7/17/2017 11:49:12 AM
Shane Delaney, 651-259-7236
ST. PAUL – The National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) today announced that Danna MacKenzie, executive director of the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development, is the recipient of the 2017 Community Broadband Hero of the Year Award.
NATOA honors outstanding individuals and projects that work to improve government and public options in broadband technology. The organization’s awards recognize and highlight some of the many extraordinary local efforts to bring the benefits of broadband to communities.
“Commuting eight hours each week from her home in northern Minnesota, Danna MacKenzie brings relentless energy and commitment to expanding rural broadband access,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “Since she launched Minnesota's rural broadband initiative four years ago, Danna's expertise and deep knowledge of rural communities has helped us expand high-speed internet access to 25,949 households, 3,176 businesses and 244 community institutions. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award. Congratulations, Danna!”
“I am very pleased that the work Danna is leading is receiving such great praise,” said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. “Quality, affordable access to broadband is a necessity in today’s education and business environments. I know that Danna and her team are committed to bringing that access to all Minnesotans.”
“This award is really for all of the people in Minnesota working on and supporting this issue,” MacKenzie said. “This shows that here in Minnesota we have a constellation of leaders, advocates, policymakers and doers all acting on a shared vision of bringing quality, affordable broadband access to all.”
The Office of Broadband Development, located within the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), was created in 2013 under Gov. Mark Dayton with the goal of developing high-speed internet access throughout the state by 2022 through the Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program. Since 2014, the state has invested a total of $66 million in this effort. During the 2017 legislative session, another $20 million was appropriated for the grant program.
NATOA is a national association representing the needs and interests of local governments and consortiums in promoting community interests in communications. Membership is predominately composed of local government agencies, staff and elected officials.
DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and its services, visit the DEED website or follow DEED on Twitter.
Upon request, this information can be made available in alternate formats for people with disabilities by contacting the DEED Communications Office at 651-259-7161.