Meet The Team
Brian Snider – CEO
Brian is the Chief Executive Officer for Lit and has previously worked as Director of Fiber Delivery at Byers Engineering in addition to creating the Network Design Practice Area at Foresite Group. Brian started out working in drafting and design at the Dothan Technology Center and interned at an architecture firm in Dothan, AL while pursuing an early golf career. Brian shifted to the telecommunications industry in 2003 working as a drafter and quickly grew to managing all aspects of the project as a contractor for AT&T in Birmingham, AL. Brian has over 15 years of experience in wide area network deployments, having led the build-outs of the entire Southeast US for AT&T’s Uverse release, Google Fiber’s builds in Austin, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and Huntsville, Verizon’s network densification in Seattle, San Francisco, Cleveland, Nashville, and Knoxville, in addition to numerous municipal projects throughout the country. Brian has worked with a core team to create the process that brings community broadband into the 21st century. Our team started on a mission 4 years ago to connect people to information, to ideas, and to each other, and Lit continues to carry that torch to each community we work with.
Ben Lewis-Ramirez – CMO
Ben is passionate about bridging the digital divide through building open access networks in under-served communities, and is a Lit Communities co-founder. He has over 10 years of executive management experience in the outside plant engineering and construction industries, with a focus in business development and strategic planning for the past 3 years. Ben is a vocal advocate for the open access business model, and has published numerous magazine articles and blog posts on the subject, in addition to speaking about it at conferences and other events around the country. Ben brings an entrepreneurial mindset to his work, from co-founding a rainwater collection and landscaping company to becoming an ISA Certified Arborist to create, implement, and manage tree survey programs for large scale FTTX builds in both Google Fiber and AT&T markets. Ben has worked with some of the best companies and people in the OSP industry in a variety of capacities, from field work, to design engineering, to overall project management. This experience has given him a holistic and comprehensive understanding of wide area network and FTTX deployments.
Lauren Bender – COO
Lauren serves Lit as its Chief Operations Officer. She has worked in the Outside Plant telecommunications industry for 7 years in a variety of different roles ranging from design engineering to project management and business development through builds with Google Fiber, Digicel (Caribbean markets), and municipal FTTH. Her passion for Open Access Networks led to her becoming a co-founder of Lit Communities. She works to develop strategic, technological processes and operating procedures to first engage municipalities on the topic of broadband, and then successfully implement plans to bring these communities into the digital era. With a Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Planning and Geographic Information Science (GIS) from Texas State University, Lauren has a unique approach to working with communities on their broadband efforts, one that is open and engaging to the public, yet backed by data analytics and thoughtful planning. Through Lit Communities, Lauren will be living her dream of bridging the gap in the digital divide!
Rene Gonzalez – CSO
San Antonio, TX
Rene Gonzalez is the Chief Strategy Officer and a co-founder of Lit Communities and leads the development of long-term strategic planning efforts across all business areas, strategies in potential markets, and integration with project partners and vendors. He received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas in 2004 and a Master of Science in Project Management from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas in 2008. Rene has over 16 years of experience in project management, strategic planning, project development, and federal and state grant consulting for public works and infrastructure projects. He has worked in both the private and governmental sectors, which provides a unique ability to strategically align the needs of clients with opportunities to leverage financial assistance from the federal and state governments. Over the course of his career, he has assisted various municipalities and government entities on obtaining more than $38 million in grant funding for critical infrastructure projects. Rene is a strong supporter of efforts to curtail the digital divide in communities across the United States and is a Steering Committee member of the Digital Inclusion Alliance of San Antonio.
Roger Wilson – CDO
Roger is the Chief Deployment Officer for Lit Communities and has been involved in telecom deployments and network operations for the last 25 years. Roger has led three national network deployments as well as several regional- and market-level construction projects for both wireline and wireless broadband technologies. Roger is recognized as an experienced and seasoned executive with over 45 years of leadership experience in both the military and telecommunications industry. Roger was also overall responsible for the success of the Huntsville Utility/Google Fiber project in Huntsville, Alabama. This experience has provided a unique management perspective on how to provide network services that meets and exceeds expectations. Prior to 1995, Roger served his country in the United States Army and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after 23 years of service. Roger holds a B.A. from Texas Christian University and a M.S. from Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY (at West Point).
Jessica Fowler – CCO
Jessica serves as Lit Communities’ Chief Client Officer. She has extensive experience serving as a municipal leader with five years of work in the fiber network space advocating for community-owned networks. She has appeared on several panels representing leaders and has testified at governmental hearings on issues of access for rural communities. Jessica understands how important fiber is and the urgency of having it available and affordable for cities and towns overlooked by incumbent carriers. In addition to her government work, Jessica served for three years as COO for a construction management firm developing health centers in several areas of the country and is passionate about utilizing tele-health platforms to deliver healthcare to hard-to-reach areas.
John Sullivan – CIO
John Sullivan started his career working for a technology start-up in southern California and has spent the last decade selling technical solutions into the public and private market. John has first hand experience in digital transformation projects including fiber, 5G and autonomous vehicles. His focus is in applying technological approaches and systems to bring consistency, quality and savings to projects.
Dan Kupratis – Chief Financial Officer
Dan is a proven leader in operations, driving customer success, engagement and execution throughout his multiple roles in finance during his career. Dan’s focus has always been client-centric and he prides himself on both cultivating and growing these relationships. Dan has overseen the operations and strategic planning of many hedge funds, as well as running the operations of a fintech broker dealer. Dan’s passion for making a difference in the world and being a part of something bigger led him to Lit and is eager to help transform the country and close the digital divide one community at a time.
Dan graduated with honors from Georgetown University with a B.S in Business Administration with a double concentration in Finance and Accounting.
Maria Gamo – Chief GIS Engineer
Virginia Beach, VA
Maria Gamo leads the Geospatial Information System (“GIS”) and Engineering efforts for Lit Communities. Maria has professional experience competencies based on decision making, leadership, human resources management, and interdisciplinary team leadership related to Geospatial Information. Maria is an analytical and high-impact professional with extensive demonstrated research and market experience in GIS and Geomatics. Her career has encompassed several leadership roles, where she has leveraged her GIS expertise to implement process improvements. Maria’s passion for her chosen field of Geomatics Engineering has been developed in research positions at York University and the Technical University of Madrid. While these skills have been further honed when working in industries such as Telecommunications, Waste Management, Real Estate, and Information Technologies. She is consistently recognized as a GIS specialist and innovator, having pioneered the advancement of Geomatics Engineering in her native Spain as the first academic to achieve a Ph.D. distinction in this field. Maria demonstrates a high-level proficiency in GIS, Remote Sensing, Photogrammetry, Mapping, CAD, Land Surveying, Fiber Network Design, Geospatial Data and Imagery, Cartographic Graphic Design, and Database applications.
Chris Skelton – Chief Technology Officer
Chris Skelton, Chief Technology Officer for Lit Communities, has supported the telecommunications industry for over 25 years. He has served in various leadership roles including Area, Regional and Corporate positions. Chris has an extensive background in technology, engineering & operations, and special project initiatives.
Chris held several roles in his many years at Comcast Communications. Before he left, he served as the Director of Engineering for Comcast’s Big South Region. He directed over 43 employees with responsibility over 68 technical facilities supporting state-of-the-art voice, video, and data services across 6 states. After leaving Comcast, he worked as Director of Engineering for the Huntsville Utilities fiber network in Huntsville Alabama, which supports the city and utility’s internal fiber requirements as well as those of Google Fiber, who provides gigabit fiber to the home services to the entirety of the city with the network.
Today, Chris serves as the CTO for Lit Communities. The team at Lit is creating exciting new ways to develop broadband infrastructure for improving local communities. His vast experience in broadband provides unique insight into the technological, financial, and operational challenges of building cutting-edge networks.
Aaron Jackson – Vice President of Client Development
New Orleans, LA
Born in Washington, D.C., Aaron Jackson, Jr. is proud to call New Orleans home, where he has forged strong relationships, both personally and professionally, as well as in the community.
Aaron’s professional career has spanned 20 years in the information technology industry. He served for several years as an IT Services Project Manager with an information technology solutions company for the Department of Justice. In this role, he oversaw data and network infrastructures for large scale projects.
In 2014, he founded the IT consulting company, Jackson Solution Services, LLC. Servicing the municipal, corporate, and non-profit sectors, JSS provides broadband network consulting services, IT infrastructure, network design and implementation, and professional managed services to its clients.
With a deep rooted passion for family, he is the proud father of two children, and has a sincere desire to serve the community. Extending his leadership beyond his professional life, Aaron serves on the board of the New Orleans Ballet Theatre and as President of the Board of Directors for the Algiers Charter School Association.
He has also previously served on the boards of the Alliance for Citizen Engagement, the New Orleans African American Museum, the 100 Black Men of America, and Greater Dimensions Community Development Corporation.
Beth Fowler – Vice President of Engineering
Beth Fowler is the Vice President of Engineering for Lit Communities. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Industrial Engineering from The University of Alabama and holds a professional engineer’s license in that state. Beth began her career with BellSouth Telecommunications as an Outside Plant Engineer and eventually began her own contracting company, providing BellSouth – and later AT&T – with outside plant engineering, database management, and various other services for almost 20 years. Beth was attracted to Lit Communities because of their passion to provide high-speed internet service to underserved areas and believes the open access model will best facilitate that goal. She loves the team at Lit and appreciates how committed they are to their work and how they support each other like family.