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Merit President and CEO Honored as Michigan Top Executive

Troy, Mich. – Merit Network, Inc. President and CEO, Don Welch has been recognized by Corp! Magazine as one of Michigan’s Top Chief Executives. Corp! recognized the top executives in our state who are finding success and continuing to move Michigan and their companies toward a brighter future.
Don Welch with Corp! Magazine award
Welch accepted the honor at an awards breakfast on Wednesday, December 7, 2010 at Michigan State University’s Management Education Center in Troy. He was among six other CEOs who were chosen to receive the distinction.

“I am honored to receive this award as a symbol of Merit Network’s success in our effort to provide equal broadband access throughout Michigan,” Welch said.

Welch went on to describe the CEO’s role as necessary but not sufficient:

“The CEO must set the correct environment, select and develop the right people, make sure the best ideas (not necessarily his) are identified and support his teams,” he said. “The people and teams ultimately deliver success.”

Under Welch’s leadership, Merit has had a red-letter year. His ability to develop and lead great teams has made the difference.

In 2010, Merit Network applied for and was awarded funding for two broadband infrastructure projects as part of the Stimulus Package. Combined, the two projects (known as REACH-3MC) will bring over $100 million in federal funding to Michigan, catalyze $30 million in private sector investment, and create roughly 2,200 miles of fiber-optic infrastructure that will serve all sectors of society.

Welch’s team successfully navigated a very difficult and competitive evaluation process to receive funding for the REACH-3MC project. And the end result of their efforts will create vital infrastructure that is essential for both education and economic development in Michigan and its rural communities.

Welch’s leadership has helped guide Merit to implement new technology and create new ways to serve its members. He has ensured that Merit remains a trusted leader of research and education networking in the United States.

Welch has also helped Merit grow as an organization. At one point this summer, they were adding an average of two new employees per month.