CVFiber has hired Jennille Smith as its first-ever executive director and first full-time employee. Smith has deep experience in building communications infrastructure in rural areas, which is a great fit for the construction of the 1,200-mile, $50-million CVFiber Community Network set to begin later this year.
The CVFiber Governing Board was unanimous in choosing Smith from what CVFiber chair Jerry Diamantides called an “impressive list” of candidates. Smith will begin work at CVFiber on April 11. “We are fortunate to have her on board,” Diamantides added.
Smith is a practicing Vermont lawyer who has spent much of her career, she said, “building infrastructure in rural and urban areas, primarily telecommunications.” She has first-hand experience with living in rural Vermont, having grown up, she said, “off-grid in a two-room house that my family built in Starksboro.”
Smith attended law school in California and spent 13 years working on infrastructure there before moving back to Vermont to be closer to her family. Since 2018, Smith has worked on FirstNet, the federal initiative to build cell towers in underserved communities. FirstNet was a response to the September 11 terror attacks, which showed the need for universal emergency communication.
“Tragedy has a way of revealing things to us,” she said. “As the 9/11 attacks showed the need for robust communications infrastructure, the COVID pandemic revealed that connecting with the world is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.”
“Jennille is a great asset with her experience in rural infrastructure development,” said Linda Gravell, CVFiber delegate from Waterbury. “She is a skilled communicator with the experience needed to lead CVFiber during the construction and upcoming operations of our network.”
Smith will be coming aboard just as CVFiber moves from an all-volunteer planning operation to a real-world builder and operator of a high-speed broadband network. “In my first few months, I’ll be getting to know all the communities served by CVFiber,” Smith said. At the same time, in preparation for actual construction, she will be focused on “communicating with our vendors and construction teams, identifying challenges and priorities, making sure materials arrive and plans are implemented.”
Board Chair Diamantides concluded, “We found the right person at the right time.”
Press contact: Chuck Burt, chair of the CVFiber Communications Committee, [email protected]
Attached: Photo courtesy of Jennille Smith
CVFiber is a nonprofit municipality formed in March 2018. It is one of nine communications union districts (CUDs) in Vermont, tasked with building community-governed nonprofit broadband networks that will ultimately reach every address in Vermont. CVFiber membership includes 21 communities that voted to create and join the organization. Each community appoints a delegate and alternates to the Governing Board. These representatives and other volunteers serve on five committees—Executive, Policy, Planning and Development, Communications, and Finance— which meet regularly to advance the goal of bringing universal, affordable broadband to our towns. More information can be found at https://cvfiber.net