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Merit Network Announces Northeast Michigan Member Relations Manager

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Merit Network, Inc. announces today the transition to a new regional Member Relations model. The new model increases staff and expands Merit’s presence throughout Michigan, placing Member Relations Managers in six different geographic regions across the state. “I am excited to announce the new regional Member Relations structure,” says Elwood Downing, vice president of Member Relations, Communications and Services. “The geographic focus will bring Merit’s engagement and outreach closer to Merit Members and their communities everywhere in Michigan.”
Rob McSwain
Whereas Member Relations Managers previously focused their attention on Merit’s Membership by segment (K12, Library, Public University, Private College, Community College, Health Care, Non-profit, Government and Research), under the new model, Regional Member Relations Managers will act as point of contact and facilitator for all Member types located in geographic regions.

“I believe will provide us with a very strong opportunity to grow our community. By having staff based within every region of Michigan, they will be more closely involved with the community and the relationships, partnerships, and concerns of organizations in a geographic area. By having staff closer to their organization’s location, we can build a stronger relationship with them. Also, by having staff responsible for a region rather than a market segment, Member Relations Managers can build synergies between various types of organizations in a community more effectively,” stated Jason Russell, Director of Member Relations for Merit.

The new Member Relations Regions are: Upper Peninsula, Northwest Lower Peninsula, Northeast Lower Peninsula, Central Lower Peninsula, Southern Lower Peninsula, Southeast Lower Peninsula, and Governing Members (Public Universities) and National Members.

The Northeast Michigan Member Relations Manager is Rob McSwain. Rob will be responsible for Alcona, Alpena, Arenac, Bay, Clare, Crawford, Gladwin, Iosco, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Presque Isle and Roscommon Counties.

McSwain has lived and had family in Northeast Michigan for more than 25 years. He is a graduate of Northwood University and was the Assistant Vice President of Information Technology at a local community bank for ten years. McSwain has extensive experience in working with staff to implement, maintain and design communication systems. In addition to leading an IT department, he has 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 the company 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 with a high speed Fiber Optic network has been, and continues to be a rewarding initiative.

“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.”

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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