Electric Cooperative was the nation’s first privately funded rural fiber-to-the-home project. In 2014, Co-Mo Connect offered rural America its first residential gigabit residential service. In 2016, Gigabit service was available to 100% of Co-Mo’s members, and the business turned profitable. Randy followed up that success as General Manager of a larger, bolder network, OzarksGo in Arkansas, even as he grew Conexon’s business.
In 2015, while General Manager of Co-Mo Connect, Randy formed Conexon to support rural electric cooperatives with fiber-to-the-home project decisions and implementations. In just over five years, Conexon has worked with over 200 electric cooperatives, designed over 100,000 miles of fiber networks, managed tens of thousands of miles of fiber construction, and helped provide service to hundreds of thousands of rural homes and businesses. In 2020, Conexon established another of Randy’s visions, Conexon Connect, which was awarded federal funding to build networks in partnership with co-ops across the country.
For over 30 years, Jonathan Chambers has been deeply involved in the development of government telecommunications policy and the deployment of the internet access networks. Early in his career, Jonathan worked in the U.S. Senate as the Republican staff director of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. During that time, the Committee overhauled most of the federal laws that today still govern the telecommunications industry, including the wireless, cable, telephone and internet access industries.
Following his first stint in the federal government, Jonathan worked in the U.S. and Europe with cable television and wireless providers as the first broadband and digital mobile networks were planned, designed, and constructed.
In 2012, Jonathan returned to the federal government as the Chief of the Office of Strategic Planning for the FCC. He was the principal advocate for the reforms that altered $12 billion in annual FCC spending from support of voice services to support of broadband services, and from subsidies for incumbents to competitive bidding.
Since early 2016, Jonathan has worked exclusively with electric cooperatives to plan, fund, design, construct and operate fiber optic networks to bring much-needed broadband services to rural America. Under Jonathan’s leadership, rural electric cooperatives have collectively secured more federal broadband funding than any other group in the country.
Jonathan holds a BA in economics from Yale College, an MA in international affairs from Columbia University and a JD from Georgetown University Law Center. He is a member of the bar of the District of Columbia.
VP, Marketing and Communications
As a sales executive for a major telecommunications provider, Abby Carere was among the first in the industry to recognize the broadband potential and role of the nation’s electric cooperatives for rural America. Over the seven years in which she has worked with co-ops, she has guided dozens to successfully deploy broadband internet, voice and TV services in their markets.
Abby began her career in direct business-to-business telecom sales in one of the nation’s most competitive telecommunications markets before stepping into leadership and overseeing a direct sales team she led to top performance.
Under Abby’s sales leadership, Conexon has experienced significant client growth. In her role as head of marketing, she leveraged her years of expertise to conceive and build an end-to-end marketing resource specifically designed for electric cooperatives. Abby’s goal of providing all resources co-ops need for broadband marketing success has resulted in a suite of services ranging from branding and web development to best-practice oriented communications, break-through creative and expert advice.
Abby led the creation and construction of the Conexon Marketing Hub, a proprietary software platform that provides cooperatives with all the resources needed to effectively market FTTH service. Under Abby’s leadership, Conexon’s marketing reach is over half a million co-op members.
Andy Burger offers unmatched operational experience and expertise in the rural broadband market. Andy’s fiber-to-the-home experience began at Co-Mo Connect, where he was the first outside hire. Andy’s initial role was as the Network Administrator and Network Operations Manager over the network design, architecture, and operations of the Internet, Voice and IPTV networks.
In December 2015, Andy took over as the General Manager of Co-Mo Connect, responsible for all aspects of deployment and operations including outside plant, marketing, customer service, as well as a continuing critical role with the network architecture and performance.
Andy’s contribution to Co-Mo enabled the cooperative to be the first electric cooperative in the country to make gigabit fiber-to-the-home service available to every one of its members and to do so without government subsidies or grants. His experience extends from project launch through deployment and post-install customer experience.
Andy stood up Conexon’s Network Operations Center and call center, which was established to serve Conexon’s electric co-op clients. He works with co-ops on their SCADA and smart grid systems. He is also responsible for setting up Conexon’s new internet access line of business, Conexon Connect.
Prior to entering the electric cooperative fiber broadband industry, Andy served in technology roles within the banking and government sectors
VP, Information Systems
Mike Byrne brings a wealth of geospatial analysis expertise to Conexon electric co-op clients and a passion for advancing public policy through the use of transparent information. Mike has more than 25 years of geospatial design, analysis and implementation experience in the private and public sectors.
He served as the first Geographic Information Officer for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), where he led the creation of the first-ever National Broadband Map, an interactive and searchable online map showing broadband availability nationwide, in many cases in block-by-block detail.
This game-changing tool produced a never-before-available clear and accurate picture of the national broadband footprint. The map served as an invaluable resource for the FCC in accurately determining where broadband was or was not available. Mike’s work helped form the foundation of the Connect America Fund (CAF) and enhanced the collective understanding of where investments were needed to fulfill a connected America vision. He was awarded a Service to America Medal, the highest award given to government employees, for his work.
Mike developed and coded Conexon’s proprietary design software, which converts electric network GIS data into a distributed tap fiber architecture. This software tool allows Conexon to design rural fiber networks with unparalleled speed and accuracy. Mike leads the software development team, which focuses on improving network construction and operations through tools specific to the electric coop market.
Mike is a former member of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee and member of the board of directors of the National States GIS Council.
VP, OSP Construction
Jeff brings nearly 40 years of hands-on construction experience and management of cable and fiber to the home deployments. His construction experience includes work as a lineman, splicer, supervisor and business owner.
Throughout his career, Jeff has managed large-scale cable and fiber construction projects across the country with multiple employees, contractors, and crews for Comcast, Charter, Time Warner and, since 2016, for Conexon.
Currently, Jeff manages the team at Conexon responsible for fiber design and construction at over 30 electric co-op projects in more than a dozen states. Each project is set at a pace of 1,000 miles of construction a year. Week in and week out, Jeff’s team produces more miles of fiber design and manages more miles of fiber construction than any company in the country.
VP, Telecommunication Services
Terie Hannay offers more than 20 years of operational experience and expertise in deploying communications technologies including residential, commercial VoIP, and broadband services, as well as regulatory, billing, taxing, business procedures, business processes and provisioning integration.
Terie began her career in telecommunications operations at one of the nation’s early competitive local exchange carriers (CLEC), serving more than one million customers before moving into a customer care leadership role with a top tier cable provider.
Terie puts her years of experience to work in leading Conexon’s telecommunications service and support strategy. She possesses an exceptional reputation among co-ops for her ability to successfully help them incorporate telecommunications services in their offerings.
She also serves as a regulatory, billing and business process support resource to the company’s electric co-op clients.
VP, Business Development
Steve Collier (aka SmartGridMan) is an experienced energy industry expert and thought leader who writes, speaks and consults on emerging trends, new technologies and innovative business models for a better energy future. He has worked as a professional, executive, consultant, and board member for energy, telecommunications, and technology companies in the US and abroad. Steve has BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Houston and Purdue University respectively. He is an IEEE Smart Grid Expert and past Chair of the IEEE IAS Rural Electric Power Committee.