Attendees Steve Peters, Oris Friesen, Henry Goldberg, Mark Goldstein, Janet Major, Mala Muralidharan, Nan Williams, Karen Ziegler
GAZEL Re-Organization as 501(c)(3) Steve Peters began the teleconference by explaining that GAZEL has re-organized itself as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (using the previous ATII shell structure), and isnow called Greater Arizona Educational Leadership, for which he is the GAZEL coordinator as a paid staff member rather than a Board member. This new GAZEL organization has been approved by the IRS and Arizona Corporation Commission. This was done with the understanding that relevant ATIC broadband and education-related projects involving grants can be managed and paid for under the GAZEL 501(c)(3) structure.
GAZEL’s management of the Arizona Broadband Stakeholder Network (AZBSN) activities will be performed by Steve but he requires funding to do this. Mala Muralidharan, Oris Friesen, and Mark Goldstein are members of the new GAZEL Board of Directors.
AZBSN and ATIC Relationship with Jeff Sobotka (ACA State Broadband Director) Steve will be meeting with Jeff Sobotka, the State Broadband Director at the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), on July 17th. Steve wants to convey that the AZBSN is interested in being supportive of Jeff’s goals as state broadband director. After participating in the May 28th AZBSN Roundtable, Jeff commented he would like to collaborate with future AZBSN activities.
Steve’s discussion with Jeff will be exploratory on how AZBSN could collaborate with the state government’s broadband directions. Steve will report on this meeting and any collaborative directions would have to be approved by the AZBSN leadership team and the ATIC and GAZEL Boards.
Recap of AZBSN May 28, 2019 Roundtable Steve provided a recap of the AZBSN May 28th Roundtable. The room for the roundtable at Rio Salado College was sponsored by Gateway Community College (through Steve’s contact with them for the GAZEL-ATIC-AzTEA Virtual Laboratories Consortium) so AZBSN did not have to pay for the room, just the reception catering service (paid for by ATIC). Ninety-seven (97) people from business, government, education and non-profit organizations registered to attend the roundtable (70 in person, 27 online). Unfortunately, The Rio Salado videoconferencing system was non-functional for the event, so Steve had to do a last-minute workaround that caused some technical difficulties.
Steve developed a sponsorship package for the event, which only raised $2,500. Steve commented that annual sponsorships would likely be a more effective funding mechanism than event-specific sponsorships in the future.
ATIC and GAZEL need to work on improved contact information with potential registrants for future AZBSN activities. For example, contact has been lost with the League of Cities & Towns. Mark Goldstein has an ATIC mailing list that was used for advertising the May 28th roundtable, and 80% of those people are also on the GAZEL mailing list. Steve stated that it would be more effective in the future to have a joint ATIC-GAZEL CRM for detailed contact information, where we could send e-mails to people affiliated with both organizations or to the individual organizations as appropriate. GAZEL has a member company that donated a CRM platform but it may be better to use the Mailchimp platform. A GAZEL member has offered to make his team available to build the CRM with segmentation for different purposes.
Recommendations for Future AZBSN Roundtables/Activities
Monthly Webinars (maybe networking, webinars and Ignite presentations)
ATIC Web Site development and posting AZ Broadband information
GAZEL/ATIC Integrated CRM and Web Platform
Additional Information Nan Williams stated that future AZBSN roundtables should have fewer presentations to leave more time for interactive discussion with the attendees. Steve agreed that it was very clear there was not enough time for interaction at the May 28th roundtable.
Mala Muralidharan suggested presenters at future roundtables provide handouts of their presentations to make it easier for the attendees to follow the information.
Henry Goldberg proposed that future roundtables have one major presenter and then have substantial discussion from the attendees on that topic. For example, Henry suggested sample presenters could be: 1) Jeff Sobotka presenting on state government broadband directions (e.g. from the updated state broadband strategic plan document), and attendees could discuss the impact and next steps; 2) Milan Eaton, Mala Muralidharan and others presenting on E-rate broadband infrastructure being built for rural school and libraries, and attendees could discuss implications and the potential for evolving that infrastructure for their overall community needs; and 3) Karen Ziegler and AT&T presenting on FirstNet wireless broadband infrastructure being built for first responders, and attendees could discuss the potential for using this infrastructure to support other wireless broadband needs of their communities.
Mark Goldstein suggested that AZBSN could host monthly webinars (i.e. more frequent virtual meetings) in addition to less frequent physical roundtable meetings. Mala noted such a virtual/physical model for meetings works well for the Schools, Health, and Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB). Janet Major added webinars could be conducted for specific constituencies such as K-12 schools or telehealth. Janet also offered that the Arizona Telemedicine Program could assist AZBSN with hosting the webinars. Steve commented that people like to have the opportunity for networking at physical roundtables, so a good approach may be monthly webinars and quarterly roundtables.
Mark also suggested AZBSN could issue a monthly newsletter to provide broadband information and list upcoming events. Steve added AZBSN could also share information online about upcoming events of interest.
Developing a Proposed ASBSN Plan for Sponsorship Funding Steve stated that AZBSN should aim towards developing a conceptual planning document for the functions it could perform in the coming year. This could build on the sponsorship document that has already been constructed for the AZBSN roundtables. This document could then be circulated to potential sponsors for funding the activities of AZBSN on an annual basis. Steve noted that Microsoft expressed an interest in talking about sponsorship after the execution of the May 28th roundtable. Janet Major added that with such annual sponsorships GAZEL may be able to pay Steve an annual salary rather than relying on undependable specific event sponsorships to pay for his work.
Mark Goldstein explained that in the past, ATIC produced four broadband workshops in different rural regions of the state, which was funded by the Arizona Strategic Enterprise Technology (ASET) state government office. There was a fixed scope for the objective of these workshops, and ASET paid ATIC $35,000 to run these workshops. This could be a model for future ATIC/AZBSN work. Mark added that Jeff Sobotka is interested in accelerating the USDA grant applications in rural Arizona, so such workshops could be a way of doing that by getting information out on opportunities and resources to assist in filing applications.
Steve also stated that while AZBSN should prepare such a planning document, we don’t want to delay the AZBSN momentum while waiting for this plan to be developed.
Upcoming Arizona State Broadband Strategic Plan Relationship with AZBSN
Jeff Sobotka has noted that he has constructed an updated Arizona Statewide Broadband Strategic Plan document but this is not yet available for public distribution because of internal issues. Karen Ziegler commented that this plan has the same pillars as the original February 2018 ADOA Arizona Statewide Broadband Strategic Plan, but has new details on such areas as grant programs and specific deliverables for the Governor’s office. The ADOA plan is still published on the ADOA website, the ACA website, and the ATIC website.
Mala remarked that the State Library is committing resources according to the February 2018 Strategic Plan, and she would like to see what is in the updated Strategic Plan. Steve commented that for USDA grant funding, there must be a public state broadband strategic plan in place. Karen said she would speak with Jeff about the importance of releasing the updated Strategic Plan to others, and will inform the AZBSN leadership team of the results of this discussion at their next meeting. Steve remarked if the updated Strategic Plan is not ready to be made public, AZBSN could possibly have an activity to discuss the ADOA strategic plan.
Mala added that Jeff Sobotka has had discussions with Milan Eaton and herself about how to improve the E-rate application process. There are many stages involved in completing and approving E-rate applications, such as those associated with filling out applications, answering questions asked by USAC, and billing. Jeff would like to develop a process where it is ensured that every stage is addressed properly by those responsible (e.g. consultants, IT staff, librarians) so that the whole process functions better.
Next AZBSN Leadership Team Meeting Steve said that the leadership team should think about what we would like the outcome of the AZBSN activities to be beyond just facilitating collaboration among stakeholders.
After he meets with Jeff Sobotka, Steve will arrange the next AZBSN leadership team meeting, which should be in the next couple of weeks.
Henry Goldberg and Oris Friesen will write up a summary report of today’s leadership team meeting. This report will be used in the development of a long-term AZBSN plan document for sponsorship funding.