• Joan McDonald to Moderate Panel at National Gigabit City Summit in Kansas City


  • Timing Good as Westchester County Association and Four Cities Prepare Next Steps

  • Joan M. McDonald, Project Director of the Westchester County Association’s Smart City for Gigabit Initiative, will moderate a panel “Cities Ask for Help: Managing the RFP Process” at the Gigabit City Summit in Kansas City, August 1-3, 2017 to which the WCA is sending a contingent. The summit is expected to attract 350 leaders from across the nation who either have built or are planning to build out gigabit fiber networks in their respective cities.

    McDonald, former New York State Commissioner of the Department of Transportation and a nationally recognized expert in transportation solutions, sustainable development, and economic competitiveness was named as a WCA Strategic Advisor for The Blueprint for Smart Growth in August, 2016.

    Since that time she has worked closely with the WCA and Westchester’s four largest cities – Yonkers, New Rochelle, White Plains, and Mt. Vernon – all of which are members of the Smart City ComPACT – on smart growth initiatives.
    According to Aaron Deacon, managing director of KC Digital Drive, which hosts the summit, “Gigabit City Summit is designed to help address is not just how we build new infrastructure and deploy new technology, but how we build the systems to apply those assets in the right way.”

    McDonald’s panel will discuss various ways cities can contract out for various services, from planning to governance to bringing on a new provider. The panel will identify lessons learned from cities that have gone through the RFP process and identify the barriers/hurdles that they have encountered. “This dovetails nicely with our gigabit initiative in Westchester, especially as the WCA and Westchester’s four cities make decisions on next steps.”

    Since the launch of the gigabit initiative in October, 2016, the WCA has organized a luncheon featuring Blair Levin, the nation’s foremost expert on broadband (Levin is also a “voluntary advisor” to the WCA); held informative roundtables for business, real estate, and municipal leaders to bring them up to speed on the gigabit initiative; organized a steering committee, comprised of “some of the most informed, respected, and enterprising individuals in our midst,” according to William M. Mooney, Jr., President and CEO of the WCA; and interviewed a variety of providers, both those that deploy fiber and those that deploy 5g wireless systems.

    “The idea is for us to become as knowledgeable as possible as we prepare to bring this transformative technology into Westchester,” Mr. Mooney said. He added, “Modernizing our digital infrastructure will be a huge community effort. In the process, our goal is to close the digital divide among underserved populations; spark innovation; create jobs; make municipal services more efficient; and make our county competitive again. We are creating a vision for the next thirty years,” he said.

    The Westchester County Association is the preeminent business leadership organization serving Westchester County and the region. The Association is committed to Smart Growth, business advocacy, economic vitality, and to providing a strong and clear voice for the interests of business. Its key objectives are to promote positive economic development in the region, foster business development, and provide its members with access and interaction with key public and private sector individuals, agencies, and organizations.

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