Congressman John Shimkus

John M. Shimkus has served in the Army, as a high school teacher, a county treasurer, and now as a Member of the United States House of Representatives for the 15th District of Illinois.

Among his duties in Congress, John is a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and chairman of its Environment Subcommittee. He also serves on the Energy, Health, and Communications and Technology Subcommittees; a member of the Biotech, Wireless, NG9-1-1, Recycling, Coal, Steel, and Baltic Caucuses; in addition to representing the U.S. Congress in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. 



USDA Rural Development: Rural Connections that Power the Future

Investments in infrastructure, partnerships and innovation bring returns on the five key indicators of rural prosperity identified by the Agriculture and Rural Prosperity Task Force. The report was released in January by USDA Secretary Perdue. Quality of Life, Workforce Development, Access to Technology, and Economic Development are each supported and enhanced by the presence of the fifth key indicator, e-Connectivity.

Please join USDA Rural Development General Field Representative for IL/MO, Chris Collins, as he discusses how the RD team works to deliver programs in rural Illinois that address each of these key areas – especially e-Connectivity. Chris Collins will be available to provide in-depth technical information on the USDA telecommunication programs and applications.

Chris Collins, USDA Rural Development Rural Utilities Service, General Field Representative for IL/MO

Molly Hammond, Assistant to the State Director for the USDA Rural Development in Illinois



Dots on the Map: Driving the Sales of Last Mile Ethernet Service

Rural providers have been hit with decreases in access lines, switched access revenue, legacy special access revenue, and changes to their legacy support mechanisms.  Some providers anticipated the changes and pivoted ahead of time while others are in the process of pivoting to new revenue streams.  

One revenue stream that is lucrative but that has been hard to tap in to is the sale of Ethernet Special Access.  This session covers the various initiatives in the State of Illinois to drive the sale of Ethernet Special Access.  The three initiatives that will be discussed were built on the concept of a partnership among rural providers to increase revenue from the sale of Special Access circuits. 

Dots on the Map highlights the drawbacks of not marketing last mile exchanges and what happens when to rural providers when that changes.  It will highlight the evolution in how those exchanges are marketed and how carriers can maximize their revenue from last mile services. 

Attendees will also learn about ways to trim costs on bandwidth and gain efficiencies through an aggregation methodology advanced by the Rural Access Network (RAN).

Eric Lee, Director of Carrier Relations & Business Development; McDonough Telephone Cooperative


Impacts of New Leasing Standards: What Does It Mean To Me?

Join BKD Telecommunications professionals as they discuss how new regulatory, cost study and accounting standards will impact telecommunications companies. Upon completion of this program, participants will be able to:

  •  Discuss the provisions of the new leases standard 
  •  Recognize the implications of the new standard on financial statements, debt covenants and cost studies
  • Identify what telecommunications companies should be doing now

Jessica Richter, CPA, BKD CPAs & Advisors


James P. Becker, CPA, BKD CPAs & Advisors

What Does Our Industry Look Like In Five To Ten Years?

Our industry is changing at a rapid pace with all the changes in technology as well as the changes at the FCC.  Where will these changes take us and how do we plan for them.  We expect our companies to not only survive these changes, but also to thrive and succeed in the changing world.   Our session will focus on looking into the future and discussing ways to approach it.  Our goal is to be on the winning side of change.  GVNW Consulting, Inc. has been honing its skills of providing companies with the highest quality service for nearly 50 years 

Judi Ushio, Manager of the Midwest Division at GVNW Consultants


Illinois FirstNet Implementation Plans

AT&T was selected by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to build and manage the first broadband network dedicated to America’s police, firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS). The FirstNet network will cover all 50 states, 5 U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, including rural communities and tribal lands in those states and territories. On December 18, 2107, Governor Rauner announced that Illinois would join other states  by opting-in to FirstNet. AT&T will provide an update on its plans for deployment in Illinois and share information about potential partnerships in the state.

Deno Perdiou, Director Regulatory an External Affairs at AT&T