Greg O'Brien



Greg O’Brien has been a journalist for nearly 30 years, the last 20 of which have been spent exclusively covering the Canadian cable, radio, television and telecom sectors. is the industry’s news leader – the place where thousands of professionals working in these once separate, but now undeniably intertwined, industries turn to for breaking news, in-depth feature stories, analysis and opinion about their industry.


Mike Marcolongo

Policy Advisor, OMAFRA

Mike Marcolongo is a policy-maker with the Province of Ontario. He is currently with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in Guelph but previously worked for the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. 

Mike facilitated the delivery of a number of broadband projects including leading the Duty-to-Consult obligations for the North Western Ontario Broadband Expansion Initiative (NWOBEI) project.


Ron Pickett MBA, CMC

President, RDM Management Group, Part Time Faculty Georgian College

A senior management consultant Ron brings almost three decades of experience in business, innovation strategy, and technology consulting. Clients include organizations in the private and public sector. He assists enterprises in the development and execution of strategies and marketing programs for new products and services delivering unique and sustainable competitive advantage from innovation that provides competitive advantage. 

Ron is applications oriented delivering financially measurable applications that contribute to the organization's ability to compete and improve performance. He assists firms in harnessing innovation focusing on creating a new kind of organization, where leading edge intellectual knowledge of the business and technology drivers enable clients to develop and execute financially successful strategic growth. Ron has acquired unique knowledge while employed at companies such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the Government of Ontario and distributors of IT and telecommunications equipment. Ron has undertaken consulting assignments that has assisted organizations in business innovation and technology strategic planning, organizational change, project management, and problem analysis.

Ron has an MBA from the University of Phoenix, and a Master's Certification in Innovation Leadership from the University of Fredericton. Ron is a member of the Canadian Management Consultant's Association and holds the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation. Ron is past Executive Vice President of the Canadian Telecommunications Consultant's Association. 

Ron teaches innovation leadership strategy to 4th year Business Commerce students at Georgian College, Barrie, Ontario, Canada.

Specialties: Business, innovation and technology strategic planning, municipal broadband, organizational change, marketing plans, project management, problem analysis, and leadership in corporate innovation process.


Alfred Loon

President and a founding member of the Eeyou Communications Network

Alfred Loon is a member of the Cree Nation of Mistissini. He graduated from Concordia University (Economics) and Sir Sandford Fleming College (Economic Development and Business Development). He is President and a founding member of the Eeyou Communications Network where he directs day-to-day operations of the inter-community fibre-optic broadband facility.

He began his career in economic development with the Cree Nation of Mistissini, Mistco Ventures and CreeCo. In 1995, he was responsible for the Economic Development at the Cree Nation Government and remained as a Director, until 2015.

Mr. Loon was the founding member and President of the first Youth Council of Mistissini, a position he held until 1988.  During his University studies, Mr. Loon participated actively in the First Nations Student Association, Montreal Native Friendship Centre, and Concordia First Nation Education organization. 

As Economic Development Director for the Cree Nation Government, Mr. Loon assisted countless Cree start-ups and businesses through their planning and development phases, in tourism, arts and crafts, training development, program administration, advising and organizing various types of conferences and symposiums.


He served as national President of the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (CANDO) and was Quebec Director. He is a founding board member of Cree Outfitting & Tourism Association (COTA), Cree Native Arts & Crafts Association as well as founding member of the Quebec Labrador Economic Development Commission. He is also an Executive Board Member of the Secretariat to the Cree Nation Abitibi-Témiscamingue Economic Alliance.


Angela Lawrence

CCSA Vice-Chair and General Manager, Hay Communications

Angela is a graduate of the Ivey School of Business at Western University and a Chartered Accountant.  Angela has been in the small service provider telecommunications field since 1996 and General Manager at Hay Communications Co-operative Limited since 2004.  Hay Communications provides internet, television, home automation, phone and cellular services to approximately 6,000 customers in Southwestern Ontario.  

Angela has served on various industry association boards in a variety of roles in the regulatory, finance, and executive areas and is currently the Vice-Chair of the Canadian Communication Systems Alliance (CCSA).  Most importantly, Angela is the proud mom of Katie and wife of Tony.


Brian McCullagh

Director of Business Development, Vianet Inc.

Brian is the Director of Business Development at Vianet Inc. an Ontario telecommunications company that offers Internet, Television and Telephone services to both Residential and Business customers in Northern and Southern Ontario. He is responsible for the business solutions team at Vianet as well handles the company’s community/public/political relationships.

Vianet builds both fibre optic to the home/business and point to point wireless services in both urban and rural areas of Ontario with many active rural fibre to the home projects in both southern and northern Ontario.

Brian is a seasoned professional in the field of Business Development and Client Relationship Management. He joined Vianet in June of 2012 where he brought to the position his 32 years of television/telecommunications experience. 

Brian has held positions of Director of Business Development and Customer Care at Ontera. He was the Business Development Manager at Agilis Networks/@home Energy the competitive services arm of Greater Sudbury Utilities as well had a 22 year career at Eastlink/Persona, all Northern Ontario Companies.

Although being born and raised in Toronto, Brian has lived in Sudbury since 1977 and calls Sudbury home with his wife Annita. He is the father to a daughter and son. Brian believes in the vibrancy of the small downtowns of northern Ontario and sits as co-chair on the board of Sudbury’s Downtown BIA.


Fausto Iannialice

Director of the Broadband and Digital Strategy Branch at the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ontario

Fausto is currently Director of the Broadband and Digital Strategy Branch at the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ontario.  An experience public servant, Fausto has served in a various roles across the Ontario Public Service.  Currently he is leading the development and implementation of Up to Speed: Ontario’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan,  Ontario’s commitment to finding innovative solutions to ensure people and business have access to high speed internet and cellular services that they need.  The Action Plan outlines efforts to help expand broadband and cellular access to rural, remote and northern communities, and positions government as a catalyst to getting reliable, affordable broadband and cellular service across Ontario.


Geoffrey Gillon

Executive Director for the Rainy River Future Development Corporation (RRFDC)

Geoffrey Gillon, Executive Director for the Rainy River Future Development Corporation (RRFDC), has been involved in community and economic development since 1989. Geoff holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from the University of Winnipeg and gained his Economic Development Fellowship from the University of Waterloo.

During his tenure at the RRFDC, he has been involved with and supported numerous economic development projects, such as the regional broadband initiatives, tile drainage and land clearing projects, numerous broadband development projects and many others.

In addition to pursuing development projects, Geoffrey has served two terms as President of the Northwestern Ontario Development Network (NODN), as well as serving as a Director and President of the Economic Developer’s Council of Ontario (EDCO). He was the Sponsorship Chair of the 908 “Rainy Lake” Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron from 2003 to 2016 and is currently a Director on the Rainy Lake Fisheries Charity Trust.

Prior to his career in economic development, he was the owner/operator of Bear Pass Trading Post Ltd., a resort/marina located on Rainy Lake, for sixteen years. 

Geoffrey has a musical side which sees him playing bass guitar in  three area bands. He has a deep attachment to the Rainy River District and Northwestern Ontario, its people and its resources, and has spent many years working to make the district a more progressive and vibrant place to live.


Vincent Gagné

Additional Information

Vincent Gagné is responsible for directing and managing relations between TELUS and Quebec’s elected officials at various levels. He leads efforts in support of rural connectivity issues and deployments, large public sales initiatives, and health technology-related projects. 

Over the past decade, he has been intimately involved in TELUS’ participation in various provincial and federal funding initiatives (including Connecting Canadians, Connect to innovate, Communautés rurales branchées and Québec Branché) resulting in a penetration rate of 93% for fiber services in TELUS’ incumbent territory. He was actively involved in discussions with public officials regarding the opportunities and challenges posed by the CRTC-defined universal service objective, set out in 2016.

Vincent has been with TELUS for 14 years. He holds a Bachelor in Political Science from McGill University and an MBA from École des Hautes études commerciales (HEC Montréal).


Lisa Severson

Communications and Stakeholder Relations Officer for the Eastern Ontario Regional Network Project

Lisa Severson has worked in the municipal sector for 17 years in a variety positions with the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, including the economic development department.  In 2007 she began working with the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus in a support position and worked closely with the Caucus in the development of the Eastern Ontario Regional Broadband Network proposal.  

In 2009 Ms. Severson was seconded from her position at the Counties to become the Communications and Stakeholder Relations Officer for the EOWC Eastern Ontario Regional Network Project, a $175 million high-speed, high-capacity broadband network and is now a full time employee of EORN.  She is a key liaison with MPs, MPPs, Boards of Educations, First Nations and the 100+ municipalities in Eastern Ontario.  

She is a sitting member of the Eastern Ontario Leadership Council and of her local municipal economic development and tourism committee.  Lisa is a mother of three and she and her husband live outside of Prescott Ontario.  


Jim Pine

Chief Administrative Officer (A) of the County of Hastings

Jim is currently the Chief Administrative Officer (A) of the County of Hastings.  Jim has been in the municipal affairs business for nearly 39 years.    He has worked as chief administrative officer in small municipalities, as a city administrator and for the past seventeen years has been leading the administration of the County of Hastings.  Jim started his career with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and served in various positions in his 9 years with the Ministry including as Regional Director for Eastern Ontario.

Jim is also currently one of the Co-Leads the Eastern Ontario Regional (broadband) Network.  EORN was an ambitious $175 million dollar project completed in 2015 to improve access to high speed, high capacity Internet services to more than 425,000 homes and businesses throughout the 50,000 square kilometers that make up Eastern Ontario.  A project of the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus, Jim has been a part of the Project since its earliest days.  EORN recently received funding approval for a second project valued at $213million designed to improve mobile broadband /cell coverage in eastern Ontario.

Jim is currently co-chairing the ONWARD Initiative which includes major municipal staff organizations in Ontario dedicated to promoting local government as a career and supporting succession planning in municipalities across the province.  ONWARD also counts the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) as members of the group.  

Over the course of Jim’s career he has taken an active role in municipal advocacy through his work with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario where he served in a number of roles including as Secretary-Treasurer and as a member of the Board of Directors.  Jim is also a past president of the Ontario Municipal Administrators’ Association.  He has participated in many municipal reform projects including the Provincial-Municipal Fiscal and Services Delivery Review.  He also authored along with his two panel partners a wide ranging review of Ontario’s water and waste water sector entitled:  Watertight:  A case for Change.


Gianni Creta

President and CEO of ENVI Network

Gianni currently holds the position of President and CEO of ENVI Network.  ENVI Is a municipally owned entity in the Town of Newmarket whose goal is to build a fibre network to help service the local community.  This fibre network will be leveraged to help attract businesses to the town in driving economic development and will be used as a foundation for future Smart City initiatives.


Gianni previously acted as the Chief Operating Officer for Accelerated Connections (ACI) holding the responsibility for sales and operations across the companies and brands owned by ACI.  Prior to his role at ACI, Gianni was responsible for all operating activities of OneConnect, which was acquired by ACI in September of 2016.  OneConnect was originally founded under the Globalive Communications umbrella and as one of the original employees of Globalive, Gianni helped launch OneConnect in 2003. 

Over the years, Gianni has helped develop strategy, expand product offerings, build partnerships, and increase sales – all leading to positioning OneConnect as one of the largest independent providers of telecommunications services to the small and medium enterprise space in Canada.  Prior to leading OneConnect, Gianni acted as Chief Technology Officer for both Globalive and OneConnect.

Gianni graduated from the University of Toronto Computer Engineering program and holds a Bachelor of Applied Science and Engineering.


Rick Hodgkinson

President & CEO, Galaxy Broadband

Rick is one of Canada’s satellite pioneers and was one of the very first to introduce satellite communications technologies for voice, data, and entertainment to the oil & gas industry beginning in Northern Alberta in 1981 and has evolved to the national stage first with Canadian Satellite Communications (CANCOM) in the early nineties and formed Galaxy in 1992.  

Galaxy Broadband has evolved into one of the leading industry service providers in North America specializing in satellite communications for remote business, enterprise, and community solutions for the past thirty years.  


Jesse Fiddler

Data Services Architect, K-Net LP Keewaytinook Okimakanak

Jesse Fiddler has been involved with building Community Networks and ICT applications through K-Net for the last 20 years.  Originally from Sandy Lake First Nation, Jesse understands the various challenges Indigenous communities face when building their own networks. 

As a jack of all trades, his experiences range from local development within the community to regional deployment of ICT projects across Northern Ontario in Canada.  With his close relationship to the land, Jesse believes that community owned networks and use of ICTs in our indigenous communities lets us keep our connection to our traditional areas while participating in a global community.