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Merit’s President & CEO Donald Welch Named Grant Thornton Leader & Innovator of the Year

Merit Network Inc. is proud to announce that Merit’s President and CEO, Donald Welch, was named the Grant Thornton Leader & Innovator of the Year at an awards reception held Thursday, April 22, 2010 at Lawrence Technological University.
Merit Network CEO and President Don Welch
The awards ceremony was co-sponsored by Grant Thornton LLP and WWJ Newsradio 950 to honor the 46 leaders in Michigan that have been profiled in the radio station’s daily e-newsletter, the Great Lakes Innovation and Technology Report, over the past 12 months. Don Welch was selected from these 46 honorees to become the Leader and Innovator of the Year.

The award presentation highlighted many of the achievements that Merit has had under Don’s leadership, including receiving a $33.3 million federal stimulus grant to build 955 miles of fiber-optic network infrastructure throughout Michigan, increasing Merit’s staff by over 60%, and turning a 10% annual decline in revenue into a 20% annual gain, while reducing prices by 25%.

Don graciously accepted the award on behalf of Merit’s employees, who he credited with being the driving force behind the organization’s recent success. During his acceptance remarks, Don said his job as CEO is to “get the right leaders in place, identify them, empower them, give them a vision, then they do the work and everything else falls into place.”

Welch’s leadership and foresight will remain integral as Merit Network continues its lineage of over 40 years of innovation in Michigan’s education and research community. In the spirit of its core values of innovation, community, people and integrity, Merit is well positioned to enhance and support the technology needs of Michigan-based organizations that contribute to the common good. Merit is confident that Donald Welch’s tenure will ensure a bright future for networking and education in Michigan.

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.

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