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.”
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, Member Relations Managers will act as point of contact and facilitator for all Member types located in geographic regions.
“I feel as though this will provide Merit 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 and National Members.
The Upper Peninsula Member Relations Manager is Jim Lundberg. Lundberg will be responsible for Alger, Baraga, Chippewa, Delta, Dickinson, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw, Luce, Mackinac, Marquette, Menominee, Ontonagon and Schoolcraft Counties.
Before joining Merit, Lundberg was the Director of Technical Services at Bay de Noc Community College for more that 30 years and was one of the founding members of the Merit Advisory Council. He has his bachelor’s degree from Northern Michigan University and received his MBA from Lake Superior State University. Lundberg has extensive experience in expanding IT resources and establishing geographical community groups in the Upper Peninsula. He also teaches several IT introductory classes at Bay College and has taught numerous programming language classes, including Fortran, Basic, RPG II, and Cobol, among several others.
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 at 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.
For more information: www.merit.edu
The REACH Michigan Middle Mile Collaborative (REACH-3MC) will build 2,287 miles of open-access, advanced fiber-optic network through rural and underserved communities in Michigan’s Lower and Upper Peninsulas. The network will also provide backhaul to key connection points in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Led by Merit Network, Michigan’s research and education network, REACH-3MC includes sub-recipients from the private sector to make broadband readily available to households and businesses that lack adequate service options in the 52 counties that make up the project service area. REACH-3MC is funded by a two grants (Round I and Round II) from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), commonly referenced as the Stimulus Package.[meritmediacontact]