Assisting the Merit Community

Member Relations is responsible for the relationship with all of our Members and ensuring the best Member Experience. We are responsible for actively engaging our Members to make sure that all of their needs are taken care of in order to best help them achieve their strategic mission.

Member Relations Mission:

The mission of Member Relations is to be a proactive and engaging manager of the overall Member relationship through outreach, and to identify and respond to our Members’ needs. Our responsibility is to be the liaison between current and potential Members and our internal Merit team, resulting in membership growth and stronger relationships within the community.

Member Relations Vision:

Member Relations will foster collaboration and maintain conscientious interaction with current and potential Members. We will be active in the communities that Merit serves. We are responsible for facilitating solution development and delivery, while leveraging the technical expertise of our organization, and advocating for Members within Merit.

Member Relations Regions

Member Relations Staff
Jason Russell
Jason Russell, Member Relations Director
734-527-5761
jrussell@merit.edu

Jason Russell is the Member Relations Director and oversees the Member Support and Member Relations staff.

Since joining Merit in 1997, Jason has held several positions in the Member Relations department, including: Outreach Coordinator/Member Relations Manager for Merit’s Non-Profit, Government, Health Care, and Commercial Members; Streaming Media production for Merit events and NANOG meetings; videoconferencing support; and document creation and maintenance.

In addition to daily management, staff development, and budgetary responsibilities within the Member Relations Department, Jason is the liaison to the Merit Advisory Council.

Jason has a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science, Honors Program from the University of Michigan-Flint, and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Michigan-Flint.

Jim Lundberg
Jim Lundberg, Upper Peninsula Member Relations Manager
906-474-1222
lundberj@merit.edu

 Upper Peninsula Region

Assisting Members in These Michigan Counties:

Alger
Baraga
Chippewa
Delta
Dickinson
Gogebic
Houghton
Iron
Keweenaw
Luce
Mackinac
Marquette
Menominee
Ontonagon
Schoolcraft

Jim Lundberg is the Upper Peninsula Member Relations Manager. Prior to joining Merit, he was the Director of Technical Services, in the ITS area at Bay de Noc Community College. With 30 plus years of IT experience at Bay, he is one of the founding members of the Merit Advisory Council. Jim started at Bay in 1980 with just 4 Radio Shack Model One personal computers and upon his retirement from Bay had grown the number of workstations to over 800 between two campuses and 30 plus Windows and Linux servers in the data center.

Jim first brought networking to Bay College’s campus in 1989 and grew it from an all copper backbone using 10base5 on the main campus only, to a full 1 Gb fiber backbone to all the buildings on both campuses. He first connected the main campus to the Merit network in 1995 with a 56 Kbps data circuit, which has now grown to the current 100 Mbps CSME circuit. With Merit receiving the REACH 3MC project awards Jim also began the planning in the fall of 2010 for the 1 Gbps connections that Merit will be bringing to the two Bay campuses.

Over the past three and half years Jim has worked to establish the geographical community group in the Escanaba area. Four years ago, he worked on planning and bringing up the new Iron Mountain West campus for Bay and has worked to begin the geographical community process in the Iron Mountain area. Over the years, Jim has also taught numerous programming language classes to include, Fortran, Basic, RPG II, Cobol, Perl scripting and numerous assembly languages for different processor families. Jim also teaches the Intro to Linux and Advance Linux classes for Bay College on a part-time basis in the evenings. Jim holds a B.S. degree from NMU and a MBA from LSSU.

Scott Watkins
Scott Watkins, Northwest Michigan Member Relations Manager
231-881-7476
scottwat@merit.edu

Northwest Michigan Region

Assisting Members in These Michigan Counties:

Antrim
Benzie
Charlevoix
Cheboygan
Clare
Emmet
Grand Traverse
Isabella
Kalkaska
Lake
Leelanau
Manistee
Mason
Mecosta
Missaukee
Newaygo
Oceana
Osceola
Ostego
Wexford

Scott Watkins is Merit’s Northwest Michigan Member Relations Manager. Scott joined the Member Relations team in February 2015. Prior to joining Merit, Scott was a Vice President and branch manager for JPMorgan Chase in Harbor Springs and Boyne City. Before starting at Chase, Scott worked as the Chief Operating Officer for Tec-Ed, Inc. in Ann Arbor, an IT consulting firm specializing in user interface design, testing and evaluation for web sites and application software.

Scott has an extensive track record of working in information technology. He has held consulting and leadership positions at various organizations throughout the Midwest. Scott has over 20 years of experience in sales, operations, finance, and software development, consistently delivering quality customer service. His experience includes large scale systems integration and implementation for major corporate and governmental organizations throughout the US. He is highly skilled in helping our current and prospective Members identify solutions that work for their organizations.

Scott holds an M.B.A. in marketing and finance from the University of Michigan. He earned a B.B.A. from the University of Miami. Scott served as Director of the Foundation Board of Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, and as a member of the Board of Trustees of The Circuit IT Association, part of the state funded Ohio IT Alliance.

A native of the Detroit area, Scott has lived in Northern Michigan for the past 10 years.

Scott works with Member organizations in the northwest Lower Peninsula. He is based out of Boyne City.

Rob McSwain
Rob McSwain, Northeast Michigan Member Relations Manager
989-419-6577
rmcswain@merit.edu

Northeast Michigan Region

Assisting Members in These Michigan Counties:

Alcona
Alpena
Arenac
Bay
Crawford
Gladwin
Iosco
Midland
Montmorency
Oscoda
Ogemaw
Presque Isle
Roscommon

Rob McSwain is the Northeast Michigan Member Relations Manager. He is originally from Tennessee, but has had family in Northeast Michigan for 25 years or more. Rob moved to Alpena in 2000 to raise his family and to enjoy all that this region has to offer. His wife Kristal and their 3 children enjoy camping, sporting events, and volunteering in the community. Rob is a graduate of Northwood University and for the last 10 years was the Assistant Vice President of Information Technology at a local community bank. In this role, he worked with all bank staff to implement, maintain and design their technology and data communication systems. In addition to leading the IT department, he also interfaced with both for-profit and non-profit customers, to implement, train and support electronic banking platforms.

Rob joined Merit in June of 2011 because he saw the positive affect that Merit has had on his community. Merit’s work with the Alpena Regional Fiber Consortium has jump-started educational opportunities in Alpena county and beyond. The opportunity to connect the Northeast Region to the rest of the world with a high speed Fiber Optic network has been, and continues to be a rewarding initiative. The northeast Michigan region has long been looked over for new technologies and economic development. “I look forward to collaborating with the communities in the Northeast Region to improve upon our quality of life and provide new opportunities for our children.”

Robin Reed
Robin Reed, Southwest Michigan Member Relations Manager
269-798-5211
rreed@merit.edu

Southwest Michigan Region

Assisting Members in These Michigan Counties:

Allegan
Barry
Berrien
Branch
Calhoun
Cass
Clinton
Eaton
Gratiot
Ingham
Ionia
Kalamazoo
Kent
Montcalm
Muskegon
Ottawa
St. Joseph
Van Buren

Robin Reed is the Southwest Michigan Member Relations Manager. The central Michigan region spans Merit Members from Ludington down to New Buffalo, east to Lansing and north to Midland. The Southwest Michigan area also includes the greater Grand Rapids area. Following Merit’s primary mission, Robin coordinates and facilitates all Merit Member and non-member outreach activities as well as external meeting engagements.

Robin’s educational and professional experience spans more than 15 years working with Michigan’s local government and technology experts. She worked on several local government programs with Merit and the State of Michigan to assist Michigan communities with getting online and building a web presence. Her previous experience also includes being the Michigan representative for General Code (Rochester, New York) and for 11 years was the Member Information Specialist for the Michigan Townships Association where she was also a Member of Merit Network.

Robin has been at Merit since March 2011. She studied Urban and Regional Planning at Michigan State University and was a photojournalist for the Michigan Army National Guard. Robin lives in Barry County and works from her home office.

Terry Carew
Terry Carew, Southeast Michigan Member Relations Manager
734-527-5758
tcarew@merit.edu

Southeast Michigan Region

Assisting Members in These Michigan Counties:

Genesee
Huron
Lapeer
Livingston
Macomb
Oakland
Saginaw
Sanilac
Shiawassee
St. Clair
Tuscola
Wayne

Terry Carew is the Southeast Michigan Member Relations Manager. A lifelong resident of Southeast Michigan, Terry has a diverse career background working with and for Non-Profits, Academia, Automotive OEM’s and Suppliers. Terry moves to this new regional position with more than three and a half years as Merit’s Higher Education Member Relations Manager working with Michigan’s Community College and Private Universities and Colleges. Over the past three years Terry has also been actively involved in working on the REACH 3MC project for Merit as a Community Coordinator presenting and facilitating Community Meetings around the state and sharing the great benefits this exciting project brings to Michigan and Merit Members.

“My goal in this Regional position is simple, to provide Southeast Michigan Merit Members with excellent service. It is important that we are always learning, understanding and sharing what Merit can offer to assist with their unique challenges, making the best use of both Merit Network’s expertise and our strong Portfolio of Network Services to enhance their Membership and provide solutions for their organizational needs.” Terry’s successful work forming relationships for Merit working throughout Michigan with our Members – each with their own unique identity – brings a breadth of expertise to the position of Southeast Michigan Member Relations Manager. Merit Membership in the Southeast Michigan region is diverse with Members from K-12, Libraries, Higher Ed, Health Care and Government organizations and each of them help make Merit a stronger organization. “At Merit we encourage the collaboration with and between our Members. The opportunity to work together and share in this knowledge and experience of our existing Merit Members in Southeast Michigan is an outstanding opportunity for me”.

A proud graduate of Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, Terry has more than 20 years experience in Information Technology, working in as a project manager and business analyst in Infrastructure and Resource Planning, Asset Management, Strategic Planning, Business Operations and Quality, as well as being Six Sigma Greenbelt Certified. Terry and her daughters reside in the Metro-Detroit area.

Heather Todorov
Heather Todorov, Southern Michigan and National Member Relations Manager
734-527-5741
htodorov@merit.edu

Southern Michigan  Member Region

Assisting Members in These Michigan Counties:

Hillsdale
Jackson
Lenawee
Monroe
Washtenaw

 

National Member Region

Assisting Merit’s National Members

Heather Todorov joined Merit in March 2014, with over fifteen years of experience in program and project management, as well as considerable experience in network services, member outreach, and contract/proposal writing, primarily gained through work in higher education networking and research-related endeavors.

Prior to Merit, Heather was Director of Administration and New Program Development at Enterprise for a Sustainable World (ESW)-a start-up consulting firm working directly with companies to develop the capabilities necessary for sustainable enterprise, particularly focused on reaching unserved or underserved populations in countries such as Brazil, China, and India.

From 2001-2013, Heather was Sr. Program Manager at Internet2. In this role, she served as project liaison to representatives of more than 250 universities and corporate partners, as well as U.S. government agencies and international peer networks. Heather also managed business operations across a range of programs that comprise Internet2 Network Services. She was responsible for all programmatic activities of the Network Services area, with particular emphasis on management of the Sponsored Education Group Participation (SEGP) program, which provides Internet2 network access to aggregations of educational organizations brought together in statewide networks, including Merit Network.

Before joining Internet2 in 2001, Heather was a project manager at an Internet development firm, Argus Associates, Inc., specializing in information architecture for the Web. She has also served as Assistant Director at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business Executive Education Center, Associate Director of The Jerome A. Chazen Institute of International Business and Center for International Business Education (CIBE) at Columbia Business School, and Research Coordinator for The William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

Heather lives in Plymouth, Michigan with her husband and two children. She is a native of Crystal Falls in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Heather holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan.

Jenny Kirshman
Jenny Kirshman, MISEN Program Manager
734-527-5754
jkirsh@merit.edu

Jenny came to Merit Network in April 2008 as a Member Relations Support to assist with project management. Since then, she has worked as National Accounts Manager, Member Relations Coordinator and now the MISEN Program Manager at Merit. Jenny earned her BAS from Eastern Michigan University in 2006 with a Major in Language, Literature and Writing and a Minor in History. Jenny is responsible for the engagement with MISEN and overseeing the implementation of the MISEN K-12 statewide education network on Merit’s network infrastructure.

Tracy Hamill
Tracy Hamill, Member Relations Project and E-Rate Coordinator
734-527-5770
tracyham@merit.edu

Tracy Hamill joined Merit in November 2015 as the Member Relations Project and E-Rate Coordinator. In this role, Tracy is responsible for coordinating the E-rate cycle for Merit, serving as an E-rate resource for Merit’s Members, and working on various projects related to Merit’s services and initiatives.

Tracy’s background is in systems development, systems support and project management. Before joining Merit, she was involved with a large scale systems consolidation and implementation for a large automotive corporation. Tracy earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Kettering University, where she majored in Industrial Administration with a concentration in Finance. She also holds a certification in project management. Tracy has lived in southeast Detroit for most of her life, she currently resides in Ann Arbor.

Ashley Jones
Ashley Jones, Member Relations Administrative Support
734-527-5739
amjon@merit.edu

Ashley Jones joined Merit in 2015 as the Member Relations Administrative Support Representative. She provides contract management and administrative tasks within the Member Relations department. Ashley is also available to Merit’s Members for assistance when Member Relations Managers might otherwise be on the road or unavailable to answer questions.

Ashley has strong background in hospitality and customer service. Prior to Merit, Ashley was an event planner for Event Garde LLC in Grand Rapids where she performed several support, coordination, and administrative roles for their local and national events. Ashley earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Grand Valley State University, where she majored in Hospitality and Tourism Management.