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2012 Merit Awards Recipients Honored at Merit Member Conference

ANN ARBOR – Merit Network is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2012 Merit Awards, which recognize individuals and organizations that have provided leadership in technology and assisted the Merit Community. Award recipients were honored Thursday at the conclusion of the 2012 Merit Member Conference.
Merit Awards
“In our role of promoting the advancement of networking in Michigan, Merit seeks to identify and support organizations and individuals that help enhance networking, technology and collaboration,” said Don Welch, president and CEO of Merit Network. “Our awards program brings recognition to organizations and individuals that are particularly accomplished in this way, both to honor their achievements and to serve as an example and inspiration for others.”

The following recipients were selected for their outstanding contributions to the Merit Community:

Merit Network’s Award for Innovation in Networking and Information Technology

Randy Schapel, Mott Community College

Randy is an innovator in Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), believing in its importance and viability long before most. Having led the successful VDI implementation at Mott, he gladly shares his experience to help other colleges achieve success in their own VDI projects. He has given numerous presentations on the topic—including two at Merit Member Conferences—and hosted other colleges on Mott’s campus to share best practices. Randy’s work on VDI has been published in the Community College Week Fall Technology Supplement.

Merit Network’s Award for Community Building

Chuck Madden, Lapeer ISD

Chuck has done a tremendous job of fostering a community-wide effort within Lapeer County that involves not only the schools but also government entities and the Economic Development Authority. He has worked to extend the Lapeer ISD fiber network to all of these entities and has also played a significant role in expanding the fiber networks of neighboring areas. Chuck has also paved the way for the Lapeer community to work closely with the State of Michigan on network infrastructure.

Meritorious Service Award

Chris Christenson, Charlevoix County Commission

Chris Christenson jas provided steadfast support of the goals and aims of Merit Network over the past 10 years. As a member of the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance, Chris worked to build broadband efforts in Northern Michigan. When Chris saw commercial ISPs reluctance to expand broadband in Northern Michigan, he helped Merit establish a beach-head in the region and challenged the private and public sectors to move off of the dead end. Chris has a vision and an uncanny understanding of what broadband can do for rural and Northern Michigan.

Suzanne Dees, SuperiorLand Library Cooperative

Suzanne has worked tirelessly over the years to get the members of SuperiorLand Library Cooperative quality network connections. Part of this effort has included assisting Merit recently on the REACH-3MC project which stands to significantly improve connectivity for the Cooperative. Suzanne and her staff at SuperiorLand have also worked to develop services to support rural libraries in the Upper Peninsula. She has been an active proponent of video conferencing, remote training opportunities and introducing Internet2 to co-op members. Suzanne has remained a strong supporter of Merit over the years, working closely with Merit to ensure the lasting success of SuperiorLand Library Cooperative.

Liz Fagel, Northeast Michigan Consortium

Liz Fagel has been a longstanding supporter of Merit Network in the Northeast Michigan region. As WAN Administrator for Northeast Michigan Consortium (NEMC), she successfully connected all of her Michigan Works! branches to Merit for connectivity between offices. With the completion of Merit’s REACH-3MC project, the majority of NEMC branches will be connected to the Merit network via fiber. In recent years, she has championed a successful transition to MeritVoice and remains a strong supporter of Merit hosted services. She has been a Member of the Alpena Regional Fiber Consortium (now the Northeast Michigan Fiber Consortium) since its creation, helping to guide the group and provide support for the Merit Community.

Merit is extremely grateful for the efforts of these individuals to advance technology, enhance collaboration and add value to the Merit Community.

About Merit Network

Merit Network Inc., is a nonprofit corporation owned and governed by Michigan’s public universities. Merit owns and operates America’s longest-running regional research and education network. In 1966, Michigan’s public universities created Merit as a shared resource to help meet their common need for networking assistance. Since its formation, Merit Network has remained on the forefront of research and education networking expertise and services. Merit provides high-performance networking and IT solutions to Michigan’s public universities, colleges, K-12 organizations, libraries, state government, healthcare, and other non-profit organizations.

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